She said nothing about it, and soon after breakfast the board was removed.
THE ORANGE ROOM
Some weeks later, on a bright and frosty morning in December, Dorothea rode into Axcester with her brothers. She was a good horsewoman and showed to advantage on horseback, when her slight figure took a grace of movement which made amends for her face. To-day the brisk air and a canter across the bridge at the foot of the hill had brought roses to her cheeks, and she looked almost pretty. General Rochambeau happened to pass down the street as the three drew rein before the Town House (so the Westcotes always called the Bank-office), and, pausing to help her dismount, paid her a very handsome compliment.
Dorothea knew, of course, that Frenchmen were lavish of compliments, and had heard General Rochambeau pay them where she felt sure they were not deserved. Nevertheless she found this one pleasant—she had received so few—and laughed happily. It may have come from the freshness of the morning, but to-day her spirit sat light within her and expectant she could not say of what, yet it seemed that something good was going to happen.
“I have a guess,” said the old General, “that Miss Westcote and I are bound on the same errand. Her’s cannot be to inspect dull bonds and ledgers, bills of exchange or rates of interest.”
He jerked his head towards the house, and Dorothea shook hers.
“I am going to ‘The Dogs,’ General.”
“Eh?” He scented the jest and chuckled. “As you say, ‘to the dogs’ hein? Messieurs, I beg you to observe and take warning that your sister and I are going to the dogs together.”
He offered his arm to Dorothea. Her brothers had dismounted and handed their horses over to the ostler who waited by the porch daily to lead them to the inn stables.
“I will stable Mercury myself,” said she, addressing Endymion. She submitted her smallest plans to him for approval.
“Do so,” he answered. “After running through my letters, I will step down to the Orange Room and join you. I entrust her to you, General— the more confidently because you cannot take her far.”
He laughed and followed Narcissus through the porch. Dorothea saw the old General wince. She slipped an arm through Mercury’s bridle-rein and picked up her skirt; the other arm she laid in her companion’s.