Part 6 out of 15
"I have done, Mr. Delamayn."
"Well? and what's your opinion?"
"Before I give my opinion I am bound to preface it by a personal
statement which you are not to take, if you please, as a
statement of the law. You ask me to decide--on the facts with
which you have supplied me--whether your friend is, according to
the law of Scotland, married or not?"
Geoffrey nodded. "That's it!" he said, eagerly.
"My experience, Mr. Delamayn, is that any single man, in
Scotland, may marry any single woman, at any time, and under any
circumstances. In short, after thirty years' practice as a
lawyer, I don't know what is _not_ a marriage in Scotland."
"In plain English," said Geoffrey, "you mean she's his wife?"
In spite of his cunning; in spite of his self-command, his eyes
brightened as he said those words. And the tone in which he
spoke--though too carefully guarded to be a tone of triumph--was,
to a fine ear, unmistakably a tone of relief.
Neither the look nor the tone was lost on Sir Patrick.
His first suspicion, when he sat down to the conference, had been
the obvious suspicion that, in speaking of "his friend," Geoffrey
was speaking of himself. But, like all lawyers, he habitually
distrusted first impressions, his own included. His object, thus
far, had been to solve the problem of Geoffrey's true position
and Geoffrey's real motive. He had set the snare accordingly, and
had caught his bird.
It was now plain to his mind--first, that this man who was
consulting him, was, in all probability, really speaking of the
case of another person: secondly, that he had an interest (of
what nature it was impossible yet to say) in satisfying his own
mind that "his friend" was, by the law of Scotland, indisputably
a married man. Having penetrated to that extent the secret which
Geoffrey was concealing from him, he abandoned the hope of making
any further advance at that present sitting. The next question to
clear up in the investigation, was the question of who the
anonymous "lady" might be. And the next discovery to make was,
whether "the lady" could, or could not, be identified with Anne
Silvester. Pending the inevitable delay in reaching that result,
the straight course was (in Sir Patrick's present state of
uncertainty) the only course to follow in laying down the law. He
at once took the question of the marriage in hand--with no
concealment whatever, as to the legal bearings of it, from the
client who was consulting him.
"Don't rush to conclusions, Mr. Delamayn," he said. "I have only
told you what my general experience is thus far. My professional
opinion on the special case of your friend has not been given
Geoffrey's face clouded again. Sir Patrick carefully noted the
new change in it.
"The law of Scotland," he went on, "so far as it relates to
Irregular Marriages, is an outrage on common decency and
common-sense. If you think my language in thus describing it too
strong--I can refer you to the language of a judicial authority.
Lord Deas delivered a recent judgment of marriage in Scotland,
from the bench, in these words: 'Consent makes marriage. No form
or ceremony, civil or religious; no notice before, or publication
after; no cohabitation, no writing, no witnesses even, are
essential to the constitution of this, the most important
contract which two persons can enter into.'--There is a Scotch
judge's own statement of the law that he administers! Observe, at
the same time, if you please, that we make full legal provision
in Scotland for contracts affecting the sale of houses and lands,
horses and dogs. The only contract which we leave without
safeguards or precautions of any sort is the contract that unites
a man and a woman for life. As for the authority of parents, and
the innocence of children, our law recognizes no claim on it
either in the one case or in the other. A girl of twelve and a
boy of fourteen have nothing to do but to cross the Border, and
to be married--without the interposition of the slightest delay
or restraint, and without the slightest attempt to inform their
parents on the part of the Scotch law. As to the marriages of men
and women, even the mere interchange of consent which, as you
have just heard, makes them man and wife, is not required to be
directly proved: it may be proved by inference. And, more even
than that, whatever the law for its consistency may presume, men
and women are, in point of fact, held to be married in Scotland
where consent has never been interchanged, and where the parties
do not even know that they are legally held to be married
persons. Are you sufficiently confused about the law of Irregular
Marriages in Scotland by this time, Mr. Delamayn? And have I said
enough to justify the strong language I used when I undertook to
describe it to you?"
"Who's that 'authority' you talked of just now?" inquired
Geoffrey. "Couldn't I ask _him?_"
"You might find him flatly contradicted, if you did ask him by
another authority equally learned and equally eminent," answered
Sir Patrick. "I am not joking--I am only stating facts. Have you
heard of the Queen's Commission?"
"Then listen to this. In March, 'sixty-five, the Queen appointed
a Commission to inquire into the Marriage-Laws of the United
Kingdom. The Report of that Commission is published in London;
and is accessible to any body who chooses to pay the price of two
or three shillings for it. One of the results of the inquiry was,
the discovery that high authorities were of entirely contrary
opinions on one of the vital questions of Scottish marriage-law.
And the Commissioners, in announcing that fact, add that the
question of which opinion is right is still disputed, and has
never been made the subject of legal decision. Authorities are
every where at variance throughout the Report. A haze of doubt
and uncertainty hangs in Scotland over the most important
contract of civilized life. If no other reason existed for
reforming the Scotch marriage-law, there would be reason enough
afforded by that one fact. An uncertain marriage-law is a
"You can tell me what you think yourself about my friend's
case--can't you?" said Geoffrey, still holding obstinately to the
end that he had in view.
"Certainly. Now that I have given you due warning of the danger
of implicitly relying on any individual opinion, I may give my
opinion with a clear conscience. I say that there has not been a
positive marriage in this case. There has been evidence in favor
of possibly establishing a marriage--nothing more."
The distinction here was far too fine to be appreciated by
Geoffrey's mind. He frowned heavily, in bewilderment and disgust.
"Not married!" he exclaimed, "when they said they were man and
wife, before witnesses?"
"That is a common popular error," said Sir Patrick. "As I have
already told you, witnesses are not legally necessary to make a
marriage in Scotland. They are only valuable--as in this case--to
help, at some future time, in proving a marriage that is in
Geoffrey caught at the last words.
"The landlady and the waiter _might_ make it out to be a
marriage, then?" he said.
"Yes. And, remember, if you choose to apply to one of my
professional colleagues, he might possibly tell you they were
married already. A state of the law which allows the interchange
of matrimonial consent to be proved by inference leaves a wide
door open to conjecture. Your friend refers to a certain lady, in
so many words, as his wife. The lady refers to your friend, in so
many words, as her husband. In the rooms which they have taken,
as man and wife, they remain, as man and wife, till the next
morning. Your friend goes away, without undeceiving any body. The
lady stays at the inn, for some days after, in the character of
his wife. And all these circumstances take place in the presence
o f competent witnesses. Logically--if not legally--there is
apparently an inference of the interchange of matrimonial consent
here. I stick to my own opinion, nevertheless. Evidence in proof
of a marriage (I say)--nothing more."
While Sir Patrick had been speaking, Geoffrey had been
considering with himself. By dint of hard thinking he had found
his way to a decisive question on his side.
"Look here!" he said, dropping his heavy hand down on the table."
I want to bring you to book, Sir! Suppose my friend had another
lady in his eye?"
"As things are now--would you advise him to marry her?"
"As things are now--certainly not!"
Geoffrey got briskly on his legs, and closed the interview.
"That will do," he said, "for him and for me."
With those words he walked back, without ceremony, into the main
thoroughfare of the room.
"I don't know who your friend is," thought Sir Patrick, looking
after him. "But if your interest in the question of his marriage
is an honest and a harmless interest, I know no more of human
nature than the babe unborn!"
Immediately on leaving Sir Patrick, Geoffrey was encountered by
one of the servants in search of him.
"I beg your pardon, Sir," began the man. "The groom from the
Honorable Mr. Delamayn's--"
"Yes? The fellow who brought me a note from my brother this
"He's expected back, Sir--he's afraid he mustn't wait any
"Come here, and I'll give you the answer for him."
He led the way to the writing-table, and referred to Julius's
letter again. He ran his eye carelessly over it, until he reached
the final lines: "Come to-morrow, and help us to receive Mrs.
Glenarm." For a while he paused, with his eye fixed on that
sentence; and with the happiness of three people--of Anne, who
had loved him; of Arnold, who had served him; of Blanche,
guiltless of injuring him--resting on the decision that guided
his movements for the next day. After what had passed that
morning between Arnold and Blanche, if he remained at Lady
Lundie's, he had no alternative but to perform his promise to
Anne. If he returned to his brother's house, he had no
alternative but to desert Anne, on the infamous pretext that she
was Arnold's wife.
He suddenly tossed the letter away from him on the table, and
snatched a sheet of note-paper out of the writing-case. "Here
goes for Mrs. Glenarm!" he said to himself; and wrote back to his
brother, in one line: "Dear Julius, Expect me to-morrow. G. D."
The impassible man-servant stood by while he wrote, looking at
his magnificent breadth of chest, and thinking what a glorious
"staying-power" was there for the last terrible mile of the
"There you are!" he said, and handed his note to the man.
"All right, Geoffrey?" asked a friendly voice behind him.
He turned--and saw Arnold, anxious for news of the consultation
with Sir Patrick.
"Yes," he said. "All right."
------------ NOTE.--There are certain readers who feel a
disposition to doubt Facts, when they meet with them in a work of
fiction. Persons of this way of thinking may be profitably
referred to the book which first suggested to me the idea of
writing the present Novel. The book is the Report of the Royal
Commissioners on The Laws of Marriage. Published by the Queen's
Printers For her Majesty's Stationery Office. (London, 1868.)
