Part 10 out of 15
immediately as fast as her strength would permit. At a later
period, when she would be more certain of her own movements, she
engaged to write again, and let Mr. Crum know where he might
communicate with her if necessary. In the mean time, she could
only thank him for his kindness, and beg him to take care of any
letters or messages which might be left for her. Since the
receipt of this communication the lawyer had heard nothing
further. He had waited for the morning's post in the hope of
being able to report that he had received some further
intelligence. The hope had not been realized. He had now stated
all that he knew himself thus far--and he had forwarded a copy of
the newspaper alluded to by Miss Silvester, on the chance that an
examination of it by Sir Patrick might possibly lead to further
discoveries. In conclusion, he pledged himself to write again the
moment he had any information to send.
Blanche snatched up the newspaper, and opened it. "Let me look!"
she said. "I can find what Anne saw here if any body can!"
She ran her eye eagerly over column after column and page after
page--and dropped the newspaper on her lap with a gesture of
"Nothing!" she exclaimed. "Nothing any where, that I can see, to
interest Anne. Nothing to interest any body--except Lady Lundie,"
she went on, brushing the newspaper off her lap. "It turns out to
be all true, Arnold, at Swanhaven. Geoffrey Delamayn is going to
marry Mrs. Glenarm."
"What!" cried Arnold; the idea instantly flashing on him that
this was the news which Anne had seen.
Sir Patrick gave him a warning look, and picked up the newspaper
from the floor.
"I may as well run through it, Blanche, and make quite sure that
you have missed nothing," he said.
The report to which Blanche had referred was among the paragraphs
arranged under the heading of "Fashionable News." "A matrimonial
alliance" (the Glasgow journal announced) "was in prospect
between the Honorable Geoffrey Delamayn and the lovely and
accomplished relict of the late Mathew Glenarm, Esq., formerly
Miss Newenden." The, marriage would, in all probability, "be
solemnized in Scotland, before the end of the present autumn;"
and the wedding breakfast, it was whispered, "would collect a
large and fashionable party at Swanhaven Lodge."
Sir Patrick handed the newspaper silently to Arnold. It was plain
to any one who knew Anne Silvester's story that those were the
words which had found their fatal way to her in her place of
rest. The inference that followed seemed to be hardly less clear.
But one intelligible object, in the opinion of Sir Patrick, could
be at the end of her journey to the north. The deserted woman had
rallied the last relics of her old energy--and had devoted
herself to the desperate purpose of stopping the marriage of Mrs.
Blanche was the first to break the silence.
"It seems like a fatality," she said. "Perpetual failure!
Perpetual disappointment! Are Anne and I doomed never to meet
She looked at her uncle. Sir Patrick showed none of his customary
cheerfulness in the face of disaster.
"She has promised to write to Mr. Crum," he said. "And Mr. Crum
has promised to let us know when he hears from her. That is the
only prospect before us. We must accept it as resignedly as we
Blanche wandered out listlessly among the flowers in the
conservatory. Sir Patrick made no secret of the impression
produced upon him by Mr. Crum's letter, when he and Arnold were
"There is no denying," he said, "that matters have taken a very
serious turn. My plans and calculations are all thrown out. It is
impossible to foresee what new mischief may not come of it, if
those two women meet; or what desperate act Delamayn may not
commit, if he finds himself driven to the wall. As things are, I
own frankly I don't know what to do next. A great light of the
Presbyterian Church," he added, with a momentary outbreak of his
whimsical humor, "once declared, in my hearing, that the
invention of printing was nothing more or less than a proof of
the intellectual activity of the Devil. Upon my honor, I feel for
the first time in my life inclined to agree with him."
He mechanically took up the Glasgow journal, which Arnold had
laid aside, while he spoke.
"What's this!" he exclaimed, as a name caught his eye in the
first line of the newspaper at which he happened to look. "Mrs.
Glenarm again! Are they turning the iron-master's widow into a
There the name of the widow was, unquestionably; figuring for the
second time in type, in a letter of the gossiping sort, supplied
by an "Occasional Correspondent," and distinguished by the title
of "Sayings and Doings in the North." After tattling pleasantly
of the prospects of the shooting season, of the fashions from
Paris, of an accident to a tourist, and of a scandal in the
Scottish Kirk, the writer proceeded to the narrative of a case of
interest, relating to a marriage in the sphere known (in the
language of footmen) as the sphere of "high life."
Considerable sensation (the correspondent announced) had been
caused in Perth and its neighborhood, by the exposure of an
anonymous attempt at extortion, of which a lady of distinction
had lately been made the object. As her name had already been
publicly mentioned in an application to the magistrates, there
could be no impropriety in stating that the lady in question was
Mrs. Glenarm--whose approaching union with the Honorable Geoffrey
Delamayn was alluded to in another column of the journal.
Mrs. Glenarm had, it appeared, received an anonymous letter, on
the first day of her arrival as guest at the house of a friend,
residing in the neighborhood of Perth. The letter warned her that
there was an obstacle, of which she was herself probably not
aware, in the way of her projected marriage with Mr. Geoffrey
Delamayn. That gentleman had seriously compr omised himself with
another lady; and the lady would oppose his marriage to Mrs.
Glenarm, with proof in writing to produce in support of her
claim. The proof was contained in two letters exchanged between
the parties, and signed by their names; and the correspondence
was placed at Mrs. Glenarm's disposal, on two conditions, as
First, that she should offer a sufficiently liberal price to
induce the present possessor of the letters to part with them.
Secondly, that she should consent to adopt such a method of
paying the money as should satisfy the person that he was in no
danger of finding himself brought within reach of the law. The
answer to these two proposals was directed to be made through the
medium of an advertisement in the local newspaper--distinguished
by this address, "To a Friend in the Dark."
Certain turns of expression, and one or two mistakes in spelling,
pointed to this insolent letter as being, in all probability, the
production of a Scotchman, in the lower ranks of life. Mrs.
Glenarm had at once shown it to her nearest relative, Captain
Newenden. The captain had sought legal advice in Perth. It had
been decided, after due consideration, to insert the
advertisement demanded, and to take measures to entrap the writer
of the letter into revealing himself--without, it is needless to
add, allowing the fellow really to profit by his attempted act of
The cunning of the "Friend in the Dark" (whoever he might be)
had, on trying the proposed experiment, proved to be more than a
match for the lawyers. He had successfully eluded not only the
snare first set for him, but others subsequently laid. A second,
and a third, anonymous letter, one more impudent than the other
had been received by Mrs. Glenarm, assuring that lady and the
friends who were acting for her that they were only wasting time
and raising the price which would be asked for the
correspondence, by the course they were taking. Captain Newenden
had thereupon, in default of knowing what other course to pursue,
appealed publicly to the city magistrates, and a reward had been
offered, under the sanction of the municipal authorities, for the
discovery of the man. This proceeding also having proved quite
fruitless, it was understood that the captain had arranged, with
the concurrence of his English solicitors, to place the matter in
the hands of an experienced officer of the London police.
Here, so far as the newspaper correspondent was aware, the affair
rested for the present.
It was only necessary to add, that Mrs. Glenarm had left the
neighborhood of Perth, in order to escape further annoyance; and
had placed herself under the protection of friends in another
part of the county. Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn, whose fair fame had
been assailed (it was needless, the correspondent added in
parenthesis, to say how groundlessly), was understood to have
expressed, not only the indignation natural under the
circumstances but also his extreme regret at not finding himself
in a position to aid Captain Newenden's efforts to bring the
anonymous slanderer to justice. The honorable gentleman was, as
the sporting public were well aware, then in course of strict
training for his forthcoming appearance at the Fulham Foot-Race.
So important was it considered that his mind should not be
harassed by annoyances, in his present responsible position, that
his trainer and his principal backers had thought it desirable to
hasten his removal to the neighborhood of Fulham--where the
exercises which were to prepare him for the race were now being
continued on the spot.
"The mystery seems to thicken," said Arnold.
"Quite the contrary," returned Sir Patrick, briskly. "The mystery
is clearing fast--thanks to the Glasgow newspaper. I shall be
spared the trouble of dealing with Bishopriggs for the stolen
letter. Miss Silvester has gone to Perth, to recover her
correspondence with Geoffrey Delamayn."
"Do you think she would recognize it," said Arnold, pointing to
the newspaper, "in the account given of it here?"
"Certainly! And she could hardly fail, in my opinion, to get a
step farther than that. Unless I am entirely mistaken, the
authorship of the anonymous letters has not mystified _her._"
"How could she guess at that?"
"In this way, as I think. Whatever she may have previously
thought, she must suspect, by this time, that the missing
correspondence has been stolen, and not lost. Now, there are only
two persons whom she can think of, as probably guilty of the
theft--Mrs. Inchbare or Bishopriggs. The newspaper description of
the style of the anonymous letters declares it to be the style of
a Scotchman in the lower ranks of life--in other words, points
plainly to Bishopriggs. You see that? Very well. Now suppose she
recovers the stolen property. What is likely to happen then? She
will be more or less than woman if she doesn't make her way next,
provided with her proofs in writing, to Mrs. Glenarm. She may
innocently help, or she may innocently frustrate, the end we have
in view--either way, our course is clear before us again. Our
interest in communicating with Miss Silvester remains precisely
the same interest that it was before we received the Glasgow
newspaper. I propose to wait till Sunday, on the chance that Mr.
Crum may write again. If we don't hear from him, I shall start
for Scotland on Monday morning, and take my chance of finding my
way to Miss Silvester, through Mrs. Glenarm."
"Leaving me behind?"
"Leaving you behind. Somebody must stay with Blanche. After
having only been a fortnight married, must I remind you of that?"
"Don't you think Mr. Crum will write before Monday?"
"It will be such a fortunate circumstance for us, if he does
write, that I don't venture to anticipate it."
"You are down on our luck, Sir."
