‘No offence, miss: it be a way we has in Derbyshire o’ speaking our minds. No offence, miss, were meant, and none took, as I hopes,’ and she made me another courtesy. ’And I forgot to tell you, Miss Milly, the master wants you this minute.’
So Milly, in mute haste, withdrew, followed closely by L’Amour.
DOCTOR BRYERLY EMERGES
When Milly joined me at breakfast, her eyes were red and swollen. She was still sniffing with that little sobbing hiccough, which betrays, even were there no other signs, recent violent weeping. She sat down quite silent.
‘Is he worse, Milly?’ I enquired, anxiously.
‘No, nothing’s wrong wi’ him; he’s right well,’ said Milly, fiercely.
‘What’s the matter then, Milly dear?’
’The poisonous old witch! ’Twas just to tell the Gov’nor how I’d said ’twas Cormoran that came by the po’shay last night.’
‘And who is Cormoran?’ I enquired.
’Ay, there it is; I’d like to tell, and you want to hear—and I just daren’t, for he’ll send me off right to a French school—hang it—hang them all!—if I do.’
‘And why should Uncle Silas care?’ said I, a good deal surprised.
‘They’re a-tellin’ lies.’
‘Who?’ said I.
’L’Amour—that’s who. So soon as she made her complaint of me, the Gov’nor asked her, sharp enough, did anyone come last night, or a po’shay; and she was ready to swear there was no one. Are ye quite sure, Maud, you really did see aught, or ’appen ‘twas all a dream?’
’It was no dream, Milly; so sure as you are there, I saw exactly what I told you,’ I replied.
‘Gov’nor won’t believe it anyhow; and he’s right mad wi’ me; and he threatens me he’ll have me off to France; I wish ’twas under the sea. I hate France—I do—like the devil. Don’t you? They’re always a-threatening me wi’ France, if I dare say a word more about the po’shay, or—or anyone.’
I really was curious about Cormoran; but Cormoran was not to be defined to me by Milly; nor did she, in reality, know more than I respecting the arrival of the night before.
One day I was surprised to see Doctor Bryerly on the stairs. I was standing in a dark gallery as he walked across the floor of the lobby to my uncle’s door, his hat on, and some papers in his hand.
He did not see me; and when he had entered Uncle Silas’s door, I went down and found Milly awaiting me in the hall.
‘So Doctor Bryerly is here,’ I said.
‘That’s the thin fellow, wi’ the sharp look, and the shiny black coat, that went up just now?’ asked Milly.
‘Yes, he’s gone into your papa’s room,’ said I.
’’Appen ’twas he come ’tother night. He may be staying here, though we see him seldom, for it’s a barrack of a house—it is.’
The same thought had struck me for a moment, but was dismissed immediately. It certainly was not Doctor Bryerly’s figure which I had seen.