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But as she and Harry went home together he told her that it was really all through her that he had returned to his home.
“I could not forget that Bible which you gave me, and which I was mad enough to sell. I felt more thoroughly ashamed of that one act than of any other. And then I knew all the time that you loved me; I could not hope that father wnd mother would, after all I had done, but I was quite sure about you. And every day I felt that I would do anything just to see you. I thought of you always. When I was in the company of young men who were drinking and swearing, I used to shudder as I wondered how you would feel if you could see me. I felt, too, that you did not forget me, and that perhaps you would try to soften the hearts of father and mother toward me. And when I remembered how you must be troubled about me I felt as if I could not go on as I was. Somehow, too, I felt that you were praying for me. Many a time I bave pictured you on your knees asking God to forgive me, and though I felt as if there could be no mercy for me, yet it com. forted me to think you were praying. And then, I should not have come home when I did but for you. I saw your messages to me in the newspaper, and they made me long to return, and indeed caused me to feel that though I might not stay at home I must see my sister. And so, Carrie, it was your love that brought me."
Carrie wept for joy and thankfulness, but she could not take the praise to herself.
“It was God who brought you."
"Oh, yes, I know it was, Čarrie, and when I think of it I could be always singing,
« Praise God from whom all blessings flow.' But it was in answer to your prayers, and because you so bravely kept your resolution. You did everything that could be done for me, Carrie, and I shall never, never forget how much you have loved me."
And he never did. No one could have been more kind and tender than Henry Lacey was to his sister. He took great care of her, and watched over her, and did all that he could to make her happy.
And when Carrie saw how the troubled look vanished from her mother's face, and how bright and contented her father was, she did indeed feel glad and thankful.
Often she used to say, “I wish every girl had such a brother as I have."
And Harry replied, “If all boys had sisters who loved them enough to care for them and pray for them, they would often be better than they are."
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CHAPTER XV.-FOUR YEARS. I FIND that if I am to finish my story in anything like a reasonable space of time I must begin to get over the ground a little more quickly. I must give general rather than detailed accounts of my boyhood's experiences; I must go on from year to year rather than from month to month and from week to week. Indeed, after I was fairly settled at Dovercourt and Stoketon the course of events flowed pretty erenly; and though everything that happened, however immaterial, doubtless told upon me in some way or other, I had not many adventures which needed to be recorded.
Strange to say, I heard nothing more from Lady Olive after her outburst. She appeared next day among us, and gradually thawing was even quite gracious to Phæbe. I could not say that she was cold or haughty to myself, for she simply ignored me, never by any chance addressing me, never referring to my presence, never looking at me, unless by accident I happened to cross her point of vision, and then she regarded me with the sort of vacant stare one often fixes on pieces of furniture when one's mind is entirely preoccupied. The Marchioness must have noticed her behaviour, but she did not interfere. Between my lady and her step-daughter there was evidently a repressed antagonism; they understood each other without ever coming to an explanation. The Marchioness never exercised over Lady Olive the authority which her position gave her; she treated her always kindly and politely, but rather as
a woman than as a child. Indeed, there was not much that was childlike about Lady Olive, and she always gave herself the airs of one born in the purple. She, on her part, showed a due respect for her father's wife, and as no particular obedience was required it was not difficult to render so much outward deference as kept up appearances before the world.
But she spoilt my pleasure, that proud, scornful, patrician girl. Without speaking to me or looking at me she interfered with me continually. I was always thinking about her ; I listened to every word she uttered. If I spoke in her presence I wondered what she thought of my utterance; if she were out of the room I wondered when she would re-enter it. In her absence I was uneasy, in her presence miserable ; even the sweet companionship of my lady could not atone for all that I endured through Lady Olive Walton. I never told the Marchioness how she affected me; some instinct always sealed my lips when I would fain have poured out my trouble. Something-I knew not what—warned me not to talk to my lady about the Marquis or about his eldest daughter. And the Marchioness herself I soon perceived scrupulously avoided the mention of Lady Olive's name. During the whole of my visit of ten days I think--nay, I am sure—it never once in all our private tête-à-têtes escaped her lips. Happily I was discreet enough to keep silence also.
If I remember aright it was the afternoon of the last day of our visit; on the morrow we were going home to the Gate House, and I was sitting alone in the great conservatory, with a bulky volume of Froissart on my knees, poring over the pages, which with their old, dim type were becoming very indistinct in the fading, wintry twilight. At last I could not see another word, and I let the volume slide to my feet, while I delivered myself up to reflections on the strange but delightful life of the chivalric ages of which I had been reading. Soothed by the stillness and the fragrance of the atmosphere and lulled by the warmth I suppose fell asleep, for I certainly had something to say to Philip Augustus and his unfortunate wife Ingeborg.
