made it a matter of course to come into the drawing-room, and repose
upon Sophy's flounces.
This was by way of compensation for his misadventures elsewhere. He
was always bringing Ulick into trouble; shut or tie him up as he
might, he was sure to reappear when least wanted. He had been at
church, he had been in Miss Goldsmith's drawing-room, he had been
found times without number curled up under Ulick's desk. Mr.
Goldsmith growled hints about hanging him, and old Mr. Johns, who
really was fond of his bright young fellow clerk, gave grave counsel;
but Ulick only loved his protege the better, and after having
exhausted an Irish vocabulary of expostulation, succeeded in
prevailing on him to come no farther than the street; except on very
wet days, when he would sometimes be found on the mat in the entry,
looking deplorably beseeching, and bringing on his master an irate,
'Here's that dog again!'
'Would that no one fell into worse scrapes,' sighed Mr. Dusautoy,
when he heard of Ulick's disasters with Hyder Ali, and it was a sigh
that the house of Kendal re-echoed.
Nobody could be surprised when, towards the long vacation, tidings
came to Bayford, that after long forbearance on the part of the
authorities, the insubordination and riotous conduct of the two young
men could be endured no longer. It appeared that young Dusautoy,
with his weak head and obstinate will, had never attempted to bend to
rules, but had taken every reproof as an insult and defiance. Young
men had not been wanting who were ready to take advantage of his
lavish expenditure, and to excite his disdain for authorities. They
had promoted the only wit he did understand, broad practical jokes
and mischief; and had led him into the riot and gambling to which he
was not naturally prone. Gilbert Kendal, with more sense and
principle, had been led on by the contagion around him, and at last
an outrageous wine party had brought matters to a crisis. The most
guilty were the most cunning, and the only two to whom the affair
could actually be brought home, were Dusautoy and Kendal. The
sentence was rustication, and the tutor wrote to Mr. Dusautoy, as the
least immediately affected, to ask him to convey the intelligence to
The vicar was not a man to shrink from any task, however painful, but
he felt it the more deeply, as, in spite of his partiality, he was
forced to look on his own favourite Algernon as the misleader of
Gilbert; and when he overtook the sisters on his melancholy way down
the hill, he consulted them how their father would bear it.
'Oh! I don't know,' said Lucy; 'he'll be terribly angry. I should
not wonder if he sent Gilbert straight off to India; should you,
'I hope he will do nothing in haste,' exclaimed Mr. Dusautoy. 'I do
believe if those two lads were but separated, or even out of such
company, they would both do very well.'
'Yes,' exclaimed Lucy; 'and, after all, they are such absurd
regulations, treating men like schoolboys, wanting them to keep such
regular troublesome hours. Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy told me that there
was no enduring the having everything enforced.'
'If things had been enforced on poor Algernon earlier, this might
never have been,' sighed his uncle.
'I'm sure I don't see why papa should mind it so much,' continued
Lucy. 'Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy told me his friend Lord Reginald
Raymond had been rusticated twice, and expelled at last.'
'What do you think of it, Sophy?' asked the vicar, anxiously.
'I don't feel as if any of us could ever look up again,' she answered
'Why, no; not that exactly. It is not quite the right way to take
these things, Sophy,' said Mr. Dusautoy. 'Boys may be very foolish
and wrong-headed, without disgracing their family.'
Sophy did not answer - it was all too fresh and sore, and she did not
find much consolation in the number of youths whom Lucy reckoned up
as having incurred the like penalty. When they entered the house,
and Mr. Dusautoy knocked at the library door, she followed Lucy into
the garden, without knowing where she was going, and threw herself
down upon the grass, miserable at the pain which was being inflicted
upon her father, and with a hardened resentful feeling, between
contempt and anger, against the brother, who, for very weakness,
could so dishonour and grieve him. She clenched her hand in the
intensity of her passionate thoughts and impulses, and sat like a
statue, while Lucy, from time to time, between the tying up of
flowers and watering of annuals, came up with inconsistent
exhortations not to be so unhappy - for it was not expulsion - it was
sure to be unjust - nobody would think the worse of them because young
men were foolish - all men of spirit did get into scrapes -
It was lucky for Lucy that all this passed by Sophy's ear as unheeded
as the babbling of the brook. She did not move, till roused by Ulick
O'More, coming up from the bridge, telling that he had met some Irish
haymakers in the meadows, and saying he wanted to beg a frock for one
of their children.
