On the afternoon of the day following, Adele was sitting alone in the parlor. She held a book in her hand, but evidently it did not much interest her, as her eyes wandered continually from its pages and rested, abstractedly, upon any object they happened to meet.
She felt lonely, and wondered why Mr. Lansdowne did not, as usual at that hour, come to the parlor. She thought how vacant and sad her life would be, after he and Mr. Somers had departed from Miramichi. She queried whether she should ever meet them again; whether, indeed, either of them, after a short time, would ever think of the acquaintances they had formed here, except when recalled by some accident of memory, or association. She feared they might wholly forget all these scenes, fraught with so much interest and pleasure to her, and that fear took possession of her heart and made her almost miserable. She strove to turn her mind upon her favorite project of returning with her parents, to France. But, notwithstanding her efforts, her thoughts lingered around the departing gentlemen, and the close of her acquaintance with them.
Suddenly she heard Mr. Lansdowne’s step approaching the room. Conscious that her heart was at this moment in her eyes, she hastily threw the book upon the table. Taking her embroidery, she bent her attention closely upon it, thus veiling the tell-tale orbs, with their long dark lashes.
She looked up a moment, as he entered, to give him a nod of recognition. A flash of lightning will reveal at once the whole paraphernalia of a room, even to its remotest corners; or disclose the scenery of an entire landscape, in its minutest details, each previously wrapt by the darkness in perfect mystery; so, one single glance of the eye may unveil and discover a profound secret, that has hitherto never been indicated, by either word or motion. By that quick glance, Adele saw Mr. Lansdowne’s face, very pale with the struggle he had just gone through, and a strange light glowing from his eyes, that caused her to withdraw her own immediately.
Her heart beat rapidly,—she was conscious that a tide of crimson was creeping up to her cheek, and felt herself tremulous in every limb, as Mr. Lansdowne approached and drew a seat near her. But pride came to her aid. One strong effort of the will, and the young creature, novice as she was in the arts of society, succeeded in partially covering the flutter and agitation of spirit caused by the sudden discovery of her lover’s secret.
“When do you expect your father’s return, Miss Adele?” inquired Mr. Lansdowne.
“In a day or two”, was the reply.
“Do you know that my uncle and I will be obliged to leave our newly-found friends here, soon after your father gets home?”
“I know”, replied Adele, with apparent calmness, “that Mr. Somers’s health has greatly improved and I supposed you would probably go away soon”.