The Revolt of Mary Isabel by Lucy Maud
"For a woman of forty, Mary Isabel, you have the least sense of any
person I have ever known," said Louisa Irving.
Louisa had said something similar in spirit to Mary Isabel almost
every day of her life. Mary Isabel had never resented it, even when it
hurt her bitterly. Everybody in Latimer knew that Louisa Irving ruled
her meek little sister with a rod of iron and wondered why Mary Isabel
never rebelled. It simply never occurred to Mary Isabel to do so; all
her life she had given in to Louisa and the thought of refusing
obedience to her sister's Mede-and-Persian decrees never crossed her
mind. Mary Isabel had only one secret from Louisa and she lived in
daily dread that Louisa would discover it. It was a very harmless
little secret, but Mary Isabel felt rightly sure that Louisa would not
tolerate it for a moment.
They were sitting together in the dim living room of their quaint old
cottage down by the shore. The window was open and the sea-breeze blew
in, stirring the prim white curtains fitfully, and ruffling the little
rings of dark hair on Mary Isabel's forehead—rings which always
annoyed Louisa. She thought Mary Isabel ought to brush them straight
back, and Mary Isabel did so faithfully a dozen times a day; and in
ten minutes they crept down again, kinking defiance to Louisa, who
might make Mary Isabel submit to her in all things but had no power
over naturally curly hair. Louisa had never had any trouble with her
own hair; it was straight and sleek and mouse-coloured—what there was
Mary Isabel's face was flushed and her wood-brown eyes looked grieved
and pleading. Mary Isabel was still pretty, and vanity is the last
thing to desert a properly constructed woman.
"I can't wear a bonnet yet, Louisa," she protested. "Bonnets have gone
out for everybody except really old ladies. I want a hat: one of
those pretty, floppy ones with pale blue forget-me-nots."
Then it was that Louisa made the remark quoted above.
"I wore a bonnet before I was forty," she went on ruthlessly, "and so
should every decent woman. It is absurd to be thinking so much of
dress at your age, Mary Isabel. I don't know what sort of a way you'd
bedizen yourself out if I'd let you, I'm sure. It's fortunate you have
somebody to keep you from making a fool of yourself. I'm going to town
tomorrow and I'll pick you out a suitable black bonnet. You'd look
nice starring round in leghorn and forget-me-nots, now, wouldn't you?"
Mary Isabel privately thought she would, but she gave in, of course,
although she did hate bitterly that unbought, unescapable bonnet.
"Well, do as you think best, Louisa," she said with a sigh. "I suppose
it doesn't matter much. Nobody cares how I look anyhow. But can't I go
to town with you? I want to pick out my new silk."
"I'm as good a judge of black silk as you," said Louisa shortly. "It
isn't safe to leave the house alone."
"But I don't want a black silk," cried Mary Isabel. "I've worn black
so long; both my silk dresses have been black. I want a pretty
silver-grey, something like Mrs. Chester Ford's."
"Did anyone ever hear such nonsense?" Louisa wanted to know, in
genuine amazement. "Silver-grey silk is the most unserviceable thing
in the world. There's nothing like black for wear and real elegance.
No, no, Mary Isabel, don't be foolish. You must let me choose for you;
you know you never had any judgment. Mother told you so often enough.
Now, get your sunbonnet and take a walk to the shore. You look tired.
I'll get the tea."
Louisa's tone was kind though firm. She Was really good to Mary Isabel
as long as Mary Isabel gave her her own way peaceably. But if she had
known Mary Isabel's secret she would never have permitted those walks
to the shore.
Mary Isabel sighed again, yielded, and went out. Across a green field
from the Irving cottage Dr. Donald Hamilton's big house was hooding
itself in the shadows of the thick fir grove that enabled the doctor
to have a garden. There was no shelter at the cottage, so the Irving
"girls" never tried to have a garden. Soon after Dr. Hamilton had come
there to live he had sent a bouquet of early daffodils over by his
housekeeper. Louisa had taken them gingerly in her extreme fingertips,
carried them across the field to the lawn fence, and cast them over
it, under the amused grey eyes of portly Dr. Hamilton, who was looking
out of his office window. Then Louisa had come back to the porch door
and ostentatiously washed her hands.
"I guess that will settle Donald Hamilton," she told the secretly
sorry Mary Isabel triumphantly, and it did settle him—at least as far
as any farther social advances were concerned.