What Sir Patrick says professionally of Scotch Marriages in this
chapter is taken from this high authority. What the lawyer (in
the Prologue) says professionally of Irish Marriages is also
derived from the same source. It is needless to encumber these
pages with quotations. But as a means of satisfying my readers
that they may depend on me, I subjoin an extract from my list of
references to the Report of the Marriage Commission, which any
persons who may be so inclined can verify for themselves.
_Irish Marriages_ (In the Prologue).--See Report, pages XII.,
_Irregular Marriages in Scotland._--Statement of the law by Lord
Deas. Report, page XVI.--Marriages of children of tender years.
Examination of Mr. Muirhead by Lord Chelmsford (Question
689).--Interchange of consent, established by inference.
Examination of Mr. Muirhead by the Lord Justice Clerk (Question
654)--Marriage where consent has never been interchanged.
Observations of Lord Deas. Report, page XIX.--Contradiction of
opinions between authorities. Report, pages XIX., XX.--Legal
provision for the sale of horses and dogs. No legal provision for
the marriage of men and women. Mr. Seeton's Remarks. Report, page
XXX.--Conclusion of the Commissioners. In spite of the arguments
advanced before them in favor of not interfering with Irregular
Marriages in Scotland, the Commissioners declare their opinion
that "Such marriages ought not to continue." (Report, page
In reference to the arguments (alluded to above) in favor of
allowing the present disgraceful state of things to continue, I
find them resting mainly on these grounds: That Scotland doesn't
like being interfered with by England (!). That Irregular
Marriages cost nothing (!!). That they are diminishing in number,
and may therefore be trusted, in course of time, to exhaust
themselves (!!!). That they act, on certain occasions, in the
capacity of a moral trap to catch a profligate man (!!!!). Such
is the elevated point of view from which the Institution of
Marriage is regarded by some of the most pious and learned men in
Scotland. A legal enactment providing for the sale of your wife,
when you have done with her, or of your husband; when you "really
can't put up with him any longer," appears to be all that is
wanting to render this North British estimate of the "Estate of
Matrimony" practically complete. It is only fair to add that, of
the witnesses giving evidence--oral and written--before the
Commissioners, fully one-half regard the Irregular Marriages of
Scotland from the Christian and the civilized point of view, and
entirely agree with the authoritative conclusion already
cited--that such marriages ought to be abolished.
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-FIRST.
ARNOLD was a little surprised by the curt manner in which
Geoffrey answered him.
"Has Sir Patrick said any thing unpleasant?" he asked.
"Sir Patrick has said just what I wanted him to say."
"No difficulty about the marriage?"
"No fear of Blanche--"
"She won't ask you to go to Craig Fernie--I'll answer for that!"
He said the words with a strong emphasis on them, took his
brother's letter from the table, snatched up his hat, and went
His friends, idling on the lawn, hailed him. He passed by them
quickly without answering, without so much as a glance at them
over his shoulder. Arriving at the rose-garden, he stopped and
took out his pipe; then suddenly changed his mind, and turned
back again by another path. There was no certainty, at that hour
of the day, of his being left alone in the rose-garden. He had a
fierce and hungry longing to be by himself; he felt as if he
could have been the death of any body who came and spoke to him
at that moment. With his head down and his brows knit heavily, he
followed the path to see what it ended in. It ended in a
wicket-gate which led into a kitchen-garden. Here he was well out
of the way of interruption: there was nothing to attract visitors
in the kitchen-garden. He went on to a walnut-tree planted in the
middle of the inclosure, with a wooden bench and a broad strip of
turf running round it. After first looking about him, he seated
himself and lit his pipe.
"I wish it was done!" he said.
He sat, with his elbows on his knees, smoking and thinking.
Before long the restlessness that had got possession of him
forced him to his feet again. He rose, and paced round and round
the strip of greensward under the walnut-tree, like a wild beast
in a cage.
What was the meaning of this disturbance in the inner man? Now
that he had committed himself to the betrayal of the friend who
had trusted and served him, was he torn by remorse?
He was no more torn by remorse than you are while your eye is
passing over this sentence. He was simply in a raging fever of
impatience to see himself safely la nded at the end which he had
Why should he feel remorse? All remorse springs, more or less
directly, from the action of two sentiments, which are neither of
them inbred in the natural man. The first of these sentiments is
the product of the respect which we learn to feel for ourselves.
The second is the product of the respect which we learn to feel
for others. In their highest manifestations, these two feelings
exalt themselves, until the first he comes the love of God, and
the second the love of Man. I have injured you, and I repent of
it when it is done. Why should I repent of it if I have gained
something by it for my own self and if you can't make me feel it
by injuring Me? I repent of it because there has been a sense put
into me which tells me that I have sinned against Myself, and
sinned against You. No such sense as that exists among the
instincts of the natural man. And no such feelings as these
troubled Geoffrey Delamayn; for Geoffrey Delamayn was the natural
When the idea of his scheme had sprung to life in his mind, the
novelty of it had startled him--the enormous daring of it,
suddenly self-revealed, had daunted him. The signs of emotion
which he had betrayed at the writing-table in the library were
the signs of mere mental perturbation, and of nothing more.
That first vivid impression past, the idea had made itself
familiar to him. He had become composed enough to see such
difficulties as it involved, and such consequences as it implied.
These had fretted him with a passing trouble; for these he
plainly discerned. As for the cruelty and the treachery of the
thing he meditated doing--that consideration never crossed the
limits of his mental view. His position toward the man whose life
he had preserved was the position of a dog. The "noble animal"
who has saved you or me from drowning will fly at your throat or
mine, under certain conditions, ten minutes afterward. Add to the
dog's unreasoning instinct the calculating cunning of a man;
suppose yourself to be in a position to say of some trifling
thing, "Curious! at such and such a time I happened to pick up
such and such an object; and now it turns out to be of some use
to me!"--and there you have an index to the state of Geoffrey's
feeling toward his friend when he recalled the past or when he
contemplated the future. When Arnold had spoken to him at the
critical moment, Arnold had violently irritated him; and that was
The same impenetrable insensibility, the same primitively natural
condition of the moral being, prevented him from being troubled
by the slightest sense of pity for Anne. "She's out of my way!"
was his first thought. "She's provided for, without any trouble
to Me! was his second. He was not in the least uneasy about her.
Not the slightest doubt crossed his mind that, when once she had
realized her own situation, when once she saw herself placed
between the two alternatives of facing her own ruin or of
claiming Arnold as a last resource, she would claim Arnold. She
would do it as a matter of course; because _he_ would have done
it in her place.
But he wanted it over. He was wild, as he paced round and round
the walnut-tree, to hurry on the crisis and be done with it. Give
me my freedom to go to the other woman, and to train for the
foot-race--that's what I want. _They_ injured? Confusion to them
both! It's I who am injured by them. They are the worst enemies I
have! They stand in my way.
How to be rid of them? There was the difficulty. He had made up
his mind to be rid of them that day. How was he to begin?
There was no picking a quarrel with Arnold, and so beginning with
_him._ This course of proceeding, in Arnold's position toward
Blanche, would lead to a scandal at the outset--a scandal which
would stand in the way of his making the right impression on Mrs.
Glenarm. The woman--lonely and friendless, with her sex and her
position both against her if _she_ tried to make a scandal of
it--the woman was the one to begin with. Settle it at once and
forever with Anne; and leave Arnold to hear of it and deal with
it, sooner or later, no matter which.
How was he to break it to her before the day was out?
By going to the inn and openly addressing her to her face as Mrs.
Arnold Brinkworth? No! He had had enough, at Windygates, of
meeting her face to face. The easy way was to write to her, and
send the letter, by the first messenger he could find, to the
inn. She might appear afterward at Windygates; she might follow
him to his brother's; she might appeal to his father. It didn't
matter; he had got the whip-hand of her now. "You are a married
woman." There was the one sufficient answer, which was strong
enough to back him in denying any thing!
He made out the letter in his own mind. "Something like this
would do," he thought, as he went round and round the
walnut-tree: "You may be surprised not to have seen me. You have
only yourself to thank for it. I know what took place between you
and him at the inn. I have had a lawyer's advice. You are Arnold
Brinkworth's wife. I wish you joy, and good-by forever." Address
those lines: "To Mrs. Arnold Brinkworth;" instruct the messenger
to leave the letter late that night, without waiting for an
answer; start the first thing the next morning for his brother's
house; and behold, it was done!
But even here there was an obstacle--one last exasperating
obstacle--still in the way.
If she was known at the inn by any name at all, it was by the
name of Mrs. Silvester. A letter addressed to "Mrs. Arnold
Brinkworth" would probably not be taken in at the door; or if it
was admitted. and if it was actually offered to her, she might
decline to receive it, as a letter not addressed to herself. A
man of readier mental resources would have seen that the name on
the outside of the letter mattered little or nothing, so long as
the contents were read by the person to whom they were addressed.
But Geoffrey's was the order of mind which expresses disturbance
by attaching importance to trifles. He attached an absurd
importance to preserving absolute consistency in his letter,
outside and in. If he declared her to be Arnold Brinkworth's
wife, he must direct to her as Arnold Brinkworth's wife; or who
could tell what the law might say, or what scrape he might not
get himself into by a mere scratch of the pen! The more he
thought of it, the more persuaded he felt of his own cleverness
here, and the hotter and the angrier he grew.
There is a way out of every thing. And there was surely a way out
of this, if he could only see it.
He failed to see it. After dealing with all the great
difficulties, the small difficulty proved too much for him. It
struck him that he might have been thinking too long about
it--considering that he was not accustomed to thinking long about
any thing. Besides, his head was getting giddy, with going
mechanically round and round the tree. He irritably turned his
back on the tree and struck into another path: resolved to think
of something else, and then to return to his difficulty, and see
it with a new eye.
