He opened the letter. Julius had to announce that Fortune was favoring them already. He had heard news of Mrs. Glenarm, as soon as he reached home. She had called on his wife, during his absence in London—she had been inv ited to the house—and she had promised to accept the invitation early in the week. “Early in the week,” Julius wrote, “may mean to-morrow. Make your apologies to Lady Lundie; and take care not to offend her. Say that family reasons, which you hope soon to have the pleasure of confiding to her, oblige you to appeal once more to her indulgence—and come to-morrow, and help us to receive Mrs. Glenarm.”
Even Geoffrey was startled, when he found himself met by a sudden necessity for acting on his own decision. Anne knew where his brother lived. Suppose Anne (not knowing where else to find him) appeared at his brother’s house, and claimed him in the presence of Mrs. Glenarm? He gave orders to have the messenger kept waiting, and said he would send back a written reply.
“From Craig Fernie?” asked Arnold, pointing to the letter in his friend’s hand.
Geoffrey looked up with a frown. He had just opened his lips to answer that ill-timed reference to Anne, in no very friendly terms, when a voice, calling to Arnold from the lawn outside, announced the appearance of a third person in the library, and warned the two gentlemen that their private interview was at an end.
BLANCHE stepped lightly into the room, through one of the open French windows.
“What are you doing here?” she said to Arnold.
“Nothing. I was just going to look for you in the garden.”
“The garden is insufferable, this morning.” Saying those words, she fanned herself with her handkerchief, and noticed Geoffrey’s presence in the room with a look of very thinly-concealed annoyance at the discovery. “Wait till I am married!” she thought. “Mr. Delamayn will be cleverer than I take him to be, if he gets much of his friend’s company then!”
“A trifle too hot—eh?” said Geoffrey, seeing her eyes fixed on him, and supposing that he was expected to say something.
Having performed that duty he walked away without waiting for a reply; and seated himself with his letter, at one of the writing-tables in the library.
“Sir Patrick is quite right about the young men of the present day,” said Blanche, turning to Arnold. “Here is this one asks me a question, and doesn’t wait for an answer. There are three more of them, out in the garden, who have been talking of nothing, for the last hour, but the pedigrees of horses and the muscles of men. When we are married, Arnold, don’t present any of your male friends to me, unless they have turned fifty. What shall we do till luncheon-time? It’s cool and quiet in here among the books. I want a mild excitement—and I have got absolutely nothing to do. Suppose you read me some poetry?”