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I am very
as well as so pretty, and really we quite became friends. glad to think I shall see her "You managed the teaching all right, I suppose. Has she much to learn ?"
"Oh, indeed she has, and to unlearn. I don't wonder at the Professor's wrath. But I think she will improve. However-" Christina pausing for a moment, saw him listening with a quiet smile of interest, -"Kenneth, she is living with her sister, Lady Margaret Dacre, whose husband, Sir George, you know-"
The man who bought Glendarroch !" exclaimed her brother, with a sudden gleam in his dark eyes, while his face flushed all over. "So it has come to that! you a teacher in his house!"
"Such is fate—the disinherited princess giving music lessons to the usurper's kindred," said Christina with a smile. "It would do for a novel. Come, Ken, it's too late for us to mind that sort of thing. Besides I'm rather proud of it, and it amuses me, so don't you protest.' "I ought not to mind such things, I suppose," said Kenneth, impatiently, “but I do. I wish to heaven you had found some one else to teach !"
"O, but Ken, she is charming-and only think of the guineas! I shall never have such a chance again! Besides, I really think it's good fun. I didn't tell her who I was, for I enjoyed the mystery, and of course I won't, if you had rather not."
'Mysteries are absurd-as if I cared about that! it is the actual fact, not their knowing it, which is-somehow-well! never mind! I'm not going to let it worry me," added he with an effort, turning away. "O, Charlie, are you there? Have you got the new anthem? Let me look at it."
Christina had had a far more sympathetic listener in old Mrs. Earle, who had long ago faced the fact of her teaching as an admitted necessity. "But I think, my dear, it will be wise to let them know who you are, for they will be sure to treat you well if they are such nice people as you say."
"I'll tell them some day, when I see an opening for it," Christina decided. She did not wish to be in a hurry. They treated her very well already; and she liked the excitement of the "mystery."
The practisings were continued every morning, and both teacher and scholar enjoyed them thoroughly. But before a week had passed there was a commotion in the house.
"I can't stand this perpetual noise !" exclaimed Sir George, dashing down upon the library table the blue-book which he had been studying. How is a man to work up the statistics of the Drainage Commission with that intolerable jingling going on overhead? it's worse than a thousand barrel organs, or millions of shrieking babiesit's perfectly maddening!"
"You had better tell Bessy so," said Lady Margaret, who had taken refuge in the library to finish an exciting novel in peace. She spoke without looking up, and added, "Bessy can easily find another time for her practising if it bores you."
"I shall request her to do so at once!" said Sir George, hastily crossing the room.
"Don't be savage!" called out Margaret, but he was gone; and rushing up stairs, he burst in upon the two damsels, with all the fury of long-suppressed irritation.
'Bessy, will you have the goodness to stop this jingling? I cannot work with this incessant noise going on all the morning. It is positively maddening! Pardon this interruption, Miss-Miss-Gordon," he added, turning to Christina, "but I am engaged in most important investigations, and I—I—cannot stand this intolerable noise! I must entreat you to find some other time, or place," and he departed as quickly as he had come.
"Noise! jingling!" said Bessy, ruefully, "Miss Grahame, I am so sorry, I hope you will forgive poor George! he might have put it more nicely."
"There is plenty of excuse, indeed though," said Christina, smiling. "I have to consider my brothers' ears, when they have any work to do at home, which is not often the case."
"And you have no one else at home who finds practising in the way ?"
"The dear old lady whom we live with is too deaf to mind."
"How fortunate for you! I wonder now whether it would suit you to come in the afternoon? though certainly George often stays in till four."
"I cannot come till after five. I have some little children to teach." “What shall we do? I wish I could hire a piano somewhere—and a room-out of the house! it is horrid to be in the way, when they are so kind to me. Perhaps at Chappell's, or-do you know of any place where I could go ?"
"I suppose you would hardly care to come as far as Claremont Street?" said Christina, astonished at her own daring in making the proffer. "Our piano at home is a very good one, though old-fashioned; and I could give you lessons there any morning when you cannot practise here."
"I should like it of all things!" cried Bessy. "May I really? how delicious! And can we go now? it's not twelve o'clock.—I have not had an hour yet."
Christina readily consented.
"Is it far? O, we'll have a cab, and I will get ready at once. I must fly to Madame first though, and tell her. her, I wonder? O here she comes !"
What has become of
As soon as Elizabeth announced her intention, Madame de Bosch declared that she too would go.
“O Madame, dear angel, hasten thyself then!" cried Elizabeth, as she darted away up stairs; but she presently turned back to meet her chaperon, who was ascending with greater deliberation. "Are you sure you're not tired? Won't Pique (her maid) do as well ?"
