+ ~ -
Please report pronunciation problems here. Select and sample other voices. Options Pause Play
Report an Error

Penelope had used her shrewd knowledge of
Mabel Earnshaw's character to awaken her
pride, and bring about this very result, and
although she had even confidently told her
father that such a result would inevitably be
brought about if she were permitted to manage
the matter in her own fashion, yet her first feeling
on receiving Clement's confession was one
of great resentment against Mabel.

Refuse Clement! Refuse her dear good
clever brother Clement! What was the girl
dreaming of?

"It turns out luckily, of course; but it's
quite outrageous of Mabel, all the same!"
exclaimed Miss Charlewood, mentally. But
by-and-by she got over that feeling in a great
measure. Penelope Charlewood was too clear-
headed and clever not to perceive the utter
unreasonableness of any such resentment, and her
combativeness was presently aroused on behalf
of the absent Mabel, by Augusta's frequent
attacks upon her former dear friend, until at last
Penelope came to be looked upon in the family
as the recognised champion of Mrs. Saxelby and
her daughter.

"Mabel Earnshaw has refused Clem, papa,
so you need not feel any more anxiety about
that matter," Miss Charlewood had said to her

"Is it possible your brother was such a fool
as to ask her to marry him? Good Heavens!
What an escape he has hadwhat an escape we
have all had! However, after the step that
misguided girl has taken, with the concurrence,
too, of her weak mother, of course Clement is
entirely cured of his folly."

"Humph!" said Miss Charlewood.

But after that time she did go once or twice
to Hazlehurst to see the widow. The first time
she told Clement carelessly of her having done
so, she was rewarded by the kindest smile she
had seen on his face for many a day (for Clement
had grown very grave and stern), and by a warm
pressure of his hand. "I only go out of
aggravation," explained Penny, "and to assert my
right of private judgment. I don't choose to
let Augusta and Miss Fluke talk me down, on
any subject whatever."

Nevertheless her brother's smile had been
very sweet to her; and as we all know how soon
any one becomes endeared to us, towards whom
we have performed a kind action, Penelope
began thenceforward to grow quite fond of Mrs.
Saxelby, and to take her and Dooley completely
under her wing.

"I'm yeady," cried Dooley, appearing at the
sitting-room door. "I saw de ponies. I like
'em. May I dive?"

"We'll see about that, Dooley. Are you
ready, Mrs. Saxelby? Please to get in that
side. Betty, get a footstool for Master Julian
to sit on in front of us. That's it. You can
go home now, Jackson. Mr. Clement will meet
me and drive me back. Give them their heads.
Go along, Jack and Jill, like a pair of beauties
as you are."

And the spirited little beasts rattled off
briskly with their light load. "You're not
afraid to trust yourself with me, Mrs. Saxelby?
I'm a pretty fair whip, and the ponies are
perfectly steady."

"Oh no, I'm not at all afraid on the
country roads. II don't much like a lady's driving
in town."

"I thought it would be so much nicer to get
rid of the servant. One can't talk with a
groom's ear within three inches of your head.
So I brought this little trap and the ponies,
which I can manage by myself."

"It is very pleasant, indeed," said Mrs.
Saxelby, leaning back in the carriage.

The day was delicious, the country all bursting
into fresh green, and the rapid easy motion
of the vehicle was exhilarating. A delicate
colour came into Mrs. Saxelby's pale cheek, and
her eyes grew bright under these combined
pleasant influences.

"I have some news to give you, Mrs.
Saxelby," said Penelope, when they had
proceeded a little distance.

"Some news?"

"Yes. Augusta is going to be married."

"Really? I am very glad to hear it, and I
hope she will be happy."

"Oh, I dare say she will be as happy as one
can expect," rejoined Penelope, rubbing the
handle of the driving-whip across her chin,
with a little air of vexation. "There will
always be troubles, of course. Somebody is
sure to have a handsomer gown than she has,
or a newer-fashioned bonnet. These things
must happen sometimes."

"Do you like your future brother-in-law?"

"No, I don't. But that's of very little
consequence. He has good points. I think he
won't make Gussy a bad husband, because her
peculiarities won't worry him as they would
some men. He's as placid as a sheepand
nearly as silly. But he comes of a good family,
and is a gentleman in his ways, and will have
plenty of money some day."

"I suppose he does not belong to

"No; his family are Irish people."


"Yes; all beginning with capital O's for
generations back. Which is an unspeakable
comfort. His name is Dawson. The Reverend
Malachi Dawson."

"A clergyman?"

"To be sure. Augusta would never have
married any but a parson. And he's horribly
low church too, which I detest. He has just
got a living in the neighbourhood of Eastfield.
A charming house and grounds, I believe. And
the marriage is to take place soon. The day is
not fixed, but I believe it will be at the beginning
of July."

There was a little pause, and then Julian
observed in an abstracted manner, and as a general
proposition not especially applicable to the
present circumstances, that "Dack and Dill"
were "pitty," and that he was not "fightened
of 'em."