Dr. Hamilton was an excellent physician and an equally excellent man.
Louisa Irving could not have picked a flaw in his history or
character. Indeed, against Dr. Hamilton himself she had no grudge, but
he was the brother of a man she hated and whose relatives were
consequently taboo in Louisa's eyes. Not that the brother was a bad
man either; he had simply taken the opposite side to the Irvings in a
notable church feud of a dozen years ago, and Louisa had never since
held any intercourse with him or his fellow sinners.
Mary Isabel did not look at the Hamilton house. She kept her head
resolutely turned away as she went down the shore lane with its wild
sweet loneliness of salt-withered grasses and piping sea-winds. Only
when she turned the corner of the fir-wood, which shut her out from
view of the houses, did she look timidly over the line-fence. Dr.
Hamilton was standing there, where the fence ran out to the sandy
shingle, smoking his little black pipe, which he took out and put away
when Mary Isabel came around the firs. Men did things like that
instinctively in Mary Isabel's company. There was something so
delicately virginal about her, in spite of her forty years, that they
gave her the reverence they would have paid to a very young, pure
Dr. Hamilton smiled at the little troubled face under the big
sunbonnet. Mary Isabel had to wear a sunbonnet. She would never have
done it from choice.
"What is the matter?" asked the doctor, in his big, breezy,
old-bachelor voice. He had another voice for sick-beds and rooms of
bereavement, but this one suited best with the purring of the waves
"How do you know that anything is the matter?" Mary Isabel parried
"By your face. Come now, tell me what it is."
"It is really nothing. I have just been foolish, that is all. I wanted
a hat with forget-me-nots and a grey silk, and Louisa says I must have
black and a bonnet."
The doctor looked indignant but held his peace. He and Mary Isabel had
tacitly agreed never to discuss Louisa, because such discussion would
not make for harmony. Mary Isabel's conscience would not let the
doctor say anything uncomplimentary of Louisa, and the doctor's
conscience would not let him say anything complimentary. So they left
her out of the question and talked about the sea and the boats and
poetry and flowers and similar non-combustible subjects.
These clandestine meetings had been going on for two months, ever
since the day they had just happened to meet below the firs. It never
occurred to Mary Isabel that the doctor meant anything but friendship;
and if it had occurred to the doctor, he did not think there would be
much use in saying so. Mary Isabel was too hopelessly under Louisa's
thumb. She might keep tryst below the firs occasionally—so long as
Louisa didn't know—but to no farther lengths would she dare go.
Besides, the doctor wasn't quite sure that he really wanted anything
more. Mary Isabel was a sweet little woman, but Dr. Hamilton had been
a bachelor so long that it would be very difficult for him to get out
of the habit; so difficult that it was hardly worth while trying when
such an obstacle as Louisa Irving's tyranny loomed in the way. So he
never tried to make love to Mary Isabel, though he probably would have
if he had thought it of any use. This does not sound very romantic, of
course, but when a man is fifty, romance, while it may be present in
the fruit, is assuredly absent in blossom.
"I suppose you won't be going to the induction of my nephew Thursday
week?" said the doctor in the course of the conversation.
"No. Louisa will not permit it. I had hoped," said Mary Isabel with a
sigh, as she braided some silvery shore-grasses nervously together,
"that when old Mr. Moody went away she would go back to the church
here. And I think she would if—if—"
"If Jim hadn't come in Mr. Moody's place," finished the doctor with
his jolly laugh.
Mary Isabel coloured prettily. "It is not because he is your nephew,
doctor. It is because—because—"
"Because he is the nephew of my brother who was on the other side in
that ancient church fracas? Bless you, I understand. What a good hater
your sister is! Such a tenacity in holding bitterness from one
generation to another commands admiration of a certain sort. As for
Jim, he's a nice little chap, and he is coming to live with me until
the manse is repaired."
"I am sure you will find that pleasant," said Mary Isabel primly.
She wondered if the young minister's advent would make any difference
in regard to these shore-meetings; then decided quickly that it would
not; then more quickly still that it wouldn't matter if it did.