Leaving his thoughts free to wander where they liked, his
thoughts naturally busied themselves with the next subject that
was uppermost in his mind, the subject of the Foot-Race. In a
week's time his arrangements ought to be made. Now, as to the
He decided on employing two trainers this time. One to travel to
Scotland, and begin with him at his brother's house. The other to
take him up, with a fresh eye to him, on his return to London. He
turned over in his mind the performances of the formidable rival
against whom he was to be matched. That other man was the
swiftest runner of the two. The betting in Geoffrey's favor was
betting which calculated on the unparalleled length of the race,
and on Geoffrey's prodigious powers of endurance. How long he
should "wait on" the man? Whereabouts it would be safe to "pick
the man up?" How near the end to calculate the man's exhaustion
to a nicety, and "put on the spurt," and pass him? These were
nice points to decide. The deliberations of a
pedestrian-privy-council would be required to help him under this
heavy responsibility. What men coul d he trust? He could trust A.
and B.--both of them authorities: both of them stanch. Query
about C.? As an authority, unexceptionable; as a man, doubtful.
The problem relating to C. brought him to a standstill--and
declined to be solved, even then. Never mind! he could always
take the advice of A. and B. In the mean time devote C. to the
infernal regions; and, thus dismissing him, try and think of
something else. What else? Mrs. Glenarm? Oh, bother the women!
one of them is the same as another. They all waddle when they
run; and they all fill their stomachs before dinner with sloppy
tea. That's the only difference between women and men--the rest
is nothing but a weak imitation of Us. Devote the women to the
infernal regions; and, so dismissing _them,_ try and think of
something else. Of what? Of something worth thinking of, this
time--of filling another pipe.
He took out his tobacco-pouch; and suddenly suspended operations
at the moment of opening it.
What was the object he saw, on the other side of a row of dwarf
pear-trees, away to the right? A woman--evidently a servant by
her dress--stooping down with her back to him, gathering
something: herbs they looked like, as well as he could make them
out at the distance.
What was that thing hanging by a string at the woman's side? A
slate? Yes. What the deuce did she want with a slate at her side?
He was in search of something to divert his mind--and here it was
found. "Any thing will do for me," he thought. "Suppose I 'chaff'
her a little about her slate?"
He called to the woman across the pear-trees. "Hullo!"
The woman raised herself, and advanced toward him slowly--looking
at him, as she came on, with the sunken eyes, the sorrow-stricken
face, the stony tranquillity of Hester Dethridge.
Geoffrey was staggered. He had not bargained for exchanging the
dullest producible vulgarities of human speech (called in the
language of slang, "Chaff") with such a woman as this.
"What's that slate for?" he asked, not knowing what else to say,
to begin with.
The woman lifted her hand to her lips--touched them--and shook
The woman bowed her head.
"Who are you?"
The woman wrote on her slate, and handed it to him over the
pear-trees. He read:--"I am the cook."
"Well, cook, were you born dumb?"
The woman shook her head.
"What struck you dumb?"
The woman wrote on her slate:--"A blow."
"Who gave you the blow?"
She shook her head.
"Won't you tell me?"
She shook her head again.
Her eyes had rested on his face while he was questioning her;
staring at him, cold, dull, and changeless as the eyes of a
corpse. Firm as his nerves were--dense as he was, on all ordinary
occasions, to any thing in the shape of an imaginative
impression--the eyes of the dumb cook slowly penetrated him with
a stealthy inner chill. Something crept at the marrow of his
back, and shuddered under the roots of his hair. He felt a sudden
impulse to get away from her. It was simple enough; he had only
to say good-morning, and go on. He did say good-morning--but he
never moved. He put his hand into his pocket, and offered her
some money, as a way of making _her_ go. She stretched out her
hand across the pear-trees to take it--and stopped abruptly, with
her arm suspended in the air. A sinister change passed over the
deathlike tranquillity of her face. Her closed lips slowly
dropped apart. Her dull eyes slowly dilated; looked away,
sideways, from _his_ eyes; stopped again; and stared, rigid and
glittering, over his shoulder--stared as if they saw a sight of
horror behind him. "What the devil are you looking at?" he
asked--and turned round quickly, with a start. There was neither
person nor thing to be seen behind him. He turned back again to
the woman. The woman had left him, under the influence of some
sudden panic. She was hurrying away from him--running, old as she
was--flying the sight of him, as if the sight of him was the
"Mad!" he thought--and turned his back on the sight of her.
He found himself (hardly knowing how he had got there) under the
walnut-tree once more. In a few minutes his hardy nerves had
recovered themselves--he could laugh over the remembrance of the
strange impression that had been produced on him. "Frightened for
the first time in my life," he thought--"and that by an old
woman! It's time I went into training again, when things have
come to this!"
He looked at his watch. It was close on the luncheon hour up at
the house; and he had not decided yet what to do about his letter
to Anne. He resolved to decide, then and there.
The woman--the dumb woman, with the stony face and the horrid
eyes--reappeared in his thoughts, and got in the way of his
decision. Pooh! some crazed old servant, who might once have been
cook; who was kept out of charity now. Nothing more important
than that. No more of her! no more of her!
He laid himself down on the grass, and gave his mind to the
serious question. How to address Anne as "Mrs. Arnold
Brinkworth?" and how to make sure of her receiving the letter?
The dumb old woman got in his way again.
He closed his eyes impatiently, and tried to shut her out in a
darkness of his own making.
The woman showed herself through the darkness. He saw her, as if
he had just asked her a question, writing on her slate. What she
wrote he failed to make out. It was all over in an instant. He
started up, with a feeling of astonishment at himself--and, at
the same moment his brain cleared with the suddenness of a flash
of light. He saw his way, without a conscious effort on his own
part, through the difficulty that had troubled him. Two
envelopes, of course: an inner one, unsealed, and addressed to
"Mrs. Arnold Brinkworth;" an outer one, sealed, and addressed to
"Mrs. Silvester:" and there was the problem solved! Surely the
simplest problem that had ever puzzled a stupid head.
Why had he not seen it before? Impossible to say.
How came he to have seen it now?
The dumb old woman reappeared in his thoughts--as if the answer
to the question lay in something connected with _her._
He became alarmed about himself, for the first time in his life.
Had this persistent impression, produced by nothing but a crazy
old woman, any thing to do with the broken health which the
surgeon had talked about? Was his head on the turn? Or had he
smoked too much on an empty stomach, and gone too long (after
traveling all night) without his customary drink of ale?
He left the garden to put that latter theory to the test
forthwith. The betting would have gone dead against him if the
public had seen him at that moment. He looked haggard and
anxious--and with good reason too. His nervous system had
suddenly forced itself on his notice, without the slightest
previous introduction, and was saying (in an unknown tongue),
Here I am!
Returning to the purely ornamental part of the grounds, Geoffrey
encountered one of the footmen giving a message to one of the
gardeners. He at once asked for the butler--as the only safe
authority to consult in the present emergency.
Conducted to the butler's pantry, Geoffrey requested that
functionary to produce a jug of his oldest ale, with appropriate
solid nourishment in the shape of "a hunk of bread and cheese."
The butler stared. As a form of condescension among the upper
classes this was quite new to him.
"Luncheon will be ready directly, Sir."
"What is there for lunch?"
The butler ran over an appetizing list of good dishes and rare
"The devil take your kickshaws!" said Geoffrey. "Give me my old
ale, and my hunk of bread and cheese."
"Where will you take them, Sir?"
"Here, to be sure! And the sooner the better."
The butler issued the necessary orders with all needful alacrity.
He spread the simple refreshment demanded, before his
distinguished guest, in a state of blank bewilderment. Here was a
nobleman's son, and a public celebrity into the bargain, filling
himself with bread and cheese and ale, in at once the most
voracious and the most unpretending manner, at _his_ table! The
butler ventured on a little complimentary familiarity. He smiled,
and touched the betting-book in his breast-pocket. "I've put six
pound on you, Sir, for the
Race." "All right, old boy! you shall win your money!" With
those noble words the honorable gentleman clapped him on the
back, and held out his tumbler for some more ale. The butler felt
trebly an Englishman as he filled the foaming glass. Ah! foreign
nations may have their revolutions! foreign aristocracies may
tumble down! The British aristocracy lives in the hearts of the
people, and lives forever!
"Another!" said Geoffrey, presenting his empty glass. "Here's
luck!" He tossed off his liquor at a draught, and nodded to the
butler, and went out.
Had the experiment succeeded? Had he proved his own theory about
himself to be right? Not a doubt of it! An empty stomach, and a
determination of tobacco to the head--these were the true causes
of that strange state of mind into which he had fallen in the
kitchen-garden. The dumb woman with the stony face vanished as if
in a mist. He felt nothing now but a comfortable buzzing in his
head, a genial warmth all over him, and an unlimited capacity for
carrying any responsibility that could rest on mortal shoulders.
Geoffrey was himself again.
He went round toward the library, to write his letter to
Anne--and so have done with that, to begin with. The company had
collected in the library waiting for the luncheon-bell. All were
idly talking; and some would be certain, if he showed himself, to
fasten on _him._ He turned back again, without showing himself.
The only way of writing in peace and quietness would be to wait
until they were all at luncheon, and then return to the library.
The same opportunity would serve also for finding a messenger to
take the letter, without exciting attention, and for going away
afterward, unseen, on a long walk by himself. An absence of two
or three hours would cast the necessary dust in Arnold's eyes;
for it would be certainly interpreted by him as meaning absence
at an interview with Anne.
