Mr. Kendal and Mr. Ferrars both wrote warmly in Genevieve’s praise, and certainly her footing at Willow Lawn was the one point d’appui in bringing round the O’More family; so that as Ulick truly said, ’It was Mrs. Kendal whom he had to thank for the blessing of his life.’ Had poor Miss Goldsmith’s description of Miss Durant’s birth, parentage, and education been the only one that had reached Ballymakilty, a prohibition would assuredly have been issued; but he was left sufficiently free to satisfy his own conscience, and before Genevieve had surmounted half her scruples, the whole town was ringing with the news, though no one could guess how it had got wind. To be sure the Dusautoys had been put into a state of rapture, and poor Mr. Hope had had the fatal stroke administered to him. He looked so like a ghost that Mr. Dusautoy contrived to release him at once, whereupon he went to try the most unwholesome curacy he could find, with serious intentions of exchanging his living for it; but he fortunately became so severely and helplessly ill there, that he was pretty well cured of his mental fever, and quite content to go to his heath, and do his work there like the humble and earnest man that he was, perhaps all the better for having been personally taught something more than could be gained from books and colleges.
Miss Goldsmith was the most to be pitied. She would not hear a word from her nephew, refused to go near Willow Lawn, packed up her goods and went to Bath, where Ulick promised the much distressed Genevieve that she would yet relent. Genevieve was somewhat consoled by the increasing cordiality of the Irish letters, and was carried along by the extreme delight and triumph of her good old aunt. By some wonderful exertion of Irish faculties, Ulick succeeded in bringing mademoiselle to Bayford in his jaunting car, when she laughed, wept, sobbed, and embraced, in a bewilderment of transport; pronounced the trousseau worthy of an angel of the ancien regime; warned Genevieve against expecting amour to continue instead of amitie, and carried home conversation for the nuns for the rest of their lives.
That trousseau was Sophy’s special charge, and most jealous was she that it should in no respect fall short of that outfit of Lucy’s for which she had cared so little. A hard task it was to make Genevieve accept what Lucy had exacted, but Sophy held the purse-strings, wrote the orders, and had her own way.
She and her little sister were the only available bridesmaids, since Rose O’More was not allowed to come. Having made up her mind to this from the first, when the subject came forward, her open, cheerful look and manner were meant to show that she was not afraid, and that her wish was real. Freely resigning him, why should she not be glad to join in calling down the blessing?
The wedding was fixed for Easter week, which fell early, and Albinia cast about for some excuse for taking her away afterwards. An opportune occasion offered. Sir William Ferrars wrote from the East to propose the Kendals meeting him in Italy, and travelling home together, he was longing, he said, to see something of his sister, and he should enjoy sight-seeing ten times as much with a clever man like her husband to tell him all about it.