‘I only wait your decision, Miss Ruthyn,’ said the trustee, ’to see your uncle. If his advantage was the chief object contemplated in this arrangement, he will be the best judge whether his interest is really best consulted by it or no; and I think he will clearly see that it is not so, and will answer accordingly.’
’I cannot answer now—you must allow me to think it over—I will do my best. I am very much obliged, my dear Cousin Monica, you are so very good, and you too, Doctor Bryerly.’
Doctor Bryerly by this time was looking into his pocket-book, and did not acknowledge my thanks even by a nod.
’I must be in London the day after to-morrow. Bartram-Haugh is nearly sixty miles from here, and only twenty of that by rail, I find. Forty miles of posting over those Derbyshire mountains is slow work; but if you say try, I’ll see him to-morrow morning.’
‘You must say try—you must, my dear Maud.’
’But how can I decide in a moment? Oh, dear Cousin Monica, I am so distracted!’
’But you need not decide at all; the decision rests with him. Come; he is more competent than you. You must say yes.’
Again I looked from her to Doctor Bryerly, and from him to her again. I threw my arms about her neck, and hugging her closely to me, I cried—
’Oh, Cousin Monica, dear Cousin Monica, advise me. I am a wretched creature. You must advise me.’
I did not know till now how irresolute a character was mine.
I knew somehow by the tone of her voice that she was smiling as she answered—
‘Why, dear, I have advised you; I do advise you;’ and then she added, impetuously, ’I entreat and implore, if you really think I love you, that you will follow my advice. It is your duty to leave your uncle Silas, whom you believe to be more competent than you are, to decide, after full conference with Doctor Bryerly, who knows more of your poor father’s views and intentions in making that appointment than either you or I.’
‘Shall I say, yes?’ I cried, drawing her close, and kissing her helplessly.’ Oh, tell me—tell me to say, yes.’
‘Yes, of course, yes. She agrees, Doctor Bryerly, to your kind proposal.’
‘I am to understand so?’ he asked.
‘Very well—yes, Doctor Bryerly,’ I replied.
‘You have resolved wisely and well,’ said he, briskly, like a man who has got a care off his mind.
’I forgot to say, Doctor Bryerly—it was very rude—that you must stay here to-night.’
‘He can’t, my dear,’ interposed Lady Knolly’s; ‘it is a long way.’
‘He will dine. Won’t you, Doctor Bryerly?’
‘No; he can’t. You know you can’t, sir,’ said my cousin, peremptorily. ’You must not worry him, my dear, with civilities he can’t accept. He’ll bid us good-bye this moment. Good-bye, Doctor Bryerly. You’ll write immediately; don’t wait till you reach town. Bid him good-bye, Maud. I’ll say a word to you in the hall.’