"I detest slang, Arnold. But slang, I own, expresses my state of
mind, in this instance, with an accuracy which almost reconciles
me to the use of it--for once in a way."
"Every body's luck turns sooner or later," persisted Arnold. "I
can't help thinking our luck is on the turn at last. Would you
mind taking a bet, Sir Patrick?"
"Apply at the stables. I leave betting, as I leave cleaning the
horses, to my groom."
With that crabbed answer he closed the conversation for the day.
The hours passed, and time brought the post again in due
course--and the post decided in Arnold's favor! Sir Patrick's
want of confidence in the favoring patronage of Fortune was
practically rebuked by the arrival of a second letter from the
Glasgow lawyer on the next day.
"I have the pleasure of announcing" (Mr. Crum wrote) "that I have
heard from Miss Silvester, by the next postal delivery ensuing,
after I had dispatched my letter to Ham Farm. She writes, very
briefly, to inform me that she has decided on establishing her
next place of residence in London. The reason assigned for taking
this step--which she certainly did not contemplate when I last
saw her--is that she finds herself approaching the end of her
pecuniary resources. Having already decided on adopting, as a
means of living, the calling of a concert-singer, she has
arranged to place her interests in the hands of an old friend of
her late mother (who appears to have belonged also to the musical
profession): a dramatic and musical agent long established in the
metropolis, and well known to her as a trustworthy and
respectable man. She sends me the name and address of this
person--a copy of which you will find on the inclosed slip of
paper--in the event of my having occasion to write to her, before
she is settled in London. This is the whole substance of her
letter. I have only to add, that it does not contain the
slightest allusion to the nature of the errand on which she left
Sir Patrick happened to be alone when he opened Mr. Crum's
His first proceeding, after reading it, was to consult the
railway time-table hanging in the hall. Having done this, he
returned to the library--wrote a short note of inquiry, addressed
to the musical agent--and rang the bell.
"Miss Silvester is expected in London, Duncan. I want a discreet
person to communicate with her. You are the person."
Duncan bowed. Sir Pa trick handed him the note.
"If you start at once you will be in time to catch the train. Go
to that address, and inquire for Miss Silvester. If she has
arrived, give her my compliments, and say I will have the honor
of calling on her (on Mr. Brinkworth's behalf) at the earliest
date which she may find it convenient to appoint. Be quick about
it--and you will have time to get back before the last train.
Have Mr. and Mrs. Brinkworth returned from their drive?"
"No, Sir Patrick."
Pending the return of Arnold and Blanche, Sir Patrick looked at
Mr. Crum's letter for the second time.
He was not quite satisfied that the pecuniary motive was really
the motive at the bottom of Anne's journey south. Remembering
that Geoffrey's trainers had removed him to the neighborhood of
London, he was inclined to doubt whether some serious quarrel had
not taken place between Anne and Mrs. Glenarm--and whether some
direct appeal to Geoffrey himself might not be in contemplation
as the result. In that event, Sir Patrick's advice and assistance
would be placed, without scruple, at Miss Silvester's disposal.
By asserting her claim, in opposition to the claim of Mrs.
Glenarm, she was also asserting herself to be an unmarried woman,
and was thus serving Blanche's interests as well as her own. "I
owe it to Blanche to help her," thought Sir Patrick. "And I owe
it to myself to bring Geoffrey Delamayn to a day of reckoning if
The barking of the dogs in the yard announced the return of the
carriage. Sir Patrick went out to meet Arnold and Blanche at the
gate, and tell them the news.
Punctual to the time at which he was expected, the discreet
Duncan reappeared with a note from the musical agent.
Miss Silvester had not yet reached London; but she was expected
to arrive not later than Tuesday in the ensuing week. The agent
had already been favored with her instructions to pay the
strictest attention to any commands received from Sir Patrick
Lundie. He would take care that Sir Patrick's message should be
given to Miss Silvester as soon as she arrived.
At last, then, there was news to be relied on! At last there was
a prospect of seeing her! Blanche was radiant with happiness,
Arnold was in high spirits for the first time since his return
Sir Patrick tried hard to catch the infection of gayety from his
young friends; but, to his own surprise, not less than to theirs,
the effort proved fruitless. With the tide of events turning
decidedly in his favor--relieved of the necessity of taking a
doubtful journey to Scotland; assured of obtaining his interview
with Anne in a few days' time--he was out of spirits all through
"Still down on our luck!" exclaimed Arnold, as he and his host
finished their last game of billiards, and parted for the night.
"Surely, we couldn't wish for a more promising prospect than
_our_ prospect next week?"
Sir Patrick laid his hand on Arnold's shoulder.
"Let us look indulgently together," he said, in his whimsically
grave way, "at the humiliating spectacle of an old man's folly. I
feel, at this moment, Arnold, as if I would give every thing that
I possess in the world to have passed over next week, and to be
landed safely in the time beyond it."
"There is the folly! I can't tell why. With every reason to be in
better spirits than usual, I am unaccountably, irrationally,
invincibly depressed. What are we to conclude from that? Am I the
object of a supernatural warning of misfortune to come? Or am I
the object of a temporary derangement of the functions of the
liver? There is the question. Who is to decide it? How
contemptible is humanity, Arnold, rightly understood! Give me my
candle, and let's hope it's the liver."
EIGHTH SCENE--THE PANTRY.
CHAPTER THE THIRTY-NINTH.
ANNE WINS A VICTORY.
ON a certain evening in the month of September (at that period of
the month when Arnold and Blanche were traveling back from Baden
to Ham Farm) an ancient man--with one eye filmy and blind, and
one eye moist and merry--sat alone in the pantry of the Harp of
Scotland Inn, Perth, pounding the sugar softly in a glass of
whisky-punch. He has hitherto been personally distinguished in
these pages as the self-appointed father of Anne Silvester and
the humble servant of Blanche at the dance at Swanhaven Lodge. He
now dawns on the view in amicable relations with a third
lady--and assumes the mystic character of Mrs. Glenarm's "Friend
in the Dark."
Arriving in Perth the day after the festivities at Swanhaven,
Bishopriggs proceeded to the Harp of Scotland--at which
establishment for the reception of travelers he possessed the
advantage of being known to the landlord as Mrs. Inchbare's
right-hand man, and of standing high on the head-waiter's list of
old and intimate friends.
Inquiring for the waiter first by the name of Thomas (otherwise
Tammy) Pennyquick, Bishopriggs found his friend in sore distress
of body and mind. Contending vainly against the disabling
advances of rheumatism, Thomas Pennyquick ruefully contemplated
the prospect of being laid up at home by a long illness--with a
wife and children to support, and with the emoluments attached to
his position passing into the pockets of the first stranger who
could be found to occupy his place at the inn.
Hearing this doleful story, Bishopriggs cunningly saw his way to
serving his own private interests by performing the part of
Thomas Pennyquick's generous and devoted friend.
He forthwith offered to fill the place, without taking the
emoluments, of the invalided headwaiter--on the understanding, as
a matter of course, that the landlord consented to board and
lodge him free of expense at the inn. The landlord having readily
accepted this condition, Thomas Pennyquick retired to the bosom
of his family. And there was Bishopriggs, doubly secured behind a
respectable position and a virtuous action against all likelihood
of suspicion falling on him as a stranger in Perth--in the event
of his correspondence with Mrs. Glenarm being made the object of
legal investigation on the part of her friends!
Having opened the campaign in this masterly manner, the same
sagacious foresight had distinguished the operations of
His correspondence with Mrs. Glenarm was invariably written with
the left hand--the writing thus produced defying detection, in
all cases, as bearing no resemblance of character whatever to
writing produced by persons who habitually use the other hand. A
no less far-sighted cunning distinguished his proceedings in
answering the advertisements which the lawyers duly inserted in
the newspaper. He appointed hours at which he was employed on
business-errands for the inn, and places which lay on the way to
those errands, for his meetings with Mrs. Glenarm's
representatives: a pass-word being determined on, as usual in
such cases, by exchanging which the persons concerned could
discover each other. However carefully the lawyers might set the
snare--whether they had their necessary "witness" disguised as an
artist sketching in the neighborhood, or as an old woman selling
fruit, or what not--the wary eye of Bishopriggs detected it. He
left the pass-word unspoken; he went his way on his errand; he
was followed on suspicion; and he was discovered to be only "a
respectable person," charged with a message by the landlord of
the Harp of Scotland Inn!
To a man intrenched behind such precautions as these, the chance
of being detected might well be reckoned among the last of all
the chances that could possibly happen.
Discovery was, nevertheless, advancing on Bishopriggs from a
quarter which had not been included in his calculations. Anne
Silvester was in Perth; forewarned by the newspaper (as Sir
Patrick had guessed) that the letters offered to Mrs. Glenarm
were the letters between Geoffrey and herself, which she had lost
at Craig Fernie, and bent on clearing up the suspicion which
pointed to Bishopriggs as the person who was trying to turn the
correspondence to pecuniary account. The inquiries made for him,
at Anne's request, as soon as she arrived in the town, openly
described his name, and his former position as headwaiter at
Craig Fernie--and thu s led easily to the discovery of him, in
his publicly avowed character of Thomas Pennyquick's devoted
friend. Toward evening, on the day after she reached Perth, the
news came to Anne that Bishopriggs was in service at the inn
known as the Harp of Scotland. The landlord of the hotel at which
she was staying inquired whether he should send a message for
her. She answered, "No, I will take my message myself. All I want
is a person to show me the way to the inn."
Secluded in the solitude of the head-waiter's pantry, Bishopriggs
sat peacefully melting the sugar in his whisky-punch.
It was the hour of the evening at which a period of tranquillity
generally occurred before what was called "the night-business" of
the house began. Bishopriggs was accustomed to drink and meditate
daily in this interval of repose. He tasted the punch, and smiled
contentedly as he set down his glass. The prospect before him
looked fairly enough. He had outwitted the lawyers in the
preliminary negotiations thus far. All that was needful now was
to wait till the terror of a public scandal (sustained by
occasional letters from her "Friend in the Dark") had its due
effect on Mrs. Glenarm, and hurried her into paying the
purchase-money for the correspondence with her own hand. "Let it
breed in the brain," he thought, "and the siller will soon come
out o' the purse."
