should not put up with, and I'll not take it well of you if you call it
my duty to hear my father and his family abused. I'll despise myself
if I could. _You_ don't - ' cried he, turning round to Albinia.
'Oh, no, but I think you should try to understand Mr. Goldsmith's
point of view.'
'I understand it only too well, if that would do any good. Point of
view - why, 'tis the farmyard cock's point of view, strutting on the
top of that bank of his own, and patronizing the free pheasant out in
the woods. More fool I for ever letting him clip my wings, but he's
seen the last of me. No, don't ask me to make it up. It can't be
done - '
'What can be done to the boy?' asked Albinia; 'how can he be brought
to hear reason?'
'Leave him alone,' Mr. Kendal said, aside; while Ulick in a torrent
of eager cadences protested his perfect sanity and reason, and Mr.
Kendal quietly left the room, again to start on a peace-making
mission, but it was unpromising, for Mr. Goldsmith began by declaring
he would not hear a single word in favour of the ungrateful young
Mr. Kendal gathered that young O'More had become so valuable, and
that cold and indifferent as Mr. Goldsmith appeared, he had been
growing so fond and so proud of his nephew, as actually to resolve on
giving him a share of the business, and dividing the inheritance
which had hitherto been destined to a certain Andrew Goldsmith,
brought up in a relation's office at Bristol. Surprised at his own
graciousness, and anticipating transports of gratitude, his dismay
and indignation at the reception of his proposal were extreme,
especially as he had no conception of the offence he had given
regarding the unfortunate O as a badge of Hibernianism and vulgarity.
'I put it to you, Mr. Kendal, as a sensible man, whether it would not
be enough to destroy the credit of the bank to connect it with such a
name as that, looking like an Irish haymaker's. I should be ashamed
of every note I issued.'
'It is unlucky,' said Mr. Kendal, 'and a difficulty the lad could
hardly appreciate, since it is a good old name, and the O is a
special mark of nobility.'
'And what has a banker to do with nobility? Pretty sort of nobility
too, at that dog-kennel of theirs in Ireland, and his father, a mere
adventurer if ever there lived one! But I swore when he carried off
poor Ellen that his speculation should do him no good, and I've kept
my word. I wish I hadn't been fool enough to meddle with one of the
concern! No, no, 'tis no use arguing, Mr. Kendal, I have done with
him! I would not make him a partner, not if he offered to change his
name to John Smith! I never thought to meet with such ingratitude,
but it runs in the breed! I might have known better than to make
much of one of the crew. Yet it is a pity too, we have not had such
a clear-headed, trustworthy fellow about the place since young Bowles
died; he has a good deal of the Goldsmith in him when you set him to
work, and makes his figures just like my poor father. I thought it
was his writing the other day till I looked at the date. Clever lad,
very, but it runs in the blood. I shall send for Andrew Goldsmith.'
One secret of Mr. Kendal's power was that he never interrupted, but
let people run themselves down and contradict themselves; and all he
observed was, 'However it may end, you have done a great deal for
him. Even if you parted now, he would be able to find a situation.'
'Why - yes,' said Mr. Goldsmith, 'the lad knew nothing serviceable
when he came, we had an infinity of maggots about algebra and
logarithms to drive out of his head; but now he really is nearly as
good an accountant as old Johns.'
'You would be sorry to part with him, and I cannot help hoping this
may be made up.'
'You don't bring me any message! I've said I'll listen to nothing.'
'No; the poor boy's feelings are far too much wounded,' said Mr.
Kendal. 'Whether rightly or wrongly, he fancies that his father and
family have been slightingly spoken of, and he is exceedingly hurt.'
'His father! I'm sure I did not say a tenth part of what the fellow
richly deserves. If the young gentleman is so touchy, he had better
go back to Ireland again.'
Nothing more favourable could Mr. Kendal obtain, though he thought
Mr. Goldsmith uneasy, and perhaps impressed by the independence of
his nephew's attitude.
It was an arduous office for a peace-maker, where neither party could
comprehend the feelings of the other, but on his return he found that
Ulick had stormed himself into comparative tranquillity, and was
listening the better to the womankind, because they had paid due
honour to the amiable ancestral Tigearnach and all his guttural
posterity, whose savage exploits and bloody catastrophes acted as
such a sedative, that by the time he had come down to Uncle Bryan of
the Kaffir war, he actually owned that as to the mighty 'O,' Mr.