He strolled idly through the grounds, farther and farther away
from the house.
The talk in the library--aimless and empty enough, for the most
part--was talk to the purpose, in one corner of the room, in
which Sir Patrick and Blanche were sitting together.
"Uncle! I have been watching you for the last minute or two."
"At my age, Blanche? that is paying me a very pretty compliment."
"Do you know what I have seen?"
"You have seen an old gentleman in want of his lunch."
"I have seen an old gentleman with something on his mind. What is
"Suppressed gout, my dear."
"That won't do! I am not to be put off in that way. Uncle! I want
"Stop there, Blanche! A young lady who says she 'wants to know,'
expresses very dangerous sentiments. Eve 'wanted to know'--and
see what it led to. Faust 'wanted to know'--and got into bad
company, as the necessary result."
"You are feeling anxious about something," persisted Blanche.
"And, what is more, Sir Patrick, you behaved in a most
unaccountable manner a little while since."
"When you went and hid yourself with Mr. Delamayn in that snug
corner there. I saw you lead the way in, while I was at work on
Lady Lundie's odious dinner-invitations."
"Oh! you call that being at work, do you? I wonder whether there
was ever a woman yet who could give the whole of her mind to any
earthly thing that she had to do?"
"Never mind the women! What subject in common could you and Mr.
Delamayn possibly have to talk about? And why do I see a wrinkle
between your eyebrows, now you have done with him?--a wrinkle
which certainly wasn't there before you had that private
Before answering, Sir Patrick considered whether he should take
Blanche into his confidence or not. The attempt to identify
Geoffrey's unnamed "lady," which he was determined to make, would
lead him to Craig Fernie, and would no doubt end in obliging him
to address himself to Anne. Blanche's intimate knowledge of her
friend might unquestionably be made useful to him under these
circumstances; and Blanche's discretion was to be trusted in any
matter in which Miss Silvester's interests were concerned. On the
other hand, caution was imperatively necessary, in the present
imperfect state of his information--and caution, in Sir Patrick's
mind, carried the day. He decided to wait and see what came first
of his investigation at the inn.
"Mr. Delamayn consulted me on a dry point of law, in which a
friend of his was interested," said Sir Patrick. "You have wasted
your curiosity, my dear, on a subject totally unworthy of a
Blanche's penetration was not to be deceived on such easy terms
as these. "Why not say at once that you won't tell me?" she
rejoined. "_You_ shutting yourself up with Mr. Delamayn to talk
law! _You_ looking absent and anxious about it afterward! I am a
very unhappy girl!" said Blanche, with a little, bitter sigh.
"There is something in me that seems to repel the people I love.
Not a word in confidence can I get from Anne. And not a word in
confidence can I get from you. And I do so long to sympathize!
It's very hard. I think I shall go to Arnold."
Sir Patrick took his niece's hand.
"Stop a minute, Blanche. About Miss Silvester? Have you heard
from her to-day?"
"No. I am more unhappy about her than words can say."
"Suppose somebody went to Craig Fernie and tried to find out the
cause of Miss Silvester's silence? Would you believe that
somebody sympathized with you then?"
Blanche's face flushed brightly with pleasure and surprise. She
raised Sir Patrick's hand gratefully to her lips.
"Oh!" she exclaimed. "You don't mean that _you_ would do that?"
"I am certainly the last person who ought to do it--seeing that
you went to the inn in flat rebellion against my orders, and that
I only forgave you, on your own promise of amendment, the other
day. It is a miserably weak proceeding on the part of 'the head
of the family' to be turning his back on his own principles,
because his niece happens to be anxious and unhappy. Still (if
you could lend me your little carriage), I _might_ take a surly
drive toward Craig Fernie, all by myself, and I _might_ stumble
against Miss Silvester--in case you have any thing to say."
"Any thing to say?" repeated Blanche. She put her arm round her
uncle's neck, and whispered in his ear one of the most
interminable messages that ever was sent from one human being to
another. Sir Patrick listened, with a growing interest in the
inquiry on which he was secretly bent. "The woman must have some
noble qualities," he thought, "who can inspire such devotion as
While Blanche was whispering to her uncle, a second private
conference--of the purely domestic sort--was taking place between
Lady Lundie and the butler, in the hall outside the library door.
"I am sorry to say, my lady, Hester Dethridge has broken out
"What do you mean?"
"She was all right, my lady, when she went into the
kitchen-garden, some time since. She's taken strange again, now
she has come back. Wants the rest of the day to herself, your
ladyship. Says she's overworked, with all the company in the
house--and, I must say, does look like a person troubled and worn
out in body and mind."
"Don't talk nonsense, Roberts! The woman is obstinate and idle
and insolent. She is now in the house, as you know, under a
month's notice to leave. If she doesn't choose to do her duty for
that month I shall refuse to give her a character. Who is to cook
the dinner to-day if I give Hester Dethridge leave to go out?"
"Any way, my lady, I am afraid the kitchen-maid will have to do
her best to-day. Hester is very obstinate, when the fit takes
her--as your ladyship says."
"If Hester Dethridge leaves the kitchen-maid to cook the dinner,
Roberts, Hester Dethridge leaves my service to-day. I want no
more words about it. If she persists in setting my orders at
defiance, let her bring her account-book into the library, while
we are at lunch, and lay it out my desk. I shall be back in the
library after luncheon--and if I see the account-book I shall
know what it means. In that case, you will receive my directions
to settle with her and send her away. Ring the luncheon-bell."
The luncheon-bell rang. The guests all took the direction of the
dining -room; Sir Patrick following, from the far end of the
library, with Blanche on his arm. Arrived at the dining-room
door, Blanche stopped, and asked her uncle to excuse her if she
left him to go in by himself.
"I will be back directly," she said. "I have forgotten something
Sir Patrick went in. The dining-room door closed; and Blanche
returned alone to the library. Now on one pretense, and now on
another, she had, for three days past, faithfully fulfilled the
engagement she had made at Craig Fernie to wait ten minutes after
luncheon-time in the library, on the chance of seeing Anne. On
this, the fourth occasion, the faithful girl sat down alone in
the great room, and waited with her eyes fixed on the lawn
Five minutes passed, and nothing living appeared but the birds
hopping about the grass.
In less than a minute more Blanche's quick ear caught the faint
sound of a woman's dress brushing over the lawn. She ran to the
nearest window, looked out, and clapped her hands with a cry of
delight. There was the well-known figure, rapidly approaching
her! Anne was true to their friendship--Anne had kept her
engagement at last!
Blanche hurried out, and drew her into the library in triumph.
"This makes amends, love for every thing! You answer my letter in
the best of all ways--you bring me your own dear self."
She placed Anne in a chair, and, lifting her veil, saw her
plainly in the brilliant mid-day light.
The change in the whole woman was nothing less than dreadful to
the loving eyes that rested on her. She looked years older than
her real age. There was a dull calm in her face, a stagnant,
stupefied submission to any thing, pitiable to see. Three days
and nights of solitude and grief, three days and nights of
unresting and unpartaken suspense, had crushed that sensitive
nature, had frozen that warm heart. The animating spirit was
gone--the mere shell of the woman lived and moved, a mockery of
her former self.
"Oh, Anne! Anne! What _can_ have happened to you? Are you
frightened? There's not the least fear of any body disturbing us.
They are all at luncheon, and the servants are at dinner. We have
the room entirely to ourselves. My darling! you look so faint and
strange! Let me get you something."
Anne drew Blanche's head down and kissed her. It was done in a
dull, slow way--without a word, without a tear, without a sigh.
"You're tired--I'm sure you're tired. Have you walked here? You
sha'n't go back on foot; I'll take care of that!"
Anne roused herself at those words. She spoke for the first time.
The tone was lower than was natural to her; sadder than was
natural to her--but the charm of her voice, the native gentleness
and beauty of it, seemed to have survived the wreck of all
"I don't go back, Blanche. I have left the inn."
"Left the inn? With your husband?"
She answered the first question--not the second.
"I can't go back," she said. "The inn is no place for me. A curse
seems to follow me, Blanche, wherever I go. I am the cause of
quarreling and wretchedness, without meaning it, God knows. The
old man who is head-waiter at the inn has been kind to me, my
dear, in his way, and he and the landlady had hard words together
about it. A quarrel, a shocking, violent quarrel. He has lost his
place in consequence. The woman, his mistress, lays all the blame
of it to my door. She is a hard woman; and she has been harder
than ever since Bishopriggs went away. I have missed a letter at
the inn--I must have thrown it aside, I suppose, and forgotten
it. I only know that I remembered about it, and couldn't find it
last night. I told the landlady, and she fastened a quarrel on me
almost before the words were out of my mouth. Asked me if I
charged her with stealing my letter. Said things to me--I can't
repeat them. I am not very well, and not able to deal with people
of that sort. I thought it best to leave Craig Fernie this
morning. I hope and pray I shall never see Craig Fernie again."
She told her little story with a total absence of emotion of any
sort, and laid her head back wearily on the chair when it was
Blanche's eyes filled with tears at the sight of her.
"I won't tease you with questions, Anne," she said, gently. "Come
up stairs and rest in my room. You're not fit to travel, love.
I'll take care that nobody comes near us."
The stable-clock at Windygates struck the quarter to two. Anne
raised herself in the chair with a start.
"What time was that?" she asked.
Blanche told her.
"I can't stay," she said. "I have come here to find something out
if I can. You won't ask me questions? Don't, Blanche, don't! for
the sake of old times."
