Lady Sybil says “Yes”
The carriage plunged into the shadow of the pine-woods, and commenced the long uphill ascent to Saalburg. Lady Caroom put down her parasol and turned towards Sybil, whose eyes were steadfastly fixed upon the narrow white belt of road ahead.
“Now, Sybil,” she said, “for our talk.”
“Your talk,” Sybil corrected her, with a smile.
I’m to be listener.”
“Oh, it may not be so one-sided after all,” Lady Caroom declared. “And we had better make haste, or that impetuous young man of yours will come pounding after us on his motor before we know where we are. What are you going to do about him, Sybil?”
“I don’t know.”
“Well, you’ll have to make up your mind. He’s getting on my nerves. You must decide one way or another.”
“He’s quite the nicest young man I know—of his class,” she remarked.
“Exactly,” Lady Caroom assented. “And though I think you will admit that I am one of the least conventional of mothers, I must really say I don’t think that it is exactly a comfortable thing to do to marry a man who is altogether outside one’s own circle.”
“Mr. Brooks,” Sybil said, “is quite as well bred as Atherstone.”
“He is his equal in breeding and in birth,” Lady Caroom declared. “You know all about him. I admit,” she continued, “that it sounds like a page out of a novel. But it isn’t. The only pity is—from one point of view—that it makes so little difference.”
“You think,” Sybil asked, “that he will really keep his word—that he will not be reconciled with Lord Arranmore?”
“I am sure of it, my dear,” Lady Caroom answered. “Unless a miracle happens, he will continue to be Mr. Kingston Brooks for the next ten or fifteen years, for Lord Arranmore’s lifetime, and you know that they are a long-lived race. So you see the situation remains practically unaltered by what I have told you. Mr. Kingston Brooks is a great favourite of mine. I am very fond of him indeed. But I very much doubt—even if he should ask you—whether you would find your position as his wife particularly comfortable. You and I, Sybil, have no secrets from one another. I wish you would tell me exactly how you feel about him.”
Sybil smiled—a little ruefully.
“If I knew—exactly,” she answered, “I should know exactly what to do. But I don’t. You know how uninteresting our set of young men are as a rule. Well, directly I met Mr. Brooks at Enton I felt that he was different. He interested me very much. Then I have always wanted to do something useful, to get something different into my life, and he found me exactly the sort of work I wanted. But he has never talked to me as though he cared particularly though I think that he does a little.”
“It is easy to see,” Lady Caroom remarked, “that you are not head over ears in love.”