“Suppose you drive me to my death?” she retorted, starting to her feet. “Your father shall know the truth, in that case—I swear it!”
He rose, on his side, and drew back from her. She followed him up. There was a clapping of hands, at the same moment, on the lawn. Somebody had evidently made a brilliant stroke which promised to decide the game. There was no security now that Blanche might not return again. There was every prospect, the game being over, that Lady Lundie would be free. Anne brought the interview to its crisis, without wasting a moment more.
“Mr. Geoffrey Delamayn,” she said. “You have bargained for a private marriage, and I have consented. Are you, or are you not, ready to marry me on your own terms?”
“Give me a minute to think!”
“Not an instant. Once for all, is it Yes, or No?”
He couldn’t say “Yes,” even then. But he said what was equivalent to it. He asked, savagely, “Where is the inn?”
She put her arm in his, and whispered, rapidly, “Pass the road on the right that leads to the railway. Follow the path over the moor, and the sheep-track up the hill. The first house you come to after that is the inn. You understand!”
He nodded his head, with a sullen frown, and took his pipe out of his pocket again.
“Let it alone this time,” he said, meeting her eye. “My mind’s upset. When a man’s mind’s upset, a man can’t smoke. What’s the name of the place?”
“Who am I to ask for at the door?”
“For your wife.”
“Suppose they want you to give your name when you get there?”
“If I must give a name, I shall call myself Mrs., instead of Miss, Silvester. But I shall do my best to avoid giving any name. And you will do your best to avoid making a mistake, by only asking for me as your wife. Is there any thing else you want to know?”
“Be quick about it! What is it?”
“How am I to know you have got away from here?”
“If you don’t hear from me in half an hour from the time when I have left you, you may be sure I have got away. Hush!”
Two voices, in conversation, were audible at the bottom of the steps—Lady Lundie’s voice and Sir Patrick’s. Anne pointed to the door in the back wall of the summer-house. She had just pulled it to again, after Geoffrey had passed through it, when Lady Lundie and Sir Patrick appeared at the top of the steps.
LADY LUNDIE pointed significantly to the door, and addressed herself to Sir Patrick’s private ear.
“Observe!” she said. “Miss Silvester has just got rid of somebody.”
Sir Patrick deliberately looked in the wrong direction, and (in the politest possible manner) observed—nothing.
Lady Lundie advanced into the summer-house. Suspicious hatred of the governess was written legibly in every line of her face. Suspicious distrust of the governess’s illness spoke plainly in every tone of her voice.