The other vexation was, that there were frequent short intervals of fine weather, which were immediately taken advantage of for a drive, or a walk, or a sail; and it came out one day from the children, who had learned it in the schoolroom, that the Miss Ibbotsons had been in Dingleford woods.
They were suddenly seen to turn, and walk as fast as they could, without its being called running, towards the house. They were gone to their mother's dressing-room door, to tell her that the Miss Ibbotsons were gone to see Miss Young before breakfast. The path led for some little way under the hedge which separated Mr Grey's from Mr Rowland's garden.
It was Morris, the Miss Ibbotsons' maid; and her appearance gave Sophia a hint to leave her guests to refresh themselves. She glanced over the room, to see that nothing was wanting; pointed out the bell, intimated that the washstands were mahogany, which showed every splash, and explained that the green blinds were meant to be always down when the sun shone in, lest it should fade the carpet.
Margaret succeeded in swallowing her tears, and was, in her inmost soul, thankful for Hester and herself. The letters to Mr Hope's sisters and brother, left open for the signatures of Edward and Hester Hope, were closed and despatched; and the news was communicated to two or three of the Ibbotsons' nearest friends at Birmingham.
"The Ibbotsons, were they there? and the two new beauties, with the tall Irish officer, who is talked of for one of them." "I do not know. I do not think they were." "Old Lady Mary Maclean? I need not ask after her. She never misses, I know; and you must have seen her.
Mrs Rowland hoped for the honour of seeing the Miss Ibbotsons one day the next week, when Mr Rowland should have returned from a little excursion of business.
She was not altogether so heart-sick as her friends, the Ibbotsons; but even to her, everything was weariness of spirit: the landscape seemed dull; the splendid dinner on the grass tiresome; the sunshine sickly; and even the children, with their laughter and practical jokes, fatiguing and troublesome. Even she could easily have spoken sharply to each and all of the little ones.
I should not wonder if the Miss Ibbotsons should be here now before you are ready. But where is Sydney?" "Oh, he is making a pond in his garden there. He dug it before school this morning, and he is filling it now." "Yes," said the other; "and I don't know when he will have done, for as fast as he fills it, it empties again, and he says he cannot think how people keep their ponds filled."
Mrs Rowland never omits calling on our friends; and why should she now?" And Mr Grey applied himself to conversation with his cousins, while the rest of the family enjoyed further merriment about Mrs Rowland having mistaken Morris for one of the Miss Ibbotsons. Mr Grey showed a sympathy with the sisters, which made them more at home than they had felt since they entered the house.
In that case, you will not be offended if I ask you to go away." Mary and Fanny had just reported in the breakfast-parlour, that the Miss Ibbotsons had been "such a time with Miss Young!" when Hester and Margaret entered. The testimony there was all in favour of Miss Young.