“Pappy dear,” said Miss White to her father, in a playful way, although it was a serious sort of playfulness, “I have a vague feeling that there is a little too much electricity in the atmosphere of this place just at present. I am afraid there may be an explosion; and you know my nerves can’t stand much of a shock. I should be glad to get away.”
By this time she had quite made up that little difference with her father—she did not choose to be left alone at a somewhat awkward crisis. She had told him she was sure he had not meant what he said about her; and she had expressed her sorrow for having provoked him; and there an end. And if Mr. White had been driven by his anger to be for the moment the ally of Macleod, he was not disinclined to take the other side now and let Miss White have her own will. The vast amount of training he had bestowed on her through many long years was not to be thrown away after all.
“I told him last night,” said she, “of my having signed an engagement till Christmas next.”
“Oh, indeed!” said her father, quickly; looking at her over his spectacles.
“Yes,” said she, thoughtfully, “and he was not so disturbed or angry as I had expected. Not at all. He was very kind about it. But I don’t understand him.”
“What do you not understand?”
“He has grown so strange of late—so sombre. Once, you know, he was the lightest-hearted young man—enjoying every minute of his life, you know—and really, pappy, I think—”
And here Miss White stopped.
“At all events,” said she, quickly, “I want to be in a less dangerously excited atmosphere, where I can sit down and consider matters calmly. It was much better when he and I corresponded, then we could fairly learn what each other thought. Now I am almost afraid of him—I mean, I am afraid to ask him a question. I have to keep out of his way. And if it comes to that, pappy, you know, I feel now as if I was called on to act a part from morning till night, whereas I was always assured that if I left the stage and married him it was to be my natural self, and I should have no more need to pose and sham. However, that is an old quarrel between you and me, pappy, and we will put it aside. What’s more to the purpose is this—it was half understood that when we left Castle Dare he was to come with us through at least a part of the Highlands.”
“There was a talk of it.”
“Don’t you think,” said Miss White, with some little hesitation, and with her eyes cast down—“don’t you think that would be a little inconvenient?”
“I should say that was for you to decide,” he answered, somewhat coldly; for it was too bad that she should be continually asking his advice and then openly disregarding it.