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- The Long Vacation - 50/58 -

blood. We go to New Orleans first, and after the cold weather home, but letters to the Bank will find us.'"

"Good, dear old Fernan and Marilda!" cried Geraldine, "I can see their kindness, and how, with all their goodness, it must jar on Gerald's nerves."

"I hope he won't be an ass," returned Clement. "Such patient goodness ought not to be snubbed by-—" He caught his sister's eye, and made his last words "youthful theorists."

Mrs. Henderson too forwarded a letter from Lida, being sure that it would be a great pleasure to Mrs. Grinstead. It went into many more particulars about the miseries of the circus training than had been known before, and the fears and hints which made it plain that it had been quite right to avail herself of the means of escape; after which was added—-

"I never thought to be so happy as I am here. My brother is the noblest, most generous, most kind of creatures, and that he should do all this for me, after all the harm he has suffered from my poor mother! It quite overpowers me when I think of it. I see a tear has dropped, but it is such a happy one. Please tell Mr. Flight what peace and joy this is to me, after all my prayers and trying to mind what he said. There are such a gentleman and lady here, cousins to my brother, Sir Ferdinand and Lady Travis Underwood. She has been more or less ill all through the voyage, and her maid worse, and she has let me do what I could for her, and has been kindness itself. They were at the bazaar. Did you see Sir Ferdinand? He is the very grandest and handsomest man I ever did see, and so good to all the poor emigrants in the steerage. He is very kind to me; but I see that my brother will not have me presume. They have bidden me write to them in any need. I never thought there could be so many good people out of Rockquay. Please give my duty to Mr. Flight and Lady Flight, good Miss Mohun, and dear Miss Dolores. I wear her ulster, and bless the thought of her."


And yet if each the other's name In some unguarded moment heard, The heart that once you thought so tame Would flutter like a wounded bird.-—ANON.

Letters continued to come with fair regularity; and it was understood that Gerald, with Lida, had taken up his quarters in an "inexpensive" boarding-house at New York, where he had sent Lida to a highly- recommended day-school, and he was looking out for employment. His articles had been accepted, he said; but the accounts of his adventures and of his fellow-inmates gave the sense that there was more humour in the retrospect than in the society, and that they were better to write about than to live with. He never confessed it, but to his aunt, who understood him, it was plain that he found it a different thing to talk philanthropic socialism, or even to work among the poor, and to live in the society of the unrefined equals.

Then he wrote that Lida had come one day and told him that one of the girls, with whom she had made friends, had a bad attack of cough and bronchitis, and could not fulfil an engagement that she had made to come and sing for a person who was giving lectures upon national music. "'I looked at some of her songs,' little Lida said in her humble way, 'and I know them. Don't you think, brother, I might take her part?' Well, not to put too fine a point upon it, it was not an unwelcome notion, for my articles, though accepted, don't bring in the speedy remuneration with which fiction beguiles the aspirant. Only one of them, which I send you, has seen the light, and the 'Censor' is slow, though sure, so dollars for immediate expenses run short. I called on the fellow, Mr. Gracchus B. Van Tromp, to see whether he were fit company for my sister, and I found him much superior to his name—-gentlemanlike and intelligent, not ill-read, and pretty safe, like most Yankees, to know how to behave to a young girl. When he found I could accompany my sister on piano or violin he was transported. Moreover, he could endure to be enlightened by a Britisher on such little facts as the true history of Auld Robin Gray and the Wacht am Rhein. The lecture was a marked success. We have another tonight, 16th. It has resulted in a proposal to these two interesting performers to accompany the great Gracchus on a tour through the leading 'cities,' lecturing by turns with him and assisting. He has hitherto picked up as he could 'local talent,' but is glad of less uncertain help, and so far as appears, he is superior to jealousy, though he sees that I'm better read, 'and of the cut that takes the ladies.' It is no harm for Lida; she was not learning much, and I can cultivate her better when I have her to myself, and get her not to regard me so much like a lion, to be honoured with distant respect and obedience. We shall get dollars enough to keep us going till my talents break upon the world, and obtain stunning experiences for the 'Censor'. My father's dear old violin is coming to the front. Our first start will be at Boston; but continue to write to Gerald F. Wood, care of Editor of 'Cole's Weekly'."