Goldsmith might have erred in sheer ignorance.
'After all,' said Albinia, 'U. O'More is rather personal in writing
to a creditor'
'It might be worse,' said Ulick, laughing, 'if my name was John. I.
O'More would be a dangerous confession. But I'll not be come round
even by your fun, Mrs. Kendal, I'll not part with my father's name.'
'No, that would be base,' said Sophy.
'Who would wish to persuade you?' added Albinia. 'I am sure you are
right in refusing with your feelings; I only want you to forgive your
uncle, and not to break with him.'
'I'd forgive him his ignorance, but my mother herself could not wish
me to forgive what he said of my father.'
'And how if he thinks this explosion needs forgiveness?'
'He must do without it,' said Ulick. 'No, I was cool, I assure you,
cool and collected, but it was not fit for me to stand by and hear my
Albinia closed the difficult discussion by observing that it was time
to dress, and Sophy followed her from the room burning with indignant
sympathy. 'It would be meanly subservient to ask pardon for
defending a father whom he thought maligned,' said Albinia, and Sophy
took exception at the word 'thought.'
'Ah! of course _he_ cannot be deceived!' said Albinia - but no sooner
were the words spoken than she was half-startled, half-charmed by
finding they had evoked a glow of colour.
'How do you think it will end?' asked Sophy.
'I can hardly fancy he will not be forgiven, and yet - it might be
'Yes, I do think he would get on faster in India,' said Sophy
eagerly; 'he could do just as Gilbert might have done.'
Was it possible for Albinia to have kept out of her eyes a
significant glance, or to have disarmed her lips of a merry smile of
amused encouragement! How she had looked she knew not, but the red
deepened on Sophy's whole face, and after one inquiring gaze from the
eyes they were cast down, and an ineffable brightness came over the
expression, softening and embellishing.
'What have I done?' thought Albinia. 'Never mind - it must have been
all there, or it would not have been wakened so easily - if he goes
they will have a scene first.'
But when Mr. Kendal came back he only advised Ulick to go to his desk
as usual the next day, as if nothing had happened.
And Ulick owned that, turn out as things might, he could not quit his
work in the first ardour of his resentment, and with a great exertion
of Christian forgiveness, he finally promised not to give notice of
his retirement unless his uncle should repeat the offence. This time
Albinia durst not look at Sophy.
Rather according to his friend's hopes than his own, he was able to
report at the close of the next day, that he had not 'had a word from
his uncle, except a nod;' and thus the days passed on, Andrew
Goldsmith did not appear, and it became evident that he was to remain
on sufferance as a clerk. Nor did Albinia and Sophy venture to renew
the subject between themselves. At first there was consciousness in
their silence; soon their minds were otherwise engrossed.
Mrs. Meadows was suddenly stricken with paralysis, and was thought to
be dying. She recovered partial consciousness in the course of the
next day, but was constantly moaning the name of her eldest and
favourite granddaughter, and when telegraph and express train brought
home the startled and trembling Lucy, she was led at once to the sick
bed - where at her name there was the first gleam of anything like
'And where have you been, my dear, this long time?'
'I've been at - at Brighton, dear grandmamma,' said Lucy, so much
agitated as scarcely to be able to recall the name, or utter the
'And - I say, my dear love,' said Mrs. Meadows, earnestly and
mysteriously, 'have you seen _him_?'
Poor Lucy turned scarlet with distress and confusion, but she was
held fast, and grandmamma pursued, 'I'm sure he has not his equal for
handsomeness and stateliness, and there must have been a pair of
'Dear grandmamma, we must let Lucy go and take off her things; she
shall come back presently, but she has had a long journey,'
interposed Albinia, seeing her ready to sink into the earth.
But Mrs. Meadows had roused into eagerness, and would not let her go.
'I hope you danced with him, dear,' she went on; 'and it's all
nonsense about his being high and silent. Your papa is bent on it,
and you'll live like a princess in India.'
'She takes you for your mother - she means papa, whispered Albinia,
not without a secret flash at once of indignation at perceiving how
his first love had been wasted, yet of exultation in finding that no
one but herself had known how to love him; but poor Lucy, completely
and helplessly overcome, could only exclaim in a faltering voice:
'Oh, grandmamma, don't - ' and Albinia was forced to disengage her,
support her out of the room, and leaving her to her sister, hasten
back to soothe the old lady, who had been terrified by her emotion.