'I think I can find you one,' said Lucy, 'if you will wait a minute;
but don't go in, Mr. Dusautoy is there.'
'Is anything the matter?' he exclaimed.
'Every one must soon know,' said Lucy; 'it is of no use to keep it
back, Sophy. Only my brother and Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy have got
into a scrape about a wine party, and are going to be rusticated.
But wait, I'll fetch the frock.'
Sophy had almost run away while her sister spoke, but the kind look
of consternation and pity on Ulick's face deterred her, he in
soliloquy repeated, as if confounded by the greatness of the
misfortune, 'Poor Gilbert!'
'Poor Gilbert!' burst from Sophy in irritation at misplaced sympathy;
'I thought it would be papa and mamma you cared for!'
'With reason,' returned Ulick, 'but I was thinking how it must break
his heart to have pained such as they.'
'I wish he would feel it thus,' exclaimed Sophy; 'but he never will!'
'Oh! banish that notion, Sophy,' cried Ulick, recoiling at the
indignation in her dark eyes, 'next to grieving my mother, I declare
nothing could crush me like meeting a look such as that from a sister
'How can I help it?' she said, reserve breaking down in her
vehemence, 'when I think how much papa has suffered - how much Gilbert
has to make up to him - how mamma took him for her own - how they have
borne with him, and set their happiness on him, and yielded to his
fancies, only for him to disappoint them so cruelly, and just because
he can't say No! I hope he wont come home; I shall never know how to
speak to him !'
'But all that makes it so much the worse for him,' said Ulick, in a
tone of amazement.
'Yes, you can't understand,' she answered; 'if he had had one spark
of feeling like you, he would rather have died than have gone on as
he has done.'
'Surely many a man may be overtaken in a fault, and never be wrong at
heart,' said Ulick. 'There's many a worse sin than what the world
sets a blot upon, and I believe that is just why homes were made.'
Lucy came back with the frock, and Ulick, thanking her, sped away;
while Sophy slowly went upstairs and hid herself on her couch. For a
woman to find a man thinking her over-hard and severe, is sure either
to harden or to soften her very decidedly, and it was a hard struggle
which would be the effect. There was an inclination at first to
attribute his surprise to the lax notions and foolish fondness of his
home, where no doubt far worse disorders than Gilbert's were treated
as mere matters of course. But such strong pity for the offender did
not seem to accord with this; and the more she thought, the more sure
she became that it was the fresh charity and sweetness of an innocent
spirit, 'believing all things,' and separating the fault from the
offender. His words had fallen on her ear in a sense beyond what he
meant. Pride and uncharitable resentment might be worse sins than
mere weakness and excess. She thought of the elder son in the
parable, who, unknowing of his brother's temptation and sorrow,
closed his heart against his return; and if her tears would have
come, she would have wept that she could not bring herself to look on
Gilbert otherwise than as the troubler of her father's peace.
When her mother at last came upstairs, she only ventured to ask
gently, 'How does papa bear it?'
'It did not come without preparation,' was the answer; 'and at first
we were occupied with comforting Mr. Dusautoy, who takes to himself
all the shame his nephew will not feel, for having drawn poor Gilbert
into such a set.'
'And papa?' still asked Sophy.
'He is very quiet, and it is not easy to tell. I believe it was a
great mistake, though not of his making, to send Gilbert to Oxford at
all, and I doubt whether he will ever go back again.
'Oh, mamma, not conquer this, and live it down!' cried Sophy; but
then changing, she sighed and said, 'If he would - '
'Yes, a great deal depends upon how he may take this, and what
becomes of Algernon Dusautoy; though I suppose there is no lack of
other tempters. Your papa has even spoken of India again; he still
thinks he would be more guarded there, but all depends on the spirit
in which we find him. One thing I hope, that I shall leave it all to
his father's judgment, and not say one word.'
The next post brought a penitent letter from Gilbert, submitting
completely to his father; only begging that he might not see any one
at home until he should have redeemed his character, and promising to
work very hard and deny himself all relaxation if he might only go to
a tutor at a distance.
