Smiled on by Joy, and cherished of the Gods.
“And now I will end my sermon, and wish you both health and happiness and fulness of days,” and he drank off his glass of champagne, and looked so pleasant and kindly that Augusta longed to kiss him on the spot, and as for Eustace, he shook hands with him warmly, and then and there a friendship began between the two which endures till now.
And then they all went back to the office, and there was the photographer waiting with all his apparatus, and astonished enough he was when he found out what the job was that he had to do. However, the task proved an easy one enough, as the light of the room was suitable, and the dark lines of cuttle ink upon Augusta’s neck would, the man said, come out perfectly in the photograph. So he took two or three shots at her back and then departed, saying that he would bring a life-sized reproduction to be filed in the Registry in a couple of days.
And after that the learned Registrar also shook hands with them, and said that he need detain them no longer, as he now felt justified in allowing Augusta out of his Custody.
And so they departed, glad to have got over the first step so pleasantly.
Of course, Augusta’s story, so far as it was publicly known, had created no small stir, which was considerably emphasised when pictures of her appeared in the illustrated papers, and it was discovered that she was young and charming. But the excitement, great as it was, was as nothing compared to that which arose when the first whispers of the tale of the will, which was tattooed upon her shoulders, began to get about. Paragraphs and stories about this will appeared in the papers, but of course she took no notice of these.
On the fourth day, however, after she had been photographed for the purposes of the Registry, things came to a climax. It so happened that on that morning Lady Holmhurst asked Augusta to go to a certain shop in Regent-street to get some lace which she required to trim her widow’s dresses, and accordingly at about half-past twelve o’clock she started, accompanied by the lady’s maid. As soon as they shut the front door of the house in Hanover-square she noticed two or three doubtful-looking men who were loitering about, and who instantly followed them, staring at her with all their eyes. She made her way along, however, without taking any notice until she got to Regent-street, by which time there were quite a score of people walking after her whispering excitedly at each other. In Regent-street itself, the first thing that she saw was a man selling photographs. Evidently he was doing a roaring trade, for there was a considerable crowd round him, and he was shouting something which she could not catch. Presently a gentleman, who had bought one of the photographs, stopped just in front of her to look at it, and as he was short and Augusta was tall, she could see over his shoulder, and the next second started back with an indignant exclamation. “No wonder!” for the photograph was one of herself as she had been taken in the low dress in the Registry. There was no mistake about it—there was the picture of the will tattooed right across her shoulders.