Man and Wife eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 669 pages of information about Man and Wife.

She began the letter.  “My dearest Blanche, I have seen Sir Patrick, and he has given me your message.  I will set your mind at ease about me as soon as I can.  But, before I say any thing else, let me entreat you, as the greatest favor you can do to your sister and your friend, not to enter into any disputes about me with Lady Lundie, and not to commit the imprudence—­the useless imprudence, my love—­of coming here.”  She stopped—­the paper swam before her eyes.  “My own darling!” she thought, “who could have foreseen that I should ever shrink from the thought of seeing you?" She sighed, and dipped the pen in the ink, and went on with the letter.

The sky darkened rapidly as the evening fell.  The wind swept in fainter and fainter gusts across the dreary moor.  Far and wide over the face of Nature the stillness was fast falling which tells of a coming storm.

CHAPTER THE TWELFTH.

ARNOLD.

MEANWHILE Arnold remained shut up in the head-waiter’s pantry—­chafing secretly at the position forced upon him.

He was, for the first time in his life, in hiding from another person, and that person a man.  Twice—­stung to it by the inevitable loss of self-respect which his situation occasioned—­he had gone to the door, determined to face Sir Patrick boldly; and twice he had abandoned the idea, in mercy to Anne.  It would have been impossible for him to set himself right with Blanche’s guardian without betraying the unhappy woman whose secret he was bound in honor to keep.  “I wish to Heaven I had never come here!” was the useless aspiration that escaped him, as he doggedly seated himself on the dresser to wait till Sir Patrick’s departure set him free.

After an interval—­not by any means the long interval which he had anticipated—­his solitude was enlivened by the appearance of Father Bishopriggs.

“Well?” cried Arnold, jumping off the dresser, “is the coast clear?”

There were occasions when Mr. Bishopriggs became, on a sudden, unexpectedly hard of hearing, This was one of them.

“Hoo do ye find the paintry?” he asked, without paying the slightest attention to Arnold’s question.  “Snug and private?  A Patmos in the weelderness, as ye may say!”

His one available eye, which had begun by looking at Arnold’s face, dropped slowly downward, and fixed itself, in mute but eloquent expectation, on Arnold’s waistcoat pocket.

“I understand!” said Arnold.  “I promised to pay you for the Patmos—­eh?  There you are!”

Mr. Bishopriggs pocketed the money with a dreary smile and a sympathetic shake of the head.  Other waiters would have returned thanks.  The sage of Craig Fernie returned a few brief remarks instead.  Admirable in many things, Father Bishopriggs was especially great at drawing a moral.  He drew a moral on this occasion from his own gratuity.

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Man and Wife from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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