Master Cheese was considerably astonished. He had never heard such a speech from easy Jan.
“I say, though, are you going to turn out a bashaw with three tails?” asked he.
“Yes,” replied Jan. “I have promised Dr. West to keep you in order, and I shall do it.”
AN INTERCEPTED JOURNEY.
Dr. West’s was not the only departure from Deerham that was projected for that day. The other was that of Lionel Verner. Fully recovered, he had deemed it well to waste no more time. Lady Verner suggested that he should remain in Deerham until the completion of the year; Lionel replied that he had remained in it rather too long already, that he must be up and doing. He was eager to be “up and doing,” and his first step towards it was the proceeding to London and engaging chambers. He fixed upon the first day of November for his departure, unconscious that that day had also been fixed upon by Dr. West for his. However, the doctor was off long before Lionel was out of bed.
Lionel rose all excitement—all impulse to begin his journey, to be away from Deerham. Somebody else rose with feelings less pleasurable; and that was Lucy Tempest. Now that the real time of separation had come, Lucy awoke to the state of her own feelings; to the fact, that the whole world contained but one beloved face for her—that of Lionel Verner.
She awoke with no start, she saw nothing wrong in it, she did not ask herself how it was to end, what the future was to be; any vision of marrying Lionel, which might have flashed across the active brain of a more sophisticated young lady, never occurred to Lucy. All she knew was that she had somehow glided into a state of existence different from anything she had ever experienced before; that her days were all brightness, the world an Eden, and that it was the presence of Lionel that made the sunshine.
She stood before the glass, twisting her soft brown hair, her cheeks crimson with excitement, her eyes bright. The morrow morning would be listless enough; but this, the last on which she would see him, was gay with rose hues of love. Stay! not gay; that is a wrong expression. It would have been gay but for that undercurrent of feeling which was whispering that, in a short hour or two, all would change to the darkest shade.
“He says it may be a twelvemonth before he shall come home again,” she said to herself, her white fingers trembling as she fastened her pretty morning-dress. “How lonely it will be! What shall we do all that while without him? Oh, dear, what’s the matter with me this morning?”
In her perturbed haste, she had fastened her dress all awry, and had to undo it again. The thought that she might be keeping them waiting breakfast—which was to be taken that morning a quarter of an hour earlier than usual—did not tend to expedite her. Lucy thought of the old proverb: “The more haste, the less speed.”