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order, and was the mother of Tom Marjoribanks. She was not a frequent visitor at Carlingford, for she and her brother-in-law had various points on which they were not of accord. The Doctor, for his part, could not but feel perennially injured that the boy had fallen to the lot of Mrs John, while he had only a girl—even though that girl was Lucilla; and aunt Jemima could not forgive him for the rude way in which he treated her health, which was so delicate, and his want of sympathy for many other people who were delicate too. Even when she arrived, and was being entertained with the usual cup of tea, fears of her brother-in-law's robustness and unsympathetic ways had begun to overpower her. "I hope your papa does not ask too much from you, Lucilla," she said, as she sat in her easy-chair, and took her tea by the fire in the cozy room which had been prepared for her. "I hope he does not make you do too much, for I am sure you are not strong,
my dear. Your poor mamma, you know "and
Mrs John looked with a certain pathos at her niece, as though she saw signs of evil in Lucilla's fresh complexion and substantial frame.
"I am pretty well, thank you, aunt Jemima," said Miss Marjoribanks; "and papa lets me do pretty much what I like: I am too old now, you know, to be told what to do."
"Don't call yourself old, my dear," said aunt Jemima, with a passing gleatn of worldly wisdom—"one gets old quite soon enough. Are you subject to headaches, Lucilla, or pains in the limbs? Your poor mamma"
"Dear aunt Jemima, I am as well as ever I can be," said Miss Marjoribanks. "Tell me when you heard from Tom, and what he is doing. Let me see, it is ten years since he went away. I used to write to him, but he did not answer my letters—not as he ought, you know. I suppose he has found friends among the Calcutta ladies," said Lucilla, with a slight but not unapparent sigh.
"He never says anything to me about Calcutta ladies," said Tom's mother; "to tell the truth, I always thought before he went away that he was fond of you —I must have been mistaken, as he never said anything; and that was very fortunate at all events."
"I am sure I am very thankful he was not fond of me," said Lucilla, with a little natural irritation, "for I never could have returned it. But I should like to know why that was so fortunate. I can't see that it would have been such a very bad thing for him, for my part."
"Yes, my dear," said aunt Jemima, placidly, "it would have been a very bad thing; for you know, Lucilla, though you get on very nicely here, you never could have done for a poor man's wife."
Miss Marjoribanks's bosom swelled when she heard these words—it swelled with that profound sense of being unappreciated and misunderstood, which is one of the hardest trials in the way of genius; but naturally she was not going to let her aunt see her mortification. "I don't mean to be any man's wife just now," she said, making a gulp of it—" I am too busy electioneering; we are going to have a new member in dear old Mr Chiltern's place. Perhaps he will come in this evening to talk things over, and you shall see him," Lucilla added, graciously. She was a little excited about the candidate, as was not unnatural—more excited, perhaps, than she would have been ten years ago, when life was young; and then it was not to be expected that she could be pleased with aunt Jemima for thinking it was so fortunate; though even that touch of wounded pride did not lead Miss Marjoribanks to glorify herself by betraying Tom.
"My brother-in-law used to be a dreadful Radical," said aunt Jemima; "I hope it is not one of those revolutionary men; I have seen your poor uncle sit up arguing with him till I thought they never would be done. If that is the kind of thing, I hope you will not associate yourself with it, Lucilla. Your papa should have more sense than to let you. It does not do a young woman any good. I should never have permitted it if you had been my daughter," added Mrs John, with a little heat—for, to tell the truth, she too felt a slight vexation on her part that the Doctor had the girl—even though not for twenty girls would she have given up Tom.
Miss Marjoribanks looked upon the weak woman who thus ventured to address her with indescribable feelings; but after all she was not so much angry as amused and compassionate. She could not help thinking to herself, if she had been Mrs John's daughter, how perfectly docile aunt Jemima would have been by this time, and how little she would have really ventured to interfere. "It would have been very nice," she said, with a meditative realisation of the possibility— " though it is very odd to think how one could have been one's own cousin—I should have taken very good care of you, I am sure."
"You would have done no such thing," said Mrs John; "you would have gone off and married; I know how girls do. You have not married now, because you have been too comfortable, Lucilla. You have had everything your own way, and all that you wanted, without any of the bother. It is very strange how differently people's lots are ordered. I was married at seventeen—and I am sure I have not known what it was to have a day's health"
"Dear aunt Jemima!" said her affectionate niece, kissing her, "but papa shall see if he cannot give you something, and we will take such care of you while you are here."
Mrs John was softened in spite of herself; but still she shook her head. "It is very nice of you to say so, my dear," she said, " and it's pleasant to feel that one has somebody belonging to one; but I have not much confidence in your papa. He never understood my complaints. I used to be very sorry for your poor mamma. He never showed that sympathy—but I did not mean to blame him to you, Lucilla. I am sure he is a very good father to you."
"He has been a perfect old angel," said Miss Marjoribanks; and then the conversation came to a pause, as it was time to dress for dinner. Mrs John Marjoribanks had a very nice room, and everything that was adapted to make her comfortable; but she too had something to think of when the door closed upon Lucilla, and she was left with her maid and her hot water and her black velvet gown. Perhaps it was a little inconsistent to wear a black velvet gown with her widow's cap; it was a question which she had long debated in her mind before she resigned herself to the temptation—but then it always looked so well, and was so very profitable I and Mrs John felt that it was incumbent upon her to keep up a respectable appearance for Tom's sake. Tom was very much in her mind at that moment, as indeed he always was;