His reflections were interrupted by the appearance of a slovenly
maid-servant, with a cotton handkerchief tied round her head, and
an uncleaned sauce-pan in her hand.
"Eh, Maister Bishopriggs," cried the girl, "here's a braw young
leddy speerin' for ye by yer ain name at the door."
"A leddy?" repeated Bishopriggs, with a look of virtuous disgust.
"Ye donnert ne'er-do-weel, do you come to a decent, 'sponsible
man like me, wi' sic a Cyprian overture as that? What d'ye tak'
me for? Mark Antony that lost the world for love (the mair fule
he!)? or Don Jovanny that counted his concubines by hundreds,
like the blessed Solomon himself? Awa' wi' ye to yer pots and
pans; and bid the wandering Venus that sent ye go spin!"
Before the girl could answer she was gently pulled aside from the
doorway, and Bishopriggs, thunder-struck, saw Anne Silvester
standing in her place.
"You had better tell the servant I am no stranger to you," said
Anne, looking toward the kitchen-maid, who stood in the passage
staring at her in stolid amazement.
"My ain sister's child!" cried Bishopriggs, lying with his
customary readiness. "Go yer ways, Maggie. The bonny lassie's my
ain kith and kin. The tongue o' scandal, I trow, has naething to
say against that.--Lord save us and guide us!" he added In
another tone, as the girl closed the door on them, "what brings
"I have something to say to you. I am not very well; I must wait
a little first. Give me a chair."
Bishopriggs obeyed in silence. His one available eye rested on
Anne, as he produced the chair, with an uneasy and suspicious
attention. "I'm wanting to know one thing," he said. "By what
meeraiculous means, young madam, do ye happen to ha' fund yer way
to this inn?"
Anne told him how her inquiries had been made and what the result
had been, plainly and frankly. The clouded face of Bishopriggs
began to clear again.
"Hech! hech!" he exclaimed, recovering all his native impudence,
"I hae had occasion to remark already, to anither leddy than
yersel', that it's seemply mairvelous hoo a man's ain gude deeds
find him oot in this lower warld o' ours. I hae dune a gude deed
by pure Tammy Pennyquick, and here's a' Pairth ringing wi the
report o' it; and Sawmuel Bishopriggs sae weel known that ony
stranger has only to ask, and find him. Understand, I beseech ye,
that it's no hand o' mine that pets this new feather in my cap.
As a gude Calvinist, my saul's clear o' the smallest figment o'
belief in Warks. When I look at my ain celeebrity I joost ask, as
the Psawmist asked before me, 'Why do the heathen rage, and the
people imagine a vain thing?' It seems ye've something to say to
me," he added, suddenly reverting to the object of Anne's visit.
"Is it humanly possible that ye can ha' come a' the way to Pairth
for naething but that?"
The expression of suspicion began to show itself again in his
face. Concealing as she best might the disgust that he inspired
in her, Anne stated her errand in the most direct manner, and in
the fewest possible words.
"I have come here to ask you for something," she said.
"Ay? ay? What may it be ye're wanting of me?"
"I want the letter I lost at Craig Fernie."
Even the solidly-founded self-possession of Bishopriggs himself
was shaken by the startling directness of that attack on it. His
glib tongue was paralyzed for the moment. "I dinna ken what ye're
drivin' at," he said, after an interval, with a sullen
consciousness that he had been all but tricked into betraying
The change in his manner convinced Anne that she had found in
Bishopriggs the person of whom she was in search.
"You have got my letter," she said, sternly insisting on the
truth. "And you are trying to turn it to a disgraceful use. I
won't allow you to make a market of my private affairs. You have
offered a letter of mine for sale to a stranger. I insist on your
restoring it to me before I leave this room!"
Bishopriggs hesitated again. His first suspicion that Anne had
been privately instructed by Mrs. Glenarm's lawyers returned to
his mind as a suspicion confirmed. He felt the vast importance of
making a cautious reply.
"I'll no' waste precious time," he said, after a moment's
consideration with himself, "in brushing awa' the fawse breath o'
scandal, when it passes my way. It blaws to nae purpose, my young
leddy, when it blaws on an honest man like me. Fie for shame on
ye for saying what ye've joost said--to me that was a fether to
ye at Craig Fernie! Wha' set ye on to it? Will it be man or woman
that's misca'ed me behind my back?"
Anne took the Glasgow newspaper from the pocket of her traveling
cloak, and placed it before him, open at the paragraph which
described the act of extortion attempted on Mrs. Glenarm.
"I have found there," she said, "all that I want to know."
"May a' the tribe o' editors, preenters, paper-makers,
news-vendors, and the like, bleeze together in the pit o'
Tophet!" With this devout aspiration--internally felt, not openly
uttered--Bishopriggs put on his spectacles, and read the passage
pointed out to him. "I see naething here touching the name o'
Sawmuel Bishopriggs, or the matter o' ony loss ye may or may not
ha' had at Craig Fernie," he said, when he had done; still
defending his position, with a resolution worthy of a better
Anne's pride recoiled at the prospect of prolonging the
discussion with him. She rose to her feet, and said her last
"I have learned enough by this time," she answered, "to know that
the one argument that prevails with you is the argument of money.
If money will spare me the hateful necessity of disputing with
you--poor as I am, money you shall have. Be silent, if you
please. You are personally interested in what I have to say
She opened her purse, and took a five-pound note from it.
"If you choose to own the truth, and produce the letter," she
resumed, "I will give you this, as your reward for finding, and
restoring to me, something that I had lost. If you persist in
your present prevarication, I can, and will, make that sheet of
note-paper you have stolen from me nothing but waste paper in
your hands. You have threatened Mrs. Glenarm with my
interference. Suppose I go to Mrs. Glenarm? Suppose I interfere
before the week is out? Suppose I have other letters of Mr.
Delamayn's in my possession, and produce them to speak for me?
What has Mrs. Glenarm to purchase of you _then?_ Answer me that!"
The color rose on her pale face. Her eyes, dim and weary when she
entered the room, looked him brightly through and through in
immeasurable contempt. "Answer me that!" she repeated, with a
burst of her old energy which revealed the fire and passion of
the woman's nature, not quenched even yet!
If Bishopriggs had a merit, it was a rare merit, as men go, of
knowing when he was beaten. If he had an accomplis hment, it was
the accomplishment of retiring defeated, with all the honors of
"Mercy presairve us!" he exclaimed, in the most innocent manner.
"Is it even You Yersel' that writ the letter to the man ca'ed
Jaffray Delamayn, and got the wee bit answer in pencil on the
blank page? Hoo, in Heeven's name, was I to know _that_ was the
letter ye were after when ye cam' in here? Did ye ever tell me ye
were Anne Silvester, at the hottle? Never ance! Was the puir
feckless husband-creature ye had wi' ye at the inn, Jaffray
Delamayn? Jaffray wad mak' twa o' him, as my ain eyes ha' seen.
Gi' ye back yer letter? My certie! noo I know it is yer letter,
I'll gi' it back wi' a' the pleasure in life!"
He opened his pocket-book, and took it out, with an alacrity
worthy of the honestest man in Christendom--and (more wonderful
still) he looked with a perfectly assumed expression of
indifference at the five-pound note in Anne's hand.
"Hoot! toot!" he said, "I'm no' that clear in my mind that I'm
free to tak' yer money. Eh, weel! weel! I'll een receive it, if
ye like, as a bit Memento o' the time when I was o' some sma'
sairvice to ye at the hottle. Ye'll no' mind," he added, suddenly
returning to business, "writin' me joost a line--in the way o'
receipt, ye ken--to clear me o' ony future suspicion in the
matter o' the letter?"
Anne threw down the bank-note on the table near which they were
standing, and snatched the letter from him.
"You need no receipt," she answered. "There shall be no letter to
bear witness against you!"
She lifted her other hand to tear it in pieces. Bishopriggs
caught her by both wrists, at the same moment, and held her fast.
"Bide a wee!" he said. "Ye don't get the letter, young madam,
without the receipt. It may be a' the same to _you,_ now ye've
married the other man, whether Jaffray Delamayn ance promised ye
fair in the by-gone time, or no. But, my certie! it's a matter o'
some moment to _me,_ that ye've chairged wi' stealin' the letter,
and making a market o't, and Lord knows what besides, that I suld
hae yer ain acknowledgment for it in black and white. Gi' me my
bit receipt--and een do as ye will with yer letter after that!"
Anne's hold of the letter relaxed. She let Bishopriggs repossess
himself of it as it dropped on the floor between them, without
making an effort to prevent him.
"It may be a' the same to _you,_ now ye've married the other man,
whether Jaffray Delamayn ance promised ye fair in the by-gone
time, or no." Those words presented Anne's position before her in
a light in which she had not seen it yet. She had truly expressed
the loathing that Geoffrey now inspired in her, when she had
declared, in her letter to Arnold, that, even if he offered her
marriage, in atonement for the past, she would rather be what she
was than be his wife. It had never occurred to her, until this
moment, that others would misinterpret the sensitive pride which
had prompted the abandonment of her claim on the man who had
ruined her. It had never been brought home to her until now, that
if she left him contemptuously to go his own way, and sell
himself to the first woman who had money enough to buy him, her
conduct would sanction the false conclusion that she was
powerless to interfere, because she was married already to
another man. The color that had risen in her face vanished, and
left it deadly pale again. She began to see that the purpose of
her journey to the north was not completed yet.
"I will give you your receipt," she said. "Tell me what to write,
and it shall be written."
Bishopriggs dictated the receipt. She wrote and signed it. He put
it in his pocket-book with the five-pound note, and handed her
the letter in exchange.
