of the spirit of insubordination and mischief. Night after night she
found him sleeping with the Balaklava sword by his side, and his hand
clasped over it; and he always crept out of the way of Crimean news,
though that he gathered up the facts was plain when he committed his
sovereign to Ulick, with a request that it might be devoted to the
comforts preparing to be sent to the 25th Lancers.
Ulick wished him to consult his mother, but this he repelled. He
could not endure the sight of a tear in her eye, and she could not
restrain them when that chord was touched. It was a propensity she
much disliked, the more because she thought it looked like
affectation beside Sophy, whose feelings never took that course, but
the more ill-timed the tears, the more they would come, at the most
common-place condolence or remote allusion. It was the effect of the
long strain on her powers, and the severe shock coming suddenly after
so much pressure and fatigue; moreover, her habits had been so long
disorganized that her time seemed blank, and she could not rouse
herself from a feeling of languor and depression. Then Gilbert had
been always on her mind, whether at home or absent; and it did not
seem at first as if she had enough to fill up time or thoughts - she
absolutely found herself doing nothing, because there was nothing she
cared to do.
Mr. Kendal's first object was the fulfilment of Gilbert's wishes; but
Albinia soon felt how much easier it is for women and boys to make
schemes, than for men to bring them to effect, and how rash it is
hastily to condemn those who tolerate abuses.
The whole was carefully looked over with a surveyor, and it was only
then understood how complicated were the tenures, and how varied the
covenants of the numerous small tenements which old Mr. Meadows had
amassed. It was not possible to be free of the legal difficulties
under at least a year, and plans of drainage might be impeded for
want of other people's consent. Even if all had been smooth, the
sacrifice of income, by destroying Tibb's Alley, and reducing the
number of cottages, would be considerable. Meantime, the inspection
had brought to light worse iniquities and greater wretchedness than
Mr. Kendal had imagined, and his eagerness to set to work was
tenfold. His table was heaped with sanitary reports, and his fits of
abstraction were over the components of bad air or builder's
It only depended on Ulick to have resumed his intimacy at Willow
Lawn; but the habit once broken was not resumed. He was often there,
but never without invitation; and he was not always to be had. He
had less leisure, he was senior clerk, and the junior was dull and
untrained; and he often had work to do far into the evening. He
looked bright and well, as though possessed of a sense of being
valuable in his own place, more conducive to happiness than even
congeniality of employment; and Sophy, though now and then
disappointed at his non-appearance, always had a good reason for it,
and continued to justify Mr. Dusautoy's boast that the air of the
hill had made another woman of her.
Visiting cards had, of course, come in numbers to Willow Lawn, but
Albinia seemed to have caught her husband's aversions, and it would
be dangerous to say how long it was before she lashed herself into
setting off for a round of calls.
Nothing surprised her more than Miss Goldsmith's reception.
Conscious of her neglect, she expected the stiff manner to be more
formal than ever; but the welcome was almost warm, and there was
something caressing in her fears that Miss Kendal would be tired.
Mr. Goldsmith was not quite well, there were threatenings of gout,
and his sister had persuaded him to visit the relations at Bristol
next week; everything might safely be trusted to young More, and
therewith came such praise of his steadiness and ability, that
Albinia did not know which way to look when all was ascribed to Mr.
Kendal's great kindness to him.
It was too palpable to be altogether pleasant. Sophia Kendal was
heiress enough to be a very desirable connexion for the bank.
Albinia was afraid she should see through the lady's graciousness,
and took her leave in haste; but Sophy only said, 'Do you remember,
mamma, when the Goldsmiths thought we unsettled him?'
Before Albinia had disarmed her reply of the irony on the tip of her
tongue, the omnibus came lumbering round the corner, and a voice
proceeded from the rear, the door flew open, and there was a rapid
Face and voice, light step, and gay bearing, all were Fred - the empty
sleeve, the sole resemblance to the shattered convalescent of a few
'There, Albinia! I said you should see her first. You haven't got
any change, have you?' the last being addressed either to Albinia,
the omnibus conductor, or a lady, who made a tender of two shillings,
while Albinia ordered the luggage on to Willow Lawn, though something
was faintly said about the inn.
'And there!' cried Fred, with an emphatic twist of his moustache,
'isn't she all I ever told you?'
