“Are you coming?” she said to the other abruptly. “I shall start in five minutes.”
“For Heaven’s sake, more time, my dear. I have not changed my dress yet. I suppose I cannot let you go alone, I should not feel happy about it, and your father would never forgive me in the world.”
A half smile of contempt touched the girl’s lips. Mrs. Eveleigh knew what was for her own comfort too well to get herself out of Mr. Royal’s good graces, and not to be devoted to his daughter would have been to him the unpardonable sin. But nobody would have been more astonished than this same lady to be told that she had not a thoroughly conscientious care of Elizabeth. She combined duty and interest as skilfully as the most Cromwellian old Presbyter among her ancestors.
In the hall Elizabeth met her hostess.
“May I speak to Katie?” she asked timidly.
Mrs. Archdale hesitated a moment, nodded in silence and went on to the library, the girl following. Mr. Archdale was there, and the Colonel and his wife. Stephen sat by the great chair in which Katie was propped, holding her hand and sometimes speaking softly to her, or looking into her face with eyes that gave no comfort. Elizabeth seemed to see no one but her friend, she went up to the chair, and said to her softly, pleadingly,
“Good by, Katie.”
But Katie turned away her head.
The door closed, Elizabeth had gone.
Gerald Edmonson, Esquire, and Lord Bulchester drove leisurely through the streets of the London of 1743. They found in it that same element that makes the fascination of the London of to-day; for the streets, dim, narrower, and less splendid than now, were full of this same charm of human life, and yet, human isolation. Then, as now, might a man wander homeless and lost, or these grim houses might open their doors to him and reveal the splendors beyond them; and whether he were desolate, or shone brilliant as a star depended upon so many chances and changes that this Fortune’s-Wheel drew him toward itself like a magnet.
“I tell you,” said Edmonson to his companion as they went along, “there is not a shadow of a chance for me. When a woman says, ‘no,’ you can tell by her eyes if she means it, and if there had been the least sign of relenting or a possibility of it in Lady Grace’s eyes, do you think I would have given up? She has led me a sorry chase, that pretty sister of yours.”
“Her beauty would not have taken you ten steps out of your way, if she had not been such an heiress,” retorted Bulchester.
“Don’t be so blunt, my friend. Is it my fault that I am obliged to look out for money? If a man has only a tenth of the income he needs to live upon, what is he going to do? It is well enough for you to be above sordidness, so could I be with your purse and your prospects. Besides, you know that I told you frankly I found Lady Grace charming. I wonder,” he asked turning sharply round, “if you have been playing me false?”