“It won’t make a bit of difference for a year. We shan’t get it for ever so long,” said Bobus.
“Fact. I know a man whose uncle left him a hundred pounds last year, and the lawyers haven’t let him touch a penny of it.”
“Perhaps he is not of age,” said Janet.
“At any rate,” said Jock, “we can have our fun at Belforest.”
“O yes, Jock, only think,” cried Babie, “all the dear tadpoles belong to mother!”
“And all the dragon-flies,” said Armine.
“And all the herons,” said Jock.
“We can open the gates again,” said Armine.
“Oh! the flowers!” cried Babie in an ecstasy.
“Yes,” said Janet. “I suppose we shall spend the early spring in the country, but we must have the best part of the season in London now that we can get out of banishment, and enjoy rational conversation once more.”
“Rational fiddlestick,” muttered Bobus.
“That’s what any girl who wasn’t such a prig as Janet would look for,” said Jock.
“Well, of course,” said Janet. “I mean to have my balls like other people; I shall see life thoroughly. That’s just what I value this for.”
Bobus made a scoffing noise.
“What’s up, Bobus?” asked Jock.
“Nothing, only you keep up such a row, one can’t read.”
“I’m sure this is better and more wonderful than any book!” said Jock.
“It makes no odds to me,” returned Bobus, over his book.
“Oh! now!” cried Janet, “if it were only the pleasure of being free from patronage it would be something.”
“Gratitude!” said Bobus.
“I’ll show my gratitude,” said Janet; “we’ll give all of them at Kencroft all the fine clothes and jewels and amusements that ever they care for, more than ever they gave us; only it is we that shall give and they that will take, don’t you see?”
“Sweet charity,” quoth Bobus.
Those two were a great contrast; Janet had never been so radiant, feeling her sentence of banishment revoked, and realising more vividly than anyone else was doing, the pleasures of wealth. The cloud under which she had been ever since the coming to the Pagoda seemed to have rolled away, in the sense of triumph and anticipation; while Bobus seemed to have fallen into a mood of sarcastic ill-temper. His mother saw, and it added to her sense of worry, though her bright sweet nature would scarcely have fathomed the cause, even had she been in a state to think actively rather than to feel passively. Bobus, only a year younger than Allen, and endowed with more force and application, if not with more quickness, had always been on a level with his brother, and felt superior, despising Allen’s Eton airs and graces, and other characteristics which most people thought amiable. And now Allen had become son and heir, and was treated by everyone as the only person of importance. Bobus did not know what his own claims might be, but at any rate his brother’s would transcend them, and his temper was thoroughly upset.