'The last thing was a brick,' said Albinia, laughing, as she looked
at the smiling, confiding, animated face, not the less pleasant for a
French Canadian grace that recalled Genevieve.
'The right article for building a hut, I hope,' she said, merrily.
'But how and when could you have come?'
'This morning, from Liverpool. We did not mean to storm you in this
manner; we meant to have settled ourselves at the inn, and walked
down; Emily was very particular about it.'
'But you see, when he saw you, he forgot all my lectures!' said
Emily, taking his welcome for granted.
'Very proper of him! But, Fred, I don't quite believe it yet. How
long is it since we parted?'
'Six weeks; just enough to go to Canada and back, with a fortnight in
the middle to spare.'
'And pray how long has Mrs. Fred existed?'
'Three weeks and two days;' and turning half round to give her the
benefit of his words, 'it was on purely philanthropic principles,
because I could not tie my own necktie.'
'Now could I,' said Emily pleadingly to Sophy - 'now could I let him
go back again alone, when he came so helpless, and looking so
'And what are you going to do?' asked Albinia. 'You can't join
'Join! why not? Here's a hand for a horse, and an arm for a wife,
and the rest will be done much better for me than ever it was
'But with her? and at Sebastopol!'
'That's the very thing'' cried the colonel, again turning about.
'Nothing will serve her but to show how a backwoodsman's daughter can
live in a hut.'
'And what will the general say?'
'The general,' cried Emily, 'will endure me better as a fact than as
a prospect; and we will teach him that a lady is not all made of
nerves and of fancies! See what he will say if we let him into our
Fred brightened, though Albinia's inquiry had for a moment taken him
a little aback. The one being whom he dreaded was General Ferrars,
for whom he cared a thousand times more than for his own elder
brother, and he was soon speculating, with his usual insouciance, as
to how his announcement might have been received by his lordship, and
whether the aunts would look at them as they went through London.
Mr. Kendal met them at the gate, amazed at the avalanche of luggage,
but well pleased, for he had grown very fond of Fred, and had been
very anxious about him, thinking him broken and enfeebled for life,
and hardly expecting him to return from his mad expedition. He was
slow to believe his eyes and ears when he beheld a hale, handsome,
vigorous man, full of life and activity, but his welcome and
congratulations were of the warmest. He could far better stand a
sudden inroad than if he had had to meditate for a week on
entertaining the bride. Not that the bride wanted entertainment,
except waiting upon her husband, who let himself be many degrees less
handy than at Malta, for the pleasure of her attentions.
Perhaps the person least gratified was Maurice; for the child shrank
with shy reverence from him whom his brother had saved, and would as
soon have thought of making a plaything of Gilbert's sword as of
having fun with the survivor. The sight of such a merry man was a
shock, and he abruptly repelled all attempts at playing with him, and
kept apart with a big book on a chair before him, a Kendalism for
which he amply compensated when familiarity had diminished his awe.
Mr. Kendal, though little disposed to exert himself to talk, liked to
watch his wife reviving into animation, and Sophy taking a full share
in the glee with which Emily enjoyed turning the laugh against the
good-natured soldier. In the midst of their flush of joy there was a
tender consideration about the young couple, such as to hinder their
tone from jarring. Indeed, it was less consideration than fellow-feeling,
for Gilbert Kendal had become enshrined in the depths of Fred's heart;
while to Emily the visit was well-nigh a pilgrimage. All her hero-worship
was directed to the youth who had guarded her soldier's life, nursed
him in his sickness, and, as he averred, inspired him with serious
thoughts. Poor, failing, timid, penitent Gilbert was to her a very
St. George, and every relic of him was viewed with reverence; she
composed a countenance for him from his father's fine features, and
fitted the fragments of his history into an ideal, till Sophy, after
being surprised and gratified, began to view Gilbert through a like
halo, and to rank him with his twin brother. Friendship was a new and
agreeable phase of life to Sophy, who found a suitable companion in
such an open-hearted person, simpler in nature, and fresher than herself,
free from English commonplaces, though older and of more standing.
She expanded and brightened wonderfully, and Emily, imagining her a
female Gilbert, was devoted to her, and thought her a marvel of learning,
depth, goodness, and humility, the more striking for her tinge of grave
'Why, Albinia,' said the colonel, 'didn't I hear that it was your
handsome daughter who is married?'