"Tear it if ye will," he said. "It matters naething to _me._"
For a moment she hesitated. A sudden shuddering shook her from
head to foot--the forewarning, it might be, of the influence
which that letter, saved from destruction by a hair's-breadth,
was destined to exercise on her life to come. She recovered
herself, and folded her cloak closer to her, as if she had felt a
"No," she said; "I will keep the letter."
She folded it and put it in the pocket of her dress. Then turned
to go--and stopped at the door.
"One thing more," she added. "Do you know Mrs. Glenarm's present
"Ye're no' reely going to Mistress Glenarm?"
"That is no concern of yours. You can answer my question or not,
as you please."
"Eh, my leddy! yer temper's no' what it used to be in the auld
times at the hottle. Aweel! aweel! ye ha' gi'en me yer money, and
I'll een gi' ye back gude measure for it, on my side. Mistress
Glenarm's awa' in private--incog, as they say--to Jaffray
Delamayn's brither at Swanhaven Lodge. Ye may rely on the
information, and it's no' that easy to come at either. They've
keepit it a secret as they think from a' the warld. Hech! hech!
Tammy Pennyquick's youngest but twa is page-boy at the hoose
where the leddy's been veesitin', on the outskirts o' Pairth.
Keep a secret if ye can frae the pawky ears o' yer domestics in
the servants' hall!--Eh! she's aff, without a word at parting!"
he exclaimed, as Anne left him without ceremony in the middle of
his dissertation on secrets and servants' halls. "I trow I ha'
gaen out for wool, and come back shorn," he added, reflecting
grimly on the disastrous overthrow of the promising speculation
on which he had embarked. "My certie! there was naething left
for't, when madam's fingers had grippit me, but to slip through
them as cannily as I could. What's Jaffray's marrying, or no'
marrying, to do wi' _her?_" he wondered, reverting to the
question which Anne had put to him at parting. "And whar's the
sense o' her errand, if she's reely bent on finding her way to
Whatever the sense of her errand might be, Anne's next proceeding
proved that she was really bent on it. After resting two days,
she left Perth by the first train in the morning, for Swanhaven
NINTH SCENE.--THE MUSIC-ROOM.
CHAPTER THE FORTIETH.
JULIUS MAKES MISCHIEF.
JULIUS DELAMAYN was alone, idly sauntering to and fro, with his
violin in his hand, on the terrace at Swanhaven Lodge.
The first mellow light of evening was in the sky. It was the
close of the day on which Anne Silvester had left Perth.
Some hours earlier, Julius had sacrificed himself to the duties
of his political position--as made for him by his father. He had
submitted to the dire necessity of delivering an oration to the
electors, at a public meeting in the neighboring town of
Kirkandrew. A detestable atmosphere to breathe; a disorderly
audience to address; insolent opposition to conciliate; imbecile
inquiries to answer; brutish interruptions to endure; greedy
petitioners to pacify; and dirty hands to shake: these are the
stages by which the aspiring English gentleman is compelled to
travel on the journey which leads him from the modest obscurity
of private life to the glorious publicity of the House of
Commons. Julius paid the preliminary penalties of a political
first appearance, as exacted by free institutions, with the
necessary patience; and returned to the welcome shelter of home,
more indifferent, if possible, to the attractions of
Parliamentary distinction than when he set out. The discord of
the roaring "people" (still echoing in his ears) had sharpened
his customary sensibility to the poetry of sound, as composed by
Mozart, and as interpreted by piano and violin. Possessing
himself of his beloved instrument, he had gone out on the terrace
to cool himself in the evening air, pending the arrival of the
servant whom he had summoned by the music-room bell. The man
appeared at the glass door which led into the room; and reported,
in answer to his master's inquiry, that Mrs. Julius Delamayn was
out paying visits, and was not expected to return for another
hour at least.
Julius groaned in spirit. The finest music which Mozart has
written for the violin associates that instrument with the piano.
Without the wife to help him, the husband was mute. After an
instant's consideration, Julius hit on an idea which promised, in
some degree, to remedy the disaster of Mrs. Delamayn's absence
"Has Mrs. Glenarm gone out, too?" he asked.
"My compliments. If Mrs. Glenarm has nothing else to do, will she
be so kind as to come to me in the music-room?"
The servant went away with his message. Julius seated himself on
one of the terrace-benches, and began to tune his violin.
Mrs. Glenarm--rightly reported by Bishopriggs as having privately
taken refuge from her anonymous correspondent at Swanhaven
Lodge--was, musically speaking, far from being an efficient
substitute for Mrs. Delamayn. Julius possessed, in his wife, one
of the few players on the piano-forte under whose subtle touch
that shallow and soulless instrument becomes inspired with
expression not its own, and produces music instead of noise. The
fine organization which can work this miracle had not been
bestowed on Mrs. Glenarm. She had been carefully taught; and she
was to be trusted to play correctly--and that was all. Julius,
hungry for music, and reigned to circumstances, asked for no
The servant returned with his answer. Mrs. Glenarm would join Mr.
Delamayn in the music-room in ten minutes' time.
Julius rose, relieved, and resumed his sauntering walk; now
playing little snatches of music, now stopping to look at the
flowers on the terrace, with an eye that enjoyed their beauty,
and a hand that fondled them with caressing touch. If Imperial
Parliament had seen him at that moment, Imperial Parliament must
have given notice of a question to his illustrious father: Is it
possible, my lord, that _ you_ can have begotten such a Member as
After stopping for a moment to tighten one of the strings of his
violin, Julius, raising his head from the instrument, was
surprised to see a lady approaching him on the terrace. Advancing
to meet her, and perceiving that she was a total stranger to him,
he assumed that she was, in all probability, a visitor to his
"Have I the honor of speaking to a friend of Mrs. Delamayn's?" he
asked. "My wife is not at home, I am sorry to say."
"I am a stranger to Mrs. Delamayn," the lady answered. "The
servant informed me that she had gone out; and that I should find
Mr. Delamayn here."
Julius bowed--and waited to hear more.
"I must beg you to forgive my intrusion," the stranger went on.
"My object is to ask permission to see a lady who is, I have been
informed, a guest in your house."
The extraordinary formality of the request rather puzzled Julius.
"Do you mean Mrs. Glenarm?" he asked.
"Pray don't think any permission necessary. A friend of Mrs.
Glenarm's may take her welcome for granted in this house."
"I am not a friend of Mrs. Glenarm. I am a total stranger to
This made the ceremonious request preferred by the lady a little
more intelligible--but it left the lady's object in wishing to
speak to Mrs. Glenarm still in the dark. Julius politely waited,
until it pleased her to proceed further, and explain herself The
explanation did not appear to be an easy one to give. Her eyes
dropped to the ground. She hesitated painfully.
"My name--if I mention it," she resumed, without looking up, "may
possibly inform you--" She paused. Her color came and went. She
hesitated again; struggled with her agitation, and controlled it.
"I am Anne Silvester," she said, suddenly raising her pale face,
and suddenly steadying her trembling voice.
Julius started, and looked at her in silent surprise.
The name was doubly known to him. Not long since, he had heard it
from his father's lips, at his father's bedside. Lord Holchester
had charged him, had earnestly charged him, to bear that name in
mind, and to help the woman who bore it, if the woman ever
applied to him in time to come. Again, he had heard the name,
more lately, associated scandalously with the name of his
brother. On the receipt of the first of the anonymous letters
sent to her, Mrs. Glenarm had not only summoned Geoffrey himself
to refute the aspersion cast upon him, but had forwarded a
private copy of the letter to his relatives at Swanhaven.
Geoffrey's defense had not entirely satisfied Julius that his
brother was free from blame. As he now looked at Anne Silvester,
the doubt returned upon him strengthened--almost confirmed. Was
this woman--so modest, so gentle, so simply and unaffectedly
refined--the shameless adventuress denounced by Geoffrey, as
claiming him on the strength of a foolish flirtation; knowing
herself, at the time, to be privately married to another man? Was
this woman--with the voice of a lady, the look of a lady, the
manner of a lady--in league (as Geoffrey had declared) with the
illiterate vagabond who was attempting to extort money
anonymously from Mrs. Glenarm? Impossible! Making every allowance
for the proverbial deceitfulness of appearances, impossible!
"Your name has been mentioned to me," said Julius, answering her
after a momentary pause. His instincts, as a gentleman, made him
shrink from referring to the association of her name with the
name of his brother. "My father mentioned you," he added,
considerately explaining his knowledge of her in _that_ way,
"when I last saw him in London."
"Your father!" She came a step nearer, with a look of distrust as
well as a look of astonishment in her face. "Your father is Lord
Holchester--is he not?"
"What made him speak of _me?_"
"He was ill at the time," Julius answered. "And he had been
thinking of events in his past life with which I am entirely
unacquainted. He said he had known your father and mother. He
desired me, if you were ever in want of any assistance, to place
my services at your disposal. When he expressed that wish, he
spoke very earnestly--he gave me the impression that there was a
feeling of regret associated with the recollections on which he
had been dwelling."
Slowly, and in silence, Anne drew back to the low wall of the
terrace close by. She rested one hand on it to support herself.
Julius had said words of terrible import without a suspicion of
what he had done. Never until now had Anne Silvester known that
the man who had betrayed her was the son of that other man whose
discovery of the flaw in the marriage had ended in the betrayal
of her mother before her. She felt the shock of the revelation
with a chill of superstitious dread. Was the chain of a fatality
wound invisibly round her? Turn which way she might was she still
going darkly on, in the track of her dead mother, to an appointed
and hereditary doom? Present things passed from her view as the
awful doubt cast its shadow over her mind. She lived again for a
moment in the time when she was a child. She saw the face of her
mother once more, with the wan despair on it of the bygone days
when the title of wife was denied her, and the social prospect
was closed forever.
Julius approached, and roused her.
"Can I get you any thing?" he asked. "You are looking very ill. I
hope I have said nothing to distress you?"
