Jock was not the least surprised at this selfishness, but he said-
“We will get him away somehow, Infanta, never fear! And when you have left this place, you’ll be all right. You’ll have the Friar, and he is a host in himself.”
“Yes,” said Babie, ruefully, “but he is not a brother after all. Oh, Jock! mother says it is very wrong in me, but I can’t help it.”
“What is wrong, little one?”
“To feel it so dreadful that you and Bobus are going! I know it is honour and glory, and promotion, and chivalry, and Victoria crosses, and all that Sydney and I used to care for; but, oh! we never thought of those that stayed at home.”
“You were a famous Spartan till the time came,” said Jock, in an odd husky voice.
“I wouldn’t mind so much but for mother,” said poor Barbara, in an apologetic tone; “nor if there were any stuff in Allen; nor if dear Armie were well and like himself; but, oh dear! I feel as if all the manhood and comfort of the family would be gone to the other end of the world.”
“What did you say about mother?”
“I beg your pardon, Jock, I didn’t mean to worry you. I know it is a grand thing for you. But mother was so merry and happy when we thought we should all be snug with you in the old house, and she made such nice plans. But now she is so fagged and worn, and she can’t sleep. She began to read as soon as it was light all those long summer mornings to keep from thinking; and she is teasing herself over her accounts. There were shoals of great horrid bills of things Allen ordered coming in at Midsummer, just as she thought she saw her way! Do you know, she thinks she may have to let our own house and go into lodgings.”
“Is that you, Barbara?” said a voice at the Parsonage wicket. “How is our dear patient?”
“Rather better to-night, we think.”
“Tell him I hope to come and see him to-morrow. And say the vases are come. I thought your mother would wish us to have the large ones, so I put them in the Church. They are £3.”
Babie thought Jock’s face was dazed when he came among the lights in Church, and that he moved and responded like an automaton, and she could hardly get a word out of him all the way home. There, they were sent for to Armine, who was sufficiently better to want to hear all about the services, the procession, the wheat-sheaf, the hymns, and the sermons. Jock stood the examination well till it came to evensong, when, as his sister had conjectured, he knew nothing, except one sentence, which he said had come over and over again in the sermon, and he wanted to know whence it came. It was, “Seekest thou great things for thyself.”
Even Armine only knew that it was in a note in the “Christian Year,” and Babie looked out the reference, and found that it was Jeremiah’s rebuke to Baruch for self-seeking amid the general ruin.
“I liked Baruch,” she said. “I am sorry he was selfish.”