“I wish he wasn’t then. Why, Babie, are you going to cry? What’s the matter?”
“It is very silly,” said Babie, winking hard to get rid of her tears; “but it does hurt me so to think of the good old gentleman caring more for you than anybody, and you not liking to go near him.”
“I can’t see what it matters to you,” said Elvira; “I wish you would go instead of me, if you are so fond of him.”
“He wouldn’t care for me,” said Babie; “I’m not his ain lassie.”
“His lassie! I’m a lady,” exclaimed the senorita, with the haughty Spanish turn of the neck peculiar to herself.
“That’s not what I mean by a lady,” said Babie.
“What do you mean by it?” said Elvira, with a superior air.
“One who never looks down on anybody,” said Babie, thoughtfully.
“What nonsense!” rejoined the Elf; “as if any lady could like to hear grandpapa maunder, and Mary scold and scream at the farm people, just like the old peahen.”
“Miss Ogilvie said poor Mary was overstrained with having more to attend to than she could properly manage, and that made her shrill.”
“I know it makes her very disagreeable; and so they all are. I hate the place, and I don’t see why I should go,” grumbled Elvira.
“You will when you are older, and know what proper feeling is,” said Miss Ogilvie, who had come within earshot of the last words. “Go and put on your hat; I have ordered the pony carriage.”
“Shall I go, Miss Ogilvie?” asked Babie, as Elfie marched off sullenly, since her governess never allowed herself to be disobeyed.
“I think I had better go, my dear; Elfie may be under more restraint with me.”
“Please give old Mr. Gould and Mary and Kate my love, and I will run and ask for some fruit for you to take to them,” said Babie, her tender heart longing to make compensation.
Miss Ogilvie and her pouting companion were received by a fashionable-nay, extra fashionable—looking person, whom Mary and Kate Gould called Cousin Lisette, and the old farmer, Eliza Gould. While the old man in his chair in the sun in the hot little parlour caressed, and asked feeble repetitions of questions of his impatient granddaughter, the lady explained that she had thrown up an excellent situation as instructress in a very high family to act in the same capacity to her motherless little cousins. She professed to be enchanted to meet Miss Ogilvie, and almost patronised.
“I know what the life is, Miss Ogilvie, and how one needs companionship to keep up one’s spirits. Whenever you are left alone, and would drop me a line, I should be quite delighted to come and enliven you; or whenever you would like to come over here, there’s no interruption by uncle; and he, poor old gentleman, is quite-quite passe. The children I can always dismiss. Regularity is my motto, of course, but I consider that an exception in favour of my own friends does no harm, and indeed it is no more than I have a right to expect, considering the sacrifices that I have made for them. Mary, child, don’t cross your ankles; you don’t see your cousin do that. Kate, you go and see what makes Betsy so long in bringing the tea. I rang long ago.”