Blanche—–who had not felt equal to taking her place at the table—appeared in the drawing-room afterward.
Sir Patrick came in to tea, with the gentlemen, still uncertain as to the right course to take in the matter of the telegram. One look at Blanche’s sad face and Blanche’s altered manner decided him. What would be the result if he roused new hopes by resuming the effort to trace Miss Silvester, and if he lost the trace a second time? He had only to look at his niece and to see. Could any consideration justify him in turning her mind back on the memory of the friend who had left her at the moment when it was just beginning to look forward for relief to the prospect of her marriage? Nothing could justify him; and nothing should induce him to do it.
Reasoning—soundly enough, from his own point of view—on that basis, Sir Patrick determined on sending no further instructions to his friend at Edinburgh. That night he warned Duncan to preserve the strictest silence as to the arrival of the telegram. He burned it, in case of accidents, with his own hand, in his own room.
Rising the next day and looking out of his window, Sir Patrick saw the two young people taking their morning walk at a moment when they happened to cross the open grassy space which separated the two shrubberies at Windygates. Arnold’s arm was round Blanche’s waist, and they were talking confidentially with their heads close together. “She is coming round already!” thought the old gentleman, as the two disappeared again in the second shrubbery from view. “Thank Heaven! things are running smoothly at last!”
Among the ornaments of Sir Patrick’s bed room there was a view (taken from above) of one of the Highland waterfalls. If he had looked at the picture when he turned away from his window, he might have remarked that a river which is running with its utmost smoothness at one moment may be a river which plunges into its most violent agitation at another; and he might have remembered, with certain misgivings, that the progress of a stream of water has been long since likened, with the universal consent of humanity, to the progress of the stream of life.
CHAPTER THE TWENTY-NINTH.
ANNE AMONG THE LAWYERS.
ON the day when Sir Patrick received the second of the two telegrams sent to him from Edinburgh, four respectable inhabitants of the City of Glasgow were startled by the appearance of an object of interest on the monotonous horizon of their daily lives.
The persons receiving this wholesome shock were—Mr. and Mrs. Karnegie of the Sheep’s Head Hotel—and Mr. Camp, and Mr. Crum, attached as “Writers” to the honorable profession of the Law.
It was still early in the day when a lady arrived, in a cab from the railway, at the Sheep’s Head Hotel. Her luggage consisted of a black box, and of a well-worn leather bag which she carried in her hand. The name on the box (recently written on a new luggage label, as the color of the ink and paper showed) was a very good name in its way, common to a very great number of ladies, both in Scotland and England. It was “Mrs. Graham.”