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siderable degree, Mr. Boxall had never come to regard his sister's match with a music-master as other than a degradation to the family, and had, in his best humours, never got farther in the humanities of the kingdom of heaven, than to patronize his brother-in-law; though if size and quality go for anything in existence itself, as they do in all its accidents, Richard Boxall was scarcely comparable, honest and able man as he was, to Cecil Burton; who, however, except that he was the father of Lucy, and so in some measure accounts for her, is below the western horizon of our story, and therefore needs scarcely be alluded to again. This behaviour of her brother was more galling to Mrs. Burton than to her husband, who smiled down any allusion to it; and when she was compelled (upon the death of Mr. Burton) to accept Richard's kindness in the shape of money, it was with a bitterness of feeling which showed itself plainly enough to wound the self-love of the consciously benevolent man of business. But from the first there had been the friendliest relations between the mother and daughter, and it was only from her determination to avoid all ground of misunderstanding, that Mrs. Boxall had not consented to take up her abode with the Burtons. Consequently after the death of the husband, the mother drew yet closer to the daughter, while the breach between brother and sister widened.
Two years after the death of Cecil Burton, his wife followed him. Then Mrs. Boxall took her grandchild Lucy home to Guild Court, and between the two there never
arose the question of which should be the greater. It often happens that even a severe mother becomes an indulgent grandmother, partly from the softening and mellowing influences of time, partly from increase of confidence in childnature generally, and perhaps also in part from a diminished sense of responsibility in regard to a child not immediately her own. Hence grandparents who have brought up their own children well are in danger of spoiling severely those of their sons and daughters.
daughters. And such might
have been the case with Mrs. Boxall and Lucy, had Lucy been of a more spoilable nature.
But she had no idea of how much she had her own way, nor would it have made any difference to her if she had known it. There was a certain wonderfui delicacy of moral touch about her, in the discrimination of what was becoming as well as of what was right, which resulted in a freedom the legalist of society would have called boldness, and a restraint which the same judge would have designated particularity ; for Lucy's ways could not but be different from the ways of one who feared and obeyed, as she best could, existing laws hard to interpret, while Lucy was a law unto herself. The harmonies of the music by which, from her earliest childhood, her growing brain had been interpenetrated, had, by her sweet will, been transformed into harmonies of thought, feeling, and action. She was not clever, but then she did not think she was clever, and therefore it was of no consequence; for she was not dependent upon her intellect for thos judgments which alone are of importance in the reality of things, and in which clever people are just as likely to go wrong as any other body, She had a great gift in music—a gift which Thomas Worboise had never yet discovered, and which, at this period of his history, he was incapable of discovering, for he had not got beyond the toffee of drawing-room sentiment—the song which must be sent forth to the universe from the pedestal of ivory shoulders. But two lines of a ballad from Lucy Burton were worth all the music, “She walks in beauty” included, that Mary Boxall could sing or play.
Lucy had not seen her cousins for years. Her uncle Richard, though incapable of being other than satisfied that the orphan should be an inmate of the house in Guild Court, could not, or, at least, did not forget the mildly defiant look with which she retreated from his outstretched hand, and took her place beside her mother, on the sole occasion on which he called upon his sister after her husband's death. She had heard remarks—and being her mother's, she could not question the justice of them. Hence she had not once, since she had taken up her abode with her grandmother, been invited to visit her cousins; and there was no affectation, but in truth, a little anxiety, in the question she asked Thomas Worboise about Mary Boxall's beauty. But, indeed, had she given her uncle no such offence, I have every reason to believe that her society would not have been much courted by his family. When the good among rich relations can be loving without condescension, and the good among poor relations can make sufficient allowance for the rich, then the kingdom of heaven will be nigh at hand. Mr. Boxall shook hands with his niece when he met her, asked her after his mother, and passed on.
But Lucy was not dependent on her uncle, scarcely on her grandmother, even. Before her mother's death, almost child as she still was, she had begun to give lessons in music to a younger child than herself, the daughter of one of her father's favourite pupils, who had married a rich merchant; and these lessons she continued. She was a favourite with the family, who were Jews