“He kissed her hand. If you had seen how he did it, and how she looked at him, you would have felt that you had done more toward persuading my daughter to marry the Captain than any other person about her, myself included. You had deserted her; you had thrown her back on the one true friend left. Thank you, Randal. In our best interests, thank you.
“It is needless to add that I got out of the way, and took Kitty with me, at the earliest opportunity—and left them by themselves.
“At bed-time I went into Catherine’s room. Our interview began and ended in less than a minute. It was useless to ask if the Captain had proposed marriage; her agitation sufficiently informed me of what had happened. My one question was: ’Dearest Catherine, have you said Yes?’ She turned shockingly pale, and answered: ‘I have not said No.’ Could anything be more encouraging? God bless you; we shall meet at the wedding.”
Randal laid down the letter and filled his pipe again. He was not in the least exasperated; he was only anxious to hear from Mr. Sarrazin. If Mrs. Presty had seen him at that moment, she would have said to herself: “I forgot the wretch was a smoker.”
In half an hour more the door was opened by Malcolm, and Mr. Sarrazin in person answered his friend.
“There are no such incorrigible gossips,” he said, “as men in the smoking-room of a club. Those popular newspapers began the mischief, and the editor of one of them completed it. How he got his information I am not able to say. The small-talk turned on that report about the charming widow; and the editor congratulated himself on the delicacy of his conduct. ’When the paragraph reached me,’ he said, ’the writer mentioned that Mrs. Norman was that well-known lady, the divorced Mrs. Herbert Linley. I thought this rather too bad, and I cut it out.’ Your brother appears to have been present—but he seldom goes to the club, and none of the members knew him even by sight. Shall I give you a light? Your pipe’s out.”
Randal’s feelings, at that moment, were not within reach of the comforting influence of tobacco.
“Do you think your brother has gone to Sydenham?” Mr. Sarrazin asked.
Randal answered: “I haven’t a doubt of it now.”
Know Your Own Mind.
The garden of the hotel at Sydenham had originally belonged to a private house. Of great extent, it had been laid out in excellent taste. Flower-beds and lawns, a handsome fountain, seats shaded by groups of fine trees at their full growth, completed the pastoral charm of the place. A winding path led across the garden from the back of the house. It had been continued by the speculator who purchased the property, until it reached a road at the extremity of the grounds which communicated with the Crystal Palace. Visitors to the hotel had such pleasant associations with the garden that many of them returned