The question failed to attract her attention. She put a question
herself instead of answering it.
"Did you say you were quite ignorant of what your father was
thinking of when he spoke to you about me?"
"Is your brother likely to know more about it than you do?"
She paused, absorbed once more in her own thoughts. Startled, on
the memorable day when they had first met, by Geoffrey's family
name, she had put the question to him whether there had not been
some acquaintance between their parents in the past time.
Deceiving her in all else, he had not deceived in this. He had
spoken in good faith, when he had declared that he had never
heard her father or her mother mentioned at home.
The curiosity of Julius was aroused. He attempted to lead her on
into saying more.
"You appear to know what my father was thinking of when he spoke
to me," he resumed. "May I ask--"
She interrupted him with a gesture of entreaty.
"Pray don't ask! It's past and over--it can have no interest for
you--it has nothing to do with my errand here. I must return,"
she went on, hurriedly, "to my object in trespassing on your
kindness. Have you heard me mentioned, Mr. Delamayn, by another
member of your family besides your father?"
Julius had not anticipated that sh e would approach, of her own
accord, the painful subject on which he had himself forborne to
touch. He was a little disappointed. He had expected more
delicacy of feeling from her than she had shown.
"Is it necessary," he asked, coldly, "to enter on that?"
The blood rose again in Anne's cheeks.
"If it had not been necessary," she answered, "do you think I
could have forced myself to mention it to _you?_ Let me remind
you that I am here on sufferance. If I don't speak plainly (no
matter at what sacrifice to my own feelings), I make my situation
more embarrassing than it is already. I have something to tell
Mrs. Glenarm relating to the anonymous letters which she has
lately received. And I have a word to say to her, next, about her
contemplated marriage. Before you allow me to do this, you ought
to know who I am. (I have owned it.) You ought to have heard the
worst that can be said of my conduct. (Your face tells me you
have heard the worst.) After the forbearance you have shown to
me, as a perfect stranger, I will not commit the meanness of
taking you by surprise. Perhaps, Mr. Delamayn, you understand,
_now,_ why I felt myself obliged to refer to your brother. Will
you trust me with permission to speak to Mrs. Glenarm?"
It was simply and modestly said--with an unaffected and touching
resignation of look and manner. Julius gave her back the respect
and the sympathy which, for a moment, he had unjustly withheld
"You have placed a confidence in me," he said "which most persons
in your situation would have withheld. I feel bound, in return to
place confidence in you. I will take it for granted that your
motive in this matter is one which it is my duty to respect. It
will be for Mrs. Glenarm to say whether she wishes the interview
to take place or not. All that I can do is to leave you free to
propose it to her. You _are_ free."
As he spoke the sound of the piano reached them from the
music-room. Julius pointed to the glass door which opened on to
"You have only to go in by that door," he said, "and you will
find Mrs. Glenarm alone."
Anne bowed, and left him. Arrived at the short flight of steps
which led up to the door, she paused to collect her thoughts
before she went in.
A sudden reluctance to go on and enter the room took possession
of her, as she waited with her foot on the lower step. The report
of Mrs. Glenarm's contemplated marriage had produced no such
effect on her as Sir Patrick had supposed: it had found no love
for Geoffrey left to wound, no latent jealousy only waiting to be
inflamed. Her object in taking the journey to Perth was completed
when her correspondence with Geoffrey was in her own hands again.
The change of purpose which had brought her to Swanhaven was due
entirely to the new view of her position toward Mrs. Glenarm
which the coarse commonsense of Bishopriggs had first suggested
to her. If she failed to protest against Mrs. Glenarm's marriage,
in the interests of the reparation which Geoffrey owed to her,
her conduct would only confirm Geoffrey's audacious assertion
that she was a married woman already. For her own sake she might
still have hesitated to move in the matter. But Blanche's
interests were concerned as well as her own; and, for Blanche's
sake, she had resolved on making the journey to Swanhaven Lodge.
At the same time, feeling toward Geoffrey as she felt
now--conscious as she was of not really desiring the reparation
on which she was about to insist--it was essential to the
preservation of her own self-respect that she should have some
purpose in view which could justify her to her own conscience in
assuming the character of Mrs. Glenarm's rival.
She had only to call to mind the critical situation of
Blanche--and to see her purpose before her plainly. Assuming that
she could open the coming interview by peaceably proving that her
claim on Geoffrey was beyond dispute, she might then, without
fear of misconception, take the tone of a friend instead of an
enemy, and might, with the best grace, assure Mrs. Glenarm that
she had no rivalry to dread, on the one easy condition that she
engaged to make Geoffrey repair the evil that he had done. "Marry
him without a word against it to dread from _me_--so long as he
unsays the words and undoes the deeds which have thrown a doubt
on the marriage of Arnold and Blanche." If she could but bring
the interview to this end--there was the way found of extricating
Arnold, by her own exertions, from the false position in which
she had innocently placed him toward his wife! Such was the
object before her, as she now stood on the brink of her interview
with Mrs. Glenarm.
Up to this moment, she had firmly believed in her capacity to
realize her own visionary project. It was only when she had her
foot on the step that a doubt of the success of the coming
experiment crossed her mind. For the first time, she saw the weak
point in her own reasoning. For the first time, she felt how much
she had blindly taken for granted, in assuming that Mrs. Glenarm
would have sufficient sense of justice and sufficient command of
temper to hear her patiently. All her hopes of success rested on
her own favorable estimate of a woman who was a total stranger to
her! What if the first words exchanged between them proved the
estimate to be wrong?
It was too late to pause and reconsider the position. Julius
Delamayn had noticed her hesitation, and was advancing toward her
from the end of the terrace. There was no help for it but to
master her own irresolution, and to run the risk boldly. "Come
what may, I have gone too far to stop _here._" With that
desperate resolution to animate her, she opened the glass door at
the top of the steps, and went into the room.
Mrs. Glenarm rose from the piano. The two women--one so richly,
the other so plainly dressed; one with her beauty in its full
bloom, the other worn and blighted; one with society at her feet,
the other an outcast living under the bleak shadow of
reproach--the two women stood face to face, and exchanged the
cold courtesies of salute between strangers, in silence.
The first to meet the trivial necessities of the situation was
Mrs. Glenarm. She good-humoredly put an end to the
embarrassment--which the shy visitor appeared to feel acutely--by
"I am afraid the servants have not told you?" she said. "Mrs.
Delamayn has gone out."
"I beg your pardon--I have not called to see Mrs. Delamayn."
Mrs. Glenarm looked a little surprised. She went on, however, as
amiably as before.
"Mr. Delamayn, perhaps?" she suggested. "I expect him here every
Anne explained again. "I have just parted from Mr. Delamayn."
Mrs. Glenarm opened her eyes in astonishment. Anne proceeded. "I
have come here, if you will excuse the intrusion--"
She hesitated--at a loss how to end the sentence. Mrs. Glenarm,
beginning by this time to feel a strong curiosity as to what
might be coming next, advanced to the rescue once more.
"Pray don't apologize," she said. "I think I understand that you
are so good as to have come to see _me._ You look tired. Won't
you take a chair?"
Anne could stand no longer. She took the offered chair. Mrs.
Glenarm resumed her place on the music-stool, and ran her fingers
idly over the keys of the piano. "Where did you see Mr.
Delamayn?" she went on. "The most irresponsible of men, except
when he has got his fiddle in his hand! Is he coming in soon? Are
we going to have any music? Have you come to play with us? Mr.
Delamayn is a perfect fanatic in music, isn't he? Why isn't he
here to introduce us? I suppose you like the classical style,
too? Did you know that I was in the music-room? Might I ask your
Frivolous as they were, Mrs. Glenarm's questions were not without
their use. They gave Anne time to summon her resolution, and to
feel the necessity of explaining herself.
"I am speaking, I believe, to Mrs. Glenarm?" she began.
The good-humored widow smiled and bowed graciously.
"I have come here, Mrs. Glenarm--by Mr. Delamayn's permission--to
ask leave to speak to you on a matter in which you are
Mrs. Glenarm's many-ringed fingers paused over the keys of the
piano. Mrs. Gle narm's plump face turned on the stranger with a
dawning expression of surprise.
"Indeed? I am interested in so many matters. May I ask what
_this_ matter is?"
The flippant tone of the speaker jarred on Anne. If Mrs.
Glenarm's nature was as shallow as it appeared to be on the
surface, there was little hope of any sympathy establishing
itself between them.
"I wished to speak to you," she answered, "about something that
happened while you were paying a visit in the neighborhood of
The dawning surprise in Mrs. Glenarm's face became intensified
into an expression of distrust. Her hearty manner vanished under
a veil of conventional civility, drawn over it suddenly. She
looked at Anne. "Never at the best of times a beauty," she
thought. "Wretchedly out of health now. Dressed like a servant,
and looking like a lady. What _does_ it mean?"
The last doubt was not to be borne in silence by a person of Mrs.
Glenarm's temperament. She addressed herself to the solution of
it with the most unblushing directness--dextrously excused by the
most winning frankness of manner.
"Pardon me," she said. "My memory for faces is a bad one; and I
don't think you heard me just now, when I asked for your name.
Have we ever met before?"
"And yet--if I understand what you are referring to--you wish to
speak to me about something which is only interesting to myself
and my most intimate friends."
"You understand me quite correctly," said Anne. "I wish to speak
to you about some anonymous letters--"
"For the third time, will you permit me to ask for your name?"
"You shall hear it directly--if you will first allow me to finish
what I wanted to say. I wish--if I can--to persuade you that I
come here as a friend, before I mention my name. You will, I am
sure, not be very sorry to hear that you need dread no further
"Pardon me once more," said Mrs. Glenarm, interposing for the
second time. "I am at a loss to know to what I am to attribute
this kind interest in my affairs on the part of a total
This time, her tone was more than politely cold--it was politely
impertinent. Mrs. Glenarm had lived all her life in good society,
and was a perfect mistress of the subtleties of refined insolence
in her intercourse with those who incurred her displeasure.