This did not at all accord with Mr. Kendal's views. He had an
unavowed distrust of Gilbert's letters, he did not fancy a tutor thus
selected, and believed the boy to be physically incapable of the
proposed amount of study. So he wrote a very grave but merciful
summons to Willow Lawn.
Albinia went to meet the delinquent at Hadminster, and was struck by
the different deportment of the two youths. Algernon Dusautoy, whose
servant had met him, sauntered up to her as if nothing had happened,
carelessly hoped all were well at Bayford, and, in spite of her
exceeding coldness, talked on with perfect ease upon the chances of a
war with Russia, and had given her three or four maxims, before
Gilbert came up with the luggage van, with a bag in his hand, and a
hurried bewildered manner, unable to meet her eye. He handed her
into the carriage, seated himself beside her, and drove off without
one unnecessary word, while Algernon, mounting his horse, waved them
a disengaged farewell, and cantered on. Albinia heard a heavy sigh,
and saw her companion very wan and sorrowful, dejection in every
feature, in the whole stoop of his figure, and in the nervous twitch
of his hands. The contrast gave an additional impulse to her love
and pity, and the first words she said were, 'Your father is quite
ready to forgive.'
'I knew he would be so,' he answered, hardly able to command his
voice; 'I knew you would all be a great deal too kind to me, and that
is the worst of all.'
'No, Gilbert, not if it gives you resolution to resist the next
He groaned; and it was not long before she drew from him a sincere
avowal of his follies and repentance. He had been led on by
assurances that 'every one' did the like, by fear of betraying his
own timidity, by absurd dread of being disdained as slow; all this
working on his natural indolence and love of excitement, had combined
to involve him in habits which had brought on him this disgrace. It
was a hopeful sign that he admitted its justice, and accused no one
of partiality; the reprimand had told upon him, and he was too
completely struck down even to attempt to justify himself;
exceedingly afraid of his father, and only longing to hide himself.
Such was his utter despair, that Albinia had no scruples in
encouraging him, and assuring him with all her heart, that if taken
rightly, the shock that brought him to his senses, might be the
blessing of his life. He did not take comfort readily, though
soothed by her kindness; he could not get over his excessive dread of
his father, and each attempt at reassurance fell short. At last it
came out that the very core of his misery was this, that he had found
himself for part of the journey, in the same train with Miss Durant
and two or three children. He could not tell her where he was going
nor why, and he had leant back in the carriage, and watched her on
the platform by stealth, as she moved about, 'lovelier and more
graceful than ever!' but how could he present himself to her in his
disgrace and misery? 'Oh, Mrs. Kendal, I forgive my father, but my
life was blighted when I was cut off from her!'
'No, Gilbert, you are wrong. There is no blighting in a worthy,
disinterested attachment. To be able to love and respect such a
woman is a good substantial quality in you, and ought to make you a
higher and better man.'
Gilbert turned round a face of extreme amazement. 'I thought,' he
said, 'I thought you - ' and went no farther.
'I respect your feeling for her more than when it was two years
younger,' she said; 'I should respect it doubly if instead of making
you ashamed, it had saved you from the need of shame.'
'Do you give me any hope?' cried Gilbert, his face gleaming into
sudden eager brightness.
'Things have not become more suitable,' said Albinia; and his look
lapsed again into despondency; but she added, 'Each step towards real
manhood, force of character, and steadiness, would give you weight
which might make your choice worth your father's consideration, and
you worth that of Genevieve.'
'Oh! would you but have told me so before!'
'It was evident to your own senses,' said Albinia; and she thought of
the suggestion that Sophy had made.
'Too late! too late!' sighed Gilbert.
'No, never too late! You have had a warning; you are very young, and
it cannot be too late for winning a character, and redeeming the
'And you tell me I may love her!' repeated Gilbert, so intoxicated
with the words, that she became afraid of them.
'I do not tell you that you may importune her, or disobey your
father. I only tell you that to look up and work and deny yourself,
in honour of one so truly noble, is one of the best and most saving
of secondary motives. I shall honour you, Gilbert, if you do so use
it as to raise and support you, though of course I cannot promise
that she can be earned by it, and even that motive will not do alone,
however powerful you may think it.'