"He will be company," admitted the doctor, who liked company and found
the shore road rather lonesome. "I had a letter from him today saying
that he'd come home with me from the induction. By the way, they're
tearing down the old post office today. And that reminds me—by Jove,
I'd all but forgotten. I promised to go up and see Mollie Marr this
evening; Mollie's nerves are on the rampage again. I must rush."
With a wave of his hand the doctor hurried off. Mary Isabel lingered
for some time longer, leaning against the fence, looking dreamily out
to sea. The doctor was a very pleasant companion. If only Louisa would
allow neighbourliness! Mary Isabel felt a faint, impotent resentment.
She had never had anything other girls had: friends, dresses, beaus,
and it was all Louisa's fault—Louisa who was going to make her wear a
bonnet for the rest of her life. The more Mary Isabel thought of that
bonnet the more she hated it.
That evening Warren Marr rode down to the shore cottage on horseback
and handed Mary Isabel a letter; a strange, scrumpled, soiled, yellow
letter. When Mary Isabel saw the handwriting on the envelope she
trembled and turned as deadly pale as if she had seen a ghost:
"Here's a letter for you," said Warren, grinning. "It's been a long
time on the way—nigh fifteen years. Guess the news'll be rather
stale. We found it behind the old partition when we tore it down
"It is my brother Tom's writing," said Mary Isabel faintly. She went
into the room trembling, holding the letter tightly in her clasped
hands. Louisa had gone up to the village on an errand; Mary Isabel
almost wished she were home; she hardly felt equal to the task of
opening Tom's letter alone. Tom had been dead for ten years and this
letter gave her an uncanny sensation; as of a message from the
Fifteen years, ago Thomas Irving had gone to California and five years
later he had died there. Mary Isabel, who had idolized her brother,
almost grieved herself to death at the time.
Finally she opened the letter with ice-cold fingers. It had been
written soon after Tom reached California. The first two pages were
filled with descriptions of the country and his "job."
On the third Tom began abruptly:
Look here, Mary Isabel, you are not to let Louisa boss you
about as she was doing when I was at home. I was going to
speak to you about it before I came away, but I forgot. Lou is
a fine girl, but she is too domineering, and the more you give
in to her the worse it makes her. You're far too easy-going
for your own welfare, Mary Isabel, and for your own sake I
Wish you had more spunk. Don't let Louisa live your life for
you; just you live it yourself. Never mind if there is some
friction at first; Lou will give in when she finds she has to,
and you'll both be the better for it, I want you to be real
happy, Mary Isabel, but you won't be if you don't assert your
independence. Giving in the way you do is bad for both you and
Louisa. It will make her a tyrant and you a poor-spirited
creature of no account in the world. Just brace up and stand
When she had read the letter through Mary Isabel took it to her own
room and locked it in her bureau drawer. Then she sat by her window,
looking out into a sea-sunset, and thought it over. Coming in the
strange way it had, the letter seemed a message from the dead, and
Mary Isabel had a superstitious conviction that she must obey it. She
had always had a great respect for Tom's opinion. He was right—oh,
she felt that he was right. What a pity she had not received the
letter long ago, before the shackles of habit had become so firmly
riveted. But it was not too late yet. She would rebel at last
and—how had Tom phrased it—oh, yes, assert her independence. She
owed it to Tom; It had been his wish—and he was dead—and she would
do her best to fulfil it.
"I shan't get a bonnet," thought Mary Isabel determinedly. "Tom
wouldn't have liked me in a bonnet. From this out I'm just going to do
exactly as Tom would have liked me to do, no matter how afraid I am of
Louisa. And, oh, I am horribly afraid of her."
Mary Isabel was every whit as much afraid the next morning after
breakfast but she did not look it, by reason of the flush on her
cheeks and the glint in her brown eyes. She had put Tom's letter in
the bosom of her dress and she pressed her fingertips on it that the
crackle might give her courage.
"Louisa," she said firmly, "I am going to town with you."
"Nonsense," said Louisa shortly.
"You may call it nonsense if you like, but I am going," said Mary
Isabel unquailingly. "I have made up my mind on that point, Louisa,
and nothing you can say will alter it."
Louisa looked amazed. Never before had Mary Isabel set her decrees at
"Are you crazy, Mary Isabel?" she demanded.
"No, I am not crazy. But I am going to town and I am going to get a
silver-grey silk for myself and a new hat. I will not wear a bonnet
and you need never mention it to me again, Louisa."