Blanche turned aside, heart-sick. "I will do nothing, dear, to
annoy you," she said, and took Anne's hand, and hid the tears
that were beginning to fall over her cheeks.
"I want to know something, Blanche. Will you tell me?"
"Yes. What is it?"
"Who are the gentlemen staying in the house?"
Blanche looked round at her again, in sudden astonishment and
alarm. A vague fear seized her that Anne's mind had given way
under the heavy weight of trouble laid on it. Anne persisted in
pressing her strange request.
"Run over their names, Blanche. I have a reason for wishing to
know who the gentlemen are who are staying in the house."
Blanche repeated the names of Lady Lundie's guests, leaving to
the last the guests who had arrived last.
"Two more came back this morning," she went on. "Arnold
Brinkworth and that hateful friend of his, Mr. Delamayn."
Anne's head sank back once more on the chair. She had found her
way without exciting suspicion of the truth, to the one discovery
which she had come to Windygates to make. He was in Scotland
again, and he had only arrived from London that morning. There
was barely time for him to have communicated with Craig Fernie
before she left the inn--he, too, who hated letter-writing! The
circumstances were all in his favor: there was no reason, there
was really and truly no reason, so far, to believe that he had
deserted her. The heart of the unhappy woman bounded in her
bosom, under the first ray of hope that had warmed it for four
days past. Under that sudden revulsion of feeling, her weakened
frame shook from head to foot. Her face flushed deep for a
moment--then turned deadly pale again. Blanche, anxiously
watching her, saw the serious necessity for giving some
restorative to her instantly.
"I am going to get you some wine--you will faint, Anne, if you
don't take something. I shall be back in a moment; and I can
manage it without any body being the wiser."
She pushed Anne's chair close to the nearest open window--a
window at the upper end of the library--and ran out.
Blanche had barely left the room, by the door that led into the,
hall, when Geoffrey entered it by one of the lower windows
opening from the lawn.
With his mind absorbed in the letter that he was about to write,
he slowly advanced up the room toward the nearest table. Anne,
hearing the sound of footsteps, started, and looked round. Her
failing strength rallied in an instant, under the sudden relief
of seeing him again. She rose and advanced eagerly, with a faint
tinge of color in her cheeks. He looked up. The two stood face to
He looked at her without answering--without advancing a step, on
his side. There was an evil light in his eyes; his silence was
the brute silence that threatens dumbly. He had made up his mind
never to see her again, and she had entrapped him into an
interview. He had made up his mind to write, and there she stood
forcing him to speak. The sum of her offenses against him was now
complete. If there had ever been the faintest hope of her raising
even a passing pity in his heart, that hope would have been
She failed to understand the full meaning of his silence. She
made her excuses, poor soul, for venturing back to
Windygates--her excuses to the man whose purpose at that moment
was to throw her helpless on the world.
"Pray forgive me for coming here," she said. "I have done nothing
to compromise you, Geoffrey. Nobody but Blanche knows I am at
Windygates. And I have contrived to make my inquiri es about you
without allowing her to suspect our secret." She stopped, and
began to tremble. She saw something more in his face than she had
read in it at first. "I got your letter," she went on, rallying
her sinking courage. "I don't complain of its being so short: you
don't like letter-writing, I know. But you promised I should hear
from you again. And I have never heard. And oh, Geoffrey, it was
so lonely at the inn!"
She stopped again, and supported herself by resting her hand on
the table. The faintness was stealing back on her. She tried to
go on again. It was useless--she could only look at him now.
"What do you want?" he asked, in the tone of a man who was
putting an unimportant question to a total stranger.
A last gleam of her old energy flickered up in her face, like a
"I am broken by what I have gone through," she said. "Don't
insult me by making me remind you of your promise."
"For shame, Geoffrey! for shame! Your promise to marry me."
"You claim my promise after what you have done at the inn?"
She steadied herself against the table with one hand, and put the
other hand to her head. Her brain was giddy. The effort to think
was too much for her. She said to herself, vacantly, "The inn?
What did I do at the inn?"
"I have had a lawyer's advice, mind! I know what I am talking
She appeared not to have heard him. She repeated the words, "What
did I do at the inn?" and gave it up in despair. Holding by the
table, she came close to him and laid her hand on his arm.
"Do you refuse to marry me?" she asked.
He saw the vile opportunity, and said the vile words.
"You're married already to Arnold Brinkworth."
Without a cry to warn him, without an effort to save herself, she
dropped senseless at his feet; as her mother had dropped at his
father's feet in the by-gone time.
He disentangled himself from the folds of her dress. "Done!" he
said, looking down at her as she lay on the floor.
As the word fell from his lips he was startled by a sound in the
inner part of the house. One of the library doors had not been
completely closed. Light footsteps were audible, advancing
rapidly across the hall.
He turned and fled, leaving the library, as he had entered it, by
the open window at the lower end of the room.
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-SECOND.
BLANCHE came in, with a glass of wine in her hand, and saw the
swooning woman on the floor.
She was alarmed, but not surprised, as she knelt by Anne, and
raised her head. Her own previous observation of her friend
necessarily prevented her from being at any loss to account for
the fainting fit. The inevitable delay in getting the wine
was--naturally to her mind--alone to blame for the result which
now met her view.
If she had been less ready in thus tracing the effect to the
cause, she might have gone to the window to see if any thing had
happened, out-of-doors, to frighten Anne--might have seen
Geoffrey before he had time to turn the corner of the house--and,
making that one discovery, might have altered the whole course of
events, not in her coming life only, but in the coming lives of
others. So do we shape our own destinies, blindfold. So do we
hold our poor little tenure of happiness at the capricious mercy
of Chance. It is surely a blessed delusion which persuades us
that we are the highest product of the great scheme of creation,
and sets us doubting whether other planets are inhabited, because
other planets are not surrounded by an atmosphere which _we_ can
After trying such simple remedies as were within her reach, and
trying them without success, Blanche became seriously alarmed.
Anne lay, to all outward appearance, dead in her arms. She was on
the point of calling for help--come what might of the discovery
which would ensue--when the door from the hall opened once more,
and Hester Dethridge entered the room.
The cook had accepted the alternative which her mistress's
message had placed before her, if she insisted on having her own
time at her own sole disposal for the rest of that day. Exactly
as Lady Lundie had desired, she intimated her resolution to carry
her point by placing her account-book on the desk in the library.
It was only when this had been done that Blanche received any
answer to her entreaties for help. Slowly and deliberately Hester
Dethridge walked up to the spot where the young girl knelt with
Anne's head on her bosom, and looked at the two without a trace
of human emotion in her stern and stony face.
"Don't you see what's happened?" cried Blanche. "Are you alive or
dead? Oh, Hester, I can't bring her to! Look at her! look at
Hester Dethridge looked at her, and shook her head. Looked again,
thought for a while and wrote on her slate. Held out the slate
over Anne's body, and showed what she had written:
"Who has done it?"
"You stupid creature!" said Blanche. "Nobody has done it."
The eyes of Hester Dethridge steadily read the worn white face,
telling its own tale of sorrow mutely on Blanche's breast. The
mind of Hester Dethridge steadily looked back at her own
knowledge of her own miserable married life. She again returned
to writing on her slate--again showed the written words to
"Brought to it by a man. Let her be--and God will take her."
"You horrid unfeeling woman! how dare you write such an
abominable thing!" With this natural outburst of indignation,
Blanche looked back at Anne; and, daunted by the death-like
persistency of the swoon, appealed again to the mercy of the
immovable woman who was looking down at her. "Oh, Hester! for
Heaven's sake help me!"
The cook dropped her slate at her side. and bent her head gravely
in sign that she submitted. She motioned to Blanche to loosen
Anne's dress, and then--kneeling on one knee--took Anne to
support her while it was being done.
The instant Hester Dethridge touched her, the swooning woman gave
signs of life.
A faint shudder ran through her from head to foot--her eyelids
trembled--half opened for a moment--and closed again. As they
closed, a low sigh fluttered feebly from her lips.
Hester Dethridge put her back in Blanche's arms--considered a
little with herself--returned to writing on her slate--and held
out the written words once more:
"Shivered when I touched her. That means I have been walking over
Blanche turned from the sight of the slate, and from the sight of
the woman, in horror. "You frighten me!" she said. "You will
frighten _ her_ if she sees you. I don't mean to offend you;
but--leave us, please leave us."
Hester Dethridge accepted her dismissal, as she accepted every
thing else. She bowed her head in sign that she
understood--looked for the last time at Anne--dropped a stiff
courtesy to her young mistress--and left the room.
An hour later the butler had paid her, and she had left the
Blanche breathed more freely when she found herself alone. She
could feel the relief now of seeing Anne revive.
"Can you hear me, darling?" she whispered. "Can you let me leave
you for a moment?"
Anne's eyes slowly opened and looked round her--in that torment
and terror of reviving life which marks the awful protest of
humanity against its recall to existence when mortal mercy has
dared to wake it in the arms of Death.
Blanche rested Anne's head against the nearest chair, and ran to
the table upon which she had placed the wine on entering the
After swallowing the first few drops Anne begun to feel the
effect of the stimulant. Blanche persisted in making her empty
the glass, and refrained from asking or answering questions until
her recovery under the influence of the wine was complete.
"You have overexerted yourself this morning," she said, as soon
as it seemed safe to speak. "Nobody has seen you,
darling--nothing has happened. Do you feel like yourself again?"
Anne made an attempt to rise and leave the library; Blanche
placed her gently in the chair, and went on:
"There is not the least need to stir. We have another quarter of
an hour to ourselves before any body is at all likely to disturb
us. I have something to say, Anne--a little proposal to make.
