was neglected, just at a time when I wanted friends most. Mamma does not know it; it is not in her to know what I might have been, if I had only fallen into wise, good hands. But I know it; and, whats more, continued she, suddenly ashamed of her unusual exhibition of feeling, I try not to care, which I daresay is really the worst of all; but I could worry myself to death, if I once took to serious thinking.
I wish I could help you, or even understand you, said Molly, after a moment or two of sad perplexity.
You can help me, said Cynthia, changing her manner abruptly. I can trim bonnets, and make head- dresses; but somehow my hands cant fold up gowns and collars, like your deft fingers. Please will you help me to pack? Thats a real, tangible piece of kindness, and not sentimental consolation for sentimental distresses, which are, perhaps, imaginary after all.
In general, it is the people that are left behind stationary, who give way to low spirits at any parting; the travellers, however bitterly they may feel the separation, find something in the change of scene to soften regret in the very first hour of separation. But, as Molly walked home with her father from seeing Mrs. Gibson and Cynthia off to London by the Umpire coach, she almost danced along the street.
Now, papa! said she, Im going to have you all to myself for a whole week. You must be very obedient.
Dont be tyrannical, then! Youre walking me out of breath, and were cutting Mrs. Goodenough, in our hurry.
So they crossed over the street, to speak to Mrs. Goodenough.
Weve just been seeing my wife and her daughter off to London. Mrs. Gibson has gone up for a week!
Deary, deary, to London, and only for a week! Why, I can remember its being a three days journey! Itll be very lonesome for you, Miss Molly, without your young companion!
Yes! said Molly, suddenly feeling as if she ought to have taken this view of the case. I shall miss Cynthia very much.
And you, Mr. Gibson; why, itll be like being a widower once again! You must come and drink tea with me some evening. We must try and cheer you up a bit amongst us. Shall it be Tuesday?
In spite of the sharp pinch which Molly gave his arm, Mr. Gibson accepted the invitation, much to the gratification of the old lady.
Papa, how could you go and waste one of our evenings! We have but six in all, and now but five; and I had so reckoned on our doing all sorts of things together.
What sort of things?
Oh, I dont know: everything that is unrefined and ungenteel, added she, slily looking up into her fathers face.
His eyes twinkled, but the rest of his face was perfectly grave. Im not going to be corrupted. With toil and labour Ive reached a very fair height of refinement. I wont be pulled down again.
Yes, you will, papa. Well have bread-and-cheese for lunch this very day. And you shall wear your slippers in the drawing-room every evening youll stay quietly at home; and oh, papa, dont you think I could ride Nora Creina? Ive been looking out the old grey skirt, and I think I could make myself tidy.
Where is the side-saddle to come from?
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