Anne's sensitive nature felt the wound--but Anne's patient
courage submitted. She put away from her the insolence which had
tried to sting, and went on, gently and firmly, as if nothing had
"The person who wrote to you anonymously," she said, "alluded to
a correspondence. He is no longer in possession of it. The
correspondence has passed into hands which may be trusted to
respect it. It will be put to no base use in the future--I answer
"You answer for that?" repeated Mrs. Glenarm. She suddenly leaned
forward over the piano, and fixed her eyes in unconcealed
scrutiny on Anne's face. The violent temper, so often found in
combination with the weak nature, began to show itself in her
rising color, and her lowering brow. "How do _you_ know what the
person wrote?" she asked. "How do _you_ know that the
correspondence has passed into other hands? Who are you?" Before
Anne could answer her, she sprang to her feet, electrified by a
new idea. "The man who wrote to me spoke of something else
besides a correspondence. He spoke of a woman. I have found you
out!" she exclaimed, with a burst of jealous fury. "_You_ are the
Anne rose on her side, still in firm possession of her
"Mrs. Glenarm," she said, calmly, "I warn--no, I entreat you--not
to take that tone with me. Compose yourself; and I promise to
satisfy you that you are more interested than you are willing to
believe in what I have still to say. Pray bear with me for a
little longer. I admit that you have guessed right. I own that I
am the miserable woman who has been ruined and deserted by
"It's false!" cried Mrs. Glenarm. "You wretch! Do you come to
_me_ with your trumped-up story? What does Julius Delamayn mean
by exposing me to this?" Her indignation at finding herself in
the same room with Anne broke its way through, not the restraints
only, but the common decencies of politeness. "I'll ring for the
servants!" she said. "I'll have you turned out of the house."
She tried to cross the fire-place to ring the bell. Anne, who was
standing nearest to it, stepped forward at the same moment.
Without saying a word, she motioned with her hand to the other
woman to stand back. There was a pause. The two waited, with
their eyes steadily fixed on one another--each with her
resolution laid bare to the other's view. In a moment more, the
finer nature prevailed. Mrs. Glenarm drew back a step in silence.
"Listen to me," said Anne.
"Listen to you?" repeated Mrs. Glenarm. "You have no right to be
in this house. You have no right to force yourself in here. Leave
Anne's patience--so firmly and admirably preserved thus
far--began to fail her at last.
"Take care, Mrs. Glenarm!" she said, still struggling with
herself. "I am not naturally a patient woman. Trouble has done
much to tame my temper--but endurance has its limits. You have
reached the limits of mine. I have a claim to be heard--and after
what you have said to me, I _will_ be heard!"
"You have no claim! You shameless woman, you are married already.
I know the man's name. Arnold Brinkworth."
"Did Geoffrey Delamayn tell you that?"
"I decline to answer a woman who speaks of Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn
in that familiar way."
Anne advanced a step nearer.
"Did Geoffrey Delamayn tell you that?" she repeated.
There was a light in her eyes, there was a ring in her voice,
which showed that she was roused at last. Mrs. Glenarm answered
her, this time.
"He did tell me."
"He did _not!_ He knew. I believe _him._ I don't believe _you._"
"If he told you that I was any thing but a single woman--if he
told you that Arnold Brinkworth was married to any body but Miss
Lundie of Windygates--I say again he lied!"
"I say again--I believe _him,_ and not you."
"You believe I am Arnold Brinkworth's wife?"
"I am certain of it."
"You tell me that to my face?"
"I tell you to your face--you may have been Geoffrey Delamayn's
mistress; you are Arnold Brinkworth's wife."
At those words the long restrained anger leaped up in Anne--all
the more hotly for having been hitherto so steadily controlled.
In one breathless moment the whirlwind of her indignation swept
away, not only all remembrance of the purpose which had brought
her to Swanhaven, but all sense even of the unpardonable wrong
which she had suffered at Geoffrey's hands. If he had been there,
at that moment, and had offered to redeem his pledge, she would
have consented to marry him, while Mrs. Glenarm s eye was on
her--no matter whether she destroyed herself in her first cool
moment afterward or not. The small sting had planted itself at
last in the great nature. The noblest woman is only a woman,
"I forbid your marriage to Geoffrey Delamayn! I insist on his
performing the promise he gave me, to make me his wife! I have
got it here in his own words, in his own writing. On his soul, he
swears it to me--he will redeem his pledge. His mistress, did you
say? His wife, Mrs. Glenarm, before the week is out!"
In those wild words she cast back the taunt--with the letter held
in triumph in her hand.
Daunted for the moment by the doubt now literally forced on her,
that Anne might really have the claim on Geoffrey which she
advanced, Mrs. Glenarm answered nevertheless with the obstinacy
of a woman brought to bay--with a resolution not to be convinced
by conviction itself.
"I won't give him up!" she cried. "Your letter is a forgery. You
have no proof. I won't, I won't, I won't give him up!" she
repeated, with the impotent iteration of an angry child.
Anne pointed disdainfully to the letter that she held. "Here is
his pledged and written word," she said. "While I live, you will
never be his wife."
"I shall be his wife the day after the race. I am going to him in
London--to warn him against You!"
"You will find me in London, before you--with this in my hand. Do
you know his writing?"
She held up the letter, open. Mrs. Glenarm's hand flew out with
the stealthy rapidity of a cat's paw, to seize and destroy it.
Quick as she was, her rival was quicker still. For an instant
they faced each other breathless--one with the letter held behind
her; one with her hand still stretched out.
At the same moment--before a word more had passed between
them--the glass door opened; and Julius Delamayn appeared in the
He addressed himself to Anne.
"We decided, on the terrace," he said, quietly, "that you should
speak to Mrs. Glenarm, if Mrs. Glenarm wished it. Do you think it
desirable that the interview should be continued any longer?"
Anne's head drooped on her breast. The fiery anger in her was
quenched in an instant.
"I have been cruelly provoked, Mr. Delamayn," she answered. "But
I have no right to plead that." She looked up at him for a
moment. The hot tears of shame gathered in her eyes, and fell
slowly over her cheeks. She bent her head again, and hid them
from him. "The only atonement I can make," she said, "is to ask
your pardon, and to leave the house."
In silence, she turned away to the door. In silence, Julius
Delamayn paid her the trifling courtesy of opening it for her.
She went out.
Mrs. Glenarm's indignation--suspended for the moment--transferred
itself to Julius.
"If I have been entrapped into seeing that woman, with your
approval," she said, haughtily, "I owe it to myself, Mr.
Delamayn, to follow her example, and to leave your house."
"I authorized her to ask you for an interview, Mrs. Glenarm. If
she has presumed on the permission that I gave her, I sincerely
regret it, and I beg you to accept my apologies. At the same
time, I may venture to add, in defense of my conduct, that I
thought her--and think her still--a woman to be pitied more than
to be blamed."
"To be pitied did you say?" asked Mrs. Glenarm, doubtful whether
her ears had not deceived her.
"To be pitied," repeated Julius.
"_You_ may find it convenient, Mr. Delamayn, to forget what your
brother has told us about that person. _I_ happen to remember
"So do I, Mrs. Glenarm. But, with my experience of Geoffrey--" He
hesitated, and ran his fingers nervously over the strings of his
"You don't believe him?" said Mrs. Glenarm.
Julius declined to admit that he doubted his brother's word, to
the lady who was about to become his brother's wife.
"I don't quite go that length," he said. "I find it difficult to
reconcile what Geoffrey has told us, with Miss Silvester's manner
"Her appearance!" cried Mrs. Glenarm, in a transport of
astonishment and disgust. "_Her_ appearance! Oh, the men! I beg
your pardon--I ought to have remembered that there is no
accounting for tastes. Go on--pray go on!"
"Shall we compose ourselves with a little music?" suggested
"I particularly request you will go on," answered Mrs. Glenarm,
emphatically. "You find it 'impossible to reconcile'--"
"I said 'difficult.' "
"Oh, very well. Difficult to reconcile what Geoffrey told us,
with Miss Silvester's manner and appearance. What next? You had
something else to say, when I was so rude as to interrupt you.
What was it?"
"Only this," said Julius. "I don't find it easy to understand Sir
Patrick Lundie's conduct in permitting Mr. Brinkworth to commit
bigamy with his niece."
"Wait a minute! The marriage of that horrible woman to Mr.
Brinkworth was a private marriage. Of course, Sir Patrick knew
nothing about it!"
Julius owned that this might be possible, and made a second
attempt to lead the angry lady back to the piano. Useless, once
more! Though she shrank from confessing it to herself, Mrs.
Glenarm's belief in the genuineness of her lover's defense had
been shaken. The tone taken by Julius--moderate as it
was--revived the first startling suspicion of the credibility of
Geoffrey's statement which Anne's language and conduct had forced
on Mrs. Glenarm. She dropped into the nearest chair, and put her
handkerchief to her eyes. "You always hated poor Geoffrey," she
said, with a burst of tears. "And now you're defaming him to me!"
Julius managed her admirably. On the point of answering her
seriously, he checked himself. "I always hated poor Geoffrey," he
repeated, with a smile. "You ought to be the last person to say
that, Mrs. Glenarm! I brought him all the way from London
expressly to introduce him to _you._"
"Then I wish you had left him in London!" retorted Mrs. Glenarm,
shifting suddenly from tears to temper. "I was a happy woman
before I met your brother. I can't give him up!" she burst out,
shifting back again from temper to tears. "I don't care if he
_has_ deceived me. I won't let another woman have him! I _will_
be his wife!" She threw herself theatrically on her knees before
Julius. "Oh, _do_ help me to find out the truth!" she said. "Oh,
Julius, pity me! I am so fond of him!"
