When these occurrences were communicated to Mr. Lansdowne, he was filled with surprise and indignation,—not at the pecuniary loss, which, with his ample wealth, was of little moment to him, but on account of such imprudence and folly, where he least expected it.
A few hours, however, greatly modified his view of the case. He had found, in the safe, a note from Mr. Somers, stating the circumstances under which he had taken the money and also the disappearance of Rossini. This, together with his wife’s distress, softened his feelings to such a degree that he consented to recall his brother and reinstate him in his former place in business.
But whither had the fugitive gone? Mrs. Lansdowne found no clue to his intended destination.
During the morning of the day on which she is first introduced to the attention of the reader, she had visited his apartment to make a more thorough exploration. Looking around the room, she saw lying in the fireplace a bit of paper, half buried in the ashes. She drew it out, and after examining carefully found written upon it a few words that kindled a new hope in her heart. Taking it to her husband, a consultation was held upon its contents and an expedition planned, of which an account will be given in the next chapter.
She was now the prey of conflicting emotions. The expedition, which had that day been arranged, involved a sacrifice of feeling on her part, greater she feared than she would be able to make.
But in order to recover her brother to home, honor, and happiness, it seemed necessary to be made. Voices from the dead were pleading at her heart incessantly, urging her, at whatever cost, to seek and save him, who, with herself, constituted the only remnant of their family left on earth. Her own affection for him also pressed its eloquent suit, and at last the decision was confirmed. She resolved to venture her son in the quest.
In the mean time, the sunset hues had faded from the sky and evening had approached. The golden full moon had risen and was now shining in at the broad window, bringing into beautiful relief the delicate tracery on the high cornices, the rich carvings of the mahogany furniture, and striking out a soft sheen from Mrs. Lansdowne’s black satin dress, as she moved slowly to and fro, through the light.
She seated herself once more at the window and gazed upon the lovely orb of night. A portion of its serenity entered and tranquillized her soul. The cloud of care and anxiety passed from her brow, leaving it smooth and pure as that of an angel.
On the evening that Mrs. Lansdowne was thus occupied, John, her son, who had been out on the bay all the afternoon, rushed past the drawing-room door, bounded up the long staircase; entered his room, situated on the same floor, not far from his mother’s, and rang the bell violently.