Mr. Bitterworth went out on the terrace. Lady Verner, talking to him, went also. Lionel, his face pale, his breath coming in gasps, turned to Lucy.
“Need you go for good, Lucy?”
She raised her eyes to him with a shy glance, and Lionel, with a half-uttered exclamation of emotion, caught her to his breast, and took his first long silent kiss of love from her lips. It was not like those snatched kisses of years ago.
“My darling! my darling! God alone knows what my love for you has been.”
Another shy glance at him through her raining tears. Her heart was beating against his. Did the glance seem to ask why, then, had he not spoken? His next words would imply that he understood it so.
“I am still a poor man, Lucy. I was waiting for Sir Henry’s return, to lay the case before him. He may refuse you to me!”
“If he should—I will tell him—that I shall never have further interest in life,” was her agitated answer.
And Lionel’s own face was working with emotion, as he kissed those tears away.
At last! at last!
LADY VERNER’S “FEAR.”
The afternoon express-train was steaming into Deerham station, just as Jan Verner was leaping his long legs over rails and stones and shafts, and other obstacles apt to collect round the outside of a halting-place for trains, to get to it. Jan did not want to get to the train; he had no business with it. He only wished to say a word to one of the railway-porters, whose wife he was attending. By the time he had reached the platform the train was puffing on again, and the few passengers who had descended were about to disperse.
“Can you tell me my way to Lady Verner’s?”
The words were spoken close to Jan’s ear. He turned and looked at the speaker. An oldish man with a bronzed countenance and upright carriage, bearing about him that indescribable military air which bespeaks the soldier of long service, in plain clothes though he may be.
“Sir Henry Tempest?” involuntarily spoke Jan, before the official addressed had time to answer the question. “I heard that my mother was expecting you.”
Sir Henry Tempest ran his eyes over Jan’s face and figure: an honest face, but an ungainly figure; loose clothes that would have been all the better for a brush, and the edges of his high shirt-collar jagged out.
“Mr. Verner?” responded Sir Henry doubtingly.
“Not Mr. Verner. I’m only Jan. You must have forgotten me long ago, Sir Henry.”
Sir Henry Tempest held out his hand, “I have not forgotten what you were as a boy; but I should not have known you as a man. And yet—it is the same face.”
“Of course it is,” said Jan, “Ugly faces, such as mine, don’t alter. I will walk with you to my mother’s: it is close by. Have you any luggage?”