There was genuine distress in her face, there was true feeling in
her voice. Who would have believed that there were reserves of
merciless insolence and heartless cruelty in this woman--and that
they had been lavishly poured out on a fallen sister not five
"I will do all I can," said Julius, raising her. "Let us talk of
it when you are more composed. Try a little music," he repeated,
"just to quiet your nerves."
"Would _you_ like me to play?" asked Mrs. Glenarm, becoming a
model of feminine docility at a moment's notice.
Julius opened the Sonatas of Mozart, and shouldered his violin.
"Let's try the Fifteenth," he said, placing Mrs. Glenarm at the
piano. "We will begin with the Adagio. If ever there was divine
music written by mortal man, there it is!"
They began. At the third bar Mrs. Glenarm dropped a note--and the
bow of Julius paused shuddering on the strings.
"I can't play!" she said. "I am so agitated; I am so anxious. How
_am_ I to find out whether that wretch is really married or not?
Who can I ask? I can't go to Geoffrey in London--the trainers
won't let me see him. I can't appeal to Mr. Brinkworth himself--I
am not even acquainted with him. Who else is there? Do think, and
There was but one chance of making her return to the Adagio--the
chance of hitting on a suggestion which would satisfy and quiet
her. Julius laid his violin on the piano, and considered the
question before him carefully.
"There are the witnesses," he said. "If Geoffrey's story is to be
depended on, the landlady and the waiter at the inn can speak to
"Low people!" objected Mrs. Glenarm. "People I don't know. People
who might take advantage of my situation, and be insolent to me."
Julius considered once more; and made another suggestion. With
the fatal ingenuity of innocence, he hit on the idea of referring
Mrs. Glenarm to no less a person than Lady Lundie herself!
"There is our good friend at Windygates," he said. "Some whisper
of the matter may have reached Lady Lundie's ears. It may be a
little awkward to call on her (if she _has_ heard any thing) at
the time of a serious family disaster. You are the best judge of
that, however. All I can do is to throw out the notion.
Windygates isn't very far off--and something might come of it.
What do you think?"
Something might come of it! Let it be remembered that Lady Lundie
had been left entirely in the dark--that she had written to Sir
Patrick in a tone which plainly showed that her self-esteem was
wounded and her suspicion roused--and that her first intimation
of the serious dilemma in which Arnold Brinkworth stood was now
likely, thanks to Julius Delamayn, to reach her from the lips of
a mere acquaintance. Let this be remembered; and then let the
estimate be formed of what might come of it--not at Windygates
only, but also at Ham Farm!
"What do you think?" asked Julius.
Mrs. Glenarm was enchanted. "The very person to go to!" she said.
"If I am not let in I can easily write--and explain my object as
an apology. Lady Lundie is so right-minded, so sympathetic. If
she sees no one else--I have only to confide my anxieties to her,
and I am sure she will see me. You will lend me a carriage, won't
you? I'll go to Windygates to-morrow."
Julius took his violin off the pi ano.
"Don't think me very troublesome," he said coaxingly. "Between
this and to-morrow we have nothing to do. And it is _such_ music,
if you once get into the swing of it! Would you mind trying
Mrs. Glenarm was willing to do any thing to prove her gratitude,
after the invaluable hint which she had just received. At the
second trial the fair pianist's eye and hand were in perfect
harmony. The lovely melody which the Adagio of Mozart's Fifteenth
Sonata has given to violin and piano flowed smoothly at last--and
Julius Delamayn soared to the seventh heaven of musical delight.
The next day Mrs. Glenarm and Mrs. Delamayn went together to
TENTH SCENE--THE BEDROOM.
CHAPTER THE FORTY-FIRST.
LADY LUNDIE DOES HER DUTY.
THE scene opens on a bedroom--and discloses, in broad daylight, a
lady in bed.
Persons with an irritable sense of propriety, whose
self-appointed duty it is to be always crying out, are warned to
pause before they cry out on this occasion. The lady now
presented to view being no less a person than Lady Lundie
herself, it follows, as a matter of course, that the utmost
demands of propriety are, by the mere assertion of that fact,
abundantly and indisputably satisfied. To say that any thing
short of direct moral advantage could, by any possibility, accrue
to any living creature by the presentation of her ladyship in a
horizontal, instead of a perpendicular position, is to assert
that Virtue is a question of posture, and that Respectability
ceases to assert itself when it ceases to appear in morning or
evening dress. Will any body be bold enough to say that? Let
nobody cry out, then, on the present occasion.
Lady Lundie was in bed.
Her ladyship had received Blanche's written announcement of the
sudden stoppage of the bridal tour; and had penned the answer to
Sir Patrick--the receipt of which at Ham Farm has been already
described. This done, Lady Lundie felt it due to herself to take
a becoming position in her own house, pending the possible
arrival of Sir Patrick's reply. What does a right-minded woman
do, when she has reason to believe that she is cruelly distrusted
by the members of her own family? A right-minded woman feels it
so acutely that she falls ill. Lady Lundie fell ill accordingly.
The case being a serious one, a medical practitioner of the
highest grade in the profession was required to treat it. A
physician from the neighboring town of Kirkandrew was called in.
The physician came in a carriage and pair, with the necessary
bald head, and the indispensable white cravat. He felt her
ladyship's pulse, and put a few gentle questions. He turned his
back solemnly, as only a great doctor can, on his own positive
internal conviction that his patient had nothing whatever the
matter with her. He said, with every appearance of believing in
himself, "Nerves, Lady Lundie. Repose in bed is essentially
necessary. I will write a prescription." He prescribed, with
perfect gravity: Aromatic Spirits of Ammonia--16 drops. Spirits
of Red Lavender--10 drops. Syrup of Orange Peel--2 drams. Camphor
Julep--1 ounce. When he had written, Misce fiat Hanstus (instead
of Mix a Draught)--when he had added, Ter die Sumendus (instead
of To be taken Three times a day)--and when he had certified to
his own Latin, by putting his initials at the end, he had only to
make his bow; to slip two guineas into his pocket; and to go his
way, with an approving professional conscience, in the character
of a physician who had done his duty.
Lady Lundie was in bed. The visible part of her ladyship was
perfectly attired, with a view to the occasion. A fillet of
superb white lace encircled her head. She wore an adorable
invalid jacket of white cambric, trimmed with lace and pink
ribbons. The rest was--bed-clothes. On a table at her side stood
the Red Lavender Draught--in color soothing to the eye; in flavor
not unpleasant to the taste. A book of devotional character was
near it. The domestic ledgers, and the kitchen report for the
day, were ranged modestly behind the devout book. (Not even her
ladyship's nerves, observe, were permitted to interfere with her
ladyship's duty.) A fan, a smelling-bottle, and a handkerchief
lay within reach on the counterpane. The spacious room was
partially darkened. One of the lower windows was open, affording
her ladyship the necessary cubic supply of air. The late Sir
Thomas looked at his widow, in effigy, from the wall opposite the
end of the bed. Not a chair was out of its place; not a vestige
of wearing apparel dared to show itself outside the sacred limits
of the wardrobe and the drawers. The sparkling treasures of the
toilet-table glittered in the dim distance, The jugs and basins
were of a rare and creamy white; spotless and beautiful to see.
Look where you might, you saw a perfect room. Then look at the
bed--and you saw a perfect woman, and completed the picture.
It was the day after Anne's appearance at Swanhaven--toward the
end of the afternoon.
Lady Lundie's own maid opened the door noiselessly, and stole on
tip-toe to the bedside. Her ladyship's eyes were closed. Her
ladyship suddenly opened them.
"Not asleep, Hopkins. Suffering. What is it?"
Hopkins laid two cards on the counterpane. "Mrs. Delamayn, my
lady--and Mrs. Glenarm."
"They were told I was ill, of course?"
"Yes, my lady. Mrs. Glenarm sent for me. She went into the
library, and wrote this note." Hopkins produced the note, neatly
folded in three-cornered form.
"Have they gone?"
"No, my lady. Mrs. Glenarm told me Yes or No would do for answer,
if you could only have the goodness to read this."
"Thoughtless of Mrs. Glenarm--at a time when the doctor insists
on perfect repose," said Lady Lundie. "It doesn't matter. One
sacrifice more or less is of very little consequence."
She fortified herself by an application of the smelling-bottle,
and opened the note. It ran thus:
"So grieved, dear Lady Lundie, to hear that you are a prisoner in
your room! I had taken the opportunity of calling with Mrs.
Delamayn, in the hope that I might be able to ask you a question.
Will your inexhaustible kindness forgive me if I ask it in
writing? Have you had any unexpected news of Mr. Arnold
Brinkworth lately? I mean, have you heard any thing about him,
which has taken you very much by surprise? I have a serious
reason for asking this. I will tell you what it is, the moment
you are able to see me. Until then, one word of answer is all I
expect. Send word down--Yes, or No. A thousand apologies--and
pray get better soon!"
The singular question contained in this note suggested one of two
inferences to Lady Lundie's mind. Either Mrs. Glenarm had heard a
report of the unexpected return of the married couple to
England--or she was in the far more interesting and important
position of possessing a clew to the secret of what was going on
under the surface at Ham Farm. The phrase used in the note, "I
have a serious reason for asking this," appeared to favor the
latter of the two interpretations. Impossible as it seemed to be
that Mrs. Glenarm could know something about Arnold of which Lady
Lundie was in absolute ignorance, her ladyship's curiosity
(already powerfully excited by Blanche's mysterious letter) was
only to be quieted by obtaining the necessary explanation
forthwith, at a personal interview.
"Hopkins," she said, "I must see Mrs. Glenarm."
Hopkins respectfully held up her hands in horror. Company in the
bedroom in the present state of her ladyship's health!
"A matter of duty is involved in this, Hopkins. Give me the
Hopkins produced an elegant little hand-mirror. Lady Lundie
carefully surveyed herself in it down to the margin of the
bedclothes. Above criticism in every respect? Yes--even when the
critic was a woman.
"Show Mrs. Glenarm up here."
