These last few words which had been spoken to Henry by Admiral Bell, more than any others, induced him to hasten his departure from Bannerworth Hall; he had walked away when the altercation between Jack Pringle and the admiral began, for he had seen sufficient of those wordy conflicts between those originals to be quite satisfied that neither of them meant what he said of a discouraging character towards the other, and that far from there being any unfriendly feeling contingent upon those little affairs, they were only a species of friendly sparring, which both parties enjoyed extremely.
He went direct to Flora, and he said to her,—
“Since we are all agreed upon the necessity, or, at all events, upon the expediency of a departure from the Hall, I think, sister, the sooner we carry out that determination the better and the pleasanter for us all it will be. Do you think you could remove so hastily as to-morrow?”
“To-morrow! That is soon indeed.”
“I grant you that it is so; but Admiral Bell assures me that he will have everything in readiness, and a place provided for us to go to by then.”
“Would it be possible to remove from a house like this so very quickly?”
“Yes, sister. If you look around you, you will see that a great portion of the comforts you enjoy in this mansion belong to it as a part of its very structure, and are not removable at pleasure; what we really have to take away is very little. The urgent want of money during our father’s lifetime induced him, as you may recollect even, at various times to part with much that was ornamental, as well as useful, which was in the Hall. You will recollect that we seldom returned from those little continental tours which to us were so delightful, without finding some old familiar objects gone, which, upon inquiry, we found had been turned into money, to meet some more than usually pressing demand.”
“That is true, brother; I recollect well.”
“So that, upon the whole, sister, there is little to remove.”
“Well, well, be it so. I will prepare our mother for this sudden step. Believe me, my heart goes with it; and as a force of vengeful circumstances have induced us to remove from this home, which was once so full of pleasant recollections, it is certainly better, as you say, that the act should be at once consummated, than left hanging in terror over our minds.”
“Then I’ll consider that as settled,” said Henry.
THE REMOVAL FROM THE HALL.—THE NIGHT WATCH, AND THE ALARM.
Mrs. Bannerworth’s consent having been already given to the removal, she said at once, when appealed to, that she was quite ready to go at any time her children thought expedient.
Upon this, Henry sought the admiral, and told him as much, at the same time adding,—