“I never thought to be so happy as I am here. My brother is the noblest, most generous, most kind of creatures, and that he should do all this for me, after all the harm he has suffered from my poor mother! It quite overpowers me when I think of it. I see a tear has dropped, but it is such a happy one. Please tell Mr. Flight what peace and joy this is to me, after all my prayers and trying to mind what he said. There are such a gentleman and lady here, cousins to my brother, Sir Ferdinand and Lady Travis Underwood. She has been more or less ill all through the voyage, and her maid worse, and she has let me do what I could for her, and has been kindness itself. They were at the bazaar. Did you see Sir Ferdinand? He is the very grandest and handsomest man I ever did see, and so good to all the poor emigrants in the steerage. He is very kind to me; but I see that my brother will not have me presume. They have bidden me write to them in any need. I never thought there could be so many good people out of Rockquay. Please give my duty to Mr. Flight and Lady Flight, good Miss Mohun, and dear Miss Dolores. I wear her ulster, and bless the thought of her.”
CHAPTER XXIX. ROWENA AND HER RIVAL
And yet if each the other’s name
In some unguarded moment heard,
The heart that once you thought so tame
Would flutter like a wounded bird.-ANON.
Letters continued to come with fair regularity; and it was understood that Gerald, with Lida, had taken up his quarters in an “inexpensive” boarding-house at New York, where he had sent Lida to a highly-recommended day-school, and he was looking out for employment. His articles had been accepted, he said; but the accounts of his adventures and of his fellow-inmates gave the sense that there was more humour in the retrospect than in the society, and that they were better to write about than to live with. He never confessed it, but to his aunt, who understood him, it was plain that he found it a different thing to talk philanthropic socialism, or even to work among the poor, and to live in the society of the unrefined equals.
Then he wrote that Lida had come one day and told him that one of the girls, with whom she had made friends, had a bad attack of cough and bronchitis, and could not fulfil an engagement that she had made to come and sing for a person who was giving lectures upon national music. “‘I looked at some of her songs,’ little Lida said in her humble way, ’and I know them. Don’t you think, brother, I might take her part?’ Well, not to put too fine a point upon it, it was not an unwelcome notion, for my articles, though accepted, don’t bring in the speedy remuneration with which fiction beguiles the aspirant. Only one of them, which I send you, has seen the light, and the ‘Censor’ is slow, though sure, so dollars for immediate expenses run short. I called on the fellow, Mr. Gracchus B. Van Tromp, to