"It is just a year to-day since the children came," said Miss Esperance.
Mr. Wycherly took her frail, beautiful old
hand in his and raised it to his lips.
Miss Esperance sat down on the only chair in the hall and began to cry.
The two children were sitting on either
side of Mr. Wycherly at his round table.
"Here's yer bawth watter—sir."
"I'll whisper it to you," murmured the helpful Montagu;
"it goes like this — 'Hickory, dickory, dock.'"
He discovered, to his joy, that Edmund was asleep.
He thought her fair to look upon, and his whistling ceased.
He felt that she was in some sort of disgrace and needed comforting.
"Mine's is a poseetion o' great responsibeelity."
"Piskey and Presbey were two pretty men," Montagu murmured dreamily.
She rested on her fork in fear and trembling
as to what could have happened.
Arriving at a clear conception of the beauty of pure line.
Therefore did she take from her pocket a screw of paper.
"Can you buy happiness?"
"Deah man, Chahlee."
Square and sturdy and rebellious.
She fastened a little bunch of them into her waistband.
"Much learning hath made you mad."
"You must be perfectly quiet, my dear; you must not say a single word."
Mr. Wycherly assisted to direct Edmund's fat
pink fingers into a tight, white cotton glove.
"I'm going," he added gleefully, "becos' zere's ducks for dinner."
Here was a pretty kettle of fish!
The Miss Moffats, seated behind the curtains that
Lady Alicia had admired, heard her every word.
She had been known to yawn openly, and apparently
unashamed, during the minister's sermons.
Never was such a tiger — so fierce,
so elusive, so dashing, so unexpected."
... and carried her to the sofa in the parlour.
"Then they aren't kind of fortygraphs," Edmund exclaimed aghast.
"We are sorry, we really are."
"We have always been a fighting race,"
Miss Esperance remarked complacently.
He did not feel called upon to interfere between the boys.
... he took a small boy on each knee, and poked fun at them.
"Edmund, my dear boy, where in the world did you learn that song?"
"I didn't see you in the church last Sabbath; and how was that?"
"He's awfu' kind to they bairns," said Elsa.
"But never forget that you yourself are a
Bethune, for it is a proud name to bear!"
... or the 'jelly drink' she was too weak to reach for herself.
Very quietly Montagu lit a candle, and the two
sped across the landing to Mr. Wycherly's room.
Montagu pointed out that it was better to
mountains of washing than that his aunt should starve.
"Mr. Wycherly, I am anxious about Montagu,"
Miss Esperance began somewhat tremulously.
"I shall be an Epicurean when I'm grown up."
"The angel was your aunt, Montagu, and I — I was the man."
With trembling hands he took down the portrait of John Knox above
the mantelpiece, and hung the arms of New College in its place.
"I have you; and what is far more important, they have you."
Mr. Wycherly was left alone, for Miss Esperance had gone on.