The Daisy Chain or Aspirations HTML version

Chapter II.10
True to the kindred points of Heaven and home.
Etheldred's dream was over. She had wakened to the inside of a Great
Western carriage, her father beside her, and opposite a thin, foreign-looking
gentleman. Her father, to whom her life was to be devoted! She looked at his
profile, defined against the window, and did not repent. In a sort of impulse
to do something for him, she took his hat from his hand, and was going to
dispose of it in the roof, when he turned, smiling his thanks, but saying, "it
was not worth while--this carriage was a very transitory resting-place."
The stranger at that moment sprang to his feet, exclaiming, "Dick himself!"
"Spencer, old fellow, is it you?" cried Dr. May, in a voice of equal amazement
and joy, holding out his hand, which was grasped and wrung with a force that
made Ethel shrink for the poor maimed arm.
"Ha! what is amiss with your arm?" was the immediate question. Three
technical words were spoken in a matter-of-fact way, as Dr. May replaced his
hand in his bosom, and then, with an eager smile, said, "Ethel, here! You
have heard of him!"
Ethel had indeed, and gave her hand cordially, surprised by the bow and air
of deferential politeness with which it was received, like a favour, while Dr.
Spencer asked her whether she had been staying in Oxford.
"Ay; and what for, do you think?" said Dr. May joyously.
"You don't say that was your son who held forth yesterday! I thought his
voice had a trick of yours--but then I thought you would have held by old
"What could I do?" said Dr. May deprecatingly; "the boy would go and get a
Balliol scholarship--"
"Why! the lad is a genius! a poet--no mistake about it! but I scarcely thought
you could have one of such an age."
"Of his age! His brother is in Holy Orders--one of his sisters is married.
There's for you, Spencer!"
"Bless me, Dick! I thought myself a young man!"
"What! with hair of that colour?" said Dr. May, looking at his friend's milk-
white locks.