things had seemed more true,
And came down closer to her view,
now that his presence was among them. She had by no means lost her vivacity. There would always be a certain crispness, drollery, and keenness about her, and she had too much of her mother’s elasticity to be long depressed; but instead of looking on with impatient criticism at good works, she had learnt to be ardent in the cause, and she was a most effective helper. To Armine, it was as if Fordham had given him back the sister of his childhood to be as thoroughly one in aims and sympathies as ever, but with a certain clearness of eye, brisk alacrity of execution, and quickness of judgment that made her a valuable assistant, the complement, as it were, of his more contemplative nature.
He had just finished his course at King’s College, and taken a fair degree, and he was examining advertisements, with a view to obtaining some employment in teaching that would put a sufficient sum in his hands to enable him to spend a year at one of the theological colleges, in preparation for Ordination. His mother was not happy about it, she never would be quite easy as to Armine’s roughing it at any chance school, and she had much rather he had spent the intervening year in working as a lay assistant to Mr. Ogilvie, who had promised to give him a title for Orders, and would direct his reading.
Armine, however, said he could neither make himself Mr. Ogilvie’s guest for a year, nor let his mother pay his expenses; also that he wished to do something for himself, and that he felt the need of definite training. All he would do, was to promise that if he should find himself likely to break down in his intended employment of tuition, he would give up in time and submit to her plan of boarding him at St. Cradocke’s.
“But,” as he said to Babie, “I don’t think it is self-will to feel bound to try to exert myself for the one great purpose of my life. I am too old to live upon mother any longer.”
“How I do wish I could do anything to help you to the year at C—–. Mother has always said that she will let me try to publish ’Hart’s-tongue Well’ when I am twenty-one!”
“Living on you instead of mother?”
“Oh no, Armie, you know we are one. Though perhaps a mere story like that is not worthy to do such work. Yet I think there must be something in it, as Duke cared for it.”
“That would be proof positive but for the author,” said Armine, smiling; “but poor Allen’s attempts have rather daunted my literary hopes.”
“I really believe Allen would write better sense now, if he tried,” said Babie. “I believe Lady Grose is making something of him!”
“Without intending it,” said Armine, laughing.
“No; but you see snubbing is wholesome diet, if it is taken with a few grains of resolution, and he has come to that now!”