She spoke with the grand freedom of one inspired, nay, he felt that she was inspired, and the same feeling of awe that had come upon him when he first saw her face, again took possession of him. Taking her hand, he kissed it.
“Dearest,” he said, “dearest Angela, who am I that you should love me so? What have I done that such a treasure should be given to me? I hope that it may be as you say!”
“It will be as I say,” she answered, as she bent to kiss him. And they went on in silence.
Philip arrived home about one o’clock on the Monday, and, after their nursery dinner, Arthur made his way to the study, and soon found himself in the dread presence—for what presence is more dread (most people would rather face a chief-justice with the gout)—of the man whose daughter he was about to ask in marriage.
Philip, whom he found seated by a tray, the contents of which he seemed in no humour to touch, received him with his customary politeness, saying, with a smile, that he hoped he had not come to tell him that he was sick of the place and its inhabitants, and was going away.
“Far from it, Mr. Caresfoot, I come to speak to you on a very different subject.”
Philip glanced up with a quick look of expectant curiosity, but said nothing.
“In short,” said Arthur, desperately, “I come to ask you to sanction my engagement to Angela.”
A pause—a very awkward pause—ensued.
“You are, then, engaged to my daughter?”
“Subject to your consent, I am.”
Then came another pause.
“You will understand me, Heigham, when I say that you take me rather by surprise in this business. Your acquaintance with her has been short.”
“That is true, but I have seen a great deal of her.”
“Perhaps; but she knows absolutely nothing of the world, and her preference for you—for, as you say you are engaged to her, I presume she has shown a preference—may be a mistake, merely a young girl’s romantic idea.”
Arthur thought of his conversation of the previous day with Angela, and could not help smiling as he answered,
“I think if you ask her that, she will tell you that is not the case.”
“Heigham, I will be frank with you. I like you, and you have, I believe, sufficient means. Of course, you know that my daughter will have nothing—at any rate, till I am dead,” he added, quickly.