Neither of them said more, but Gilbert sighed heavily several times,
and would willingly have checked their homeward speed. He grew pale
as they entered the town, and groaned as the gates swung back, and
they rattled over the wooden bridge. It was about four o'clock, and
he said, hurriedly, as with a sort of hope, 'I suppose they are all
He was answered by a whoop of ecstasy, and before he was well out of
the carriage, he was seized by the joyous Maurice, shouting that he
had been for a ride with papa, without a leading rein. Happy age for
both, too young to know more than that the beloved playfellow was at
Little Albinia studied her brother till the small memory came back,
and she made her pretty signs for the well-remembered dancing in his
arms. From such greetings, Gilbert's wounded spirit could not
shrink, much as he dreaded all others; and, carrying the baby and
preceded by Maurice, while he again muttered that of course no one
was at home, he went upstairs.
Albinia meantime tapped at the library door. She knew Mr. Kendal to
be there, yearning to forgive, but thinking it right to have his
pardon sought; and she went in to tell him of his son's keen remorse,
and deadly fear. Displeased and mournful, Mr. Kendal sighed. 'He
has little to fear from me, would he but believe so! He ought to
have come to me, but - '
That 'but' meant repentance for over-sternness in times past.
'Let me send him to you.'
'I will come,' said Mr. Kendal, willing to spare his son the terror
of presenting himself.
There was a pretty sight in the morning-room. Gilbert was on the
floor with the two children, Maurice intent on showing how nearly
little Albinia could run alone, and between ordering and coaxing,
drawing her gently on; her beautiful brown eyes opened very seriously
to the great undertaking, and her round soft hands, with a mixture of
confidence and timidity, trusted within the sturdy ones of her small
elder, while Gilbert knelt on one knee, and stretched out a
protecting arm, really to grasp the little one, if the more childish
brother should fail her, and his countenance, lighted up with
interest and affection, was far more prepossessing than when so
lately it had been, full of cowering, almost abject apprehension.
Was it a sort of instinctive feeling that the little sister would be
his best shelter, that made him gather the child into his arms, and
hold her before his deeply blushing face as he rose from the floor?
She merrily called out, 'Papa!' Maurice loudly began to recount her
exploits, and thus passed the salutation, at the end of which Gilbert
found that his father was taking the little one from him, and giving
her to her mother, who carried her away, calling Maurice with her.
'Have you nothing to say to me?' said Mr. Kendal, after waiting for
some moments; but as Gilbert only looked up to him with a piteous,
scared, uncertain glance, be added; 'You need not fear me; I believe
you have erred more from weakness than from evil inclinations, and I
trust in the sincerity of your repentance.'
These kind words softened Gilbert; he assured his father of his
thanks for his kindness, no one could grieve more deeply, or be more
anxious to atone in any possible manner for what he had unwittingly
'I believe you, Gilbert,' said his father; 'but you well know that
the only way of atoning for the past, as well as of avoiding such
wretchedness and disgrace for the future, is to show greater
'I know it is,' said Gilbert, sorrowfully.
'I cannot look into your heart,' added Mr. Kendal. 'I can only hope
and believe that your grief for the sin is as deep, or deeper, than
that for the public stigma, for which comparatively, I care little.'
Gilbert exclaimed that so indeed it was, and this was no more than
the truth. Out of sight of temptation, and in that pure atmosphere,
the loud revel and coarse witticisms that had led him on, were only
loathsome and disgusting, and made him miserable in the recollection.
'I am ready to submit to anything,' he added, fervently. 'As long as
you forgive me, I am ready to bear anything.'
'I forgive you from my heart,' said Mr. Kendal, warmly. 'I only wish
to consider what may be most expedient for you. I should scarcely
like to send you back to Oxford to retrieve your character, unless I
were sure that you would be more resolute in resisting temptation.
No, do not reply; your actions during this time of penance will be a
far more satisfactory answer than any promises. I had thought of
again applying to your cousin John, to take you into his bank, though
you could not now go on such terms as you might have done when there
was no error in the background, and I still sometimes question
whether it be not the safer method.'
'Whatever you please,' said Gilbert; 'I deserve it all.'
