“He conveyed a well-merited rebuke in fitting terms.”
“What were the terms?” inquired the Briton.
Juno again did not hear him. “It was after a friendly game of cards. My nephew protested against any gentleman remaining at the custom house since the recent insulting appointment.”
I was now almost the only member of the party who had preserved strict silence throughout this very interesting conversation, because, having no wish to converse with Juno at any time, I especially did not desire it now, just after her seeing me (I thought she must have seen me) in amicable conference with the object of her formidable displeasure.
“Every Mayrant is ferocious that I ever heard of,” she continued. “You cannot trust that seemingly delicate and human exterior. His father had it, too—deceiving exterior and raging interior, though I will say for that one that he would never have stooped to humiliate the family name as his son is doing. His regiment was near by when the Northern vandals burned our courthouse, and he made them run, I can tell you! It’s a mercy for that poor girl that the scales have dropped from her eyes and she has broken her engagement with him.”
“With the father?” asked a third et cetera.
Juno stared at the intruder.
Mrs. Trevise drawled a calm contribution. “The father died before this boy was born.”
“Oh, I see!” murmured the et cetera, gratefully.
Juno proceeded. “No woman’s life would be safe with him.”
“But mightn’t he be safer for a person’s niece than for their nephew?” said the Briton.
Mrs. Trevise’s hand moved toward the bell.
But Juno answered the question mournfully: “With such hereditary bloodthirstiness, who can tell?” And so Mrs. Trevise moved her hand away again.
“Excuse me, but do you know if the other gentleman is laid up, too?” inquired the male honeymooner, hopefully.
“I am happy to understand that he is,” replied Juno.
In sheer amazement I burst out, “Oh!” and abruptly stopped.
But it was too late. I had instantly become the centre of interest. The et ceteras and honeymooners craned their necks; the Briton leaned toward me from opposite; the poetess, who had worn an absent expression since being told that the injured champion was not nearly well enough to listen to her ode, now put on her glasses and gazed at me kindly; while Juno reared her headdress and spoke, not to me, but to the air in my general neighborhood.
“Has any one later intelligence than what I bring from my nephew’s bedside?”
So she hadn’t perceived who my companion at the step had been! Well, she should be enlightened, they all should be enlightened, and vengeance was mine. I spoke with gentleness:—
“Your nephew’s impressions, I fear, are still confused by his deplorable misadventure.”
“May I ask what you know about his impressions?”