As he would not, or could not move, she left him there, and slipping through a neighbouring gap vanished from sight. When she was fairly gone, he stirred, and having risen and recovered his hat, which had fallen off in his excitement, his first action was to shake his fist in the direction in which she had vanished, his next to frantically kiss the fragment of her dress that he still held in her hand.
“You shall marry me yet, my fine lady,” he hissed between his teeth; “and, if I do not repay your gentle words with interest, my name is not George Caresfoot;” and then, staggering like a drunken man, he made his way home.
“Oh, Arthur,” thought Angela, as she crept quite broken in spirit to the solitude of her room, “if I only knew where you were, I think that I would follow you, promise or no promise. There is no one to help me, no one; they are all in league against me—even my own father.”
Notwithstanding his brave threats made behind Angela’s back, about forcing her to marry him in the teeth of any opposition that she could offer, George reached home that night very much disheartened about the whole business. How was he to bow the neck of this proud woman to his yoke, and break the strong cord of her allegiance to her absent lover. With many girls it might have been possible to find a way, but Angela was not an ordinary girl. He had tried, and Lady Bellamy had tried, and they had both failed, and as for Philip he would take no active part in the matter. What more could be done? Only one thing that he could think of, he could force Lady Bellamy to search her finer brains for a fresh expedient. Acting upon this idea, he at once despatched a note to her, requesting her to come and see him at Isleworth on the following morning.
That night passed very ill for the love-lorn George. Angela’s vigorous and imaginative expression of her entire loathing of him had pierced even the thick hide of his self-conceit, and left him sore as a whipped hound, altogether too sore to sleep. When Lady Bellamy arrived on the following morning, she found him marching up and down the dining-room, in the worst of his bad tempers, and that was a very shocking temper indeed. His light blue eyes were angry and bloodshot, his general appearance slovenly to the last degree, and a red spot burned upon each sallow cheek.
“Well, George, what is the matter? You don’t look quite so happy as a lover should.”
He grunted by way of answer.
“Has the lady been unkind, failed to appreciate your advances, eh?”
“Now look here, Anne,” he answered, savagely, “if I have to put up with things from that confounded girl, I am not going to stand your jeers, so stop them once and for all.”
“It is very evident that she has been unkind. Supposing that instead of abusing me you tell me the details. No doubt they are interesting,” and she settled herself in a low chair, and glanced at him keenly from under her heavy eyelids.