"No, little one," said the stout German lady, shaking her head. "Thou and I will go together the first time, and I will with my own eyes see what the home of the young lady is like. Thou art too impetuous. It may be all that is 'nice and proper,' (this she said in
English,) but I wish to be assured thereof by my personal observation," "Of course; but there is no fear!" cried Elizabeth. "Dost think so fair a spirit can have an unlovely shrine? I tell thee nay! but hasten, my beloved guardian !"
Elizabeth, fresh from the perusal of "Charles Auchester" was prepared to find Christina's home and belongings all more or less ideal and interesting. The dingy outside of the house in Claremont Street somewhat damped her expectations; but it was a bright April day, and when she entered the sitting-room filled with a flood of sunshine from the wide opened windows, with the fresh young leaves of the lime tree outside shining all golden and green in the noonday rays, she heeded not the bare worn carpet and shabby furniture. "Oh how bright," she exclaimed, "I always hate to see the sun shut out! And may I look at your pictures? what a pretty water-colour that is-did you do it? O, and what is this?—just like—why, it is my brother's new place in Scotland!"
Glendarroch, yes. Once it was my brother's old place," said
Christina, in tones of perfect calmness, though she could not help smiling to herself, as she went forward to open the piano.
"Not really!" exclaimed Elizabeth. "That lovely Glendarroch! How stupid of me never to think of your name being- They always called it Graeme down there! I was there last year with George and Margaret. Oh how sad for you to lose that dear delightful old place! Please don't hate poor George though! You can't think how we all adore Glendarroch !"
"I'm very glad it has fallen into good hands," said Christina magnanimously. But we must not lose time. Will you try the piano, and see whether you like it?"
"Very well," said Elizabeth, seating herself, "only I do so want to talk. How light the touch is; yes, this is nice for a change."
The lesson went on without interruption till one o'clock, when Sarah entered with a table-cloth.
“O, I must not stay any longer," said Elizabeth.
"We are busy people, and have to be punctual," said Christina, smiling. "Now, do you like coming here? and are you willing to have a longer lesson to-morrow, to make up for lost time to-day ?" "Most certainly. Shall I be with you earlier ?"
"Can you come at 10, or 10.30 ?"
"I'll try. How good of you to have me here! I do like it so much. And if I come early we shall have time for a little talk about Scotland."
Elizabeth returned full of all she had heard and seen. Even the placid Margaret's interest was roused, when she discovered who the pretty young music-mistress was. Madame de Bosch gave a favourable report of Claremont Street, so, in spite of the distance Elizabeth went off there every morning for a practice, and Sir George was able to pursue his Drainage investigations in peace.
The more the two girls saw of each other the better they liked one another, till the acquaintance deepened into friendship. Christina's heart was soon won by Elizabeth's openly expressed affection and admiration, both so fresh and genuine that she could never dream of doubting them. While to Elizabeth the romance was perfectly delightful! She had idealized Christina, and her artist-life from the first, and now the fascination of the family history had fairly enthralled her imagination. It was not long before she became acquainted with old Mrs. Earle, whom she dubbed at once the fairy godmother; and the old lady fell
in love with her directly. Besides, she liked Madame de Bosch, and frequently invited her into her own little drawing-room while the lesson went on in the other. When the "Guardian angel" and the "Fairy godmother" were thus disposed of, the two girls chattered away without reserve. Now and then Charlie had looked in for a moment; but he seldom reached home before Elizabeth's departure. She never saw Kenneth. It was not long however before her curiosity was aroused concerning the brother whom Christina regarded as a perfect hero. "Are you never going to play at a concert again ?" she asked with surprise. "Isn't he proud of your having done it? I don't understand."
"He does not care for my doing it again," said Christina; "and I would give up anything to please Kenneth."
"Do you love him better than you love Art ?"
"Yes," she answered, unhesitatingly. "You think that weak? I cannot help it."
"I thought you would have been ready to give up all for musicthe most glorious thing that exists! How strange! He must be indeed a hero, if you can feel such devotion as that!
like? tell me."
What is he
"It's so hard to describe people one cares for. Well, to look at, he is more like Charlie than myself. Here comes that small person." The little chorister had come in with his books and music and trencher cap in his hands. He stopped short, with a courteous inclination of the head, when he perceived Elizabeth; but he was perfectly unembarrassed, and spoke in answer to his sister's last remark, “Kenneth is not much like me, Christina. There," pointing to one of the pictures," he is the image of Claverhouse."
"What, Bonnie Dundee ?" said Elizabeth, gazing on the regular features and deep melancholy eyes of the portrait with immense admiration. 'Is he really as beautiful as that?"
"Well, there is a resemblance, barring the wig and the armour," said Christina. "If Ken had lived in those times he might have been taken for the last of the Cavaliers.""
"And perhaps he too would have led a forlorn hope, and perished on the field of honour!" cried Bessy. "People don't do such things now, luckily for their sisters. Only I wish Claverhouse hadn't harried the wretched Covenanters. I can't forgive him that, unless he thought it was a Crusade."