“Who gets it, then?”
“Chancery, I suppose, or some of the lawyers. They are all blood-suckers.”
“I’m sure,” said Janet, superior by three years of wisdom, “that abeyance only happens about Scotch peerages; and if he has not made a will, mother will be heiress.”
“Only halves with that black Undine of Allen’s,” sturdily persisted Bobus. “Is she coming here, Janet?”
“Yes, to-morrow. I did not think we wanted another child about the house; Essie and Ellie are quite enough.”
“If mother gets rich she won’t have all that teaching to bother her,” said Bobus.
“And I can go on with my education,” said Janet.
“Girl’s education does not signify,” said Bobus. “Now I shall be able to get the very best instruction in physical science, and make some great discovery. If I could only go and study at Halle, instead of going on droning here.”
“Oh! boys can always get educated if they choose. You are going to Eton or Winchester after this term.”
“Not if I can get any sense into mother. I don’t want to waste my time on those stupid classics and athletics. I say, Janet, it’s time to see whether the precipitation has taken place.”
The two used to try experiments together, in Bobus’s end of the attic, to an extent that might make the presence of a strange child in the house dangerous to herself as well as to everyone else.
Mrs. Gould herself brought the little girl, trying to impress on Mrs. Brownlow that if she was indocile it was not her fault, but her grandfather could not bear to have her crossed.
The elders did not wonder at his weakness, for the creature was wonderfully lovely and winning, with a fearless imperiousness that subdued everyone to her service. So brilliant was she, that Essie and Ellie, though very pretty little girls, looked faded and effaced beside this small empress, whose air seemed to give her a right to bestow her favours.
“I am glad to be here!” she observed, graciously, to her hostess, “for you are my cousin and a lady.”
“And pray what are you?” asked Janet.
“I am la Senora Dona Elvira Maria de Guadalupe de Menella,” replied the damsel, with a liquid sonorousness so annihilating, that Janet made a mocking courtesy; and her mother said it was like asking the head of the house of Hapsburg if she were a lady!
With some disappointment at Allen’s absence, the little Donna motioned Bobus to sit by her side at dinner-time, and when her grandfather looked in somewhat later to wish her good-bye, in mingled hope and fear of her insisting on going home with him, she cared for nothing but his admiration of her playing at kings and queens with Armine and Barbara, in the cotton velvet train of the dressing up wardrobe.
“No, she did not want to go home. She never wanted to go back to River Hollow.”
Nor would she even kiss him till she had extorted the assurance that he had been shaved that morning.