“Sir Rowland is my brother,” resumed Lady Trafford coldly.
“Well that’s no reason why he should treat your ladyship so shamefully, I’m sure. Ah! how I wish, poor dear Sir Cecil were alive! he’d keep him in order.”
Lady Trafford sighed deeply.
“Your ladyship has never been well since you married Sir Cecil,” rejoined Mrs. Norris. “For my part, I don’t think you ever quite got over the accident you met with on the night of the Great Storm.”
“Norris!” gasped Lady Trafford, trembling violently.
“Mercy on us! what have I said!” cried the attendant, greatly alarmed by the agitation of her mistress; “do sit down, your ladyship, while I run for the ratifia and rosa solis.”
“It is past,” rejoined Lady Trafford, recovering herself by a powerful effort; “but never allude to the circumstance again. Go and prepare for our departure.”
In less time than Hobson had mentioned, the carriage was announced. And Lady Trafford having been carried down stairs, and placed within it, the postboy drove off, at a rapid pace for Barnet.
Sir Rowland, meantime, paced his chamber with a quick and agitated step. He was ill at ease, though he would not have confessed his disquietude even to himself. Not conceiving that his sister—feeble as she was, and yielding as she had ever shown herself to his wishes, whether expressed or implied—would depart without consulting him, he was equally surprised and enraged to hear the servants busied in transporting her to the carriage. His pride, however, would not suffer him to interfere with their proceedings; much less could he bring himself to acknowledge that he had been in the wrong, and entreat Lady Trafford to remain, though he was well aware that her life might be endangered if she travelled by night. But, when the sound of the carriage-wheels died away, and he felt that she was actually gone, his resolution failed him, and he rang the bell violently.
“My horses, Charcam,” he said, as a servant appeared.
The man lingered.
“’Sdeath! why am I not obeyed?” exclaimed the knight, angrily. “I wish to overtake Lady Trafford. Use despatch!”
“Her ladyship will not travel beyond Saint Alban’s to-night, Sir Rowland, so Mrs. Norris informed me,” returned Charcam, respectfully; “and there’s a person without, anxious for an audience, whom, with submission, I think your honour would desire to see.”
“Ah!” exclaimed Sir Rowland, glancing significantly at Charcam, who was a confidant in his Jacobite schemes; “is it the messenger from Orchard-Windham, from Sir William?”
“No, Sir Rowland.”
“From Mr. Corbet Kynaston, then? Sir John Packington’s courier was here yesterday.”
“No, Sir Rowland.”
“Perhaps he is from Lord Derwentwater, or Mr. Forster? News is expected from Northumberland.”