Blanche received the address with a sense of unspeakable relief. If she had once more ventured on taking Sir Patrick’s place, and once more failed in justifying her rashness by the results, she had at least gained some atoning advantage, this time, by opening a means of communication between her uncle and Bishopriggs. “You will hear from Sir Patrick,” she said, and nodded kindly, and returned to her place among the guests.
“I’ll hear from Sir Paitrick, wull I?” repeated Bishopriggs when he was left by himself. “Sir Paitrick will wark naething less than a meeracle if he finds Sawmuel Bishopriggs at the Cowgate, Embro!”
He laughed softly over his own cleverness; and withdrew to a lonely place in the plantation, in which he could consult the stolen correspondence without fear of being observed by any living creature. Once more the truth had tried to struggle into light, before the day of the marriage, and once more Blanche had innocently helped the darkness to keep it from view.
CHAPTER THE THIRTY-THIRD.
SEEDS OF THE FUTURE (THIRD SOWING).
AFTER a new and attentive reading of Anne’s letter to Geoffrey, and of Geoffrey’s letter to Anne, Bishopriggs laid down comfortably under a tree, and set himself the task of seeing his position plainly as it was at that moment.
The profitable disposal of the correspondence to Blanche was no longer among the possibilities involved in the case. As for treating with Sir Patrick, Bishopriggs determined to keep equally dear of the Cowgate, Edinburgh, and of Mrs. Inchbare’s inn, so long as there was the faintest chance of his pushing his own interests in any other quarter. No person living would be capable of so certainly extracting the correspondence from him, on such ruinously cheap terms as his old master. “I’ll no’ put myself under Sir Paitrick’s thumb,” thought Bishopriggs, “till I’ve gane my ain rounds among the lave o’ them first.”
Rendered into intelligible English, this resolution pledged him to hold no communication with Sir Patrick—until he had first tested his success in negotiating with other persons, who might be equally interested in getting possession of the correspondence, and more liberal in giving hush-money to the thief who had stolen it.
Who were the “other persons” at his disposal, under these circumstances?
He had only to recall the conversation which he had overheard between Lady Lundie and Mrs. Delamayn to arrive at the discovery of one person, to begin with, who was directly interested in getting possession of his own letter. Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn was in a fair way of being married to a lady named Mrs. Glenarm. And here was this same Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn in matrimonial correspondence, little more than a fortnight since, with another lady—who signed herself “Anne Silvester.”