'Yes, poor Lucy was always called our pretty one.'
'More admired than her sister? Why, she never could have had a
'Yes,' said Albinia, highly gratified by the opinion of such a
connoisseur. 'I always told Winifred that Sophy was the beauty, but
she has only lately had health or animation to set her off'
'I declare, when we overtook you in the street, she looked a perfect
Spanish princess, in her black robes and great shady hat. You ought
always to keep her in black. Ha! Emily, what are you smiling at?'
His wife looked up into his face with mischievous shyness in her
eyes, as if she wanted him to say what would be a liberty in her.
Somebody else had overtaken the ladies nearly at the same moment, and
Albinia exulted in perceiving that the embellishment had been
observed by others besides herself. She did not look so severe but
that Fred was encouraged to repeat, 'Only lately had health or
animation? When Irish winds blow this way, I fancy - But what will
the aunts say?'
'They are not Sophy's aunts, whatever they are to you.'
'What will Kendal say? which is more to the purpose.'
'Oh! he saw it first; he will be delighted; but you must not say a
word to him, for it can't come to anything just now.'
Albinia was thus confirmed in her anticipations, and the bridal pair,
only wishing everybody to be as happy as themselves, took the matter
up with such vivid interest and amusement, that she was rather afraid
of a manifestation such as to shock either her husband or the parties
themselves; but Fred was too much of a gentleman, and Emily too
considerate, for anything perilously marked. Only she thought Emily
need not have been so decided in making room for Ulick next to Sophy,
when they were all looking out at the young moon at the conservatory-door
And then Emily took her husband's arm, and insisted on going down the
garden to be introduced to English nightingales; and though she was
told they never had come there in the memory of man, she was bent on
doing as she would be done by, and drew him alone the silvered paths,
among the black shadows of the trees; and Ulick asked Sophy if she
wished to go too. She looked as if she should like it very much; he
fetched a couple of cloaks ont of the hall, put her into one, and ran
after Mrs. Ferrars with the other.
'Well!' thought Albinia, as she stood at the conservatory-door, 'how
much more boldness and tact some people have than others! If I had
lived a hundred years, I should not have managed it so well!'
'What's become of them?' said Mr. Kendal, as she went back to the
'Gone to listen for nightingales!'
'Nightingales! How could you let them go into the river-fog?'
'Emily was bent upon it; she is too much of a bride not to have her
'Umph! I wonder Sophy was so foolish.'
They came back in a quarter of an hour. No nightingales; and Fred
was indulging in reminiscences of bull-frogs; the two ladies were
rapturous on the effect of the moonbeams in the ripple of the waters,
and the soft furry white mist rising over the meadows. Ulick
shivered, and leant over the fire to breathe a drier air, bantering
the ladies for their admiration, and declaring that Mrs. Ferrars had
taken the moan of an imprisoned house-dog for the nightingale, which
he disdainfully imitated with buzz, zizz, and guggle, assuring her
she had had no loss; but he looked rather white and chilled. Sophy
whispered something to her papa, who rang the bell, and ordered in
wine and hot water.
'There, Emily,' said Albinia, when he had taken his leave; 'what
shall we say to your nightingales, if Mr. O'More catches his ague
'Oh, there are moments when people don't catch agues,' said Fred.
'He would be a poor fellow to catch an ague after all that, though,
by-the-bye, it is not a place to go to at night without a cigar.'
Albinia was on thorns, lest Sophy should be offended; but though her
cheeks lighted up, and she was certainly aware of some part of their
meaning, either she did not believe in the possibility of any one
bantering her, or else the assumption was more agreeable than the
presumption was disagreeable. She endured with droll puzzled
dignity, when Fred teased her anxiety the next day to know whether
Mr. O'More had felt any ill effects; and it really appeared as if she
liked him better for what might have been expected to be a dire
affront; but then he was a man whose manner enabled to do and say
whatever he pleased.
Emily never durst enter on the subject with her, but had more than
one confidential little gossip with Albinia, and repeatedly declared
that she hoped to be in England when 'it' took place. Indeed that
week's visit made them all so intimate, that it was not easy to
believe how recent was the acquaintance.
