What did Cecilia Cricklander’s insults matter? What did anything on earth matter? He was free to go and seek his beloved one—and have every sorrow healed as he held her to his heart. The only necessary thing now was to find her immediately, which would require some thinking out. It was too late to get an answer to any telegrams to England—he must wait until the morning. Mrs. Porrit would know where Cheiron’s next address would be. Yes, he could hope to come up with the wanderers perhaps not later than the day after tomorrow.
But when Arabella entered her employer’s sitting-room after wishing him good-by, she found Mrs. Cricklander in violent hysterics, and she had to have the doctor and a sleeping draught before she could be calmed.
The hatefulness, the impossible arrogance and insolence of the man, she had thought! and the humiliation to herself of knowing full well that, instead of making this dismissal a scene of subtle superlative cleverness, so that through all his torture he would be obliged to admire and respect her skill—she had let her temper get the better of her, and had shown him a side of herself that, she was well aware, was most unrefined, so that he had been able to leave her, not as a humbled, beaten cur, as she had intended, but feeling what she knew to be unfeigned contempt.
No wonder she had hysterics! It was galling beyond compare, and not all Mr. Hanbury-Green’s devotion or flattery next day could heal the bitter hurt.
“Oh, how I will help you, Percy!” she said, “to pull them all down from their pedestals, and drag them to the guillotine!”
And Mr. Hanbury-Green had laughed, and said it gratified him greatly to feel her sympathy and cooeperation would be with him, but he feared they would never have the humorous pleasure of getting as far as that!
And, it being a Sunday, Arabella Clinker wrote to her mother to apprise her of these events.
The engagement is over [Mrs. Clinker was told]—the advent of Mr. Hanbury-Green (a very unpleasant personality, afraid of being polite to me in case I should fancy myself his equal) seemed to clinch matters in M. E.’s mind. I suppose he was able to give her some definite assurance of the future of the Government. In any case, I could see, when they returned from their excursion in the gondola yesterday, that things were upon a very familiar footing between them. Mr. H.G. has none of Mr. Derringham’s restraint or refinement, and, after M. E. had seen Mr. Derringham and, I presume, returned him his freedom, she had a terrible fit of hysterics, only calmed when Mr. Hanbury-Green entered the room and suggested emptying the water jug over her. It appears he has a sister who is subject to these attacks, and this is the only method which has any effect upon her. I suppose in his circle they would have a number of crude remedies which we are unaccustomed to, but it seemed to be the right one for M. E.,