It had been a great mistake to bring her in abruptly, when tired with
her journey, and not fully aware what awaited her. But there was at
that time reason to think all would soon be over, and Albinia was
startled and confused.
Albinia had hitherto been the only efficient nurse of the family.
Sophy's presence seemed to stir up instincts of the old wrangling
habits, and the invalid was always fretful when left to her, so that
to her own exceeding distress she was kept almost entirely out of the
Lucy, on the other hand, was extremely valuable there, her bright
manner and unfailing chatter always amused if needful, and her light
step and tender hand made her useful, and highly appreciated by the
For the first few days, they watched in awe for the last dread
summons, but gradually it was impossible not to become in a manner
habituated to the suspense, so that common things resumed their
interest, and though Sophy was pained by the incongruity, it could
not have been otherwise without the spirits and health giving way
under the strain. Nothing could be more trying than to have the mind
wrought up to hourly anticipation of the last parting, and then the
delay, without the reaction of recovery, the spirit beyond all reach
of intercourse, and the mortal frame languishing and drooping. Mr.
Kendal had from the first contemplated the possibility of the long
duration of such lingering, and did his utmost to promote such
enlivenment and change for the attendants as was consistent with
their care of the sufferer. They never dared to be all beyond call
at once, since a very little agitation might easily suffice to bring
on a fatal attack, and Albinia and Lucy were forced to share the
hours of exercise and employment between them, and often Albinia
could not leave the house and garden at all.
Gilbert was an excellent auxiliary, and would devote many an hour to
the cheering of the poor shattered mind. His entrance seldom failed
to break the thread of melancholy murmurs, and he had exactly the
gentle, bright attentive manner best fitted to rouse and enliven.
Nothing could be more irreproachable, than his conduct, and his
consideration and gentleness so much endeared him, that he had never
been so much at peace. All he dreaded was the leaving what was truly
to him the sanctuary of home, he feared alike temptation and the
effort of resistance and could not bear to go away when his
grandmother was in so precarious a state, and he could so much
lighten Mrs. Kendal's cares both by being with her, and by watching
over Maurice. His parents were almost equally afraid of trusting him
in the world; and the embodiment of the militia for the county
offered a quasi profession, which would keep him at home and yet give
him employment. He was very anxious to be allowed to apply for a
commission, and pleaded so earnestly and humbly that it would be his
best hope of avoiding his former errors, that Mr. Kendal yielded,
though with doubt whether it would be well to confine him to so
narrow a sphere. Meantime the corps was quartered at Bayford, and
filled the streets with awkward louts in red jackets, who were
inveterate in mistaking the right for the left, Gilbert had a certain
shy pride in his soldiership, and Maurice stepped like a young Field
Marshal when he saw his brother saluted.
Nothing had so much decided this step as the finding that young
Dusautoy was to return to his college after Easter. He was at the
Vicarage again, marking his haughty avoidance of the Kendal family,
and to their great joy, Lucy did not appear distressed, she was
completely absorbed in her grandmother, and shrank from all allusion
to her lover. Had the small flutter of vanity been cured by a
glimpse beyond her own corner of the world?
But soon Albinia became sensible of an alteration in Gilbert. He had
no sooner settled completely into his new employment, than a certain
restless dissatisfaction seemed to have possessed him. He was
fastidious at his meals, grumbled at his horse, scolded the groom,
had fits of petulance towards his brother, and almost neglected Mrs.
Meadows. No one could wonder at a youth growing weary of such
attendance, but his tenderness and amiability had been his best
points, and it was grievous to find them failing. Albinia would have
charged the alteration on his brother officers, if they had not been
a very steady and humdrum set, whose society Gilbert certainly did
not prefer. She was more uneasy at finding that he sometimes saw
Algernon Dusautoy, though for Lucy's sake, he always avoided bringing
his name forward.
A woman was ill in the bargeman's cottage by the towing-path, and
Albinia had walked to see her. As she came down-stairs, she heard
voices, and beheld Mr. Hope evidently on the same errand with
herself, talking to Gilbert. She caught the words, ere she could
safely descend the rickety staircase, Gilbert was saying,
'Oh! some happy pair from the High Street!'