Will you listen to me?"
Anne took Blanche's hand, and p ressed it gratefully to her lips.
She made no other reply. Blanche proceeded:
"I won't ask any questions, my dear--I won't attempt to keep you
here against your will--I won't even remind you of my letter
yesterday. But I can't let you go, Anne, without having my mind
made easy about you in some way. You will relieve all my anxiety,
if you will do one thing--one easy thing for my sake."
"What is it, Blanche?"
She put that question with her mind far away from the subject
before her. Blanche was too eager in pursuit of her object to
notice the absent tone, the purely mechanical manner, in which
Anne had spoken to her.
"I want you to consult my uncle," she answered. "Sir Patrick is
interested in you; Sir Patrick proposed to me this very day to go
and see you at the inn. He is the wisest, the kindest, the
dearest old man living--and you can trust him as you could trust
nobody else. Will you take my uncle into your confidence, and be
guided by his advice?"
With her mind still far away from the subject, Anne looked out
absently at the lawn, and made no answer.
"Come!" said Blanche. "One word isn't much to say. Is it Yes or
Still looking out on the lawn--still thinking of something
else--Anne yielded, and said "Yes."
Blanche was enchanted. "How well I must have managed it!" she
thought. "This is what my uncle means, when my uncle talks of
'putting it strongly.' "
She bent down over Anne, and gayly patted her on the shoulder.
"That's the wisest 'Yes,' darling, you ever said in your life.
Wait here--and I'll go in to luncheon, or they will be sending to
know what has become of me. Sir Patrick has kept my place for me,
next to himself. I shall contrive to tell him what I want; and
_he_ will contrive (oh, the blessing of having to do with a
clever man; these are so few of them!)--he will contrive to leave
the table before the rest, without exciting any body's
suspicions. Go away with him at once to the summer-house (we have
been at the summer-house all the morning; nobody will go back to
it now), and I will follow you as soon as I have satisfied Lady
Lundie by eating some lunch. Nobody will be any the wiser but our
three selves. In five minutes or less you may expect Sir Patrick.
Let me go! We haven't a moment to lose!"
Anne held her back. Anne's attention was concentrated on her now.
"What is it?" she asked.
"Are you going on happily with Arnold, Blanche?"
"Arnold is nicer than ever, my dear."
"Is the day fixed for your marriage?"
"The day will be ages hence. Not till we are back in town, at the
end of the autumn. Let me go, Anne!"
"Give me a kiss, Blanche."
Blanche kissed her, and tried to release her hand. Anne held it
as if she was drowning, as if her life depended on not letting it
"Will you always love me, Blanche, as you love me now?"
"How can you ask me!"
"_I_ said Yes just now. _You_ say Yes too."
Blanche said it. Anne's eyes fastened on her face, with one long,
yearning look, and then Anne's hand suddenly dropped hers.
She ran out of the room, more agitated, more uneasy, than she
liked to confess to herself. Never had she felt so certain of the
urgent necessity of appealing to Sir Patrick's advice as she felt
at that moment.
The guests were still safe at the luncheon-table when Blanche
entered the dining-room.
Lady Lundie expressed the necessary surprise, in the properly
graduated tone of reproof, at her step-daughter's want of
punctuality. Blanche made her apologies with the most exemplary
humility. She glided into her chair by her uncle's side, and took
the first thing that was offered to her. Sir Patrick looked at
his niece, and found himself in the company of a model young
English Miss--and marveled inwardly what it might mean.
The talk, interrupted for the moment (topics, Politics and
Sport--and then, when a change was wanted, Sport and Politics),
was resumed again all round the table. Under cover of the
conversation, and in the intervals of receiving the attentions of
the gentlemen, Blanche whispered to Sir Patrick, "Don't start,
uncle. Anne is in the library." (Polite Mr. Smith offered some
ham. Gratefully declined.) "Pray, pray, pray go to her; she is
waiting to see you--she is in dreadful trouble." (Gallant Mr.
Jones proposed fruit tart and cream. Accepted with thanks.) "Take
her to the summer-house: I'll follow you when I get the chance.
And manage it at once, uncle, if you love me, or you will be too
Before Sir Patrick could whisper back a word in reply, Lady
Lundie, cutting a cake of the richest Scottish composition, at
the other end of the table, publicly proclaimed it to be her "own
cake," and, as such, offered her brother-in-law a slice. The
slice exhibited an eruption of plums and sweetmeats, overlaid by
a perspiration of butter. It has been said that Sir Patrick had
reached the age of seventy--it is, therefore, needless to add
that he politely declined to commit an unprovoked outrage on his
"MY cake!" persisted Lady Lundie, elevating the horrible
composition on a fork. "Won't that tempt you?"
Sir Patrick saw his way to slipping out of the room under cover
of a compliment to his sister-in-law. He summoned his courtly
smile, and laid his hand on his heart.
"A fallible mortal," he said, "is met by a temptation which he
can not possibly resist. If he is a wise mortal, also, what does
"He eats some of My cake," said the prosaic Lady Lundie.
"No!" said Sir Patrick, with a look of unutterable devotion
directed at his sister-in-law.
"He flies temptation, dear lady--as I do now." He bowed, and
escaped, unsuspected, from the room.
Lady Lundie cast down her eyes, with an expression of virtuous
indulgence for human frailty, and divided Sir Patrick's
compliment modestly between herself and her cake.
Well aware that his own departure from the table would be
followed in a few minutes by the rising of the lady of the house,
Sir Patrick hurried to the library as fast as his lame foot would
let him. Now that he was alone, his manner became anxious, and
his face looked grave. He entered the room.
Not a sign of Anne Silvester was to be seen any where. The
library was a perfect solitude.
"Gone!" said Sir Patrick. "This looks bad."
After a moment's reflection he went back into the hall to get his
hat. It was possible that she might have been afraid of discovery
if she staid in the library, and that she might have gone on to
the summer-house by herself.
If she was not to be found in the summer-house, the quieting of
Blanche's mind and the clearing up of her uncle's suspicions
alike depended on discovering the place in which Miss Silvester
had taken refuge. In this case time would be of importance, and
the capacity of making the most of it would be a precious
capacity at starting. Arriving rapidly at these conclusions, Sir
Patrick rang the bell in the hall which communicated with the
servants' offices, and summoned his own valet--a person of tried
discretion and fidelity, nearly as old as himself.
"Get your hat, Duncan," he said, when the valet appeared, "and
come out with me."
Master and servant set forth together silently on their way
through the grounds. Arrived within sight of the summer-house,
Sir Patrick ordered Duncan to wait, and went on by himself.
There was not the least need for the precaution that he had
taken. The summer-house was as empty as the library. He stepped
out again and looked about him. Not a living creature was
visible. Sir Patrick summoned his servant to join him.
"Go back to the stables, Duncan," he said, "and say that Miss
Lundie lends me her pony-carriage to-day. Let it be got ready at
once and kept in the stable-yard. I want to attract as little
notice as possible. You are to go with me, and nobody else.
Provide yourself with a railway time-table. Have you got any
"Yes, Sir Patrick."
"Did you happen to see the governess (Miss Silvester) on the day
when we came here--the day of the lawn-party?"
"I did, Sir Patrick."
"Should you know her again?"
"I thought her a very distinguished-looking person, Sir Patrick.
I should certainly know her again."
"Have you any reason to think she noticed you?"
"She never even looked at me,
"Very good. Put a change of linen into your bag, Duncan--I may
possibly want you to take a journey by railway. Wait for me in
the stable-yard. This is a matter in which every thing is trusted
to my discretion, and to yours."
"Thank you, Sir Patrick."
With that acknowledgment of the compliment which had been just
paid to him, Duncan gravely went his way to the stables; and
Duncan's master returned to the summer-house, to wait there until
he was joined by Blanche.
Sir Patrick showed signs of failing patience during the interval
of expectation through which he was now condemned to pass. He
applied perpetually to the snuff-box in the knob of his cane. He
fidgeted incessantly in and out of the summer-house. Anne's
disappearance had placed a serious obstacle in the way of further
discovery; and there was no attacking that obstacle, until
precious time had been wasted in waiting to see Blanche.
At last she appeared in view, from the steps of the summer-house;
breathless and eager, hasting to the place of meeting as fast as
her feet would take her to it.
Sir Patrick considerately advanced, to spare her the shock of
making the inevitable discovery. "Blanche," he said. "Try to
prepare yourself, my dear, for a disappointment. I am alone."
"You don't mean that you have let her go?"
"My poor child! I have never seen her at all."
Blanche pushed by him, and ran into the summer-house. Sir Patrick
followed her. She came out again to meet him, with a look of
blank despair. "Oh, uncle! I did so truly pity her! And see how
little pity she has for _me!_"
Sir Patrick put his arm round his niece, and softly patted the
fair young head that dropped on his shoulder.
"Don't let us judge her harshly, my dear: we don't know what
serious necessity may not plead her excuse. It is plain that she
can trust nobody--and that she only consented to see me to get
you out of the room and spare you the pain of parting. Compose
yourself, Blanche. I don't despair of discovering where she has
gone, if you will help me."
Blanche lifted her head, and dried her tears bravely.
"My father himself wasn't kinder to me than you are," she said.
"Only tell me, uncle, what I can do!"
"I want to hear exactly what happened in the library," said Sir
Patrick. "Forget nothing, my dear child, no matter how trifling
it may be. Trifles are precious to us, and minutes are precious
to us, now."
