And, if she was vexed with Little for not appreciating her sacrifice, she was quite as angry with Coventry and Jael for being the causes of that unappreciated sacrifice. So then she was irritable and cross. But she could not be that long: so she fell into a languid, listless state: and then she let herself drift. She never sent Jael to the church again.
Mr. Coventry watched all her moods; and when she reached the listless stage, he came softly on again, and began to recover his lost ground.
On the fifth of January occurred a rather curious coincidence. In Hillsborough Dr. Amboyne offered his services to Mrs. Little to reconcile her and her brother. Mrs. Little feared the proposal came too late: but showed an inclination to be reconciled for Henry's sake. But Henry said he would never be reconciled to a man who had insulted his mother. He then reminded her she had sent him clandestinely into Raby Hall to see her picture. "And what did I see? Your picture was turned with its face to the wall, and insulting words written on the back--'Gone into trade.' I didn't mean to tell yell, mother; but you see I have. And, after that, you may be reconciled to the old scoundrel if you like; but don't ask me." Mrs. Little was deeply wounded by this revelation. She tried to make light of it, but failed. She had been a beauty, and the affront was too bitter. Said she, "You mustn't judge him like other people: he was always so very eccentric. Turn my picture to the wall! My poor picture! Oh, Guy, Guy, could one mother have borne you and me?" Amboyne had not a word more to say; he was indignant himself.
Now that very afternoon, as if by the influence of what they call a brain-wave, Grace Carden, who felt herself much stronger with Mr. Raby than when she first came, was moved to ask him, with many apologies, and no little inward tremor, whether she might see the other side of that very picture before she went.
"Don't be angry, uncle dear. Curiosity."
"I do not like to refuse you anything, Grace. But-- Well, if I lend you the key, will you satisfy your curiosity, and then replace the picture as it is?"
"And you shall do it when I am not in the room. It would only open wounds that time has skinned. I'll bring you down the key at dinner-time." Then, assuming a lighter tone, "Your curiosity will be punished; you will see your rival in beauty. That will be new to you."
Grace was half frightened at her own success, and I doubt whether she would ever have asked for the key again; but Raby's word was his bond; he handed her the key at dinner-time.