'I beg your pardon,' said Mr. Hope, 'I am so blind, I really took it
for your sister, but our shopkeepers' daughters do dress so!'
Albinia looking in the same direction, beheld in a walk that skirted
the meadow towards the wood, two figures, of which only one was
clearly visible, it was nearly a quarter of a mile off, but there was
something about it that made her exclaim, 'Why, that's Mr. Cavendish
Dusautoy! whom can he be walking with?'
Gilbert started violently at hearing her behind him, and a word or
two of greeting passed with Mr. Hope, then there was some spying at
the pair, but they were getting further off, and disappeared in the
wood, while Gilbert, screwing up his eyes, and stammering, declared
he did not know; it might be, he did not think any one could be
recognised at such a distance; and then saying that he had fallen in
with Mr. Hope by chance, he hastened on. The curate made a brief
visit, and walked home with her, examining her on her impression that
the gentleman was young Dusautoy, and finally consulting her on the
expediency of mentioning the suspicion to the vicar, in case he
should be deluding some foolish tradesman's daughter. Albinia
strongly advised his doing so; she had much faith in her own keen
eyesight, and could not mistake the majestic mien of Algernon; she
thought the vicar ought at once to be warned, but felt relieved that
it was not her part to speak.
She was very glad when Mr. Hope took an opportunity of telling her
that young Dusautoy was going to the Greenaways in a day or two.
As to Gilbert, it was as if this departure had relieved him from an
incubus; he was in better spirits from that moment, and returned to
his habits of kindness to both grandmamma and Maurice.
The manifold duties of head sick-nurse, governess, and housekeeper,
were apt to clash, and valiant and unwearied as Albinia was, she was
obliged perforce to leave the children more to others than she would
have preferred. Little Albinia was all docility and sweetness, and
already did such wonders with her ivory letters, that the exulting
Sophy tried to abash Maurice by auguring that she would be the first
to read; to which, undaunted, he replied, 'She'll never be a boy!'
Nevertheless Maurice was developing a species of conscience,
rendering him trustworthy and obedient out of sight, better, in fact,
alone with his own honour and his mother's commands, than with any
authority that he could defy. He knew when his father meant to be
obeyed, and Gilbert managed him easily; but he warred with Lucy,
ruled Sophy, and had no chivalry for any one but little Albinia, nor
obedience except for his mother, and was a terror to maid-servants
and elder children. With much of promise, he was anything but an
agreeable child, and whilst no one but herself ever punished,
contradicted, or complained of him, Albinia had a task that would
have made her very uneasy, had not her mind been too fresh and strong
for over-sense of responsibility. Each immediate duty in its turn
was sufficient for her.
Maurice's shadow-like pursuit of Gilbert often took him off her
hands. It might sometimes be troublesome to the elder brother, and
now and then rewarded with a petulant rebuff, but Maurice was only
the more pertinacious, and on the whole his allegiance was requited
with ardent affection and unbounded indulgence. Nay, once when
Maurice and his pony, one or both, were swept on by the whole hunt,
and obliged to follow the hounds, Gilbert in his anxiety took leaps
that he shuddered to remember, while the urchin sat the first
gallantly, and though he fell into the next ditch, scrambled up on
the instant, and was borne by his spirited pony over two more, amid
universal applause. Mr. Nugent himself rode home with the brothers
to tell the story; papa and mamma were too much elated at his prowess
The eventful year 1854 had begun, and General Ferrars was summoned
from Canada to a command in the East. On his arrival in England, he
wrote to his brother and sister to meet him in London, and the aunts,
delighted to gather their children once more round them, sent
pressing invitations, only regretting that there was not room enough
in the Family Office for the younger branches.
Mr. Ferrars' first measure was to ride to Willow Lawn. Knocking at
the door of his sister's morning-room, he found Maurice with a
pouting lip, back rounded, and legs twisted, standing upon his
elbows, which were planted upon the table on either side of a calico
spelling-book. Mr. Kendal stood up straight before the fire, looking
distressed and perplexed, and Albinia sat by, a little worn, a little
irritable, and with the expression of a wilful victim.
All greeted the new-comer warmly, and Maurice exclaimed, 'Mamma, I
may have a holiday now!'
'Not till you have learnt your spelling.' There was some sharpness
in the tone, and Maurice's shoulder-blades looked sulky.
