Everything was ready there, he explained, for the great political propaganda which he had planned and which could be commenced immediately.
All that was needed now was the money. In what manner it would be needed and for what definite purpose he did not condescend to explain, nor did she care to ask. But she told him that she would be sole mistress of her fortune on the 2d of November, the date of her twenty-first birthday.
After that he spoke no more of money, but promised to meet her at regular intervals during the six weeks which would intervene until the great day when she would be free to proclaim her marriage and place herself unreservedly in the hands of her husband.
THE ABSENT FRIEND
The prince kept his word, and she was fairly free to see him at least once a week, somewhere within the leafy thicknesses of the park or in the woods, usually at the hour when dusk finally yields to the overwhelming embrace of night.
Sir Marmaduke was away. In London or Canterbury, she could not say, but she had scarcely seen him since that terrible time, when he came back from town having left Richard Lambert languishing in disgrace and in prison.
Oh! how she missed the silent and thoughtful friend who in those days of pride and of joy had angered her so, because he seemed to stand for conscience and for prudence, when she only thought of happiness and of love.
There was an almost humiliating isolation about her now. Nobody seemed to care whither she went, nor when she came home. Mistress de Chavasse talked from time to time about Sue’s infatuation for the mysterious foreign adventurer, but always as if this were a thing of the past, and from which Sue herself had long since recovered.
Thus there was no one to say her nay, when she went out into the garden after evening repast, and stayed there until the shades of night had long since wrapped the old trees in gloom.
And strangely enough this sense of freedom struck her with a chill sense of loneliness. She would have loved to suddenly catch sight of Lambert’s watchful figure, and to hear his somewhat harsh voice, warning her against the foreigner.
This had been wont to irritate her twelve weeks ago. How mysteriously everything had altered round her!
And yearning for her friend, she wondered what had become of him. The last she had heard was toward the middle of October when Sir Marmaduke, home from one of his frequent journeyings, one day said that Lambert had been released after ten weeks spent in prison, but that he could not say whither he had gone since then.
All Sue’s questionings anent the young man only brought forth violent vituperations from Sir Marmaduke, and cold words of condemnation from Mistress de Chavasse; therefore, she soon desisted, storing up in her heart pathetic memories of the one true friend she had in the world.