“I hate November,” cried Mrs. Eveleigh, coming into Elizabeth’s room and bringing a whiff of cold air with her. “It’s a mean month,” she continued. “There’s nothing but disagreeable things about it. The leaves are all gone, and the snow hasn’t come. You can’t even go out riding with any comfort, the ground is so frozen you are jolted to pieces.” And with step emphasizing the petulance of her voice, the speaker turned from her companion and went to her own room, to put away her bonnet and the heavy cloak that, if it had not been able to protect her from the roughness of the roads, had kept the cold air from doing more than biting revengefully at her nose and the tips of her fingers, in place of all the mischief it would have been glad to inflict if it had had the chance. The steps grown fainter, went about the next room, and Elizabeth went on with her reading only half attentively, watching for the inevitable coming back. “But then,” resumed Mrs. Eveleigh, returning to her subject as soon as she had opened the door wide enough to admit her voice, “one must see a little of the world sometimes. I’m coming in to warm my feet by your fire, shan’t I? mine is low. I declare, it’s hard that Nancy should be so partial to you. I can get scarcely any attention, though, to be sure, poor thing, it’s well to have it from somebody, even if it is from dependents. And you don’t get any too much from the quarter where you’ve a right to it.”
Elizabeth, knowing it would be useless to attempt going on with her reading, had laid aside her book on Mrs. Eveleigh’s entrance, and now she looked up from the sewing toward which she had reached out her hand, and said:—
“You know as well as I do that it is exactly as I want it. Mr. Archdale considers my wishes, and as to having a right, you know, Cousin Patience, that that is what is being disproved now. Haven’t I declared that the ceremony was nothing at all?”
“Oh, certainly you have, but you’ll find out how little good that will do. I have not an idea that you’ll ever have a chance to say ‘Yes’ to that splendid Edmonson. You’ll find it out soon enough, poor child.”
Elizabeth flushed, then turned pale.
“Have you heard anything?” she asked.
“Not yet; not since that Mr. Harwin turned out a minister, just as I thought he would, and your case went to the court to be decided. You’ll have the first news, I suppose, but I don’t doubt what it will be.”