Mr. Dusautoy acceded to the scheme devised by his wife, and measures
were at once taken for engaging the curate. When Albinia went to
talk the matter over at the parsonage, Lucy accompanied her; but the
object of her curiosity was not in the room; and when she had heard
that he was fond of drawing, and that his horses were to be kept at
the King's Head stables, the conversation drifted away, and she grew
restless, and begged Mrs. Dusautoy to allow her to replenish the
faded bouquets on the table. No sooner was she in the garden, than
Mrs. Dusautoy put on an arch look, and lowering her voice, said,
'Oh! it is such fun! He does despise us so immensely.'
'Despise - you?'
'He is a good, boy, faithful to his training. Now his poor mother's
axioms were, that the English are vulgar, country English more
vulgar, Fanny Dusautoy the most vulgar! I wish we always as heartily
accepted what we are taught.'
'He must be intolerable.'
'No, he is very condescending and patronizing to the savages. He
really is fond of his uncle; and John is so much hurt it I notice his
peculiarities, that I have been dying to have my laugh out.'
'Can Mr. Dusautoy bear with pretension?'
'It is not pretension, only calm faith in the lessons of his youth.
Look,' she added, becoming less personal at Lucy's re-entrance, and
pointing to a small highly-varnished oil-painting of a red terra
cotta vase, holding a rose, a rhododendron before it, and half a
water-melon grinning behind, newly severed by a knife.
'Is that what people bring home from Italy now-a-days?' said Albinia.
'That is an original production.'
'Did Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy do that?' cried Lucy.
'Genre is his style,' was the reply. 'His mother was resolved he
should be an amateur, and I give his master great credit.'
'Especially for that not being a Madonna,' said Albinia. 'I
congratulate you on his having so safe an amusement.'
'Yes; it disposes of him and of the spare room. He cannot exist
without an atelier.'
Just then the Vicar entered.
'Ah! Algernon's picture,' began he, who had never been known to look
at one, except the fat cattle in the Illustrated News. 'What do you
think of it? Has he not made a good hand of the pitcher?'
Albinia gratified him by owning that the pitcher was round; and Lucy
was in perfect rapture at the 'dear little spots' in the
'A poor way of spending a lad's time,' said the uncle; 'but it is
better than nothing; and I call the knife very good: I declare you
might take it up,' and he squeezed up his eyes to enhance the
A slow and wide opening of the door admitted the lofty presence of
Algernon Cavendish Dusautoy, with another small picture in his hand.
Becoming aware of the visitors, he saluted them with a dignified
movement of his head, and erecting his chin, gazed at them over it.
'So you have brought us another picture, Algernon,' said his uncle.
'Mrs. Kendal has just been admiring your red jar.'
'Have you a taste for art?' demanded Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy, turning
to her with magnificent suavity.
'I used to be very fond of drawing.'
'Genre is my style,' he pursued, almost overthrowing her gravity by
the original of his aunt's imitation. 'I took lessons of old
Barbouille - excellent master. Truth and nature, those were his
maxims; and from the moment I heard them, I said, "This is my man."
We used positively to live in the Borghese. There!' as he walked
backwards, after adjusting his production in the best light.
'A snipe,' said Albinia.
'A snipe that I killed in the Pontine marshes.'
'There is very good shooting about Anxur,' said Albinia.
'You have been at Rome?' He permitted himself a little animation at
discovering any one within the pale of civilization.
'For one fortnight in the course of a galloping tour with my two
brothers,' said Albinia. 'All the Continent in one long vacation!'
'That was much to be regretted. It is my maxim to go through every
'I can't regret,' said Albinia. 'I should be very sorry to give up
my bright indistinct haze of glorious memories, though I was too
young to appreciate all I saw.'
'For my part, I have grown up among works of art. My whole existence
has been moulded on them, and I feel an inexpressible void without
them. I shall be most happy to introduce you into my atelier, and
show you my notes on the various Musees. I preserved them merely as
a trifling memorial; but many connoisseurs have told me that I ought
to print them as a Catalogue raisonnee, for private circulation, of
course. I should be sorry to interfere with Murray, but on the whole
I decided otherwise: I should be so much bored with applications.'
Mrs. Dusautoy's wicked glance had so nearly demolished the restraint
on her friend's dimples, that she turned her back on her, and
commended the finish of a solitary downy feather that lay detached
beside the bird.
