The Nest of the Sparrowhawk eBook

Baroness Emma Orczy
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 273 pages of information about The Nest of the Sparrowhawk.

“You had best speak to Master Skyffington himself about the business,” rejoined Sir Marmaduke, not heeding the mumbled apology, “he will be here anon.”

He turned abruptly away, and the young man once more left to himself, silently and mechanically moved again in the direction of the house.

“You will join us in a bowl of sack-posset, Master Lambert,” said Mistress de Chavasse, striving to be amiable.

“You are very kind,” he said none too genially, “in about half-an-hour if you will allow me.  There is another letter yet to write.”

No one had taken much notice of him.  Even in these days when kingship and House of Lords were abolished, the sense of social inequality remained keen.  To this coterie of avowed Republicans, young Richard Lambert—­secretary or what-not to Sir Marmaduke, a paid dependent at any rate—­was not worth more than a curt nod of the head, a condescending acknowledgment of his existence at best.

But Lady Sue had not even bestowed the nod.  She had not actually taken notice of his presence when he came; the wistful look had vanished as soon as the young man’s harsh voice had broken on her ear:  she did not look on him now that he went.

She was busy with her game.  Nathless her guardian’s secretary was of no more importance in the rich heiress’s sight than that mute row of nine-pins at the end of the alley, nor was there, mayhap, in her mind much social distinction between the hollow-eyed lad who set them up stolidly from time to time, and the silent young student who wrote those letters which Sir Marmaduke had not known how to spell.

CHAPTER III

THE EXILE

But despite outward indifference, with the brief appearance of the soberly-garbed young student upon the scene and his abrupt and silent departure, all the zest seemed to have gone out of Lady Sue’s mood.

The ingenuous flatteries of her little court irritated her now:  she no longer felt either amused or pleased by the extravagant compliments lavished upon her beauty and skill by portly Squire John, by Sir Timothy Harrison or the more diffident young Squire Pyncheon.

“Of a truth, I sometimes wish, Lady Sue, that I could find out if you have any faults,” remarked Squire Boatfield unctuously.

“Nay, Squire,” she retorted sharply, “pray try to praise me to my female friends.”

In vain did Mistress Pyncheon admonish her son to be more bold in his wooing.

“You behave like a fool, Oliver,” she said meekly.

“But, Mother ...”

“Go, make yourself pleasing to her ladyship.”

“But, Mother ...”

“I pray you, my son,” she retorted with unusual acerbity, “do you want a million or do you not?”

“But, Mother ...”

“Then go at once and get it, ere that fool Sir Timothy or the odious Boatfield capture it under your very nose.”

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The Nest of the Sparrowhawk from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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