In a minute or two more the iron-master's widow fluttered into
the room--a little over-dressed as usual; and a little profuse in
expressions of gratitude for her ladyship's kindness, and of
anxiety about her ladyship's health. Lady Lundie endured it as
long as she could--then stopped it with a gesture of polite
remonstrance, and came to the point.
"Now, my dear--about this question in your note? Is it possible
you have heard already that Arnold Brinkworth and his wife have
come back from Baden?" Mrs. Glenarm opened her eyes in
astonishment. Lady Lundie put it more plainly. "They were to have
gone on to Switzerland, you know, for their wedding tour, and
they suddenly altered their minds, and came back to England on
"Dear Lady Lundie, it's not that! Have you heard nothing about
Mr. Brinkworth except what you have just told me?"
There was a pause. Mrs. Glenarm toyed hesitatingly with her
parasol. Lady Lundie leaned forward in the bed, and looked at her
"What have _you_ heard about him?" she asked.
Mrs. Glenarm was embarrassed. "It's so difficult to say," she
"I can bear any thing but suspense," said Lady Lundie. "Tell me
Mrs. Glenarm decided to risk it. "Have you never heard," she
asked, "that Mr. Brinkworth might possibly have committed himself
with another lady before he married Miss Lundie?"
Her ladyship first closed her eyes in horror and then searched
blindly on the counterpane for the smelling-bottle. Mrs. Glenarm
gave it to her, and waited to see how the invalid bore it before
she said any more.
"There are things one _must_ hear," remarked Lady Lundie. "I see
an act of duty involved in this. No words can describe how you
astonish me. Who told you?"
"Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn told me."
Her ladyship applied for the second time to the smelling-bottle.
"Arnold Brinkworth's most intimate friend!" she exclaimed. "He
ought to know if any body does. This is dreadful. Why should Mr.
Geoffrey Delamayn tell _you?_"
"I am going to marry him," answered Mrs. Glenarm. "That is my
excuse, dear Lady Lundie, for troubling you in this matter."
Lady Lundie partially opened her eyes in a state of faint
bewilderment. "I don't understand," she said. "For Heaven's sake
"Haven't you heard about the anonymous letters?" asked Mrs.
Yes. Lady Lundie had heard about the letters. But only what the
public in general had heard. The name of the lady in the
background not mentioned; and Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn assumed to be
as innocent as the babe unborn. Any mistake in that assumption?
"Give me your hand, my poor dear, and confide it all to _me!_"
"He is not quite innocent," said Mrs. Glenarm. "He owned to a
foolish flirtation--all _her_ doing, no doubt. Of course, I
insisted on a distinct explanation. Had she really any claim on
him? Not the shadow of a claim. I felt that I only had his word
for that--and I told him so. He said he could prove it--he said
he knew her to be privately married already. Her husband had
disowned and deserted her; she was at the end of her resources;
she was desperate enough to attempt any thing. I thought it all
very suspicious--until Geoffrey mentioned the man's name. _That_
certainly proved that he had cast off his wife; for I myself knew
that he had lately married another person."
Lady Lundie suddenly started up from her pillow--honestly
agitated; genuinely alarmed by this time.
"Mr. Delamayn told you the man's name?" she said, breathlessly.
"Do I know it?"
"Don't ask me!"
Lady Lundie fell back on the pillow.
Mrs. Glenarm rose to ring for help. Before she could touch the
bell, her ladyship had rallied again.
"Stop!" she cried. "I can confirm it! It's true, Mrs. Glenarm!
it's true! Open the silver box on the toilet-table--you will find
the key in it. Bring me the top letter. Here! Look at it. I got
this from Blanche. Why have they suddenly given up their bridal
tour? Why have they gone back to Sir Patrick at Ham Farm? Why
have they put me off with an infamous subterfuge to account for
it? I felt sure something dreadful had happened. Now I know what
it is!" She sank back again, with closed eyes, and repeated the
words, in a fierce whisper, to herself. "Now I know what it is!"
Mrs. Glenarm read the letter. The reason given for the
suspiciously sudden return of the bride and bridegroom was
palpably a subterfuge--and, more remarkable still, the name of
Anne Silvester was connected with it. Mrs. Glenarm became
strongly agitated on her side.
"This _is_ a confirmation," she said. "Mr. Brinkworth has been
found out--the woman _is_ married to him--Geoffrey is free. Oh,
my dear friend, what a load of anxiety you have taken off my
mind! That vile wretch--"
Lady Lundie suddenly opened her eyes.
"Do you mean," she asked, "the woman who is at the bottom of all
"Yes. I saw her yesterday. She forced herself in at Swanhaven.
She called him Geoffrey Delamayn. She declared herself a single
woman. She claimed him before my face in the most audacious
manner. She shook my faith, Lady Lundie--she shook my faith in
"Who is she?"
"Who?" echoed Mrs. Glenarm. "Don't you even know that? Why her
name is repeated half a dozen times in this letter!"
Lady Lundie uttered a scream that rang through the room. Mrs.
Glenarm started to her feet. The maid appeared at the door in
terror. Her ladyship motioned to the woman to withdraw again
instantly, and then pointed to Mrs. Glenarm's chair.
"Sit down," she said. "Let me have a minute or two of quiet. I
want nothing more."
The silence in the room was unbroken until Lady Lundie spoke
again. She asked for Blanche's letter. After reading it
carefully, she laid it aside, and fell for a while into deep
"I have done Blanche an injustice!" she exclaimed. "My poor
"You think she knows nothing about it?"
"I am certain of it! You forget, Mrs. Glenarm, that this horrible
discovery casts a doubt on my step-daughter's marriage. Do you
think, if she knew the truth, she would write of a wretch who has
mortally injured her as she writes here? They have put her off
with the excuse that she innocently sends to _me._ I see it as
plainly as I see you! Mr. Brinkworth and Sir Patrick are in
league to keep us both in the dark. Dear child! I owe her an
atonement. If nobody else opens her eyes, I will do it. Sir
Patrick shall find that Blanche has a friend in Me!"
A smile--the dangerous smile of an inveterately vindictive woman
thoroughly roused--showed itself with a furtive suddenness on her
face. Mrs. Glenarm was a little startled. Lady Lundie below the
surface--as distinguished from Lady Lundie _on_ the surface--was
not a pleasant object to contemplate.
"Pray try to compose yourself," said Mrs. Glenarm. "Dear Lady
Lundie, you frighten me!"
The bland surface of her ladyship appeared smoothly once more;
drawn back, as it were, over the hidden inner self, which it had
left for the moment exposed to view.
"Forgive me for feeling it!" she said, with the patient sweetness
which so eminently distinguished her in times of trial. "It falls
a little heavily on a poor sick woman--innocent of all suspicion,
and insulted by the most heartless neglect. Don't let me distress
you. I shall rally, my dear; I shall rally! In this dreadful
calamity--this abyss of crime and misery and deceit--I have no
one to depend on but myself. For Blanche's sake, the whole thing
must be cleared up--probed, my dear, probed to the depths.
Blanche must take a position that is worthy of her. Blanche must
insist on her rights, under My protection. Never mind what I
suffer, or what I sacrifice. There is a work of justice for poor
weak Me to do. It shall be done!" said her ladyship, fanning
herself with an aspect of illimitable resolution. "It shall be
"But, Lady Lundie what can you do? They are all away in the
south. And as for that abominable woman--"
Lady Lundie touched Mrs. Glenarm on the shoulder with her fan.
"I have my surprise in store, dear friend, as well as you. That
abominable woman was employed as Blanche's governess in this
house. Wait! that is not all. She left us suddenly--ran away--on
the pretense of being privately married. I know where she went. I
can trace what she did. I can find out who was with her. I can
follow Mr. Brinkworth's proceedings, behind Mr. Brinkworth's
back. I can search out the truth, without depending on people
compromised in this black business, whose interest it is to
deceive me. And I will do it to-day!" She closed the fan with a
sharp snap of t riumph, and settled herself on the pillow in
placid enjoyment of her dear friend's surprise.
Mrs. Glenarm drew confidentially closer to the bedside. "How can
you manage it?" she asked, eagerly. "Don't think me curious. I
have my interest, too, in getting at the truth. Don't leave me
out of it, pray!"
"Can you come back to-morrow, at this time?"
"Come, then--and you shall know."
"Can I be of any use?"
"Not at present."
"Can my uncle be of any use?"
"Do you know where to communicate with Captain Newenden?"
"Yes--he is staying with some friends in Sussex."
"We may possibly want his assistance. I can't tell yet. Don't
keep Mrs. Delamayn waiting any longer, my dear. I shall expect
They exchanged an affectionate embrace. Lady Lundie was left
Her ladyship resigned herself to meditation, with frowning brow
and close-shut lips. She looked her full age, and a year or two
more, as she lay thinking, with her head on her hand, and her
elbow on the pillow. After committing herself to the physician
(and to the red lavender draught) the commonest regard for
consistency made it necessary that she should keep her bed for
that day. And yet it was essential that the proposed inquiries
should be instantly set on foot. On the one hand, the problem was
not an easy one to solve; on the other, her ladyship was not an
easy one to beat. How to send for the landlady at Craig Fernie,
without exciting any special suspicion or remark--was the
question before her. In less than five minutes she had looked
back into her memory of current events at Windygates--and had
Her first proceeding was to ring the bell for her maid.
"I am afraid I frightened you, Hopkins. The state of my nerves.
Mrs. Glenarm was a little sudden with some news that surprised
me. I am better now--and able to attend to the household matters.
There is a mistake in the butcher's account. Send the cook here."
She took up the domestic ledger and the kitchen report; corrected
the butcher; cautioned the cook; and disposed of all arrears of
domestic business before Hopkins was summoned again. Having, in
this way, dextrously prevented the woman from connecting any
thing that her mistress said or did, after Mrs. Glenarm's
departure, with any thing that might have passed during Mrs.
Glenarm's visit, Lady Lundie felt herself at liberty to pave the