Mysie was free to run in and out to her sisters, but was still to do her lessons with Miss Elbury, and Fly took up more of her time than the sisters liked. Neither she nor Fly were formally told why their castles vanished into empty air, but there certainly was a continual disappointment and fret on both sides, which Fly could not bear as well as when she was in high health, and poor Mysie’s loving heart often found it hard to decide between her urgent claims and those of Valetta!
But was not mamma coming? and papa? Would not all be well then? Yes, hearts might bound at the thought. But where was Gillian’s great thing?’
Miss Vincent’s coming was really like a beginning of home, in spite of her mourning and depressed look. It was a great consolation to the lonely woman to find how all her pupils flew at her, with infinite delight. She had taken pains to bring a report of all the animals for Valetta, and she duly admired all Fergus’s geological specimens, and even undertook to print labels for them.
Mysie would have liked to begin lessons again with her; but this would have been hard on Fly, and besides, her mother had committed her to the Rotherwoods, and it was better still to leave her with them.
The aunts were ready with any amount of kindness and sympathy for the governess’s bereavement, and her presence was a considerable relief in the various perplexities.
Even Lady Rotherwood and Miss Elbury had been convinced, and by no means unwillingly, that Gillian had been less indiscreet than had been their first impression; but she had been a young lady of the period in her independence, and was therefore to be dreaded. No more garden trystes would have been possible under any circumstances, for the house and garden were in full preparation for the master, who was to meet Lord Rotherwood to consult about the proposed water-works and other designs for the benefit of the town where they were the chief landowners.
The expected telegram arrived two days later, requesting Miss Mohun to find a lodging at Rockstone sufficient to contain Sir Jasper and Lady Merrifield, and a certain amount of sons and daughters, while they considered what was to be done about Silverfold.
‘So you and I will go out house-hunting, Gillian?’ said Aunt Jane, when she had opened it, and the exclamations were over.
‘I am afraid there is no house large enough up here,’ said her sister.
‘No, it is an unlucky time, in the thick of the season.’
‘Victoria said she had been looking at some houses in Bellevue.’
‘I am afraid she will have raised the prices of them.’
‘But, oh, Aunt Jane, we couldn’t go to Bellevue Church!’ cried Gillian.
’Your mother would like to be so near the daily services at the Kennel,’ said Miss Mohun. ’Yes, we must begin with those houses. There’s nothing up here but Sorrento, and I have heard enough of its deficiencies!’