He himself was much annoyed at the despatch he had received from Japan. Of course there had been much anxiety as to the way in which Bobus would receive the tidings of Esther’s engagement; and his mother had written it to him with much tenderness and sympathy. But instead of replying to her letter, he had written only to Lucas, so entirely ignoring the whole matter that except for some casual allusion to some other subject, it would have been supposed that he had not received it. He desired his brother to send him out the rest of his books and other possessions which he had left provisionally in England; and he likewise sent a manuscript with orders to him to get it published and revise the proofs. It proved to be a dissertation on Buddhism, containing such a bitter attack upon Christianity that Jock was strongly tempted to put it in the fire at once, and had written to Bobus to refuse all assistance in its publication, and to entreat him to reconsider it. He would not telegraph, in order that there might be more time to cool down, for he felt convinced that this demonstration was a species of revenge, at least so far that there was a certain satisfaction in showing what lengths the baffled lover might go to, when no longer withheld by the hope of Esther or by consideration for his mother.
Jock would have kept back the knowledge from her, but she was too uneasy about Bobus for him not to tell her. She saw it in the same light, feared that her son would never entirely forgive her, but went on writing affectionate letters to him all the same, whether he answered them or not. Oh, what a pang it was that she had never tried to make the boy religious in his childhood.
Then she looked at Jock, and wondered whether he would harbour any such resentment against her when he came to perceive what she had seen beginning at Fordham.
John came back most ominously radiant. It had been very bad weather, and he and Sydney seemed to have been doing a great quantity of fretwork together, and to have had much music, only chaperoned by old Sir James, for Fordham had been paying for his exertions at the wedding by being confined to his room.
He had sent Babie a book, namely, Vaughan’s beautiful “Silex Scintillans,” full of marked passages, which went to her heart. She asked leave to write and thank him, and in return his mother wrote to hers, “Duke is much gratified by the dear Infanta’s note. He would like to write to her unless he knows you would not object.”
To which Caroline replied, “Let him write whatever he pleases to Barbara. I am sure it will only be what is good for her.” Indeed Babie had been by many degrees quieter since her return.
So a correspondence began, and was carried on till after Easter, when the whole party came to London for the season. Mrs. Evelyn wished Fordham to be under Dr. Medlicott’s eye; also to give Sydney another sight of the world, and to superintend Mrs. Cecil Evelyn’s very inexperienced debut.