‘No more like a masculine jilt than yourself, Mrs. le Maistre,’ cried Anne, taking fire. ’And my young lady is not a lady to be made a fool of, I promise you; nor is my lord likely to make a fool of any woman.’
’Bless us all! that’s no great praise for any young nobleman. Miss Anne.’
‘Mrs. le Maistre! Mrs. le Maistre! are you above?’ cried a footman from the bottom of the stairs; ‘my lady’s calling for you.’
‘Very well! very well!’ said sharp Mrs. le Maistre; ’very well! and if she is—manners, sir!—Come up for one, can’t you, and don’t stand bawling at the bottom of the stairs, as if one had no ears to be saved. I’m coming as fast as I conveniently can.’ Mrs. le Maistre stood in the doorway, so as to fill it up, and prevent Anne from passing.
‘Miss Anne! Miss Anne! Mrs. le Maistre!’ cried another footman; ’my lady’s in the carriage, and Miss Nugent.’
‘Miss Nugent!—is she?’ cried Mrs. le Maistre, running downstairs, followed by Anne. ’Now, for the world in pocket-pieces wouldn’t I have missed seeing him hand Miss Nugent in; for by that I could have judged definitively.’
‘My lord, I beg pardon!—I’m afeard I’m late,’ said Mrs. le Maistre, as she passed Lord Colambre, who was standing motionless in the hall. ’I beg a thousand pardons; but I was hunting high and low, for my lady’s NUMBRELLA.’
Lord Colambre did not hear or heed her; his eyes were fixed, and they never moved.
Lord Clonbrony was at the open carriage-door, kneeling on the step, and receiving Lady Clonbrony’s ‘more last words’ for Mr. Soho. The two waiting-maids stood together on the steps.
‘Look at our young lord, how he stands,’ whispered Mrs. le Maistre to Anne, ’the image of despair! And she, the picture of death!—I don’t know what to think.’
‘Nor I; but don’t stare if you can help it,’ said Anne. ’Get in, get in, Mrs. le Maistre,’ added she, as Lord Clonbrony now rose from the step, and made way for them.
‘Ay, in with you—in with you, Mrs. le Maistre,’ said Lord Clonbrony. ’Good-bye to you, Anne, and take care of your young mistress at Buxton; let me see her blooming when we meet again; I don’t half like her looks, and I never thought Buxton agreed with her.’
‘Buxton never did anybody harm,’ said Lady Clonbrony; ’and as to bloom, I’m sure, if Grace has not bloom enough in her cheeks this moment to please you, I don’t know what you’d have, my dear lord—Rouge?—Shut the door, John! Oh, stay!—Colambre! Where upon earth’s Colambre?’ cried her ladyship, stretching from the farthest side of the coach to the window. ‘Colambre!’
Colambre was forced to appear.
’Colambre, my dear! I forgot to say that, if anything detains you longer than Wednesday se’nnight, I beg you will not fail to write, or I shall be miserable.’
’I will write; at all events, my dearest mother, you shall hear from me.’