“Oh, all right! and the date too, if you like.”
He had just added the desired words and figures, and had given the revised letter to Arnold, when Sir Patrick returned to announce that the gig was waiting.
“Come!” he said. “You haven’t a moment to lose!”
Geoffrey started to his feet. Arnold hesitated.
“I must see Blanche!” he pleaded. “I can’t leave Blanche without saying good-by. Where is she?”
Sir Patrick pointed to the steps, with a smile. Blanche had followed him from the house. Arnold ran out to her instantly.
“Going?” she said, a little sadly.
“I shall be back in two days,” Arnold whispered. “It’s all right! Sir Patrick consents.”
She held him fast by the arm. The hurried parting before other people seemed to be not a parting to Blanche’s taste.
“You will lose the train!” cried Sir Patrick.
Geoffrey seized Arnold by the arm which Blanche was holding, and tore him—literally tore him—away. The two were out of sight, in the shrubbery, before Blanche’s indignation found words, and addressed itself to her uncle.
“Why is that brute going away with Mr. Brinkworth?” she asked.
“Mr. Delamayn is called to London by his father’s illness,” replied Sir Patrick. “You don’t like him?”
“I hate him!”
Sir Patrick reflected a little.
“She is a young girl of eighteen,” he thought to himself. “And I am an old man of seventy. Curious, that we should agree about any thing. More than curious that we should agree in disliking Mr. Delamayn.”
He roused himself, and looked again at Blanche. She was seated at the table, with her head on her hand; absent, and out of spirits—thinking of Arnold, and set, with the future all smooth before them, not thinking happily.
“Why, Blanche! Blanche!” cried Sir Patrick, “one would think he had gone for a voyage round the world. You silly child! he will be back again the day after to-morrow.”
“I wish he hadn’t gone with that man!” said Blanche. “I wish he hadn’t got that man for a friend!”
“There! there! the man was rude enough I own. Never mind! he will leave the man at the second station. Come back to the ball-room with me. Dance it off, my dear—dance it off!”
“No,” returned Blanche. “I’m in no humor for dancing. I shall go up stairs, and talk about it to Anne.”
“You will do nothing of the sort!” said a third voice, suddenly joining in the conversation.
Both uncle and niece looked up, and found Lady Lundie at the top of the summer-house steps.
“I forbid you to mention that woman’s name again in my hearing,” pursued her ladyship. “Sir Patrick! I warned you (if you remember?) that the matter of the governess was not a matter to be trifled with. My worst anticipations are realized. Miss Silvester has left the house!”