At this observation the young saint laid her head on her brother's shoulder and had a good cry like any other girl. When she recovered a little she told him, yes, she had been very unhappy: that he had always been a dear good brother to her, and the only one she had; and that it cut her to the heart not to be at his wedding; it seemed so unkind.
Alfred set her on his knee--she had more soul than body--and kissed her and comforted her: and, in this happy revival of natural affection, his heart opened, he was off his guard, and told her all: gave her the several proofs their father had got the L. 14,000. Jane, arrested by the skill and logical clearness with which he marshalled the proofs, listened in silence; and presently a keen shudder ran through her frame, and reminded him he was setting a daughter against her father.
"There," said he, "I always said I would never tell you, and now I've done it. Well, at least you will see with what consideration, and unheard-of leniency, the Dodds for our sake are treating Mr. Richard Hardie. Just compare their conduct to him with his to them. And which is most to his advantage? that I should marry Julia, and give Mrs. Dodd the life interest in my ten thousand pounds, to balance his dishonesty, or for him to be indicted as a thief? Ned Dodd told us plainly he would have set the police on him, had any other but his son been the informant"
"Did _he_ say that? Oh, Alfred, this is a miserable world."
"I can't see that: it is the jolliest world in the world: everything is bright and lovely, and everybody is happy except a few sick people, and a few peevish ones that run to meet trouble. To-morrow I marry my sweet Julia; Richard Hardie will find we two don't molest him, nor trouble our heads about him. He will get used to us; and one fine day we shall say to him, 'Now, we know all about the L. 14,000: just leave it by will to dear Jenny, and let my friend Dodd marry her, and you can enjoy it unmolested for your lifetime.' He will consent: and you will marry Ned, and then you'll find the world has been wickedly slandered by dishonest men and dismal dogs."
In this strain he continued till he made her blush a good deal and smile a little; a sad smile.
But at last she said, "If I was sure all this is true, I think I should go--with a heavy heart--to your wedding. If I don't, the best part of me will be there, my prayers, and my warm, warm wishes for you both. Kiss her for me, and tell her so; and that I hope we shall meet round His throne soon, if we cannot meet at His altar to-morrow."
Brother and sister then kissed one another affectionately; and Alfred ran back like the wind to Albion Cottage. Julia was not in the drawing-room, and some coolish tea was. After waiting half an hour he got impatient, and sent Sarah to say he had a message for her. Sarah went upstairs to Mrs. Dodd's room, and was instantly absorbed. After waiting again for a long time, Alfred persuaded Edward to try his luck. Edward went up to Mrs. Dodd's room, and was absorbed.