In those words she closed the entry, and put the manuscript back in the secret pocket in her stays.
She went down to the little room looking on the garden, which had once been her brother’s study. There she lit a lamp, and took some books from a shelf that hung against the wall. The books were the Bible, a volume of Methodist sermons, and a set of collected Memoirs of Methodist saints. Ranging these last carefully round her, in an order of her own, Hester Dethridge sat down with the Bible on her lap to watch out the night.
CHAPTER THE FIFTY-THIRD.
WHAT had happened in the hours of darkness?
This was Anne’s first thought, when the sunlight poured in at her window, and woke her the next morning.
She made immediate inquiry of the servant. The girl could only speak for herself. Nothing had occurred to disturb her after she had gone to bed. Her master was still, she believed, in his room. Mrs. Dethridge was at her work in the kitchen.
Anne went to the kitchen. Hester Dethridge was at her usual occupation at that time—preparing the breakfast. The slight signs of animation which Anne had noticed in her when they last met appeared no more. The dull look was back again in her stony eyes; the lifeless torpor possessed all her movements. Asked if any thing had happened in the night, she slowly shook her stolid head, slowly made the sign with her hand which signified, “Nothing.”
Leaving the kitchen, Anne saw Julius in the front garden. She went out and joined him.
“I believe I have to thank your consideration for me for some hours of rest,” he said. “It was five in the morning when I woke. I hope you had no reason to regret having left me to sleep? I went into Geoffrey’s room, and found him stirring. A second dose of the mixture composed him again. The fever has gone. He looks weaker and paler, but in other respects like himself. We will return directly to the question of his health. I have something to say to you, first, about a change which may be coming in your life here.”
“Has he consented to the separation?”
“No. He is as obstinate about it as ever. I have placed the matter before him in every possible light. He still refuses, positively refuses, a provision which would make him an independent man for life.”