'Nay, do not look upon my decision, whatever it may be, as
punishment, but only as springing from my desire for your real
welfare. I will write to your cousin and ask whether he still has a
vacancy, but without absolutely proposing you to him, and we will
look on the coming months as a period of probation, during which we
may judge what may be the wisest course. I will only ask one other
question, Gilbert, and you need not be afraid to answer me fully and
freely. Have you any debts at Oxford?'
'A few,' stammered Gilbert, with a great effort.
'Can you tell me to whom, and the amount?'
He tried to recollect as well as he could, while completely
frightened and confused by the gravity with which his father was
jotting them down in his pocket-book.
'Well, Gilbert,' he concluded, 'you have dealt candidly with me, and
you shall never have cause to regret having done so. And now we will
only feel that you are at home, and dwell no longer on the cause that
has brought you. Come out, and see what we have been doing in the
Gilbert seemed more overthrown and broken down by kindness than by
reproof. He hardly exerted himself even to play with Maurice, or to
amuse his grandmother; and though his sisters treated him as usual,
he never once lifted up his eyes to meet Sophy's glance, and scarcely
used his voice.
Nothing could be more disarming than such genuine sorrow; and Sophy,
pardoning him with all her heart, and mourning for her past want of
charity, watched him, longing to do something for his comfort, and to
evince her tenderness; but only succeeded in encumbering every petty
service or word of intercourse with a weight of sad consciousness.
'I had almost written to ask your pardon,' said Mrs. Dusautoy, as
Albinia entered her drawing-room on the afternoon following. 'I
should like by way of experiment to know what _would_ put that boy
out of countenance. He listened with placid graciousness to his
uncle's lecture, and then gave us to understand that he was obliged
for his solicitude, and that there was a great deal of jealousy and
misrepresentation at Oxford; but he thought it best always to submit
to authorities, however unreasonable. And this morning, after
amiably paying his respects to me, he said he was going to inquire
for Gilbert. I intimated that Willow Lawn was the last place where
he would be welcome, but he was far above attending to me. Did
Gilbert see him?'
'Gilbert was in the garden with us when we were told he was in the
house. Poor fellow, he shuddered, and looked as if he wanted me to
guard him, so I sent him out walking with Maurice while I went in,
and found Lucy entertaining the gentleman. I made myself as cold and
inhospitable as I could, but I am afraid he rather relishes a
'Poor boy! I wonder what on earth is to be done with him. I never
before knew what John's love and patience were.'
'Do you think he will remain here?'
'I cannot tell; we talk of tutors, but John is really, I believe,
happier for having him here, and besides one can be sure the worst he
is doing is painting a lobster. However, much would depend on what
you and Mr. Kendal thought. If he and Gilbert were doing harm to
each other, everything must give way.'
'If people of that age will not keep themselves out of harm's way,
nobody can do it for them,' said Albinia, 'and as long as Gilbert
continues in his present mood, there is more real separation in
voluntarily holding aloof, than if they were sent far apart, only to
come together again at college.'
Gilbert did continue in the same mood. The tender cherishing of his
home restored his spirits; but he was much subdued, and deeply
grateful, as he manifested by the most eager and affectionate
courtesy, such as made him almost the servant of everybody, without
any personal aim or object, except to work up his deficient studies,
and to avoid young Dusautoy. He seemed to cling to his family as his
protectors, and to follow the occupations least likely to lead to a
meeting with the Polysyllable; he was often at church in the week,
rode with his father, went parish visiting with the ladies, and was
responsible when Maurice fished for minnows in the meadows. Nothing
could be more sincerely desirous to atone for the past and enter on a
different course, and no conduct could be more truly humble or
The imaginary disdain of Ulick O'More was entirely gone, and
perceiving that the Irishman's delicacy was keeping him away from
Willow Lawn, Gilbert himself met him and brought him home, in the
delight of having heard of a naval cadetship having been offered to
his brother, and full of such eager joy as longed for sympathy.
'Happy fellow!' Gilbert murmured to himself.
Younger in years, more childish in character, poor Gilbert had
managed to make his spirit world-worn and weary, compared with the
fresh manly heart of the Irishman, all centered in the kindred
'points of Heaven and home,' and enjoying keenly, for the very reason
that he bent dutifully with all his might to a humble and uncongenial
Yet somehow, admire and esteem as he would, there arose no intimacy