“You go to town on Saturday?” she said. “I will go with you. Ever since that woman declared she should be in London before me, I have been dying to hasten my journey—and it is such an opportunity to go with you! I can easily manage it. My uncle and I were to have met in London, early next week, for the foot-race. I have only to write and tell him of my change of plans.—By-the-by, talking of my uncle, I have heard, since I saw you, from the lawyers at Perth.”
“More anonymous letters?”
“One more—received by the lawyers this time. My unknown correspondent has written to them to withdraw his proposal, and to announce that he has left Perth. The lawyers recommended me to stop my uncle from spending money uselessly in employing the London police. I have forwarded their letter to the captain; and he will probably be in town to see his solicitors as soon as I get there with you. So much for what I have done in this matter. Dear Lady Lundie—when we are at our journey’s end, what do you mean to do?”
“My course is plain,” answered her ladyship, calmly. “Sir Patrick will hear from me, on Sunday morning next, at Ham Farm.”
“Telling him what you have found out?”
“Certainly not! Telling him that I find myself called to London by business, and that I propose paying him a short visit on Monday next.”
“Of course, he must receive you?”
“I think there is no doubt of that. Even his hatred of his brother’s widow can hardly go to the length—after leaving my letter unanswered—of closing his doors against me next.”
“How will you manage it when you get there?”
“When I get there, my dear, I shall be breathing an atmosphere of treachery and deceit; and, for my poor child’s sake (abhorrent as all dissimulation is to me), I must be careful what I do. Not a word will escape my lips until I have first seen Blanche in private. However painful it may be, I shall not shrink from my duty, if my duty compels me to open her eyes to the truth. Sir Patrick and Mr. Brinkworth will have somebody else besides an inexperienced young creature to deal with on Monday next. I shall be there.”
With that formidable announcement, Lady Lundie closed the conversation; and Mrs. Glenarm rose to take her leave.
“We meet at the Junction, dear Lady Lundie?”
“At the Junction, on Saturday.”
ELEVENTH SCENE.—SIR PATRICK’S HOUSE.
CHAPTER THE FORTY-SECOND.
THE SMOKING-ROOM WINDOW.
“I CAN’T believe it! I won’t believe it! You’re trying to part me from my husband—you’re trying to set me against my dearest friend. It’s infamous. It’s horrible. What have I done to you? Oh, my head! my head! Are you trying to drive me mad?”
Pale and wild; her hands twisted in her hair; her feet hurrying her aimlessly to and fro in the room—so Blanche answered her step-mother, when the object of Lady Lundie’s pilgrimage had been accomplished, and the cruel truth had been plainly told.