"If you are going to town I shall stay home," said Louisa in a cold,
ominous tone that almost made Mary Isabel quake. If it had not been
for that reassuring crackle of Tom's letter I fear Mary Isabel would
have given in. "This house can't be left alone. If you go, I'll stay."
Louisa honestly thought that would bring the rebel to terms. Mary
Isabel had never gone to town alone in her life. Louisa did not
believe she would dare to go. But Mary Isabel did not quail. Defiance
was not so hard after all, once you had begun.
Mary Isabel went to town and she went alone. She spent the whole
delightful day in the shops, unhampered by Louisa's scorn and
criticism in her examination of all the pretty things displayed. She
selected a hat she felt sure Tom would like—a pretty crumpled grey
straw with forget-me-nots and ribbons. Then she bought a grey silk of
a lovely silvery shade.
When she got back home she unwrapped her packages and showed her
purchases to Louisa. But Louisa neither looked at them nor spoke to
Mary Isabel. Mary Isabel tossed her head and went to her own room. Her
draught of freedom had stimulated her, and she did not mind Louisa's
attitude half as much as she would have expected. She read Tom's
letter over again to fortify herself and then she dressed her hair in
a fashion she had seen that day in town and pulled out all the little
curls on her forehead.
The next day she took the silver-grey silk to the Latimer dressmaker
and picked out a fashionable design for it. When the silk dress came
home, Louisa, who had thawed out somewhat in the meantime, unbent
sufficiently to remark that it fitted very well.
"I am going to wear it to the induction tomorrow," Mary Isabel said,
boldly to all appearances, quakingly in reality. She knew that she was
throwing down the gauntlet for good and all. If she could assert and
maintain her independence in this matter Louisa's power would be
Twelve years before this, the previously mentioned schism had broken
out in the Latimer church. The minister had sided with the faction
which Louisa Irving opposed. She had promptly ceased going to his
church and withdrew all financial support. She paid to the Marwood
church, fifteen miles away, and occasionally she hired a team and
drove over there to service. But she never entered the Latimer church
again nor allowed Mary Isabel to do so. For that matter, Mary Isabel
did not wish to go. She had resented the minister's attitude almost as
bitterly as Louisa. But when Mr. Moody accepted a call elsewhere Mary
Isabel hoped that she and Louisa might return to their old church
home. Possibly they might have done so had not the congregation called
the young, newly fledged James Anderson. Mary Isabel would not have
cared for this, but Louisa sternly said that neither she nor any of
hers should ever darken the doors of a church where the nephew of
Martin Hamilton preached. Mary Isabel had regretfully acquiesced at
the time, but now she had made up her mind to go to church and she
meant to begin with the induction service.
Louisa stared at her sister incredulously.
"Have you taken complete leave of your senses, Mary Isabel?"
"No. I've just come to them," retorted Mary Isabel recklessly,
gripping a chair-back desperately so that Louisa should not see how
she was trembling. "It is all foolishness to keep away from church
just because of an old grudge. I'm tired of staying home Sundays or
driving fifteen miles to Marwood to hear poor old Mr. Grattan.
Everybody says Mr. Anderson is a splendid young man and an excellent
preacher, and I'm going to attend his services regularly."
Louisa had taken Mary Isabel's first defiance in icy disdain. Now she
lost her temper and raged. The storm of angry words beat on Mary
Isabel like hail, but she fronted it staunchly. She seemed to hear
Tom's voice saying, "Live your own life, Mary Isabel; don't let Louisa
live it for you," and she meant to obey him.
"If you go to that man's induction I'll never forgive you," Louisa
Mary Isabel said nothing. She just primmed up her lips very
determinedly, picked up the silk dress, and carried it to her room.
The next day was fine and warm. Louisa said no word all the morning.
She worked fiercely and slammed things around noisily. After dinner
Mary Isabel went to her room and came down presently, fine and dainty
in her grey silk, with the forget-me-not hat resting on the soft loose
waves of her hair. Louisa was blacking the kitchen stove.
She shot one angry glance at Mary Isabel, then gave a short,
contemptuous laugh, the laugh of an angry woman who finds herself
robbed of all weapons except ridicule.
Mary Isabel flushed and walked with an unfaltering step out of the
house and up the lane. She resented Louisa's laughter. She was sure
there was nothing so very ridiculous about her appearance. Women far
older than she, even in Latimer, wore light dresses and fashionable
hats. Really, Louisa was very disagreeable.
