Poor Ludmilla burst into tears.
“Nay, if she suffered so much she would not wish to expose you to the same.”
“I don’t know. She is in trouble about the shop-the cigars. Oh! I should not have told! You won’t-you won’t-Mrs. Henderson?”
“No, you need not fear, I have nothing to do with that.”
“I don’t think,” Lydia whispered again, “that she cares for me as she used to do when I was a little thing. Now that I care for my duty, and all that you and Mr. Flight have taught me, she is angry, and laughs at English notions. I was in hopes when I came to work here that my earnings would have satisfied her, but they don’t, and I don’t seem to get on.”
Mrs. Henderson could not say that her success was great, but she ventured as much as to tell her that Captain Henderson could prevent any attempt to send her away without her consent.
“Oh! but if my mother went too you could not hinder it.”
“Are you sixteen, my dear? Then you could not be taken against your will.”
“Not till December. And oh! that gentleman, the conductor, he knew all about it, I could see, and by and by I saw him lingering about the shop, as if he wanted to watch me.”
“Mr. Lancelot Underwood! Oh, my dear, you need not be afraid of him, he is a brother of Mrs. Grinstead’s, a connection of Miss Mohun’s; and though he is such a musician, it is quite as an amateur. But, Lydia, I do think that if you sing your best, he may very likely be able to put you in a way to make your talent available so as to satisfy your mother, without leading to anything so undesirable and dangerous as a circus.”
“Then you think I ought-”
“It is a dangerous thing to give advice, but really, my dear, I do think more good is likely to come of this than harm.”
CHAPTER XIII. TWO SIDES OF A SHIELD AGAIN
The wisest aunt telling the saddest tale.
Midsummer Night’s Dream.
The earlier proofs of the Mouse-trap were brought by Lance, who had spent more time in getting them into shape than his wife approved, and they were hailed with rapture by the young ladies on seeing themselves for the first time in print. As to Gerald, he had so long been bred-as it were-to journalism that, young as he was, he had caught the trick, and ‘The Inspector’s Tour’ had not only been welcomed by the ‘Censor’, but portions had been copied into other papers, and there was a proposal of publishing it in a separate brochure. It would have made the fortune of the Mouse-trap, if it had not been so contrary to its principles, and it had really been sent to them in mischief, together with The ‘Girton Girl’, of which some were proud, though when she saw it in print, with a lyre and wreath on the page, sober Mysie looked grave.
“Do you think it profane to parody Jane Taylor?” said Gerald.