‘Pride is sometimes quelled and love free,’ said Albinia. ’No, no; content yourself with having given the best advice in the world, with your eyes fast shut!’
And Albinia went home in high spirits.
Not long afterwards, Ulick O’More was summoned to Bristol, where his uncle had become suddenly worse; but he had only reached Hadminster when a telegraph met him with the news of Mr. Goldsmith’s death, and orders to remain at his post.
He came to the Kendals in the evening in great grief; he had really come to love and esteem his uncle, and he was very unhappy at having lost the chance of a reconciliation for his mother. As her chief friend and confidant, he knew that she regarded the alienation of her own family as the punishment of her disobedient marriage, and that his own appointment had been valued chiefly as an opening towards fraternal feeling, and reproached himself for not having made more direct efforts to induce his uncle to enter into personal intercourse with her.
‘If I had only ventured it before he went to Bristol,’ he said; ’I was a fool not to have done so; and there, the Goldsmiths detest the very name of us! Why could they not have telegraphed for me? I might have heard what would have done my mother’s heart good for the rest of her life. I am sure my poor uncle wanted to ease his mind!’
‘May he not have sent some communication direct to her?’
’I trust he did! I have long thought he only kept her aloof from habit, and felt kindly towards her all the time.’
’And never could persuade himself to make a move towards her until too late,’ said Albinia.
’Yes. Nothing comes home to one more than the words, “Agree with thine adversary quickly whiles thou art in the way with him.” If once one comes to think there’s creditable pride in holding out, there’s no end to it, or else too much end.’
’Mr. Goldsmith was persevering in the example his father had set him,’ said Mr. Kendal.
’Ay! my mother never blamed either, and I’m afraid, if the truth were told, my father was hot enough too, though it would all have been bygones with him long ago, if they would have let it. But I was thinking just then of my own foolishness last winter, when I would not grant you it was pride, Mrs. Kendal, for fear I should have to repent of it.’
‘What has brought you to see that it was?’ asked she.
‘One comes to a better mind when the fit is off,’ he said. ’I hope I will not be as bad next time.’
‘I hope we shall never give you a next time,’ said Albinia; ’for neither party is comfortable, perched on a high horse.’
‘And you see,’ continued Ulick, ’it is hard for us to give up our pride, because it is the only thing we’ve got of our own, and has been meat, drink, and clothing to us for many a year.’
‘So no wonder you make the most of it.’