He bowed to Elizabeth. But the next instant she saw him looking intently at some one behind her in the crowd, and she felt sure that Katie was giving him her silent farewell. While she dropped her eyes as if this parting were not for strangers to watch, the shouts of the crowd on shore and the cheers of the soldiers marked the widening space between ship and shore.
When Mr. Royal’s horses were turned about, Elizabeth found that Katie Archdale had been almost directly behind. She was with her aunt and uncle. Kenelm Waldo sat beside her, while Lord Bulchester with one foot on the ground and the other on the step of the carriage, talked from the opposite side. Katie turned readily from one to the other, and if she intercepted an angry glance, her eyes grew brighter and her brilliant smile deepened. Her laugh was not forced, it came with that musical ripple which had always added so much to her fascination.
Elizabeth caught it as she passed with a bow, and a grave face. After all, she thought, Katie could not have seen Mr. Archdale the moment before.
It was a beautiful morning, warmer than May mornings usually are in Boston. But the warm sunshine that came into the drawing-room where Katie Archdale was seated was unheeded. Katie was still at her uncle’s and that morning, as she had been very many mornings of late, was much occupied with a visitor who sat on the sofa beside her with an assumption of privilege which his diffident air at times failed to carry out well.
“Are you quite sure, Lord Bulchester?” she asked. And her voice had a touch of tremulousness, so inspiring to lovers.
“Sure? Am I sure?” he asked, his little figure expanding in his earnestness, his face aglow with an emotion which gave dignity to his plain features. “Sure that I love you?” he repeated wonderingly. “How could anybody help it?”
“Then its not any especial discernment in you?” Her tones had the softness of a coquetry about to lose itself in a glad submission to a power higher than its own.
“No,” he sighed. “And, yet, it is some special discernment. For, if not, why should I love you better than anyone else does?”
“Do you?” The arch glance softened to suit his mood, half bewildered him with ecstasy. To the music of them the drawing-room seemed to heighten and broaden before his eyes, and to lengthen out into vistas of the halls and parks of his own beautiful home, Lyburg Chase, and through them all, Katie moved, and gave them a new charm. And, then, he seemed to be in different places on the Continent, among the Swiss Mountains, beside the Italian lakes, in gay Paris, and every where Katie moved by his side, and gave new life to the familiar scenes.
“Give me my answer to-day,” he cried; “for to-day my treasure, you are sure of yourself, to-day you know that you love me.”