The aunts had been so much disappointed at Fred's desertion, so much
discomfited at his recovery contrary to all predictions, and so much
annoyed at his marriage, that it took all their kindness, and his
Crimean fame, to make them invite him and his colonial wife to the
Family Office, to be present at the royal distribution of medals.
However, the good ladies did their duty; and Emily and Sophy parted
with promises of letters.
The beginning of the correspondence was as full a description of the
presentation of the medals as could be given by a person who only saw
one figure wherever she went, and to whom the great incident of the
day was, that the gracious and kindhearted Queen had herself fastened
the left-handed colonel's medal as well as Emily could have done it
herself! There was another medal, with two clasps, that came to
Bayford, and which was looked at in pensive but not unhappy silence.
'You shall have it some day, Maurice, but not now,' said Mr. Kendal,
and all felt that now meant his own lifetime. It was placed where
Gilbert would well have liked to see it, beside his brother Edmund's
Emily made Mrs. Annesley and Miss Ferrars more fond of her in three
days, than eleven years had made them of Winifred; too fond, indeed,
for they fell to preaching to Fred upon the horrors of Sebastopol,
till they persuaded him that he was a selfish wretch, and brought him
to decree that she should stay with them during his absence. But, as
Emily observed, that was not what she left home for; she demolished
his arguments with a small amount of playing at petulance, and
triumphantly departed for the East, leaving Aunt Mary crying over her
as a predestined victim.
The last thing Fred did before sailing, was to send Albinia a letter
from his brother, that she might see 'how very kind and cordial
Belraven was,' besides something that concerned her more nearly.
Lord Belraven was civil when it cost him nothing, and had lately
regarded his inconvenient younger brother with favour, as bringing
him distinction, and having gained two steps without purchase,
removed, too, by his present rank, and the pension for his wound,
from being likely to become chargeable to him; so he had written such
brotherly congratulations, that good honest Fred was quite affected.
He was even discursive enough to mention some connexions of the young
man who had been with Fred in the Crimea, a Mr. Cavendish Dusautoy, a
very good sort of fellow, who gave excellent dinners, and was a
pleasant yachting companion. His wife was said to be very pretty and
pleasing, but she had arrived at Genoa very unwell, had been since
confined, and was not yet able to see any one. It was said to be the
effect of her distress for the death of her brother, and the
estrangement from her family, who had behaved very ill about his
property. Had not Albinia Ferrars married into that family?
Albinia knew enough of her noble relative to be aware that good
dinners and obsequiousness were the way to his esteem, and Algernon's
was the sort of arrogance that would stoop to adore a coronet. All
this was nothing, however, to the idea of Lucy, ill in that strange
place, with no one to care for her but her hard master. Albinia
sometimes thought of going to find her out at Genoa; but this was too
utterly wild and impossible, and nothing could be done but to write
letters of affectionate inquiry, enclosing them to Lord Belraven.
Algernon's answer was solemn, and as brief as he could make anything.
He was astonished that the event bad escaped the notice of the circle
at Bayford, since he believed it had appeared in all the principal
European newspapers; and his time had been so fully occupied, that he
had imagined that intimation sufficient, since it was evident from
the tone of the recent correspondence, that the family of Bayford
were inclined to drop future intercourse. He was obliged for the
inquiries for Lucy, and was happy to say she was recovering
favourably, though the late unfortunate events, and the agitation
caused by letters from home, had affected her so seriously, that they
had been detained at Genoa for nearly four months to his great
inconvenience, instead of pushing on to Florence and Rome. It had
been some compensation that he had become extremely intimate with
that most agreeable and superior person, Lord Belraven, who had
consented to become sponsor to his son.
Lucy wrote to Albinia. Poor thing, the letter was the most
childishly expressed, and the least childishly felt, she had ever
written; its whole aspect was weak and wobegone; yet there was less
self-pity, and more endeavour to make the best of it, than before.
