A further token of Lord Rotherwood’s earnestness in the cause was the arrival of his servant, who was to bring down the large stone which Master Merrifield had moved, and who conveyed it in a cab, being much too grand to carry it through the streets.
Gillian was very unhappy and restless, unable to settle to anything, and linking cause and effect together disconsolately in a manner Mysie, whom she admitted to her confidence, failed to understand.
’It was a great pity Fergus did not show Alexis where the stone came from, but I don’t see what your not giving him his lessons had to do with it. Made him unhappy? Oh! Gilly dear, you don’t mean any one would be too unhappy to mind his business for such nonsense as that! I am sure none of us would be so stupid if Mr. Pollock forgot our Greek lessons.’
‘Certainly not,’ said Gillian, almost laughing; ’but you don’t understand, Mysie. It was the taking him up and letting him down, and I could not explain it, and it looked so nasty and capricious.’
’Well, I suppose you ought to have asked Aunt Jane’s leave; but I do think he must be a ridiculous young man if he could not attend to his proper work because you did not go after him when you were only just come home.’
‘Ah, Mysie, you don’t understand!’
Mysie opened a round pair of brown eyes, and said, ’Oh! I did think people were never so silly out of poetry. There was Wilfrid in Hokeby, to be sure. He was stupid enough about Matilda; but do you mean that he is like that!’
‘Don’t, don’t, you dreadful child; I wish I had never spoken to you,’ cried Gillian, overwhelmed with confusion. ’You must never say a word to any living creature.’
‘I am sure I shan’t,’ said Mysie composedly; ’for, as far as I can see, it is all stuff. This Alexis never found out what Fergus was about with the stone, and so the mark was gone, and Cousin Rotherwood trod on it, and the poor little boy was killed; but as to the rest, Nurse Halfpenny would say it was all conceited maggots; and how you can make so much more fuss about that than about the poor child being crushed, I can’t make out.’
‘But if I think it all my fault?’
‘That’s maggots,’ returned Mysie with uncompromising common-sense. ’You aren’t old enough, nor pretty enough, for any of that kind of stuff, Gill!’
And Gillian found that either she must go without comprehension, or have a great deal more implied, if she turned for sympathy to any one save Aunt Jane, who seemed to know exactly how the land lay.
It seemed to be a very long time before the inquest was over, and Aunt Jane had almost yielded to her niece’s impatience and her own, and consented to walk down to meet the intelligence, when Fergus came tearing in, ’I’ve seen the rock, and there is a flaw of crystal-lisation in it! And the coroner-man called me an incipient geologist.’