The thunder and storm were unabated; it seemed indeed that they were growing wilder and more awful.
He opened the window-shutter and looked out upon that sublimest of scenes; and so intense and magnificent were its phenomena, that Sir Bale, for a while, was absorbed in this contemplation.
When he turned about, the sight of his L100 note, still between his finger and thumb, made him smile grimly.
The more he thought of it, the clearer it was that he could not leave matters exactly as they were. Well, what should he do? He would send for Mrs. Julaper, and tell her vaguely that he had changed his mind about Feltram, and that he might continue to stay at Mardykes Hall as usual. That would suffice. She could speak to Feltram.
He sent for her; and soon, in the lulls of the great uproar without, he could hear the jingle of Mrs. Julaper’s keys and her light tread upon the lobby.
“Mrs. Julaper,” said the Baronet, in his dry careless way, “Feltram may remain; your eloquence has prevailed. What have you been crying about?” he asked, observing that his housekeeper’s usually cheerful face was, in her own phrase, ‘all cried.’
“It is too late, sir; he’s gone.”
“And when did he go?” asked Sir Bale, a little put out. “He chose an odd evening, didn’t he? So like him!”
“He went about half an hour ago; and I’m very sorry, sir; it’s a sore sight to see the poor lad going from the place he was reared in, and a hard thing, sir; and on such a night, above all.”
“No one asked him to go to-night. Where is he gone to?”
“I don’t know, I’m sure; he left my room, sir, when I was upstairs; and Janet saw him pass the window not ten minutes after Mr. Creswell left the house.”
“Well, then, there’s no good, Mrs. Julaper, in thinking more about it; he has settled the matter his own way; and as he so ordains it—amen, say I. Goodnight.”
Adventure in Tom Marlin’s Boat
Philip Feltram was liked very well—a gentle, kindly, and very timid creature, and, before he became so heart-broken, a fellow who liked a joke or a pleasant story, and could laugh heartily. Where will Sir Bale find so unresisting and respectful a butt and retainer? and whom will he bully now?
Something like remorse was worrying Sir Bale’s heart a little; and the more he thought on the strange visit of Hugh Creswell that night, with its unexplained menace, the more uneasy he became.
The storm continued; and even to him there seemed something exaggerated and inhuman in the severity of his expulsion on such a night. It was his own doing, it was true; but would people believe that? and would he have thought of leaving Mardykes at all if it had not been for his kinsman’s severity? Nay, was it not certain that if Sir Bale had done as Hugh Creswell had urged him, and sent for Feltram forthwith, and told him how all had been cleared up, and been a little friendly with him, he would have found him still in the house?—for he had not yet gone for ten minutes after Creswell’s departure, and thus, all that was to follow might have been averted. But it was too late now, and Sir Bale would let the affair take its own course.