Then he most politely represented the need of a maintenance while he was thus qualifying himself. Janet had evidently not told him about the will, and Caroline only said that from a recent discovery she thought her own tenure of the property very insecure, and she could undertake nothing for the future. She would let him know. However, she gave him a cheque for 100 pounds for the present, knowing that she could make it up from the money of her own which she had been accumulating for Elvira’s portion.
Then Janet came in to take leave. Mr. Hermann described what the excellent and gracious lady had granted to him, and he made it sound so well, and his wife seemed so confident and triumphant, that her mother feared she had allowed more to be inferred than she intended, and tried to explain that all depended on the fulfilment of the conditions of which Janet at least was perfectly aware. She was overwhelmed, however, with his gratitude and Janet’s assurances, and they went away, leaving her with a hand much kissed by him, and the fondest, most lingering embrace she had ever had from Janet. Then she was free to lie still, abandoned to fears for her daughter’s future and repentance for her own careless past, and, above all crushed by the ache that would let her really feel little but pain and oppression.
Is there, for honest poverty,
That hangs his head and a’ that,
The coward slave, we pass him by,
A man’s a man for a’ that.
Thinking and acting were alike impossible to Caroline for the remainder of the day when her daughter left her, but night brought power of reflection, as she began to look forward to the new day, and its burthen.
Her headache was better, but she let Barbara again go down to breakfast without her, feeling that she could not face her sons at once, and that she needed another study of the document before she could trust herself with the communication. She felt herself too in need of time to pray for right judgment and steadfast purpose, and that the change might so work with her sons that it might be a blessing, not a curse. Could it be for nothing that the finding of Magnum Bonum had wrought the undoing of this wrong? That thought, and the impulse of self-bracing, made her breakfast well on the dainty little meal sent up to her by the Infanta, and look so much refreshed, that the damsel exclaimed-