‘Angry? oh, no!’ cried Sophy, her heart quite unlocked; ’but the more I loved and admired, the more I could not speak. And if they drive you to be a governess? If you had a situation like what we read of?’
‘Perhaps I shall not,’ said Genevieve, laughing. ’Every one has been so good to me hitherto! And then I am not reduced from anything grander. I shall always have the children, you know.’
‘How I should hate them!’ quoth Sophy.
’They are my pleasure. Besides I have always thought it a blessing that my business in life, though so humble, should be what may do direct good. If only I do not set them a bad example, or teach them any harm.’
‘Not much danger of that,’ said Sophy, smiling. ’Well, I can’t believe it will be your lot all your life. You will find some one who will know how to love you.’
‘No,’ said Genevieve, ’I am not in a position for marriage—grandmamma has often told me so!’
‘Things sometimes happen,’ pursued Sophy. ’Mamma said if Gilbert had been older, or even if—if he had been in earnest and steady enough to work for you in India, then it might—And surely if Gilbert could care for you—people higher and deeper than he would like you better still.’
‘Hush,’ said Genevieve; ’they would only see the objections more strongly. No, do not put these things in my head. I know that unless a teacher hold her business as her mission, and put all other schemes out of her mind, she will work with an absent, distracted, half-hearted attention, and fail of the task that the good God has committed to her.’
‘Then you would never even wish—’
‘It would be seeking pomps and vanities to wish,’ said Genevieve; ’a school-room is a good safe cloister, probably less dull than the convent. If I wish at all, it will be that I may be well shut up there, for I know that in spite of myself my manners are different from your English ones. I cannot make them otherwise, and that amuses people; and I cannot help liking to please, and so I become excited. I enjoy society so much that it is not safe for me! So don’t be sorry, dear Sophy, it is a fit penance for the vanity that elated me too much that evening at Fairmead!’
Mademoiselle Belmarche was here attracted by the voices. Sophy started up from the ground, made some unintelligible excuse, and while Mademoiselle was confounded with admiration at the sight of the book, inflicted another boa-constrictor embrace, and hurried away.
Planets hostile to the tender passion must have been in the ascendant, for the result of Captain Ferrars’s pursuit of his brother to Italy was the wholesome certainty that his own slender portion was all he had to reckon upon. Before returning to Canada, he came to Bayford to pour out his troubles to his cousin, and to induce her, if he could induce no one else, to advise his immediate marriage. It was the first time he had been really engaged, and his affection had not only stood three months’ absence, but had so much elevated his shatter-brained though frank and honest temperament, that Albinia conceived a high opinion of ‘Emily,’ and did her best to persuade him to be patient, and wait for promotion.