Anna shook her head laughingly, while Gerald muttered-
“Salmon are caught with gay flies.”
They closed round the tea-table while Marilda sighed-
“Alda’s daughters are not like herself.”
“A different generation,” said Geraldine.
“See the Beggars Opera,” said Lance-
“’I wonder any
man alive will ever rear a daughter,
For when she’s drest with care and cost, and made all neat and gay,
As men should serve a cucumber, she throws herself away.’”
“Ah! your time has not come yet, Lance. Your little girls are at a comfortable age.”
“There are different ways of throwing oneself away,” said Clement. “Perhaps each generation says it of the next.”
“Emmie is not throwing herself away, except her chances,” said Marilda. “If she would only think of poor Ferdy Brown, who is as good a fellow as ever lived!”
“Not much chance of that,” said Geraldine.
Their eyes all met as each had glanced at the tea-table, where Emilia and Gerald were looking over a report together, but Geraldine shook her head. She was sure that Gerald did not think of his cousins otherwise than as sisters, but she was by no means equally sure of Emilia, to whom he was certainly a hero.
Anna had not heard the last of the season. Her mother wrote to her, and also to Geraldine, whom she piteously entreated not to let Anna lose another chance, in the midst of her bloom, when she could get good introductions, and Marilda would do all she could for her.
But Anna was obdurate. She should never see any one in society like Uncle Clem. She had had a taste two years ago, and she wished for no more. She should see the best pictures at the studios before leaving town, and she neither could nor would leave her uncle and aunt to themselves. So the matter remained in abeyance till the place of sojourn had been selected and tried; and meantime Gerald spent what remained of the Easter vacation in a little of exhibitions with Anna, a little of slumming with Emilia, a little of society impartially with swells and artists, and a good deal of amiable lounging and of modern reading of all kinds. His aunt watched, enjoyed, yet could not understand, his uncle said, that he was an undeveloped creature.
CHAPTER V. A HAPPY SPRITE
Such trifles will their hearts engage,
A shell, a flower, a feather;
If none of these, a cup of joy
It is to be together.-Isaac Williams.
A retired soldier, living with his sister in a watering-place, is apt to form to himself regular habits, of which one of the most regular is the walking to the station in quest of his newspaper. Here, then, it was that the tall, grey-haired, white-moustached General Mohun beheld, emerging on the platform, a slight figure in a grey suit, bag in hand, accompanied by a pretty pink-cheeked, fair-haired, knicker-bockered little boy, whose air of content and elation at being father’s companion made his sapphire eyes goodly to behold.