“Ah!” Charles Verity murmured, under his breath, “alas! for the child that is dead.”
And leaning forward he kissed her lips.
TELLING HOW MISS FELICIA VERITY UNSUCCESSFULLY ATTEMPTED A RESCUE
With the assistance of the Miss Minetts, reinforced by a bribe of five shillings, Theresa Bilson procured a boy on a bicycle, early the following morning, to convey a note the twelve miles to Paulton Lacy—Mr. Augustus Cowden’s fine Georgian mansion, situate just within the Southern boundaries of Arnewood Forest. Miss Felicia Verity, to whom the note was addressed, still enjoyed the hospitality of her sister and brother-in-law; but this, as Mrs. Cowden gave her roundly to understand, must not be taken to include erratic demands upon the stables. If she required unexpectedly to visit her brother or her niece at Deadham Hard, she must contrive to do so by train, and by such hired conveyances as the wayside station of Paulton Halt at this end of her journey, and of Marychurch at the other, might be equal to supplying.
“In my opinion, Felicia, it is quite ridiculous you should attempt to go there at all to-day,” Mrs. Cowden, giving over for the moment her study of the Morning Post, commandingly told her. “If Damaris has got a cold in her head through some imprudence, and if Charles has called Miss Bilson over the coals for not being more strict with her, that really is no reason why Augustus’ and my plans for the afternoon should be set aside or why you should be out in the rain for hours with your rheumatism. I shall not even mention the subject to Augustus. We arranged to drive over to Napworth for tea, and I never let anything interfere with my engagements to the Bulparcs as you know. I encourage Augustus to see as much as possible of his own people.—I have no doubt in my own mind that the account of Damaris’ illness is absurdly exaggerated. You know how Charles spoils her! She has very much too much freedom; and little Miss Bilson, though well-meaning, is incapable of coping with a headstrong girl like Damaris. She ought—Damaris ought I mean—to have been sent to a finishing school for another year at least. She might then have found her level. If Charles had consulted me, or shown the least willingness to accept my advice, I should have insisted upon the finishing school. It would have been immensely to Damaris’ advantage. I have known all along that the haphazard methods of her education were bound to have deplorable results.—But look here, Felicia, if you really intend to go on this wild-goose-chase notwithstanding the rain, let the boy who brought the note order Davis’ fly for you on his way back. He passes Paulton Halt. I shall not expect you before dinner to-night. Now that is settled.”
With which she returned to her interrupted study of the Morning Post.