“Oh no, as you said, Sir Matthew Fleet mistrusts anything entirely new, and the professor is never sanguine. I am almost glad they are so stupid, it will make our pleasure all the sweeter.”
“You silly little bird, if you sit on that egg it will be sure to be addled. If it should come to any good, probably it will take longer than our life-time to work into people’s brains.”
“No,” said Carey, “I know the real object is the relieving pain and saving life, and that is what you care for more than the honour and glory. But do you remember the fly on the coach wheel?”
“Well, the coach wheel means to stand still for a little while. I don’t mean to try another experiment till my brains have been turned out to grass, and I can come to it fresh.”
“Ah! ’tis you that really need the holiday,” said Carey, wistfully; “much more than any of us. Look at this great crow’s foot,” tracing it with her finger.
“Laughing, my dear. That’s the outline of the risible muscle. A Mother Carey and her six ridiculous chickens can’t but wear out furrows with laughing at them.”
“I only know I wish it were you that were going, and I that were staying at home.”
“’You shall do
my work to-day,
And I’ll go follow the plough,’”
said her husband, laughing. “There are the notes of my lecture, if you’ll go and give it.”
“Ah! we should not be like that celebrated couple. You would manage the boys much better than I could doctor your patients.”
“I don’t know that. The boys are never so comfortable, when I’ve got them alone. But, considering the hour, I should think the best preliminary would be to put out the lamp and go to bed.”
“I suppose it is time; but I always think this last talk before going upstairs, the best thing in the whole day!” said the happy wife as she took the candle.
CHAPTER III. THE WHITE SLATE.
Dark house, by which once more I stand
Here in the long unlovely street.
Doors, where my heart was wont to beat
So quickly, waiting for a hand-
A hand that can be clasped no more.
Behold me, for I cannot sleep.-Tennyson.
“Mother Carey,” to call her by the family name that her husband had given the first day she held a baby in her arms, had a capacity of enjoyment that what she called her exile could not destroy. Even Bobus left theory behind him and became a holiday boy, and the whole six climbed rocks, paddled, boated, hunted sea weeds and sea animals, lived on the beach from morning to night; and were exceedingly amused by the people, who insisted on addressing the senior of the party as “Miss,” and thought them a young girl and her brothers under the charge of Mrs. Acton. She, though really not a year older than her friend, looked like a worn and staid matron by her side, and was by no means disposed to scramble barefoot over slippery seaweed, or to take impromptu a part in the grand defence of the sand and shingle edition of Raglan Castle.