Blanche followed her instructions to the letter, her uncle
listening with the closest attention. When she had completed her
narrative, Sir Patrick suggested leaving the summer-house. "I
have ordered your chaise," he said; "and I can tell you what I
propose doing on our way to the stable-yard."
"Let me drive you, uncle!"
"Forgive me, my dear, for saying No to that. Your step-mother's
suspicions are very easily excited--and you had better not be
seen with me if my inquiries take me to the Craig Fernie inn. I
promise, if you will remain here, to tell you every thing when I
come back. Join the others in any plan they have for the
afternoon--and you will prevent my absence from exciting any
thing more than a passing remark. You will do as I tell you?
That's a good girl! Now you shall hear how I propose to search
for this poor lady, and how your little story has helped me."
He paused, considering with himself whether he should begin by
telling Blanche of his consultation with Geoffrey. Once more, he
decided that question in the negative. Better to still defer
taking her into his confidence until he had performed the errand
of investigation on which he was now setting forth.
"What you have told me, Blanche, divides itself, in my mind, into
two heads," began Sir Patrick. "There is what happened in the
library before your own eyes; and there is what Miss Silvester
told you had happened at the inn. As to the event in the library
(in the first place), it is too late now to inquire whether that
fainting-fit was the result, as you say, of mere exhaustion--or
whether it was the result of something that occurred while you
were out of the room."
"What could have happened while I was out of the room?"
"I know no more than you do, my dear. It is simply one of the
possibilities in the case, and, as such, I notice it. To get on
to what practically concerns us; if Miss Silvester is in delicate
health it is impossible that she could get, unassisted, to any
great distance from Windygates. She may have taken refuge in one
of the cottages in our immediate neighborhood. Or she may have
met with some passing vehicle from one of the farms on its way to
the station, and may have asked the person driving to give her a
seat in it. Or she may have walked as far as she can, and may
have stopped to rest in some sheltered place, among the lanes to
the south of this house."
"I'll inquire at the cottages, uncle, while you are gone."
"My dear child, there must be a dozen cottages, at least, within
a circle of one mile from Windygates! Your inquiries would
probably occupy you for the whole afternoon. I won't ask what
Lady Lundie would think of your being away all that time by
yourself. I will only remind you of two things. You would be
making a public matter of an investigation which it is essential
to pursue as privately as possible; and, even if you happened to
hit on the right cottage your inquiries would be completely
baffled, and you would discover nothing."
"I know the Scottish peasant better than you do, Blanche. In his
intelligence and his sense of self-respect he is a very different
being from the English peasant. He would receive you civilly,
because you are a young lady; but he would let you see, at the
same time, that he considered you had taken advantage of the
difference between your position and his position to commit an
intrusion. And if Miss Silvester had appealed, in confidence, to
his hospitality, and if he had granted it, no power on earth
would induce him to tell any person living that she was under his
roof--without her express permission."
"But, uncle, if it's of no use making inquiries of any body, how
are we to find her?"
"I don't say that nobody will answer our inquiries, my dear--I
only say the peasantry won't answer them, if your friend has
trusted herself to their protection. The way to find her is to
look on, beyond what Miss Silvester may be doing at the present
moment, to what Miss Silvester contemplates doing--let us say,
before the day is out. We may assume, I think (after what has
happened), that, as soon as she can leave this neighborhood, she
assuredly will leave it. Do you agree, so far?"
"Yes! yes! Go on."
"Very well. She is a woman, and she is (to say the least of it)
not strong. She can only leave this neighborhood either by hiring
a vehicle or by traveling on the railway. I propose going first
to the station. At the rate at which your pony gets over the
ground, there is a fair chance, in spite of the time we have
lost, of my being there as soon as she is--assuming that she
leaves by the first train, up or down, that passes."
"There is a train in half an hour, uncle. She can never get there
in time for that."
"She may be less exhausted than we think; or she may get a lift;
or she may not be alone. How do we know but somebody may have
been waiting in the lane--her husband, if there is such a
person--to help her? No! I shall assume she is now on her way to
the station; and I shall get there as fast as possible--"
"And stop her, if you find her there?"
"What I do, Blanche, must be left to my discretion. If I find her
there, I must act for the best. If I don't find her there, I
shall leave Duncan (who goes with me) on the watch for the
remaining trains, until the last to-night. He knows Miss
Silvester by sight, and he is sure that _she_ has never noticed
_him._ Whether she goes north or south, early or late, Duncan
will have my orders to follow her. He is thoroughly to be relied
on. If she takes the railway, I answer for it we shall know where
"How clever of you to think of Duncan!"
"Not in the least, my dear. Duncan is my factotum; and the course
I am taking is the obvious course which would have occurred to
any body. Let us get to the re ally difficult part of it now.
Suppose she hires a carriage?"
"There are none to be had, except at the station."
"There are farmers about here - and farmers have light carts, or
chaises, or something of the sort. It is in the last degree
unlikely that they would consent to let her have them. Still,
women break through difficulties which stop men. And this is a
clever woman, Blanche--a woman, you may depend on it, who is bent
on preventing you from tracing her. I confess I wish we had
somebody we could trust lounging about where those two roads
branch off from the road that leads to the railway. I must go in
another direction; _I_ can't do it."
"Arnold can do it!"
Sir Patrick looked a little doubtful. "Arnold is an excellent
fellow," he said. "But can we trust to his discretion?"
"He is, next to you, the most perfectly discreet person I know,"
rejoined Blanche, in a very positive manner; "and, what is more,
I have told him every thing about Anne, except what has happened
to-day. I am afraid I shall tell him _that,_ when I feel lonely
and miserable, after you have gone. There is something in
Arnold--I don't know what it is--that comforts me. Besides, do
you think he would betray a secret that I gave him to keep? You
don't know how devoted he is to me!"
"My dear Blanche, I am not the cherished object of his devotion;
of course I don't know! You are the only authority on that point.
I stand corrected. Let us have Arnold, by all means. Caution him
to be careful; and send him out by himself, where the roads meet.
We have now only one other place left in which there is a chance
of finding a trace of her. I undertake to make the necessary
investigation at the Craig Fernie inn."
"The Craig Fernie inn? Uncle! you have forgotten what I told
"Wait a little, my dear. Miss Silvester herself has left the inn,
I grant you. But (if we should unhappily fail in finding her by
any other means) Miss Silvester has left a trace to guide us at
Craig Fernie. That trace must be picked up at once, in case of
accidents. You don't seem to follow me? I am getting over the
ground as fast as the pony gets over it. I have arrived at the
second of those two heads into which your story divides itself in
my mind. What did Miss Silvester tell you had happened at the
"She lost a letter at the inn."
"Exactly. She lost a letter at the inn; that is one event. And
Bishopriggs, the waiter, has quarreled with Mrs. Inchbare, and
has left his situation; that is another event. As to the letter
first. It is either really lost, or it has been stolen. In either
case, if we can lay our hands on it, there is at least a chance
of its helping us to discover something. As to Bishopriggs,
"You're not going to talk about the waiter, surely?"
"I am! Bishopriggs possesses two important merits. He is a link
in my chain of reasoning; and he is an old friend of mine."
"A friend of yours?"
"We live in days, my dear, when one workman talks of another
workman as 'that gentleman.'--I march with the age, and feel
bound to mention my clerk as my friend. A few years since
Bishopriggs was employed in the clerks' room at my chambers. He
is one of the most intelligent and most unscrupulous old
vagabonds in Scotland; perfectly honest as to all average matters
involving pounds, shillings, and pence; perfectly unprincipled in
the pursuit of his own interests, where the violation of a trust
lies on the boundary-line which marks the limit of the law. I
made two unpleasant discoveries when I had him in my employment.
I found that he had contrived to supply himself with a duplicate
of my seal; and I had the strongest reason to suspect him of
tampering with some papers belonging to two of my clients. He had
done no actual mischief, so far; and I had no time to waste in
making out the necessary case against him. He was dismissed from
my service, as a man who was not to be trusted to respect any
letters or papers that happened to pass through his hands."
"I see, uncle! I see!"
"Plain enough now--isn't it? If that missing letter of Miss
Silvester's is a letter of no importance, I am inclined to
believe that it is merely lost, and may be found again. If, on
the other hand, there is any thing in it that could promise the
most remote advantage to any person in possession of it, then, in
the execrable slang of the day, I will lay any odds, Blanche,
that Bishopriggs has got the letter!"
"And he has left the inn! How unfortunate!"
"Unfortunate as causing delay--nothing worse than that. Unless I
am very much mistaken, Bishopriggs will come back to the inn. The
old rascal (there is no denying it) is a most amusing person. He
left a terrible blank when he left my clerks' room. Old customers
at Craig Fernie (especially the English), in missing Bishopriggs,
will, you may rely on it, miss one of the attractions of the inn.
Mrs. Inchbare is not a woman to let her dignity stand in the way
of her business. She and Bishopriggs will come together again,
sooner or later, and make it up. When I have put certain
questions to her, which may possibly lead to very important
results, I shall leave a letter for Bishopriggs in Mrs.
Inchbare's hands. The letter will tell him I have something for
him to do, and will contain an address at which he can write to
me. I shall hear of him, Blanche and, if the letter is in his
possession, I shall get it."
"Won't he be afraid--if he has stolen the letter--to tell you he
has got it?"
"Very well put, my child. He might hesitate with other people.
But I have my own way of dealing with him - and I know how to
make him tell Me.--Enough of Bishopriggs till his time comes.
There is one other point, in regard to Miss Silvester. I may have
to describe her. How was she dressed when she came here?
