“Yes, I shall take up insects when I have done with plants,” said Bobus, coolly.
“And say, ’Solomon, I have surpassed thee’?” asked Mr. Ogilvie.
Bobus looked as if he did not like it; but his mother shook her head at him as one who well deserved the little rebuke for self-sufficiency. There was certainly a wonderful winning way about her- there was a simplicity of manner almost like that of Babie herself, and yet the cleverness of a highly-educated woman. Mary Ogilvie did not wonder at what Mr. and Mrs. Acton had said of the charm of that unpretending household, now broken up.
There was, too, the perception that, beneath the surface on which, like the children, she played so lightly, there were depths of sorrow that might not be stirred, which added a sweetness and pathos to all she said and did.
Of many a choice curiosity the children said, in lowered tones of reverence, that “he found it;” and these she would not allow to be passed over, but showed fondly off in all their best points, telling their story as if she loved to dwell upon it.
Barbara, who had specially fastened herself on Mr. Ogilvie, according to the modern privileges of small girls, after having much amused him by doing the honours of her own miscellaneous treasury, insisted on exhibiting “Mother Carey’s studio.”
Caroline tried to declare that this meant nothing deserving of so grand a name; it was only the family resort for making messes in. She never touched clay now, and there was nothing worth seeing; but it was in vain; Babie had her way; and they mounted to the highest stage of the pagoda, where the eaves and the twisted monsters that supported them were in close juxtaposition with the four windows.
The view was a grand one. Belforest Park on the one side, the town almost as if in a pit below, with a bird’s-eye prospect of the roofs, the gardens and the school-yard, the leaden-covered church, lying like a great grey beetle with outspread wings. Beyond were the ups-and-downs of a wooded, hilly country, with glimpses of blue river here and there, and village and town gleaming out white; a large house, “bosomed high in tufted trees;” a church-tower and spire, nestled on the hill-side, up to the steep grey hill with the tall land-mark tower, closing in the horizon-altogether, as Carey said, a thorough “allegro” landscape, even to “the tanned haycock in the mead.” But the summer sun made the place dazzling and almost uninhabitable, and the visitors, turning from the glare, could hardly see the casts and models that filled the shelves; nor was there anything in hand; so that they let themselves be hurried away to share the midday meal, after which Mr. Ogilvie and the boys betook themselves to the school, and Carey and her little ones to the shade of the garden-wall, to finish their French reading, while Mary wondered the less at the Kenminster ladies.