Then he put her a little way from him, penetrated by fear lest the white love which—in all honour and reverence—he was bound to hold her in, should flush ever so faintly, red.
“For, after all, it is up to me,” he said, more to himself than to her, “to make very sure there isn’t, and never—by God’s mercy—shall be, any cost.”
And with that—for the avoidance of the congregation, now streaming rather tumultuously out of church—they went on across the village green, hissed at by slow waddling, hard-eyed, most conceited geese, to the lane which leads down to the causeway and warren skirting the river-bank.
WHEREIN MISS FELICIA VERITY CONCLUSIVELY SHOWS WHAT SPIRIT SHE IS OF
Her attraction consisted in her transparency, in the eager simplicity with which she cast her home-made nets and set her innocuous springes. To-day Miss Felicia was out to wing the Angel of Peace, and crowd that celestial messenger into the arms of Damaris and Theresa Bilson collectively and severally. Such was the major interest of the hour. But, for Miss Felicia the oncoming of middle-age by no means condemned the lesser pleasures of life to nullity. Hence the minor interest of the hour centred in debate as to whether or not the thermometer justified her wearing a coat of dark blue silk and cloth, heavily trimmed with ruchings and passementerie, reaching to her feet. A somewhat sumptuous garment this, given her by Sir Charles and Damaris last winter in Madrid. She fancied herself in it greatly, both for the sake of the dear donors, and because the cut of it was clever, disguising the over-narrowness of her maypole-like figure and giving her a becoming breadth and fulness.
She decided in favour of the coveted splendour; and at about a quarter-past twelve strolled along the carriage-drive on her way to the goose green and the village street. There, or thereabouts, unless her plot lamentably miscarried, she expected to meet her niece and that niece’s ex-governess-companion, herded in amicable converse by the pinioned Angel of Peace. Her devious and discursive mind fluttered to and fro, meanwhile, over a number of but loosely connected subjects.
Of precisely what, upon a certain memorable occasion, had taken place between her brother, Sir Charles, and poor Theresa—causing the latter to send up urgent signals of distress to which she, Miss Felicia, instantly responded—she still was ignorant. Theresa had, she feared, been just a wee bit flighty, leaving Damaris unattended while herself mildly gadding. But such dereliction of duty was insufficient to account for the arbitrary fashion in which she had been sent about her business, literally—the word wasn’t pretty—chucked out! Miss Felicia always suspected there must be something, she would say worse—it sounded harsh—but something more than merely that. Her interpretations of peculiar