'In consideration of his uncle,' began Mr. Kendal, but she put her
hand on the boy, saying, 'You know we agreed there were to be no
holidays for a week, because we did not use the last properly.'
He moved off disconsolately, and his father said, 'I hope you are
come to arrange the journey to London. Is Winifred coming with you?'
'No; a hurry and confusion, and the good aunts would be too much for
her, you will be the only one for inspection.'
'Yes, take him with you, Maurice,' said Albinia, 'he must see
'You must be the exhibitor, then,' her brother replied.
'Now, Maurice, I know what you are come for, but you ought to know
better than to persuade me, when you know there are six good reasons
against my going.'
'I know of one worth all the six.'
'Yes,' said Mr. Kendal; 'I have been telling her that she is
convincing me that I did wrong in allowing her to burthen herself
with this charge.'
'That's nothing to the purpose,' said Albinia; 'having undertaken it,
when you all saw the necessity, I cannot forsake it now - '
'If Mrs. Meadows were in the same condition as she was in two months
ago, there might be a doubt,' said Mr. Kendal; but she is less
dependent on your attention, and Lucy and Gilbert are most anxious to
devote themselves to her in your absence.'
'I know they all wish to be kind, but if anything went wrong, I
should never forgive myself!'
'Not if you went out for pleasure alone,' said her brother; 'but
relationship has demands.'
'Of course,' she said, petulantly, 'if Edmund is resolved, I must go,
but that does not convince me that it is right to leave everything to
run riot here.'
Mr. Kendal looked serious, and Mr. Ferrars feared that the winter
cares had so far told on her temper, that perplexity made her wilful
in self-sacrifice. There was a pause, but just as she began to
perceive she had said something wrong, the lesser Maurice burst out
'There, it is not indestructible!'
'What mischief have you been about?' The question was needless, for
the table was strewn with snips of calico.
'This nasty spelling-book! Lucy said it was called indestructible,
because nobody could destroy it, but I've taken my new knife to it.
And see there!'
'And now can you make another?' said his uncle.
'I don't want _to_.'
'Nor _one_ either, sir,' said Mr. Kendal. 'What shall we have to
tell Uncle William about you! I'm afraid you are one of the chief
causes of mamma not knowing how to go to London.'
Maurice did not appear on the way to penitence, but his mother said,
'Bring me your knife.'
He hung down his head, and obeyed without a word. She closed it, and
laid it on the mantel-shelf, which served as a sort of pound for
properties in sequestration.
'Now, then, go,' she said, 'you are too naughty for me to attend to
'But when will you, mamma?' laying a hand on her dress.
'I don't know. Go away now.'
He slowly obeyed, and as the door shut, she said, 'There!' in a tone
as if her view was established.
'You must send him to Fairmead,' said the uncle.
'To "terrify" Winifred? No, no, I know better than that; Gilbert can
look after him. I don't so much care about that.'
The admission was eagerly hailed, and objection after objection
removed, and having recovered her good humour, she was candid, and
owned how much she wished to go. 'I really want to make acquaintance
with William. I've never seen him since I came to my senses, and
have only taken him on trust from you.'
'I wish equally that he should see you,' said her brother. 'It would
be good for him, and I doubt whether he has any conception what you
'I'd better stay at home, to leave you and Edmund to depict for his
benefit a model impossible idol - the normal woman.'
Maurice looked at her, and shook his head.
'No - it would be rather - it and its young one, eh?'
Maurice took both her hands. 'I should not like to tell William what
I shall believe if you do not come.'
'Well, what - '
'That Edmund is right, and you have been overtasked till you are
careful and troubled about many things.'
'Only too much bent on generous self-devotion,' said Mr. Kendal,
eagerly; 'too unselfish to cast the balance of duties.'
'Hush, Edmund,' said Albinia. 'I don't deserve fine words. I
honestly believe I want to do what is right, but I can't be sure what
it is, and I have made quite fuss enough, so you two shall decide,
and then I shall be made right anyway. Only do it from your
They looked at each other, taken aback by the sudden surrender. Mr.
Ferrars waited, and her husband said, 'She ought to see her brother.
She needs the change, and there is no sufficient cause to detain
'She must be content sometimes to trust,' said Mr. Ferrars.
'Aye, and all that will go wrong, when my back is turned.'