'My maxim is truth to nature, at any cost of pains,' said the youth,
not exactly gratified, for homage was his native element, but
graciously proceeding to point out the merits of the composition.
Albinia's composure could endure no more, and she took her leave, Mr.
Dusautoy coming down the hill with her to repeat, and this time
'A fine lad, is he not, poor fellow?'
With perfect sincerity, she could praise his good looks.
'He has had a quantity of sad stuff thrust on him by the people who
have been about his poor mother,' said Mr. Dusautoy. 'She could
never bear to part with him, and no wonder, poor thing; and she must
have let a very odd sort of people get about her abroad - they've
flattered that poor lad to the top of his bent, you see, but he's a
very good boy for all that, very warm-hearted.'
'He must be very amiable for his mother to have been able to manage
him all this while.'
'Just what I say!' cried the Vicar, his honest face clearing. 'Many
youths would have run into all that is bad, brought up in that way;
but only consider what disadvantages he has had! When we get him to
see his real standing a little better - I say, could not you let us
have your young people to come up this evening, have a little music,
and make it lively? I suppose Fanny and I are growing old, though I
never thought so before. Will you come, Lucy, there's a good girl,
and bring your brother and sister? The lads must be capital
Lucy promised with sparkling eyes, and the Vicar strode off, saying
he should depend on the three.
Gilbert 'supposed he was in for it,' but 'did not see the use of it,'
he was sick of the name of 'that polysyllable,' and 'should see
enough of him when Mr. Hope came, worse luck.'
The result of the evening was, that Lacy was enraptured at the
discovery that this most accomplished hero sang Italian songs to the
loveliest guitar in the world, and was very much offended with Sophy
for wishing to know whether mamma really thought him so very clever.
Immediately after the Ordination arrived Mr. Hope, a very youthful,
small, and delicate-looking man, whom Mr. Dusautoy could have lifted
as easily as his own Fanny, with short sight, timid nature, scholarly
habits, weak nerves, and an inaudible voice.
Of great intellect, having read deeply, and reading still more
deeply, he had the utmost dread of ladies, and not even his
countrywoman, Mrs. Dusautoy, could draw him out. He threw his whole
soul into the work, winning the hearts of the infant-school and the
old women, but discomfiting the congregation by the weakness of his
voice, and the length and depth of his sermons. There was one in
especial which very few heard, and no one entered into except Sophy,
who held an hour's argument over it with her father, till they
arrived at such lengthy names of heresies, that poor grandmamma asked
if it were right to talk Persian on a Sunday evening.
He conscientiously tutored his two pupils, but there was no common
ground between him and them. Excepting his extra intellect, there
was no boyhood in him. A town-bred scholar, a straight
constitutional upon a clean road was his wildest dream of exercise;
he had never mounted a horse, did not know a chicken from a
partridge, except on the table, was too short-sighted for pictures,
and esteemed no music except Gregorians.
The two youths were far more alive to his deficiencies than to his
endowments: Algernon contemned him for being a book-seller's son,
with nothing to live on but his fellowship and curacy, and Gilbert
looked down on his ignorance of every matter of common life, and
excessive bashfulness. Mr. Dusautoy would have had less satisfaction
in the growing intimacy between the lads, had he known that it had
been cemented by inveigling poor Mr. Hope into a marsh in search of
cotton-grass, which, at Gilbert's instigation, Algernon avouched to
be a new sort of Indian corn, grown in Italy for feeding silkworms.
An intimacy there was, rather from constant intercourse than from
positive liking. Gilbert saw through and disdained young Dusautoy's
dulness and self-consequence; but good-natured, kindly, and
unoccupied, he had no objection to associate with him, showing him
English ways, trying to hinder him from needlessly exposing himself,
and secretly amused with his pretension. Algernon, with his fine
horses, expensive appointments, and lofty air, was neither a
discreditable nor unpleasing companion. Mr. Kendal had given his son
a horse, which, without costing the guineas that Algernon had
'refused' for each of his steeds, was a very respectable-looking
animal, and the two young gentlemen, starting on their daily ride,
were a grand spectacle for more than little Maurice.
