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Ennis Denzell was its suggester, the amiable Lady Denzell its chief promoter and provider, and Charles and I, Dora and Lucy Bell, principal managers and arrangers, in which latter also Ennis warmly aided us.
Ennis, in their open carriage, drove to our house soon after breakfast. Exceeding lovely she looked in her simple light muslin robe, and little winsome hat and plume of black and white feathers, floating on the soft breeze, suiting well her age and comeliness. Captain Bell made manifest his admiration, and throughout great part of the day devoted himself unto her. Very jealous was poor Charles; and-yea, I may safely relieve my silly heart by inditing my secret within the unseen page of this diary-sadly jealous was I. Howbeit I yielded not to the sinful feeling—no, thankful am I to think that determinately I withstood it. Albeit, the mortification was bitter, for heretofore I have been the recipient of George Bell's attentions. Truly-aye, truly—I love him, from a child, it seems to me, I have loved the good, kind-hearted fellow.
THE morning of our picnic had come, and brought with it such beautiful weather. Throughout the day it fulfilled its bright promises, and rendered our enjoyment complete to all save one. With a parting kiss to grandmamma, who was too great a sufferer from rheumatism to venture accompanying us, I proceeded to the hall by way of the adjoining drawing-rooms, the end one of which opened close upon the hall door.
As I approached I rather lingered upon hearing Jeffry's pompous voice speaking in slow, strongly emphasized words, and I feared being detained by visitors. I was quickly and amusingly undeceived.
"Now mind you keep in remembrance the
lessons I have taken such a deal of pains to teach you, Johnny," were the first words which met my ear, while standing beside the partially closed door; "a deal of pains, as you well know," repeated Jeffry, "and it will be your future duty, as it ought to be your pleasure also, to make a grateful return by practising what I have taught you. Do you understand me, or must I explain my meaning in more simple language?”
"Yes, sir, please," replied a small, humble voice.
"Yes, what?-that you understand me, or that I must speak more simply?"
"No, sir, please."
"Drat the boy!" exclaimed his master, forgetting his dignity; "which do you mean, I say?"
"Please, sir, I don't know."
"Johnny! Johnny! you are trying to provoke me, you young monkey!"
No, sir, please, I ain't!" in frightened
"As I often say to you," resumed the easily pacified Jeffry, "be as quick as you like, but never-never get into a boostle! Mind that,
whatever you do, for as surely as you scramble into a boostle you will get into a mischiefremember that, Johnny; if you gets into a boostle you'll get into a mischief," added Jeffry, in the accents of a man immensely impressed by his own eloquence.
As our old butler's oration contained nothing he would, I knew, object to my hearing, I could not resist the pleasure of listening, and smiled to myself as I pictured his rotund form and face, more than ever inflated with official importance, looming down in the obscurity of great hall upon the slim figure of the little page boy. And how Johnny must be staring at him, I thought; his bright, round eyes half wondering, half perplexed, and wholly reverential, as they always were while under the discipline of his big master's teachings.
John Tucket was one of grandmamma's many charities—one of her many benevolent methods of assisting the poor towards the attainment of some desirable worldly advantage. Under the training of Thomas, the footman, and the punctilious but thoroughly kind-hearted Jeffry, John Tucket was breaking in for his launch
Thereupon I entered warmly into the subject of our gipsy excursion to the Bolton ruins, ten miles distant, and near which, in a beautiful wood, we were to encamp and dine, or lunch, as they might feel disposed. Charles, too, became apparently quite interested on the various matters touching persons to be, or not to be, invited, carriages, provisions, wines, &c., advising, suggesting, and offering, in a spirit of cheerful promptness and clear-sighted skill that was exactly the species of impetus I required to set me off smoothly and yet heartily.
"Sariann and you I can be sure of, then," said I; "but the rector, will he honour us by his presence, do you think? I should be so glad if he would.”
No; excepting his good wishes, and any assistance in the carriage or victualling line, I fear you must expect nothing more from my father."
"Well, we must be content; and, oh, won't it be delightful!" exclaimed I, oblivious of womanly dignity, and bumping ecstatically on my chair. “Do you not long for the day, Charley?"