“Is this true?” she asked, still sobbing.
“Is what true?” asked Philip, indifferently, and affecting not to see her distress.
“That you have sent Pigott away?”
“Yes, yes, you see, Angela——”
“Do you mean that she is really to stop away?”
“Of course I do, I really must be allowed, Angela——”
“Forgive me, father, but I do not want to listen to your reasons and excuses.” Her eyes were quite dry now. “That woman nursed my dying mother, and played a mother’s part to me. She is, as you know, my only woman friend, and yet you throw her away like a worn-out shoe. No doubt you have your reasons, and I hope that they are satisfactory to you, but I tell you, reasons or no reasons, you have acted in a way that is cowardly and cruel;” and casting one indignant glance at him she left the room.
Philip quailed before his daughter’s anger.
“Thank goodness she’s gone, and that job is done with. I am downright afraid of her, and the worst of it is she speaks the truth,” said Philip to himself, as the door closed.
Ten days after this incident, Angela heard casually from Mr. Fraser that Sir John and Lady Bellamy were going on a short trip abroad for the benefit of the former’s health. If she thought about the matter at all, it was to feel rather glad. Angela did not like Lady Bellamy, indeed she feared her. Of George she neither heard nor saw anything. He had also gone away.
Meanwhile at Madeira matters were going on much as we left them; there had indeed been little appreciable change in the situation.
For his part, our friend Arthur continued to dance or rather stroll along the edge of his flowery precipice, and found the view pleasant and the air bracing.
And no doubt things were very nicely arranged for his satisfaction, and had it not been for the ever-present thought of Angela—for he did think of her a great deal and with deep longing—he should have enjoyed himself thoroughly, for every day was beautiful, and every day brought its amusements with it. Perhaps on arriving at the Quinta Carr about eleven o’clock, he would find that the steam launch was waiting for them in a little bay where the cliff on which the house stood curved inwards. Then, a merry party of young English folks all collected together by Mrs. Carr that morning by the dint of superhuman efforts, they would scramble down the steps cut in the rock and steam off to some neighbouring islet to eat luncheon and wander about collecting shells and flowers and beetles till sunset, and then steam back again through the spicy evening air, laughing and flirting and making the night melodious with their songs. Or else the horses would be ordered out and they would wander over the lonely mountains in the interior of the island, talking of mummies and all things human, of Angela and all things divine.