Gilbert had suffered some eclipse. Once he had been the grand parti,
the only indisputable gentleman, but now Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy had
entirely surpassed him both in self-assertion and in the grounds for
it. His incipient dandyisms faded into insignificance beside the
splendours of the heir of thousands; and he, who among all his faults
had never numbered conceit or forwardness, had little chance beside
such an implicit believer in his own greatness.
Nor was Bayford likely to diminish that faith. The non-adorers might
be easily enumerated - his uncle and aunt, his tutor, his groom, Mr.
and Mrs. Kendal, Gilbert and Sophy; the rest all believed in him as
thoroughly as he did in himself. His wealth was undoubted, his
accomplishments were rated at his own advertisement, and his
magnanimous condescension was esteemed at full value. Really
handsome, good-natured and sociable, he delighted to instruct his
worshippers by his maxims, and to bend graciously to their homage.
The young ladies had but one cynosure! Few eyes were there that did
not pursue his every movement, few hearts that did not bound at his
approach, few tongues that did not chronicle his daily comings and
'It would save much trouble,' said Albinia, 'if a court circular
could be put into the Bayford paper.'
The Kendals were the only persons whom Algernon regarded as in any
way on a footing with him. Finding that the lady was a Ferrars, and
had been in Italy, he regarded her as fit company, and whenever they
met, favoured her with the chief and choicest of his maxims, little
knowing how she and his aunt presumed to discuss him in private.
Without being ill-disposed, he had been exceedingly ill taught; his
mother, the child of a grasping vulgar father, had little religious
impression, and that little had not been fostered by the lax habits
of a self-expatriated Englishwoman, and very soon after his arrival
at Bayford his disregard of ordinary English proprieties had made
itself apparent. On the first Sunday he went to church in the
morning, but spent the evening in pacing the garden with a cigar; and
on the afternoon of that day week his aunt was startled by the sound
of horse's hoofs on the road. Mr. Dusautoy was at school, and she
started up, met the young gentleman, and asked him what strange
mistake could have been made. He made her a slight bow, and loftily
said he was always accustomed to ride at that hour! 'But not on
Sunday!' she exclaimed. He was not aware of any objection. She told
him his uncle would be much displeased, he replied politely that he
would account to his uncle for his conduct, begged her pardon, but he
could not keep his horse waiting.
Mrs. Dusautoy went back, fairly cried at the thought of her husband's
vexation, and the scandal to the whole town.
The Vicar was, of course, intensely annoyed, though he still could
make excuses for the poor boy, and laid all to the score of ignorance
and foreign education. He made Algernon clearly understand that the
Sunday ride must not be repeated. Algernon mumbled something about
compromising his uncle and offending English prejudices, by which he
reserved to himself the belief that he yielded out of magnanimity,
not because he could not help it; but he could not forgive his aunt
for her peremptory opposition; he became unpleasantly sullen and
morose as regularly as the Sunday came round, and revenged himself by
pacing the verandah with his cigar, or practising anything but sacred
music on his key-bugle in his painting-room.
The youth was really fond of his uncle, but he had imbibed all his
mother's contempt for her sister-in-law. Used to be wheedled by an
idolizing mother, and to reign over her court of parasites, he had no
notion of obeying, and a direct command or opposition roused his
sullen temper of passive resistance. When he found 'that little
nobody of a Mrs. John Dusautoy' so far from being a flatterer, or an
adorer of his perfections, inclined to laugh at him, and bent on
keeping him in order, all the enmity of which he was capable arose in
his mind, and though in general good-natured and not aggressive, he
had a decided pleasure in doing what she disapproved, and thus
asserting the dignity of a Greenaway Cavendish Dusautoy.
The atelier was a happy invention. Certainly wearisome noises, and
an aroma of Havannahs would now and then proceed therefrom, but he
was employed there the chief part of the day, and fortunately his
pictures were of small size, and took an infinite quantity of labour,
so that they could not speedily outrun all the Vicarage walls.
He favoured the University of Oxford by going up with Gilbert for
matriculation, when, to the surprise of Mr. Hope, he was not plucked.
They were to begin their residence at the Easter term. Mrs. Dusautoy
did not confess even to Albinia how much she looked forward to
In early spring, a sudden and short illness took away Madame
Belmarche's brave spirit to its rest, after sixty years of exile and
poverty, cheerfully borne.
There had been no time to summon Genevieve, and her aunt would not
send for her, but decided on breaking up the school, which could no
longer be carried on, and going to live in the Hadminster convent.
