“That will do,” she said.
In the hall she met the servant coming to announce the carriage.
“Is your master still in the dining-room?” she asked.
“No, my lady.”
She laughed a little, and civilly bade the man good-night.
Outside the door of the registry-office, Angela and her father had to make their way through a crowd of small boys, who had by some means or other found out that a wedding was going on inside, and stood waiting there, animated by the intention of cheering the bride and the certain hope of sixpences. But when they saw Angela, her stately form robed in black, and her sweet face betraying the anguish of her mind, the sight shocked their sense of the fitness of things, and they slipped off without a word. Indeed, a butcher’s boy, with a turn for expressive language, remarked in indignation to another of his craft so soon as they had recovered their spirits.
“Call that a weddin’, Bill; why, it’s more like a—funeral with the plumes off; and as for the gal, though she’s a ‘clipper,’ her face was as pale as a ’long ‘un’s.’”
Angela never quite knew how she got back to the Abbey House. She only remembered that she was by herself in the fly, her father preferring to travel on the box alone with the coachman. Nor could she ever quite remember how she got through the remainder of that day. She was quite mazed. But at length it passed, and the night came, and she was thankful for the night.
About nine o’clock she went up to her bedroom at the top of the house. It had served as a nursery for many generations of Caresfoots; indeed, during the last three centuries, hundreds of little feet had pattered over the old worm-eaten boards. But the little feet had long since gone to dust, and the only signs of children’s play and merriment left about the place were the numberless scratches, nicks, and letters cut in the old panelling, and even on the beams which supported the low ceiling.
It was a lonesome room for a young girl, or, indeed, for anybody whose nerves were not of the strongest. Nobody slept upon that floor or in the rooms beneath it, Philip occupying a little closet which joined his study on the ground floor. All the other rooms were closed, and tenanted only by rats that made unearthly noises in their emptiness. As for Jakes and his wife, the only servants on the place, they occupied a room over the washhouse, which was separate from the main building. Angela was therefore practically alone in a great house, and might have been murdered a dozen times over without the fact being discovered for hours. This did not, however, trouble her much, simply because she paid no heed to the noises in the house, and was singularly free from fear of any kind.