‘What is truth need not always be fully uttered,’ said Albinia. ’I hope you may find it untrue.’
But Sophy’s words would recur, and weigh on her painfully.
The summer had just begun, when notice was given that a Confirmation would take place in the autumn; and Lucy’s name was one of the first sent in to Mr. Dusautoy. His plan was to collect his candidates in weekly classes of a few at a time, and likewise to see as much as he could of them in private.
‘Oh! mamma!’ exclaimed Lucy, returning from her first class, ’Mr. Dusautoy has given us each a paper, where we are to set down our christening days, and our godfathers and godmothers. And only think, I had not the least notion when I was christened. I could tell nothing but that Mr. Wenlock was my godfather! It made me feel quite foolish not to know my godmothers.’
‘We were in no situation to have things done in order,’ said Mr. Kendal, gravely. ’If I recollect rightly, one of your godmothers was Captain Lee’s pretty young wife, who died a few weeks after.’
‘And the other?’ said Lucy.
‘Your mother, I believe,’ he said.
Lucy employed herself in filling up her paper, and exclaimed, ’Now I do not know the date! Can you tell me that, papa?’
‘It was the Christmas-day next after your birth,’ he said. ’I remember that, for we took you to spend Christmas at the nearest station of troops, and the chaplain christened you.’
Lucy wrote down the particulars, and exclaimed, ’What an old baby I must have been! Six months old! And I wonder when Sophy was christened. I never knew who any of her godfathers and godmothers were. Did you, Sophy?’
‘No—’ she was looking up at her father.
A sudden flush of colour came over his face, and he left the room in haste.
‘Why, Sophy!’ exclaimed Lucy, ’one would think you had not been christened at all!’
Even the light Lucy was alarmed at the sound of her own words. The same idea had thrilled across Albinia; but on turning her eyes on Sophy, she saw a countenance flushed, anxious, but full rather of trembling hope than of dismay.
In a few seconds Mr. Kendal came back with a thick red pocket-book in his hand, and produced the certificate of the private baptism of Sophia, daughter of Edmund and Lucy Kendal, at Talloon, March 17th, 1838.
Sophy’s face had more disappointment in it than satisfaction.
‘I can explain the circumstances to you now,’ said her father. ’At Talloon we were almost out of reach of any chaplains, and, as you know, were almost the only English. We always intended to take you to the nearest station, as had been done with Lucy, but your dear mother was never well enough to bear the journey; and when our next little one was born, it was so plain that he could not live, that I sent in haste to beg that the chaplain would come to us. It was then that you were both baptized, and before the week was over, he buried little Henry. It was the first of our troubles. We never again had health or spirits for any festive occasion while we continued in India, and thus the ceremony was never completed. In fact, I take shame to myself for having entirely forgotten that you had never been received into the congregation.’