“I wish to heaven I had never set eyes on her!” said Arnold.
“Lay the saddle on the right horse,” returned Sir Patrick. “Wish you had never set eyes on Geoffrey Delamayn.”
Arnold hung his head. Sir Patrick’s sharp tongue had got the better of him once more.
THE LETTER AND THE LAW.
THE many-toned murmur of the current of London life—flowing through the murky channel of Drury Lane—found its muffled way from the front room to the back. Piles of old music lumbered the dusty floor. Stage masks and weapons, and portraits of singers and dancers, hung round the walls. An empty violin case in one corner faced a broken bust of Rossini in another. A frameless print, representing the Trial of Queen Caroline, was pasted over the fireplace. The chairs were genuine specimens of ancient carving in oak. The table was an equally excellent example of dirty modern deal. A small morsel of drugget was on the floor; and a large deposit of soot was on the ceiling. The scene thus presented, revealed itself in the back drawing-room of a house in Drury Lane, devoted to the transaction of musical and theatrical business of the humbler sort. It was late in the afternoon, on Michaelmas-day. Two persons were seated together in the room: they were Anne Silvester and Sir Patrick Lundie.
The opening conversation between them—comprising, on one side, the narrative of what had happened at Perth and at Swanhaven; and, on the other, a statement of the circumstances attending the separation of Arnold and Blanche—had come to an end. It rested with Sir Patrick to lead the way to the next topic. He looked at his companion, and hesitated.
“Do you feel strong enough to go on?” he asked. “If you would prefer to rest a little, pray say so.”
“Thank you, Sir Patrick. I am more than ready, I am eager to go on. No words can say how anxious I feel to be of some use to you, if I can. It rests entirely with your experience to show me how.”
“I can only do that, Miss Silvester, by asking you without ceremony for all the information that I want. Had you any object in traveling to London, which you have not mentioned to me yet? I mean, of course, any object with which I have a claim (as Arnold Brinkworth’s representative) to be acquainted?”