Remember, I am a man--and (if an Englishwoman's dress _can_ be
described in an Englishwoman's language) tell me, in English,
what she had on."
"She wore a straw hat, with corn-flowers in it, and a white veil.
Corn-flowers at one side uncle, which is less common than
cornflowers in front. And she had on a light gray shawl. And a
"There you go with your French! Not a word more! A straw hat,
with a white veil, and with corn-flowers at one side of the hat.
And a light gray shawl. That's as much as the ordinary male mind
can take in; and that will do. I have got my instructions, and
saved precious time. So far so good. Here we are at the end of
our conference--in other words, at the gate of the stable-yard.
You understand what you have to do while I am away?"
"I have to send Arnold to the cross-roads. And I have to behave
(if I can) as if nothing had happened."
"Good child! Well put again! you have got what I call grasp of
mind, Blanche. An invaluable faculty! You will govern the future
domestic kingdom. Arnold will be nothing but a constitutional
husband. Those are the only husbands who are thoroughly happy.
You shall hear every thing, my love, when I come lack. Got your
bag, Duncan? Good. And the time-table? Good. You take the
reins--I won't drive. I want to think. Driving is incompatible
with intellectual exertion. A man puts his mind into his horse,
and sinks to the level of that useful animal--as a necessary
condition of getting to his destination without being upset. God
bless you, Blanche! To the station, Duncan! to the station!"
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-THIRD.
THE chaise rattled our through the gates. The dogs barked
furiously. Sir Patrick looked round, and waved his hand as he
turned the corner of the road. Blanche was left alone in the
She lingered a little, absently patting the dogs. They had
especial claims on her sympathy at that moment; they, too,
evidently thought it hard to be left behind at the house. After a
while she roused herself. Sir Patrick had left the responsibility
of superintending the crossroads on her shoulders. There was
something to be done yet before the arrangements for tracing Anne
were complete. Blanche left the yard to do it.
On her way back to the house she met Arnold, dispatched by Lady
Lundie in search of her.
The plan of occupation for the afternoon had been settled during
Blanche's absence. Some demon had whispe red to Lady Lundie to
cultivate a taste for feudal antiquities, and to insist on
spreading that taste among her guests. She had proposed an
excursion to an old baronial castle among the hills--far to the
westward (fortunately for Sir Patrick's chance of escaping
discovery) of the hills at Craig Fernie. Some of the guests were
to ride, and some to accompany their hostess in the open
carriage. Looking right and left for proselytes, Lady Lundie had
necessarily remarked the disappearance of certain members of her
circle. Mr. Delamayn had vanished, nobody knew where. Sir Patrick
and Blanche had followed his example. Her ladyship had observed,
upon this, with some asperity, that if they were all to treat
each other in that unceremonious manner, the sooner Windygates
was turned into a Penitentiary, on the silent system, the fitter
the house would be for the people who inhabited it. Under these
circumstances, Arnold suggested that Blanche would do well to
make her excuses as soon as possible at head-quarters, and accept
the seat in the carriage which her step-mother wished her to
take. "We are in for the feudal antiquities, Blanche; and we must
help each other through as well as we can. If you will go in the
carriage, I'll go too."
Blanche shook her head.
"There are serious reasons for _my_ keeping up appearances," she
said. "I shall go in the carriage. You mustn't go at all."
Arnold naturally looked a little surprised, and asked to be
favored with an explanation.
Blanche took his arm and hugged it close. Now that Anne was lost,
Arnold was more precious to her than ever. She literally hungered
to hear at that moment, from his own lips, how fond he was of
her. It mattered nothing that she was already perfectly satisfied
on this point. It was so nice (after he had said it five hundred
times already) to make him say it once more!
"Suppose I had no explanation to give?" she said. "Would you stay
behind by yourself to please me?"
"I would do any thing to please you!"
"Do you really love me as much as that?"
They were still in the yard; and the only witnesses present were
the dogs. Arnold answered in the language without words--which is
nevertheless the most expressive language in use, between men and
women, all over the world.
"This is not doing my duty," said Blanche, penitently. "But, oh
Arnold, I am so anxious and so miserable! And it _is_ such a
consolation to know that _you_ won't turn your back on me too!"
With that preface she told him what had happened in the library.
Even Blanche's estimate of her lover's capacity for sympathizing
with her was more than realized by the effect which her narrative
produced on Arnold. He was not merely surprised and sorry for
her. His face showed plainly that he felt genuine concern and
distress. He had never stood higher in Blanche's opinion than he
stood at that moment.
"What is to be done?" he asked. "How does Sir Patrick propose to
Blanche repeated Sir Patrick's instructions relating to the
crossroads, and also to the serious necessity of pursuing the
investigation in the strictest privacy. Arnold (relieved from all
fear of being sent back to Craig Fernie) undertook to do every
thing that was asked of him, and promised to keep the secret from
They went back to the house, and met with an icy welcome from
Lady Lundie. Her ladyship repeated her remark on the subject of
turning Windygates into a Penitentiary for Blanche's benefit. She
received Arnold's petition to be excused from going to see the
castle with the barest civility. "Oh, take your walk by all
means! You may meet your friend, Mr. Delamayn--who appears to
have such a passion for walking that he can't even wait till
luncheon is over. As for Sir Patrick--Oh! Sir Patrick has
borrowed the pony-carriage? and gone out driving by himself?--I'm
sure I never meant to offend my brother-in-law when I offered him
a slice of my poor little cake. Don't let me offend any body
else. Dispose of your afternoon, Blanche, without the slightest
reference to me. Nobody seems inclined to visit the ruins--the
most interesting relic of feudal times in Perthshire, Mr.
Brinkworth. It doesn't matter--oh, dear me, it doesn't matter! I
can't force my guests to feel an intelligent curiosity on the
subject of Scottish Antiquities. No! no! my dear Blanche!--it
won't be the first time, or the last, that I have driven out
alone. I don't at all object to being alone. 'My mind to me a
kingdom is,' as the poet says." So Lady Lundie's outraged
self-importance asserted its violated claims on human respect,
until her distinguished medical guest came to the rescue and
smoothed his hostess's ruffled plumes. The surgeon (he privately
detested ruins) begged to go. Blanche begged to go. Smith and
Jones (profoundly interested in feudal antiquities) said they
would sit behind, in the "rumble"--rather than miss this
unexpected treat. One, Two, and Three caught the infection, and
volunteered to be the escort on horseback. Lady Lundie's
celebrated "smile" (warranted to remain unaltered on her face for
hours together) made its appearance once more. She issued her
orders with the most charming amiability. "We'll take the
guidebook," said her ladyship, with the eye to mean economy,
which is only to be met with in very rich people, "and save a
shilling to the man who shows the ruins." With that she went up
stairs to array herself for the drive, and looked in the glass;
and saw a perfectly virtuous, fascinating, and accomplished
woman, facing her irresistibly in a new French bonnet!
At a private signal from Blanche, Arnold slipped out and repaired
to his post, where the roads crossed the road that led to the
There was a space of open heath on one side of him, and the
stonewall and gates of a farmhouse inclosure on the other. Arnold
sat down on the soft heather--and lit a cigar--and tried to see
his way through the double mystery of Anne's appearance and
He had interpreted his friend's absence exactly as his friend had
anticipated: he could only assume that Geoffrey had gone to keep
a private appointment with Anne. Miss Silvester's appearance at
Windygates alone, and Miss Silvester's anxiety to hear the names
of the gentlemen who were staying in the house, seemed, under
these circumstances, to point to the plain conclusion that the
two had, in some way, unfortunately missed each other. But what
could be the motive of her flight? Whether she knew of some other
place in which she might meet Geoffrey? or whether she had gone
back to the inn? or whether she had acted under some sudden
impulse of despair?--were questions which Arnold was necessarily
quite incompetent to solve. There was no choice but to wait until
an opportunity offered of reporting what had happened to Geoffrey
After the lapse of half an hour, the sound of some approaching
vehicle--the first sound of the sort that he had heard--attracted
Arnold's attention. He started up, and saw the pony-chaise
approaching him along the road from the station. Sir Patrick,
this time, was compelled to drive himself--Duncan was not with
him. On discovering Arnold, he stopped the pony.
"So! so!" said the old gentleman. "You have heard all about it, I
see? You understand that this is to be a secret from every body,
till further notice? Very good, Has any thing happened since you
have been here?"
"Nothing. Have you made any discoveries, Sir Patrick?"
"None. I got to the station before the train. No signs of Miss
Silvester any where. I have left Duncan on the watch--with orders
not to stir till the last train has passed to-night."
"I don't think she will turn up at the station," said Arnold. "I
fancy she has gone back to Craig Fernie."
"Quite possible. I am now on my way to Craig Fernie, to make
inquiries about her. I don't know how long I may be detained, or
what it may lead to. If you see Blanche before I do tell her I
have instructed the station-master to let me know (if Miss
Silvester does take the railway) what place she books for. Thanks
to that arrangement, we sha'n't have to wait for news till Duncan
can telegraph that he has seen her to her journey's end. In the
mean time, you un derstand what you are wanted to do here?"
"Blanche has explained every thing to me."
"Stick to your post, and make good use of your eyes. You were
accustomed to that, you know, when you were at sea. It's no great
hardship to pass a few hours in this delicious summer air. I see
you have contracted the vile modern habit of smoking--that will
be occupation enough to amuse you, no doubt! Keep the roads in
view; and, if she does come your way, don't attempt to stop
her--you can't do that. Speak to her (quite innocently, mind!),
by way of getting time enough to notice the face of the man who
is driving her, and the name (if there is one) on his cart. Do