“It is so hard to accept it as God’s will when it comes of human sin,” said Geraldine.
“Human thoughtlessness,” said Clement; “but as long as it is not by our own fault we can take it as providential, and above all, guard against impatience, the real ruin and destruction.”
“Yes,” said Lance, “sit on a horse’s head when he is down to keep him from kicking.”
“So you all are sitting on my head,” said Gerald; “I shall get out and walk-a good rush on the moors.”
“Wait at least to allow your head to take in my scheme,” said Clement.
“Provided it is not sitting still,” said Gerald.
“Far from it. Only it partly depends on my lady and mistress here-”
“I guess,” said Geraldine. “You know I am disposed that way by Dr. Brownlow’s verdict.”
“And ‘that way’ is that we go ourselves to try to trace out this strange allegation-you coming too, Gerald, so that we shall not quite be sitting on your head.”
“But my sister?”
“We will see when we have recovered her,” said Mrs. Grinstead.
“I would begin with a visit to Stella and her husband,” said Clement; “Charlie could put us in the way of dealing with consuls and vice-consuls.”
“Excellent,” cried his sister; “Anna goes of course, and I should like to take Francie. It would be such an education for her.”
“Well, why not?”
“And what is to become of Adrian?”
“Well, we should not have been here more than six months of course.”
“I could take him,” said Lance, “unless Alda holds poor old Froggatt & Underwood beneath his dignity.”
“That can be considered,” said Clement; “it approves itself best to me, except that he is getting on so well here that I don’t like to disturb him.”
“And when can you come up to town with me?” demanded Gerald; “tomorrow?”
“To-morrow being Saturday, it would be of little use to go. No, if you will not kick, master, I must go home to-morrow, and look up poor ‘Pur,’ also the organ on Sunday. Come with me, and renew your acquaintance. We will make an appointment with your attorney, Clem, and run up on Monday evening, see him on Tuesday.”
Gerald sighed, submitting perforce, and they let him out to exhale as much impatience as he could in a tramp over the hills, while they sat and pitied him from their very hearts.
CHAPTER XXV. DESDICHADO
’Perish wealth and power and pride,
Mortal boons by mortals given;
But let constancy abide-
Constancy’s the gift of Heaven.-SCOTT.
Lancelot and Gerald did not obtain much by their journey to London. Gerald wanted to begin with Mr. Bast, van proprietor, but Lance insisted on having the lawyer’s counsel first, and the advice amounted to exhortations not to commit themselves, or to make offers such as to excite cupidity, especially in the matter of Ludmilla, but to dwell on the fact of her being so close to the age of emancipation, and the illegality of tyrannical training.