He had not finished with Lady Newhaven. He should have trouble yet with her, hideous scenes, in which the corpse of his dead lust would be dragged up, a thing to shudder at, out of its nettly grave.
He could bear it. He must bear it. Nothing would induce him to marry Lady Newhaven, as she evidently expected. He set his teeth. “She will know the day after to-morrow,” he said to himself, “when she sees my engagement to Rachel in the papers. Then she will get at me somehow, and make my life a hell to me, while she can. And she will try and come between me and Rachel. I deserve it. I deserve anything I get. But Rachel knows, and will stick to me. I will go down to her to-morrow. I can’t go on without seeing her. And she won’t mind, as the engagement will be given out next day.”
He became more composed at the thought of Rachel. But presently his lip quivered. It would be all right in the end. But, oh! not to have done it! Not to have done it! To have come to his marriage with a whiter past, not to need her forgiveness on the very threshold of their life together, not to have been unfaithful to her before he knew her.
What man who has disbelieved in his youth in the sanctity of Love, and then later has knelt in its Holy of Holies, has escaped that pang?
honesty, manhood, nor good-fellowship in
“My mind misgives me, Dick!” said the Bishop, a day or two later, as Dick joined him and his sister and Rachel at luncheon at the Palace. “I am convinced that you have been up to some mischief.”
“I have just returned from Warpington, my lord. I understood it was your wish I should ride over and tell them Hester was better.”
“It certainly was my wish. I’m very much obliged to you. But I remembered after you had gone that you had refused to speak to Gresley when he was over here, and I was sorry I sent you.”
“I spoke to him all right,” said Dick, grimly. “That was why I was so alacritous to go.”
The Bishop looked steadily at him.
“Until you are my suffragan I should prefer to manage my own business with my clergy.”
“Just so,” said Dick, helping himself to mustard. “But, you see, I’m his cousin, and I thought it just as well to let him know quietly and dispassionately what I thought of him. So I told him I was not particular about my acquaintances. I knew lots of bad eggs out in Australia, half of them hatched in England, chaps who’d been shaved and tubbed gratis by Government—in fact, I’d a large visiting list, but that I drew the line at such a cad as him, and that he might remember I wasn’t going to preach for him at any more of his little cold-water cures”—a smile hovered on Dick’s crooked mouth—“or ever take any notice of him in future. That was what he wanted, my lord. You were too soft with