“Depend upon it, he hardly knew that he did so.”
“He had the reporter to help him certainly, and the ’Rockquay Advertiser’ may not keep to the stern veracity and simplicity of the ’Pursuivant’.”
“And was proud to interview a live baronet.”
“Then what shall we do-Anna and I, I mean?”
“Write the simple facts to Vale Leston, and then let it alone.”
“Certainly. He would think your speaking mere nagging. Preserve an ominous silence if he speaks. His school-fellows will be his best cure.”
“Well, he did seem ashamed!”
Clement was right. The boy’s only mention of the paragraph was once as “that beastly thing”; and Anna discovered from Valetta Merrifield, that whatever satisfaction he might have derived from it had been effectually driven out of him by the “fellows” at Mrs. Edgar’s, who had beset him with all their force of derision, called him nothing but the “youthful Bart.,” and made him ashamed as none of the opposite sex or of maturer years could ever have succeeded in doing. Valetta said Fergus had tried to stop it, but there had certainly been one effect, namely, that Adrian was less disposed to be “Merry’s” shadow than heretofore, and seemed inclined instead to take up with the other seniors.
One thing, however, was certain. Gerald enjoyed a good deal more consideration among the Clipstone damsels than before. True, as Jasper said, it was only what any one would have done; but he had done it, and proved himself by no means inferior to “any one,” and Fergus regarded him as a true hero, which had a considerable effect on his sisters, the more perhaps because Jasper derided their admiration.
They were doubly bent on securing him for a contributor to the Mouse-trap. They almost thought of inviting him to their Browning afternoons, but decided that he would not appreciate the feminine company, though he did so often have a number of the ‘Censor’ to discuss it with Dolores, whenever they met him.
CHAPTER XII. THE LITTLE BUTTERFLY
The best actors in the world, either for tragedy, comedy, history, pastoral, pastoral-comical, historical-pastoral.-Hamlet.
The Matrons, otherwise denominated lady patronesses, met in committee, Miss Mohun being of course the soul and spirit of all, though Mrs. Ellesmere, as the wife of the rector of old Rockstone Church, was the president, Lady Flight, one of the most interested, was there, also Lady Merrifield, dragged in to secure that there was nothing decided on contrary to old-world instincts, Mrs. Grinstead, in right of the musical element that her brother promised, the beautiful Mrs. Henderson, to represent the marble works, Mrs. Simmonds of the Cliff Hotel, the Mayoress, and other notables.