“Pretty well, Sir Rufus. I have had a great deal of vexation to try me lately.”
“As we all have, my dear lady. Vexation has formed a large portion of my life. I have been calling at Verner’s Pride, Mr. Verner.”
“Have you, Sir Rufus? I am sorry I was not at home.”
“These fine spring days tempt me out. Miss Tempest, you are looking remarkably well. Good-morning, Lady Verner. Good-morning.”
A bow to Lady Verner, a sweeping bow to the rest collectively, and Sir Rufus rode away at a trot, putting on his hat as he went. His groom trotted after him, touching his hat as he passed the carriage.
But not a word had he spoken to Decima Verner, not a look had he given her. The omission was unnoticed by the others; not by Decima. The crimson of her cheeks had faded to an ashy paleness, and she silently let fall her veil to hide it.
What secret understanding could there be between herself and Sir Rufus Hautley?
A SPECIAL VISION TOUCHING MRS. PECKABY.
Not until summer, when the days were long and the nights short, did the marriage of Lionel Verner take place. Lady Verner declined to be present at it: Decima and Lucy were. It was a grand ceremony, of course; that is, it would have been grand, but for an ignominious interruption which occurred to mar it. At the very moment they were at the altar, Lionel placing the ring on his bride’s finger, and all around wrapt in breathless silence, in a transport of enthusiasm, the bride’s-maids uncertain whether they must go off in hysterics or not, there tore into the church Master Dan Duff, in a state of extreme terror and ragged shirt sleeves, fighting his way against those who would have impeded him, and shouting out at the top of his voice: “Mother was took with the cholic, and she’d die right off if Mr. Jan didn’t make haste to her.” Upon which Jan, who had positively no more sense of what was due to society than Dan Duff himself had, went flying away there and then, muttering something about “those poisonous mushrooms.” And so they were made man and wife; Lionel, in his heart of hearts, doubting if he did not best love Lucy Tempest.
A breakfast at Dr. West’s: Miss Deborah and Miss Amilly not in the least knowing (as they said afterwards) how they comported themselves at it; and then Lionel and his bride departed. He was taking her to Paris, which Sibylla had never seen.
Leaving them to enjoy its attractions—and Sibylla, at any rate, would not fail to do so—we must give another word to that zealous missionary, Brother Jarrum.