Mr. Hardie smiled sarcastically. "Don't you see that if the mind can wound the brain, the mind can cure it?" Then, after a while, he said parentally, "My child, I must give you a lesson: men of the world use enthusiasts--like those two I have just been drawing out--for their tools; we don't let them make tools of us. Osmond, you know, is jackal to an asylum in London; Dr. Wycherley, I have heard, keeps two or three such establishments by himself or his agents: blinded by self-interest and that of their clique--what an egotistical world it is, to be sure!--they would confine a melancholy youth in a gloomy house, among afflicted persons, and give him nothing to do but brood; and so turn the scale against his reason. But I have my children's interest at heart more than my own: I shall send him abroad, and so amuse his mind with fresh objects, break off sad associations, and restore him to a brilliant career. I count on you to second me in my little scheme for his good."
"Somehow, I don't know why, he is coolish to me."
"He does not understand you as I do, my own papa."
"But he is affectionate with you, I think."
"Oh yes, more than ever: trouble has drawn us closer. Papa, in the midst of our sorrow, how much we have to be thankful for to the Giver of all good things!"
"Yes, little angel: and you must improve Heaven's goodness by working on your brother's affection, and persuading him to this continental tour."
Thus appealed to, Jane promised warmly: and the man of the world, finding he had a blind and willing instrument in the one creature he loved, kissed her on the forehead, and told her to run away, for here was Mr. Skinner, who no doubt wanted to speak on business.
Skinner, who had in fact been holding respectfully aloof for some time, came forward on Jane's retiring, and in a very obsequious tone requested a private interview. Mr. Hardie led the way into the little dining-room.