And thus, as Mr. Kendal hoped, all danger of renewed intercourse
between his son and Genevieve ended. Gilbert looked pale and
wretched, and Sophy hoped it was with compunction at having banished
Genevieve at such a moment, but not a word was said - and that page of
early romance was turned!
It was a beautiful July afternoon, the air musical with midsummer
hum, the flowers basking in the sunshine, the turf cool and green in
the shade, and the breeze redolent of indescribable freshness and
sweetness compounded of all fragrant odours, the present legacy of a
past day's shower. Like the flowers themselves, Albinia was feeling
the delicious repose of refreshed nature, as in her pretty pink
muslin, her white drapery folded round her, and her bright hair
unbonnetted, she sat reclining in a low garden chair, at the door of
the conservatory, a little pale, a little weak, but with a sweet
happy languor, a soft tender bloom.
There was a step in the conservatory, and before she could turn
round, her brother Maurice bent over her, and kissed her.
'Maurice! you have come after all!'
'Yes, the school inspection is put off. How are you?' as he sat down
on the grass by her side.
'Oh, quite well! What a delicious afternoon we shall have! Edmund
will be at home directly. Mrs. Meadows has absolutely let Gilbert
take her to drink tea at the Drurys! Only I am sorry Sophy should
miss you, for she was so good about going, because Lucy wanted to do
something to her fernery. Of course you are come for Sunday, and the
'Yes, - that is, to throw myself on Dusautoy's mercy.'
'We will send Mr. Hope to Fairmead,' said Albinia, 'and see whether
Winifred can make him speak. We can't spare the Vicar, for he is our
godfather, and you must christen the little maiden.'
'I thought the three elder ones were to be sponsors.'
'Gilbert is shy,' said Albinia, 'afraid of the responsibility, and
perhaps he is almost too near, the very next to ourselves. His
father would have preferred Mr. Dusautoy from the first, and only
yielded to my wish. I wish you had come two minutes sooner, she was
being paraded under that wall, but now she is gone in asleep.'
'Her father writes grand things of her.'
'Does he?' said Albinia, colouring and smiling at what could not be
heard too often; 'he is tolerably satisfied with the young woman!
And he thinks her like Edmund, and so she must be, for she is just
like him. She will have such beautiful eyes. It is very good of her
to take after him, since Maurice won't!'
'And she is to be another Albinia.'
'I represented the confusion, and how I always meant my daughter to
be Winifred, but there's no doing anything with him! It is only to
be a second name. A. W. K.! Think if she should marry a Mr. Ward!'
'No, she would not be awkward, if she were so a-warded.'
'It wont spell, Maurice,' cried Albinia, laughing as their nonsense,
as usual, rose to the surface, 'but how is Winifred?'
'As well as could be hoped under the affliction of not being able to
come and keep you in order.'
'She fancied me according to the former pattern,' said Albinia,
smiling, 'I could have shown her a better specimen, not that it was
any merit, for there were no worries, and Edmund was so happy, that
it was pleasure enough to watch him.'
'I was coming every day to judge for myself, but I thought things
could not be very bad, while he wrote such flourishing accounts.'
'No, there were no more ponds!' said Albinia, 'and grandmamma happily
was quite well, cured, I believe, by the excitement. Lucy took care
of her, and Sophy read to me - how we have enjoyed those readings!
Oh! and Aunt Gertrude has found a delightful situation for Genevieve,
a barrister's family, with lots of little children - eighty pounds a
year, and quite ready to value her, so she is off my mind.'
'Maurice, boy! come here,' she called, as she caught sight of a
creature prancing astride on one stick, and waving another. On
perceiving a visitor, the urchin came careering up, bouncing full
tilt upon her, and clasping her round with both his stalwart arms.
'Gently, gently, boy,' she said, bending down, and looking with proud
delight at her brother, as she held between her hands a face much
like her own, as fair and freshly tinted, but with a peculiar
squareness of contour, large blue eyes, with dark fringes, brimming
over with mischief and fun, a bold, broad brow, and thick, light
curls. There was a spring and vigour as of perpetual irrepressible
life about the whole being, and the moment he had accepted his
uncle's kiss, he poised his lance, and exclaimed, 'You are Bonaparte,
I'm the Duke!'
