There the rest of the party found her, and as they did not find Bobus, they concluded that all was safe. However, when the two Johns were walking home with Mother Carey, Bobus joined them, and soon made his mother fall behind with him, asking her, “I hope your eloquence prevailed.”
“Far from it, Bobus,” she said. “In fact you have alarmed them.”
“H. S. H. doesn’t improve with age,” he replied carelessly. “She never troubled herself about Jessie.”
“Perhaps no one gave her cause. My dear boy, I am very sorry for you,” and she laid her hand within his arm.
“Have they been baiting you? Poor little Mother Carey!” he said. “Force of habit, you know, that’s all. Never mind them.”
“Bobus, my dear, I must speak, and in earnest. I am afraid you may be going on so as to make yourself and-some one else unhappy, and you ought to know that your father was quite as determined as your uncle against marriages between first cousins.”
“My dear mother, it will be quite time to argue that point when the matter becomes imminent. I am not asking to marry any one before I am called to the bar, and it is very hard if we cannot, in the meantime, live as cousins.”
“Yes, but there must be no attempt to be ‘a little more than kin.’”
“Less than kind comes in on the other side!” said Bobus, in his throat. “I tell you the child is a child who has no soul apart from her sister, and there’s no use in disturbing her till she has grown up to have a heart and a will of her own.”
“Then you promise to let her alone?”
“I pledge myself to nothing,” said Bobus, in an impracticable voice. “I only give warning that a commotion will do nobody any good.”
She knew he had not abandoned his intention, and she also knew she had no power to make him abandon it, so that all she could say was, “As long as you make no move there will be no commotion, but I only repeat my assurance that neither your uncle nor I, acting in the person, of your dear father, will ever consent.”
“To which I might reply, that most people end by doing that against which they have most protested. However, I am not going to stir in the matter for some time to come, and I advise no one else to do so.”
CHAPTER XXVII. BLUEBEARD’S CLOSET.
A moment then the volume spread,
And one short spell therein he read.
The reality of John’s intention to devote himself to medicine made Caroline anxious to look again at the terms of the trust on which she held the Magnum Bonum secret.
Moreover, she wanted some papers and accounts, and therefore on Monday morning, while getting up, she glanced towards the place where her davenport usually stood, and to her great surprise missed it. She asked Emma, who was dressing her, whether it had been moved, and found that her maid had been as much surprised as herself at its absence, and that the housekeeper had denied all knowledge of it.