“And, Betty, give this cheek a little red.”
The departure of Isabel in the Windsor Castle, so immediately after the death of Colonel Revel, prevented her communicating to her mother the alteration which had taken place in her circumstances, and her intended return to England. The first intimation received by Mrs Revel was from a hurried note sent on shore by a pilot-boat off Falmouth, stating Isabel’s arrival in the Channel, and her anticipation of soon embracing her mother. Isabel did not enter into any particulars, as she neither had time, nor did she feel assured that the letter would ever reach its destination.
The letter did however come to hand two days before Isabel and Mrs Enderby arrived in the metropolis, much to the chagrin of Mrs Revel, who imagined that her daughter had returned penniless, to be a sharer of her limited income. She complained to Mr Heaviside, who as usual stepped in, not so much from any regard for Mrs Revel, but to while away the time of a far niente old bachelor.
“Only think, Mr Heaviside,” said the lady, who was stretched on a sofa, supported on pillows, “Isabel has returned from India. Here is a letter I have just received, signed by her maiden name! Her sisters so well married too! Surely she might have stayed out with one of them! I wonder how she got the money to pay her passage home! Dear me, what shall I do with her?”
“If I may be allowed to see the letter, Mrs Revel,” said the old gentleman—
“Oh, certainly, it’s nothing but a note.”
Mr Heaviside read the contents.
“There is very little in it indeed, Mrs Revel; not a word about the colonel, or why she left India. Perhaps the colonel may be dead.”
“Then she might have gone to live with one of her sisters, Mr Heaviside.”
“But perhaps he may have left her some property.”
“And do you, a sensible man, think that if such was the case, my daughter would not have mentioned it in her note? Impossible, Mr Heaviside!”
“She may intend to surprise you, Mrs Revel.”
“She has surprised me,” replied the lady, falling back upon the pillows.
“Well, Mrs Revel, you will soon ascertain the facts. I wish you a good-morning, and will pay my devoirs in a day or two to inquire after your health, and hear what has taken place.”
To defray the expenses attending the “consignment” of the three Miss Revels to India, Mrs Revel had consented to borrow money, insuring her life as a security to the parties who provided it. Her unprincipled husband took this opportunity of obtaining a sum which amounted to more than half her marriage settlement, as Mrs Revel signed the papers laid before her without examining their purport. When her dividends were become due, this treachery was discovered; and Mrs Revel found herself reduced to a very narrow income,