Abbey with my grandfather and grandmother, the Lord and Lady St. Leger.
At one time we were a family of five. There was my Uncle Luke, and there
was my cousin Theobald.
Theobald was my boy cousin, and we played together up and down the long
corridors in winter, and in the darkness of the underground passage, in
summer in the woods and shrubberies and gardens, and we were happy
I was eager to please Theobald, and I put away from me my natural
shrinkings from things he did not mind, lest he should despise me and be
dissatisfied with me, longing for a boy's company. I would do all he
did, and I must have been a famous tomboy. But my reward was that he
never seemed to desire other company than mine.
Once, indeed, I remember that when he handed me live bait to put upon
the hook I turned suddenly pale and burst into tears.
When I had done it I looked at him apprehensively, dreading to see his
contempt written in his face, but there was no such thing. There was
instead the dawn of a new feeling. My cousin's face wore such an
expression as I had never seen in it before. He was at this time a tall
boy of fifteen, and Bridget Connor, my grandmother's maid, was making me
my first long frock.
He looked at me with that strange expression, and he said, "Poor little
It was the beginning of the new order of things in which I fagged for
him no more, but was spared the labours and fatigues I had endured
cheerfully during our early years. Indeed, I often wonder now at the
things I did for him, such things as the feminine nature turns from with
horror, although they seem to come naturally enough to a boy.
(Excerpt from Chapter 1)