"I have put up with her ways too long," thought Mary Isabel, with a
quick, unwonted rush of anger. "But I never shall again—no, never,
let her be as vexed and scornful as she pleases."
The induction services were interesting, and Mary Isabel enjoyed them.
Doctor Hamilton was sitting across from her and once or twice she
caught him looking at her admiringly. The doctor noticed the hat and
the grey silk and wondered how Mary Isabel had managed to get her own
way concerning them. What a pretty woman she was! Really, he had never
realized before how very pretty she was. But then, he had never seen
her except in a sunbonnet or with her hair combed primly back.
But when the service was over Mary Isabel was dismayed to see that the
sky had clouded over and looked very much like rain. Everybody hurried
home, and Mary Isabel tripped along the shore road filled with
anxious thoughts about her dress. That kind of silk always spotted,
and her hat would be ruined if it got wet. How foolish she had been
not to bring an umbrella!
She reached her own doorstep panting just as the first drop of rain
"Thank goodness," she breathed.
Then she tried to open the door. It would not open.
She could see Louisa sitting by the kitchen window, calmly reading.
"Louisa, open the door quick," she called impatiently.
Louisa never moved a muscle, although Mary Isabel knew she must have
"Louisa, do you hear what I say?" she cried, reaching over and tapping
on the pane imperiously. "Open the door at once. It is going to
rain—it is raining now. Be quick."
Louisa might as well have been a graven image for all the response she
gave. Then did Mary Isabel realize her position. Louisa had locked her
out purposely, knowing the rain was coming. Louisa had no intention of
letting her in; she meant to keep her out until the dress and hat of
her rebellion were spoiled. This was Louisa's revenge.
Mary Isabel turned with a gasp. What should she do? The padlocked
doors of hen-house and well-house and wood-house: revealed the
thoroughness of Louisa's vindictive design. Where should she go? She
would go somewhere. She would not have her lovely new dress and hat
She caught her ruffled skirts up in her hand and ran across the yard.
She climbed the fence into the field and ran across that. Another drop
of rain struck her cheek. She never glanced back or she would have
seen a horrified face peering from the cottage kitchen window. Louisa
had never dreamed that Mary Isabel would seek refuge over at Dr.
Dr. Hamilton, who had driven home from church with the young minister,
saw her coming and ran to open the door for her. Mary Isabel dashed
up the verandah steps, breathless, crimson-cheeked, trembling with
pent-up indignation and sense of outrage.
"Louisa locked me out, Dr. Hamilton," she cried almost hysterically.
"She locked me out on purpose to spoil my dress. I'll never forgive
her, I'll never go back to her, never, never, unless she asks me to. I
had to come here. I was not going to have my dress ruined to please
"Of course not—of course not," said Dr. Hamilton soothingly, drawing
her into his big cosy living room. "You did perfectly right to come
here, and you are just in time. There is the rain now in good
Mary Isabel sank into a chair and looked at Dr. Hamilton with tears in
"Wasn't it an unkind, unsisterly thing to do?" she asked piteously.
"Oh, I shall never feel the same towards Louisa again. Tom was
right—I didn't tell you about Tom's letter but I will by and by. I
shall not go back to Louisa after her locking me out. When it stops
raining I'll go straight up to my cousin Ella's and stay with her
until I arrange my plans. But one thing is certain, I shall not go
back to Louisa."
"I wouldn't," said the doctor recklessly. "Now, don't cry and don't
worry. Take off your hat—you can go to the spare room across the
hall, if you like. Jim has gone upstairs to lie down; he has a bad
headache and says he doesn't want any tea. So I was going to get up a
bachelor's snack for myself. My housekeeper is away. She heard, at
church that her mother was ill and went over to Marwood."
When Mary Isabel came back from the spare room, a little calmer but
with traces of tears on her pink cheeks, the doctor had as good a
tea-table spread as any woman could have had. Mary Isabel thought it
was fortunate that the little errand boy, Tommy Brewster, was there,
or she certainly would have been dreadfully embarrassed, now that the
flame of her anger had blown out. But later on, when tea was over and
she and the doctor were left alone, she did not feel embarrassed
after all. Instead, she felt delightfully happy and at home. Dr.
