“Come, Peckaby, you’ll let her in,” cried he, before he went away.
“Let her in!” echoed Peckaby, “That would be a go, that would! What ’ud the saints say? They’d be for prosecuting of her for bigamy. If she’s gone over to them, sir, she can’t belong legal to me.”
Jan laughed so that he had to hold his sides, and Mrs. Peckaby shrieked and sobbed. Chuff began calling out that the best remedy for white paint was turpentine.
“Coma along, Peckaby, and open the door,” said Jan, rising. “She’ll catch an illness if she stops here in her wet clothes, and I shall have a month’s work, attending on her. Come!”
“Well, sir, to oblige you, I will,” returned the man. “But let me ever catch her snivelling after them saints again, that’s all! They should have her if they liked; I’d not.”
“You hear, Mrs. Peckaby,” said Jan in her ear. “I’d let the saints alone for the future, if I were you.”
“I mean to, sir,” she meekly answered, between her sobs.
Peckaby in his shirt and nightcap, opened the door, and she bounded in. The casements closed to the chorus of subsiding laughter, and the echoes of Jan’s footsteps died away in the distance.
AN EXPLOSION OF SIBYLLA’S.
Sibylla Verner sat at the window of her sitting-room in the twilight—a cold evening in early winter. Sibylla was in an explosive temper. It was nothing unusual for her to be in an explosive temper now; but she was in a worse than customary this evening. Sibylla felt the difference between Verner’s Pride and Deerham Court. She lived but in excitement; she cared but for gaiety. In removing to Deerham Court she had gone readily, believing that she should there find a large portion of the gaiety she had been accustomed to at Verner’s Pride; that she should, at any rate, be living with the appliances of wealth about her, and should go out a great deal with Lady Verner. She had not bargained for Lady Verner’s establishment being reduced to simplicity and quietness, for her laying down her carriage and discharging her men-servants and selling her horses, and living again the life of a retired gentlewoman. Yet all these changes had come to pass, and Sibylla’s inward spirit turned restive. She had everything that any reasonable mind could possibly desire, every comfort; but quiet comfort and Sibylla’s taste did not accord. Her husband was out a great deal at Verner’s Pride and on the estate. As he had resolved to do over John Massingbird’s dinner-table, so he was doing—putting his shoulder to the wheel. He had never looked after things as he was looking now. To be the master of Verner’s Pride was one thing, to be the hired manager of Verner’s Pride was another; and Lionel found every hour of his time occupied. His was no eye-service; his conscience was engaged in his work and he did it efficiently.