“And I ought to go up for lectures,” said Jock, who had been reading hard all this time under directions from Dr. Medlicott. “I might go on before, and see that the house is put in order before you come home, mother.”
“Home! It sounds more like going home than ever going back to Belforest did!”
“And we’ll make it the very moral of the old times. We’ve got all the old things!”
“What do you know about the old times-baby that you are and were?” said Jock.
“The Drakes move to-morrow,” said his mother. “I must write to your aunt and Richards about sending the things from Belforest. We must have it at its best before Ali comes home.”
“All right!” said Babie. “You know our own things have only to go back into their places, and the Drake carpets go on. It will be such fun; as nice as the getting into the Folly!”
“Nice you call that?” said her mother. “All I remember is the disgrace we got into and the fright I was in! I wonder what the old home will bring us?”
“Life and spirit and action,” cried Babie. “Oh, I’m wearying for the sound of the wheels and the flow of people!”
“Oh, you little Cockney!”
“Of course. I was born one, and I am thankful for it! There’s nothing to do here.”
“Babie!” cried Armine, indignantly.
“Well, you and Jock have read a great deal, and he has plunged into night-schools.”
“And become a popular lecturer,” added Armine.
“And you and mother have cultivated Percy Stagg, and gone to Church a great deal-pour passer le temps.”
“Ah, you discontented mortal!” said her mother, rising to write her letters. “You have yet to learn that what is stagnation to some is rest to others.”
“Oh yes, mother, I know it was very good for you, but I’m heartily glad it is over. Sea and Ogre are all very well for once in a way, but they pall, especially in an east wind English fog!”
“My Babie, I hope you are not spoilt by all the excitements of our last few years,” said the mother. “You won’t find life in Collingwood Street much like life in Hyde Corner.”
“No, but it will be life, and that’s what I care for!”
No, Barbara, used to constant change, and eager for her schemes of helpfulness, could not be expected to enjoy the peacefulness of St. Cradocke’s as the others had done. To Armine, indeed, it had been the beginning of a new life of hope and vigour, and a casting off of the slough of morbid self-contemplation, induced by his invalid life, and fostered at Woodside. He had left off the romance of being early doomed, since his health had stood the trial of the English winter, and under Mr. Ogilvie’s bracing management, seconded by Jock’s energetic companionship, he had learnt to look to active service, and be ready to strive for it.