Hamilton put one so at ease.
She told him all about Tom's letter and her subsequent revolt. Dr.
Hamilton never once made the mistake of smiling. He listened and
approved and sympathized.
"So I'm determined I won't go back," concluded Mary Isabel, "unless
she asks me to—and Louisa will never do that. Ella will be glad
enough to have me for a while; she has five children and can't get any
The doctor shrugged his shoulders. He thought of Mary Isabel as
unofficial drudge to Ella Kemble and her family. Then he looked at the
little silvery figure by the window.
"I think I can suggest a better plan," he said gently and tenderly.
"Suppose you stay here—as my wife. I've always wanted to ask you that
but I feared it was no use because I knew Louisa would oppose it and I
did not think you would consent if she did not. I think," the doctor
leaned forward and took Mary Isabel's fluttering hand in his, "I think
we can be very happy here, dear."
Mary Isabel flushed crimson and her heart beat wildly. She knew now
that she loved Dr. Hamilton—and Tom would have liked it—yes, Tom
would. She remembered how Tom hated the thought of his sisters being
"I—think—so—too," she faltered shyly.
"Then," said the doctor briskly, "what is the matter with our being
married right here and now?"
"Yes, of course. Here we are in a state where no licence is required,
a minister in the house, and you all dressed in the most beautiful
wedding silk imaginable. You must see, if you just look at it calmly,
how much better it will be than going up to Mrs. Kemble's and thereby
publishing your difference with Louisa to all the village. I'll give
you fifteen minutes to get used to the idea and then I'll call Jim
Mary Isabel put her hands to her face.
"You—you're like a whirlwind," she gasped. "You take away my breath."
"Think it over," said the doctor in a businesslike voice.
Mary Isabel thought—thought very hard for a few moments.
What would Tom have said?
Was it probable that Tom would have approved of such marrying in
Mary Isabel came to the decision that he would have preferred it to
having family jars bruited abroad. Moreover, Mary Isabel had never
liked Ella Kemble very much. Going to her was only one degree better
than going back to Louisa.
At last Mary Isabel took her hands down from her face. "Well?" said
the doctor persuasively as she did so.
"I will consent on one condition," said Mary Isabel firmly. "And that
is, that you will let me send word over to Louisa that I am going to
be married and that she may come and see the ceremony if she will.
Louisa has behaved very unkindly in this matter, but after all she is
my sister—and she has been good to me in some ways—and I am not
going to give her a chance to say that I got married in this—this
headlong-fashion and never let her know."
"Tommy can take the word over," said the doctor.
Mary Isabel went to the doctor's desk and wrote a very brief note.
I am going to be married to Dr. Hamilton right away. I've seen
him often at the shore this summer. I would like you to be
present at the ceremony if you choose.
Tommy ran across the field with the note.
It had now ceased raining and the clouds were breaking. Mary Isabel
thought that a good omen. She and the doctor watched Tommy from the
window. They saw Louisa come to the door, take the note, and shut the
door in Tommy's face. Ten minutes later she reappeared, habited in her
mackintosh, with her second-best bonnet on.
"She's—coming," said Mary Isabel, trembling.
The doctor put his arm protectingly about the little lady.
Mary Isabel tossed her head. "Oh, I'm not—I'm only excited. I shall
never be afraid of Louisa again."
Louisa came grimly over the field, up the verandah steps, and into the
room without knocking.
"Mary Isabel," she said, glaring at her sister and ignoring the doctor
entirely, "did you mean what you said in that letter?"
"Yes, I did," said Mary Isabel firmly.
"You are going to be married to that man in this shameless, indecent
"And nothing I can say will have the least effect on you?"
"Not the slightest."
"Then," said Louisa, more grimly than ever, "all I ask of you is to
come home and be married from under your father's roof. Do have that
much respect for your parents' memory, at least."
"Of course I will," cried Mary Isabel impulsively, softening at once.
"Of course we will—won't we?" she asked, turning prettily to the
"Just as you say," he answered gallantly.
Louisa snorted. "I'll go home and air the parlour," she said. "It's
lucky I baked that fruitcake Monday. You can come when you're ready."
She stalked home across the field. In a few minutes the doctor and
Mary Isabel followed, and behind them came the young minister,
carrying his blue book under his arm, and trying hard and not
altogether successfully to look grave.