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29. CHAPTER XXIX (continued)
Then his thoughts turned to Egypt and the tenth plague. It seemed to him that if the little Egyptians had been anything like Ernest, the plague must have been something very like a blessing in disguise. If the Israelites were to come to England now he should be greatly tempted not to let them go.
Mrs Theobald's thoughts ran in a different current. "Lord Lonsford's grandson--it's a pity his name is Figgins; however, blood is blood as much through the female line as the male, indeed, perhaps even more so if the truth were known. I wonder who Mr Figgins was. I think Mrs Skinner said he was dead, however, I must find out all about him. It would be delightful if young Figgins were to ask Ernest home for the holidays. Who knows but he might meet Lord Lonsford himself, or at any rate some of Lord Lonsford's other descendants?"
Meanwhile the boy himself was still sitting moodily before the fire in Mrs Jay's room. "Papa and Mamma," he was saying to himself, "are much better and cleverer than anyone else, but, I, alas! shall never be either good or clever."
Mrs Pontifex continued -
"Perhaps it would be best to get young Figgins on a visit to ourselves first. That would be charming. Theobald would not like it, for he does not like children; I must see how I can manage it, for it would be so nice to have young Figgins--or stay! Ernest shall go and stay with Figgins and meet the future Lord Lonsford, who I should think must be about Ernest's age, and then if he and Ernest were to become friends Ernest might ask him to Battersby, and he might fall in love with Charlotte. I think we have done MOST WISELY in sending Ernest to Dr Skinner's. Dr Skinner's piety is no less remarkable than his genius. One can tell these things at a glance, and he must have felt it about me no less strongly than I about him. I think he seemed much struck with Theobald and myself-- indeed, Theobald's intellectual power must impress any one, and I was showing, I do believe, to my best advantage. When I smiled at him and said I left my boy in his hands with the most entire confidence that he would be as well cared for as if he were at my own house, I am sure he was greatly pleased. I should not think many of the mothers who bring him boys can impress him so favourably, or say such nice things to him as I did. My smile is sweet when I desire to make it so. I never was perhaps exactly pretty, but I was always admitted to be fascinating. Dr Skinner is a very handsome man--too good on the whole I should say for Mrs Skinner. Theobald says he is not handsome, but men are no judges, and he has such a pleasant bright face. I think my bonnet became me. As soon as I get home I will tell Chambers to trim my blue and yellow merino with--" etc., etc.
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