CHAPTER XXXIII. BITTER FAREWELLS.
But he who lets his feelings run
In soft luxurious flow
Shrinks when hard service must be done
And faints at every woe.
J. H. Newman.
Welcome shone in Mr. Ogilvie’s face in the gaslight on the platform as the train drew up, and the Popinjay in her cage was handed out, uttering, “Hic, haec, hoc. We’re all Mother Carey’s chicks.”
Therewith the mother and the two youngest of her chicks were handed to their fly, and driven, through raindrops and splashes flashing in the gas, to a door where the faithful Emma awaited them, and conveyed them to a room so bright and comfortable that Babie piteously exclaimed-
“Oh, Emma, you have left me nothing to do!”
Presently came Mr. Ogilvie to make sure that the party needed nothing. He was like a child hovering near, and constantly looking to assure himself of the reality of some precious acquisition.
Later in the evening, on his way from the night-school, he was at the door again to leave a parish magazine with a list of services that ought to have rejoiced Armine’s heart, if he had felt capable of enjoying anything at St. Cradocke’s, and at which Babie looked with some dismay, as if fearing that they would all be inflicted on her. He was in a placid, martyr-like state. He had made up his mind that the air was of the relaxing sort that disagreed with him, and no doubt would be fatal, though as he coughed rather less than more, he could hardly hope to edify Bobus by his death-bed, unless he could expedite matters by breaking a blood-vessel in saving someone’s life. On the whole, however, it was pleasanter to pity himself for vague possibilities than to apprehend the crisis as immediate. It was true that he was very forlorn. He missed the admiring petting by which Miss Parsons had fostered his morbid state; he missed the occupations she had given him, and he missed the luxurious habits of wealth far more than he knew. After his winters under genial skies, close to blue Mediterranean waves, English weather was trying; and, in contrast with southern scenery, people, and art, everything seemed ugly, homely, and vulgar in his eyes. Gorgeous Cathedrals with their High Masses and sweet Benedictions, their bannered processions and kneeling peasantry, rose in his memory as he beheld the half restored Church, the stiff, open seats, and the Philistine precision of the St. Cradocke’s Old Church congregation; and Anglicanism shared his distaste, in spite of the fascinations of the district Church.
He was languid and inert, partly from being confined to the house on days of doubtful character. He would not prepare any work for Bobus, who, with Jock, was to follow in ten days, he would not second Babie’s wish to get up a St. Cradocke’s number of the ’Traveller’s Joy,’ to challenge a Madeira one; he did little but turn over a few books, say there was nothing to read, and exchange long letters with Miss Parsons.