* * * * *
The morning was bright, the air was delicious after the storm.
Arnold had gone, as he had promised, before Anne was out of her room. It was understood at the inn that important business had unexpectedly called him south. Mr. Bishopriggs had been presented with a handsome gratuity; and Mrs. Inchbare had been informed that the rooms were taken for a week certain.
In every quarter but one the march of events had now, to all appearance, fallen back into a quiet course. Arnold was on his way to his estate; Blanche was safe at Windygates; Anne’s residence at the inn was assured for a week to come. The one present doubt was the doubt which hung over Geoffrey’s movements. The one event still involved in darkness turned on the question of life or death waiting for solution in London—otherwise, the question of Lord Holchester’s health. Taken by itself, the alternative, either way, was plain enough. If my lord lived—Geoffrey would be free to come back, and marry her privately in Scotland. If my lord died—Geoffrey would be free to send for her, and marry her publicly in London. But could Geoffrey be relied on?
Anne went out on to the terrace-ground in front of the inn. The cool morning breeze blew steadily. Towering white clouds sailed in grand procession over the heavens, now obscuring, and now revealing the sun. Yellow light and purple shadow chased each other over the broad brown surface of the moor—even as hope and fear chased each other over Anne’s mind, brooding on what might come to her with the coming time.
She turned away, weary of questioning the impenetrable future, and went back to the inn.
Crossing the hall she looked at the clock. It was past the hour when the train from Perthshire was due in London. Geoffrey and his brother were, at that moment, on their way to Lord Holchester’s house.
CHAPTER THE FOURTEENTH.
GEOFFREY AS A LETTER-WRITER.
LORD HOLCHESTER’S servants—with the butler at their head—were on the look-out for Mr. Julius Delamayn’s arrival from Scotland. The appearance of the two brothers together took the whole domestic establishment by surprise. Inquiries were addressed to the butler by Julius; Geoffrey standing by, and taking no other than a listener’s part in the proceedings.
“Is my father alive?”
“His lordship, I am rejoiced to say, has astonished the doctors, Sir. He rallied last night in the most wonderful way. If things go on for the next eight-and-forty hours as they are going now, my lord’s recovery is considered certain.”
“What was the illness?”
“A paralytic stroke, Sir. When her ladyship telegraphed to you in Scotland the doctors had given his lordship up.”
“Is my mother at home?”
“Her ladyship is at home to you,, Sir."’