"How like his father!" was the natural exclamation; but the details that followed in another week were fairly satisfactory, and the spirit of independence was a sound one, which had stood harder proofs than perhaps his home was allowed to know, though these were early days.

February was beginning to open the buds and to fill the slopes with delicate anemones, as well as to bring back Mr. White's workmen, among whom Clement could make inquiries. One young man knew the name of Benista as belonging to a family in a valley beyond his own, but it was not an easily accessible one, and a fresh fall of snow had choked the ravine, and would do so for weeks to come.

Yet all was lovely on the coast, and Mr. White having occasion to go to San Remo, offered to take the three girls with him.

"Young ladies always have a turn for shops," said he.

"I want to see the coast," said Franceska, with a little dignity.

"But I do want some gloves-—and some blue embroidery silk, thank you, Mr. White," said Anna, more courteously.

"And I want some handkerchiefs, if Mr. White will take me too!" returned Uncle Clement in the same tone.

"I know so well what you mean, dear," observed Maura, sotto voce to Francie. "It is so trying to be supposed mere common-place, when one's thoughts are on the beautiful and romantic."

It was just one of the sayings that had begun to go against Francie's taste, and she answered—-

"Mr. White is very good-natured."

"Ah, yes, but so—-so-—you know."

Francie was called, and left Mr. White's description to be unutterable.

The two elder ladies spent the day together, and Mrs. Grinstead then heard that Jane Mohun had written, that both Lord Ivinghoe and Lady Phyllis Devereux were recovering from the influenza, and that Lord Rotherwood had had a slight touch of the complaint.

"It is a very serious thing in our family," said Adeline, with all the satisfaction of having a family, especially with a complaint, and she began to enumerate the victims of the Devereux house and her own, only breaking off to exclaim, "I really shall write at once to beg them all to come here for the rest of the winter, March winds and all. My cousin Rotherwood has never been here, and they might be quite quiet among relations. So unlike a common health resort."

Mrs. White's hospitable anticipations were forestalled. The party came home from San Remo in high spirits. They had met Lord Rotherwood and his son in the street, they had been greeted most warmly, and brought to luncheon at the villa, where they found not only Lady Rotherwood and Phyllis, but Mysie Merrifield.

It was explained that their London doctor had strongly advised immediate transplantation before there was time to catch fresh colds, and a friend of the Marchioness, who permanently possessed a charming house at San Remo, had offered it just as it was for the spring. The journey had been made at once, with one deviation on Lord Rotherwood's part, to beg for Mysie, as an essential requisite to his "Fly's" perfect recovery. A visit had been due before, only deferred by the general illness, and no difficulty was made in letting it be paid in these new and delightful scenes. Phyllis had been there before. She was weak and languid, and would much rather have stayed at home, except for seeing Mysie's delight in the mountains and the blue Mediterranean, which she dimly remembered from her infancy at Malta. Only she made it a point of honour not to allow that the sea was bluer than the bay of Rockquay.

Ivinghoe was looking ill and disgusted, but brightened up at the sight of the visitors, and his mother, who thought Monte Carlo too near, though she had kept as far from it as possible, accepted the more willingly Mr. White's cordial invitation to come and spend a day or two at Rocca Marina. Trifles were so much out of the good lady's focus of vision that the possible dangers in that quarter never occurred to her, though Maura was demurely bridling, and Francie, all unawakened, but prettier than ever, was actually wearing a scarlet anemone that Ivinghoe had given to her.

In the intervening days, Rocca Marina was in a wonderful state of preparation. The master of it was genuinely and honestly kindly and simple-hearted, and had entertained noble travellers before, who had been attracted by his extensive and artistic works; but no words can describe the satisfaction of his wife. In part there was the heartfelt pleasure of receiving the cousin who had been like one of her brothers in the home of her childhood; but to this was added the glory of knowing that this same cousin was a marquis, and that the society of San Remo, nay of all the Riviera and the Italian papers to boot, would know that she was a good deal more than the quarry- owner's wife. Moreover, like all her family, there was a sense of Lady Rotherwood's coming from a different sphere, and treating them with condescension. Jane and Lily might laugh, but to Adeline it was matter of a sort of aggressive awe, half as asserting herself as "Victoria's" equal and relation, half as protecting her from inferior people.

Geraldine perceived and was secretly amused. Of course all the party

The Long Vacation - 50/58

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