Randal at once understood what had happened. He took his friend’s arm, and led him to the other end of the room.
“You good fellow!” he said. “Add to your kindness by excusing me if I ask for a word with you in private.”
Sydney rose to retire. After having encouraged her by a word of praise, the Captain proposed that she should get ready to go out, and should accompany him on a visit to the Home. He opened the door for her as respectfully as if the poor girl had been one of the highest ladies in the land.
“I have seen my friend Sarrazin,” Randal began, “and I have persuaded him to trust me with Catherine’s present address. I can send Herbert there immediately, if you will only help me.”
“How can I help you?”
“Will you allow me to tell my brother that your engagement is broken off?”
Bennydeck shrank from the painful allusion, and showed it.
Randal explained. “I am grieved,” he said, “to distress you by referring to this subject again. But if my brother is left under the false impression that your engagement will be followed by your marriage, he will refuse to intrude himself on the lady who was once his wife.”
The Captain understood. “Say what you please about me,” he replied. “Unite the father and child—and you may reconcile the husband and wife.”
“Have you forgotten,” Randal asked, “that the marriage has been dissolved?”
Bennydeck’s answer ignored the law. “I remember,” he said, “that the marriage has been profaned.”
Leave It to the Child.
The front windows of Brightwater Cottage look out on a quiet green lane in Middlesex, which joins the highroad within a few miles of the market town of Uxbridge. Through the pretty garden at the back runs a little brook, winding its merry way to a distant river. The few rooms in this pleasant place of residence are well (too well) furnished, having regard to the limits of a building which is a cottage in the strictest sense of the word. Water-color drawings by the old English masters of the art ornament the dining-room. The parlor has been transformed into a library. From floor to ceiling all four of its walls are covered with books. Their old and well-chosen bindings, seen in the mass, present nothing less than a feast of color to the eye. The library and the works of art are described as heirlooms, which have passed into the possession of the present proprietor—one more among the hundreds of Englishmen who are ruined every year by betting on the Turf.