'Indeed,' said Mr. Ferrars, at once seizing a wand, and bestriding
the nearest bench. Two or three charges rendered the boy so
uproarious, that presently he was ordered off, and to use the old
apple tree as Bonaparte.
'What a stout fellow!' said Mr. Ferrars, as he went off at a plunging
gallop, 'I should have taken him for at least five years old!'
'So he might be,' said Albinia, 'for strength and spirit - he is
utterly fearless, and never cries, much as he knocks himself about!
He will do anything but learn. The rogue! he once knew all his
letters, but no sooner did he find they were the work of life, than
he forgot every one, and was never so obstreperous as when called
upon to say them. I gave up the point, but I foresee some fine
'His minding no one but you is an old story. I hope at least the
'I have avoided testing it. I want all my forces for a decisive
battle. I never heard of such a masterful imp,' she continued, with
much more exultation than anxiety, 'his sisters have no chance with
him, he rules them like a young Turk. There's the pony! Sophy will
let him have it as a right, and it is the work of my life to see that
she is not defrauded of her rides.'
'You don't mean that that child rides anything but a stick.'
'One would think he had been born in boots and spurs. Legitimately
he only rides with some one leading the pony, but I have my
suspicions that by some preternatural means he has been on the pony's
back, and round the yard alone, and that papa prudentially concealed
it from me!'
'I confess I should not like it,' said her brother gravely.
'Oh! I don't mind that kind of thing. A real boy can't be hurt, and
I don't care how wild he runs, so long as he is obedient and
truthful. And true I think he is to the backbone, and I know he is
reverend. We had such a disturbance because he would not say his
'Yes, it was,' said Albinia. 'It did not seem to him orthodox
without me, and when he was let into my room again, it was the
prettiest sight! When he had been told of his little sister, all he
said was that he did not want little girls - girls were stupid - '
'Ah! that came of your premature introduction to my Albinia,'
'Not at all. It was partly as William's own nephew, and partly
because pleasure was expected from him. But when he actually saw the
little thing, that sturdy face grew so very soft and sweet, and when
we told him he was her protector, he put both his hands tight
together, and said, "I'll be so good!" When he is with her, another
child seems to shine out under the bluff pickle he generally is - he
walks so quietly, and thinks it such an honour to touch her.'
'She will be his best tutor,' said Maurice, smiling, but breaking
A sudden shriek of deadly terror rang out over the garden from the
river! A second or two sufficed to show them Lucy at the other end
of the foot-bridge, that led across the canal to the towing-path.
She did not look round, till Albinia, clutching her, demanded, 'Where
Unable to speak, Lucy pointed down the towing-path, along which a
horse was seen rushing wildly - a figure pursuing it. 'It was hitched
up here - he must have scrambled up by the gate! Oh! mamma! mamma!
He has run after him, but oh!'
Mr. Ferrars gave Lucy's arm a squeeze, a hint not to augment the
horror. Something he said of 'Let me - and you had better - ' but
Albinia heard nothing, and was only bent on pressing forward.
The canal and path took a wide sweep round the meadow, and the horse
was still in sight, galloping at full speed, with a small heap on its
back, as they trusted, but the rapid motion, and their eyes strained
and misty with alarm, caused an agony of uncertainty.
Albinia pointed across the meadows in anguish at not being able to
make herself understood, and hoarsely said, 'The gate!'
Mr. Ferrars caught her meaning, and the next moment had leaped over
the gutter, and splashed into the water meadow, but in utter
hopelessness of being beforehand with the runaway steed! How could
that gate be other than fatal? The horse was nearing it - the pursuer
far behind - Mr. Ferrars not half way over the fields.
There was a loud cry from Lucy. - 'He is caught! caught!'
A loud shout came back, was caught up, and sent on by both the
pursuers, 'All right!'
Albinia had stood in an almost annihilation of conscious feeling.
Even when her brother strode back to her repeating 'All safe, thanks
be to God,' she neither spoke nor relaxed that intensity of watching.
A few seconds more, and she sprang forward again as the horse was led
up by a young man at his side; and on his back, laughing and
chattering, sat Master Maurice. Algernon Dusautoy strode a few steps
behind, somewhat aggrieved, but that no one saw.
The elder Maurice lifted down the younger one, who, as he was clasped
by his mother, exclaimed, 'Oh! mamma, Bamfylde went so fast! I am to
ride home again! He said so - he's my cousin!'