Thus Babie escaped all interrogation, but she did not release the captive davenport, and indeed she soon forgot all about it in her absorption in Swiss letters.
But solemn sound, or sober thought
The Fairies cannot bear;
They sing, inspired with love and joy,
Like skylarks in the air.
Of solid sense, or thought that’s grave,
You find no traces there.
When old Lady Fordham’s long decay ended in death, Mrs. Evelyn would not recall her sons to the funeral, but meant to go out herself to join them, and offered to escort Mrs. Brownlow’s daughters to the meeting-place. This was to be Engelberg, for Dr. Medlicott had decided that after the month at Leukerbad all his patients would be much the better for a breath of the pine-woods on the Alpine height, and undertook to see them conveyed thither in time to meet the ladies.
This proposal set Miss Ogilvie free to join her brother, who had a curacy in a seaside place where the season began just when the London season ended. Her holiday was then to begin, and Janet was to write to Mrs. Evelyn and declare herself ready to meet her in London at the time appointed.
The arrangement was not to Janet’s taste. She thought herself perfectly capable of escorting the younger ones, especially as they were to take their maid, a capable person named Delrio, daughter of an Englishwoman and a German waiter, and widow of an Italian courier, who was equal to all land emergencies, and could speak any language. She belonged to the young ladies. Their mother, not liking strangers about her, had, on old nurse’s death, caused Emma to learn enough of the lady’s maid’s art for her own needs at home, and took care of herself abroad.
Babie was enraptured to be going to Mother Carey and Armine, and Elvira was enchanted to leave the schoolroom behind her, being fully aware that she always had more notice and indulgence from outsiders than at home, or indeed from anyone who had been disappointed at her want of all real affection.
“You are just like a dragon fly,” said Babie to her; “all brightness outside and nothing within.”
This unusually severe remark came from Babie’s indignation at Elvira’s rebellion against going to River Hollow to take leave. It would be a melancholy visit, for her grandfather had become nearly imbecile since he had had a paralytic stroke, in the course of the winter, and good sensible Mrs. Gould had died of fever in the previous autumn.
Elvira, who had never liked the place, now loathed it, and did not seem capable of understanding Babie’s outburst.
“Not like to go and see them when they are ill and unhappy! Elfie, how can you?”
“Of course I don’t! Grandpapa kisses me and makes me half sick.”
“But he is so fond of you.”