During dinner Delphin gave his own rendering of some extracts from the sermon, with as much spirit as his fear of Mrs. Garman would allow, and the performance afforded Uncle Richard great amusement. Rachel thought it best to contain her feelings, for she knew that conversation with Mr. Delphin on a serious subject was nothing else than an impossibility. Madeleine, on the contrary, could not help laughing. She always found Delphin very amusing, and at the same time so good-natured. She had latterly been almost annoyed with Fanny because she treated Delphin coolly and distantly. But Delphin seemed scarcely to notice her conduct; on the contrary, he seemed even in better spirits than before. He really was a good fellow.
Several people also thought that Morten Garman was a good fellow, to allow Delphin to carry on with Fanny without interference. It was not easy to know if Morten saw anything or not, and whether his confidence in his wife, or his own bad conscience, caused his indifference.
Rachel passed the Monday and Tuesday in an anxious state of mind. Something, she thought, must happen. The feeling against Johnsen was strong, but it must surely take some more decided form. She knew that he would come to see her, happen what might, and she expected him.
Fanny and Madeleine had accepted an invitation for the Wednesday in the same week. Rachel had simply refused without giving a reason, but people were now used to her manner.
“I have such a dreadful headache!” sighed Fanny, as she came into Madeleine’s room, who was getting ready to go out. Madeleine had come into the town on the Sunday evening.
“Poor Fanny!” said Madeleine, feelingly; “have you got that headache again?”
“Yes, it came just as if it were on purpose, at the very moment I was going to change my dress. Oh, how bad it is!”
“I think you have had a great many of these headaches lately, Fanny; you ought to speak to the doctor.”
“It is no use,” answered Fanny, endeavouring to cool her forehead by pressing a little hand-glass against it. “The only thing that does me any good is fresh air and perfect quiet. Oh, the noise here from the street is dreadful! To think that I have to spend the whole evening in a hot room! I can’t bear it; it will be too much for me!”
“You shan’t go out at all when you are so unwell,” said Madeleine, decidedly. “I will make such a nice excuse for you.”
“Oh, if I could only stop at home, or, even better still, if I could get to Sandsgaard; it is so quiet there!” said Fanny, with a sigh.
“Yes, that is just what you shall do,” cried Madeleine. “You take the carriage when it has left me, and drive out there. I believe it is clearing up, and we shall have a lovely quiet moonlight evening.”
“Yes; I don’t much mind what the weather is,” said Fanny, with a sickly smile. “But do you think it will do for me—”