She had the dearest little baby in the world; but he was very
delicate, and she wished mamma would send out an English nurse, for
she could not bear that Italian woman - her black eyes looked so
fierce, and she was sure it was not safe to have those immense pins
in her hair. Expense was nothing, but she should never be happy till
she had an Englishwoman about him, especially now that she was
getting better, and Algernon would want her to come out again with
him. Dear Algernon, he had lost the Easter at Rome for her sake, but
perhaps it was a good thing, for he was often out in Lord Belraven's
yacht, and she could be quiet with baby. She did wish baby to have
had her dear brothers' names, but Algernon would not consent. Next
Tuesday he was to be christened; and then followed a string of mighty
names, long enough for a Spanish princess, beginning with Belraven!!!
Lucy Dusautoy's dreary condition in the midst of all that wealth
could give, was a contrast to Emily Ferrars' buoyant delight in the
burrow which was her first married home, and proved a paradise to
many a stray officer, aye, maybe, to Lieutenant-General Sir William
Ferrars himself. Her letters were charming, especially a detail of
Fred meeting Bryan O'More coming out of the trenches, grim, hungry,
and tired, having recently kicked a newly alighted shell down from
the parapet, with the cool words, 'Be off with you, you ugly baste
you;' of his wolfish appetite after having been long reduced to
simple rations, though he kept a curly black lamb loose about his
hut, because he hadn't the heart to kill it; and it served him for
bed if not for board, all his rugs and blankets having flown off in
the hurricane, or been given to the wounded; he had been quite
affronted at the suggestion that a Galway pig was as well lodged as
himself - it was an insult to any respectable Irish animal!
Albinia sent Maurice to summon Ulick to enjoy the letter in store for
him. He looked grave and embarrassed, and did not light up as usual
at Bryan's praises. He said that his aunt, who had written to him on
business, had given a bad account of Mr. Goldsmith, but Albinia
hardly thought this accounted for his preoccupation, and was
considering how to probe it, when her brother Maurice opened the
door. 'Ulick O'More! that's right; the very man I was in search of!'
'How's Winifred, Maurice?'
'Getting on wonderfully well. I really think she is going to make a
start, after all! and she is in such spirits herself.'
'And the boy?'
'Oh, a thumping great fellow! I promise you he'll be a match for
'I do believe it is to reward Winifred for sparing you in the spring
when we wanted you so much! Come, sit down, and wait for Edmund.'
'No; I've not a moment to stay. I'm to meet Bury again at Woodside
at six o'clock, he drove me there, and I walked on, looking in at
your lodgings by the way, Ulick.'
'I'm not there now. I am keeping guard at the bank.'
'So they told me. Well, I hope your guard is not too strict for you
to come over to Fairmead on Sunday; we want you to do our boy the
kindness to be his godfather!'
Sophy blushed with approving gratitude.
'I don't consider that it will be a sinecure - he squalls in such a
characteristic manner that I am convinced he will rival his cousin
here in all amiable and amenable qualities; so I consider it
particularly desirable that he should be well provided with great
'You certainly could not find any one more accomplished in teaching
dunces to read,' said Albinia.
'When their mammas have taught them already!' added Ulick, laughing.
'Thank you; but you know I can't sleep out; Hyder Ali and I are
responsible for a big chest of sovereigns, and all the rest of it.'
'Nor could I lodge you at present; so we are agreed. My proposition
is that you should drive my sister over on Sunday morning. My wife
is wearying for a sight of her; and she has not been at Fairmead on a
Sunday since she left it, eh, Albinia?'
'I suppose for such a purpose it is not wrong to use the horse,' she
said, her eyes sparkling.
'And you might put my friend Maurice between you, if you can't go out
pleasuring without him.'
'I scorn you, sir; Maurice is as good as gold; I shall leave him at
home, I think, to prove that I can - '
'That's the reward of merit!' exclaimed Sophy.
'She expects my children to corrupt him!' quoth Mr. Ferrars.
'For shame, Maurice; that's on purpose to make me bring him. Well,
we'll see what papa says, and if he thinks the new black horse strong
enough, or to be trusted with Mr. O'More.'
'I only wish 'twas a jaunting car!' cried Ulick.
'And what's the boy's name to be? Not Belraven, I conclude, like my
unfortunate grandson - Maurice, I hope.'
'No; the precedent of his namesake would be too dangerous. I believe
he is to be Edmund Ulick. Don't take it as too personal, Ulick, for
it was the name of our mutual connexion.'
'I take the personal part though, Maurice; and thank you, said