Geraldine had never been as much attracted by Dolores as by Gillian and Mysie, but she was greatly touched by hearing that the meeting and opening of affection had been on the discovery that Gerald was probably nameless and landless, and that the maiden was bent on casting in her lot with him whatever his fate might be.
He murmured to himself the old lines, with a slight alteration-
“I could not love thee,
dear, so much,
Loved I not justice more.”
“Yes, indeed, Cherie, our affection is a very different and better thing than it would be if I were only the rich young squire sure of my position.”
“I am sure it is, my dear. I honour and love her for being my boy’s brave comforter-comforter in the true sense. I see now what has helped you to be so brave and cheery. But what will her father say?”
“He will probably be startled, and-and will object, but it would be a matter of waiting anyway, the patience that the Vicar preaches, and we have made up our minds. I’ll fight my own way; she to prepare by her Cambridge course to come and work with me, as we can do so much better among the people-among them in reality, and by no pretence.”
“Ah! don’t speak as if you gave up your cause.”
“Well, I won’t, if you don’t like to hear it, Cherie,” he said, smiling; “but anyway you will be good to Dolores.”
“Indeed I will do my best, my dear. I am sure you and she, whatever happens, have the earnest purpose and soul to do all the good you can, whether from above or on the same level, and that makes the oneness of love.”
“Thank you, Cherie carissima. You see the secret of our true bond.”
“One bond to make it deeper must be there. The love of God beneath the love of man.”
CHAPTER XXVI. THE SILENT STAR
Then the traveller in the dark
Thanks you for your tiny spark;
He would not know which way to go
If you did not twinkle so.-JANE TAYLOR.
And so they came to Buda, where Charles Audley represented English diplomatic interests on the banks of the Danube. When the quaint old semi-oriental-looking city came in sight and the train stopped, the neat English-looking carriage, with gay Hungarian postillions, could be seen drawn up to meet them outside the station.
Charles and his father, now Sir Robert, were receiving them with outstretched hands and joyous words, and in a few seconds more they were with their little Stella! Yes, their little Stella still, as Clement and Cherry had time to see, when Gerald and the two girls had insisted on walking, however far it might be, with the two Audleys, though Charlie told them that no one ever walked in Hungary who could help it, and that he should be stared at for bringing such strange animals.