The next minute, however, as it seemed to me, I was wide awake again. Somebody or bodies had entered the conservatory and were conversing in a low tone close to where I sat, and divided from me only by a screen of bushy camellias, against which a seat was placed, so that I and the talkers were back to back, two or three feet of leaves and flowers alone intervening. The voices I knewthey were those of Lady Olive and her governess, Miss Flogg, of whom I have said so little because I so cordially despised and distrusted her. They were speaking French when first I heard them. Miss Flogg had been educated alternately in a Parisian pension and in a Parisian convent, and in consideration of these advantages had been selected from a score and upwards of candidates by the Lady Juliana Rashleigh to fill the post of governess to her august niece the Lady Olive Walton.
But Lady Olive naturally preferred her own language, and after a few sentences exchanged she relapsed into English, and I heard her say, “How cold it is. And I thought if we came in here we should be warm. I declare, Flogg, you have left the door open. Do you mean to kill all the plants ? Go and shut it this moment."
“Your legs are younger than mine, Lady Olive, and when I was a girl I did not expect my governess to wait upon me.
Ma foi ! if I had I should greatly have astonished her and have been disappointed myself.”
“ Very likely. Your governesses were your equals, perhaps your superiors; you were not-Lady Sarah Ann Flogg. Faugh! how it sounds. Don't be stupid, Flogg. Go and shut the door this moment when I tell you.”
Flogg went obediently, and grimly I have no doubt. She knew from past experiences that it was hopeless to compete with her pupil on the vexed question of authority. They had had many a skirmish these two in the days that had gone by; and the encounters, though at first dubious as to result, gradually became more decided in issue, and at length Flogg grew accustomed to being beaten, and finding expostulation vain, and protestation useless, and not caring to relinquish a position at once lucrative and honourable, wisely decided to succumb. So under protest—very slight protest sometimes—Sarah Ann Flogg, spinster, aged thirty-eight, obeyed Lady Olive Walton, eldest daughter of the Marquis of Dovercourt, aged eleven. But then the Lady Olive was nobly born; and Flogg, her pupil always called her “Flogg,” was nobody in particular. Her papa was an obscure veterinary sugeon. Her mamma ;—but it does not matter who Mrs. Flogg was. Probably in discussing her antecedents it might have been said of her, as it was said of another ignoble personage the other day by a novelist of repute, “ Comment est-elle née ?" « Elle n'est
née.” And Lady Olive was, “née de tous les côtés."
Flogg came back again: “You are sure you have caught the latch, Flogg? There is something the matter with that door. You might have slipped the bolt, no one will come in from the rose garden at this time of night.”
“It is all safe, Lady Olive. Mais parlez Français, parlez Français, je vous prie.”
“I shall not parlez Francais. Don't be stupid, Flogg ; you know I chose to speak English out of the school-room."
“Eh bien! You always will have your own way, Lady Olive.”
“Certainly I will. Ah! it is comfortable in here. How I do hate the cold. I shall sit here for an hour, Flogg."
“But it will be necessary to dress, Lady Olive.”
“I can dress in five minutes. My hair does anyhow, and I do not use cosmetics. It takes a great deal of time to make up a complexion, does it not, Flogg? It seems to me that if once you take to rouge, and all that sort of thing, your face must be always wanting a little touching up? Don't you find it so ?”
Really, Lady Olive, one would imagine that—that I painted ?” “ And so you do. What is the use of pretending with me?”
“ Wait a few years, Lady Olive, wait a few years before you pass judgment. Your own complexion-"
“You will be good enough to leave my complexion alone, Flogg. I did not sit down here to talk nonsense. Did Sophie tell you
this morning wben that boy and his sister were going away ?”
“They are going to-morrow, I believe. What a vulgar boy he is!”
“Horribly vulgar; and yet I suppose like the rest of his class.”
“ The boy would be well enough if he knew his place, and did not give himself airs. He is extremely handsome.”
Of course I listened attentively. Listeners do occasionally hear something good of themselves you perceive.
Lady Olive continued: “Yes, he is really handsome. It is quite a pity he is not a gentleman. But not being a gentleman, the only thing is to have nothing to say to him, and to resent his presence here."
“ I am sure I cannot think what the Marchioness was about when she asked him. There is some strange connection between her and that old man at the Gate House. Can he be her father, or her uncle do
think?" “Certainly not! Hold your tongue, Flogy, and leave the Marchioness alone. I would recommend you to avoid the discussion of family affairs if you wish to retain your situation.”
I cannot describe the tone and air with which the girl made these remarks. If I were queer and too old for my years, as all the dales people had averred, here was some one infinitely queerer, far older for her age. Eleven! she ought to have been five-and-twenty at the least. Her voice even had no childish ring in it, but it was strangely sweet and clear ; her intonation I suppose was perfect, and her French-in after-years, when I could judge—was quite as good as her English. Freezingly her accents fell on that hushed, warm, fragrant air, yet with a peculiarly silvery sound that reminded me of the higher notes of a flute or the pianissimo of a clarionet; and I knew exactly how she wreathed her slender neck and threw