“Perhaps I can guess it,” she said. “But I will not try. I will not even think of it.”
“The cause, whatever it be, has been full of sorrow to me. I would have given my left hand to have been at Loughlinter this autumn.”
“Are you so fond of it?”
“I should have been staying there with you,” he said. He paused, and for a moment there was no word spoken by either of them; but he could perceive that the hand in which she held her whip was playing with her horse’s mane with a nervous movement. “When I found how it must be, and that I must miss you, I rushed down here that I might see you for a moment. And now I am here I do not dare to speak to you of myself.” They were now beyond the rocks, and Violet, without speaking a word, again put her horse into a trot. He was by her side in a moment, but he could not see her face. “Have you not a word to say to me?” he asked.
“No;—no;—no;” she replied, “not a word when you speak to me like that. There is the carriage. Come;—we will join them.” Then she cantered on, and he followed her till they reached the Earl and Lady Baldock and Miss Boreham. “I have done my devotions now,” said Miss Effingham, “and am ready to return to ordinary life.”
Phineas could not find another moment in which to speak to her. Though he spent the evening with her, and stood over her as she sang at the Earl’s request, and pressed her hand as she went to bed, and was up to see her start in the morning, he could not draw from her either a word or a look.
Mr. Monk upon Reform
Phineas Finn went to Ireland immediately after his return from Saulsby, having said nothing further to Violet Effingham, and having heard nothing further from her than what is recorded in the last chapter. He felt very keenly that his position was unsatisfactory, and brooded over it all the autumn and early winter; but he could form no plan for improving it. A dozen times he thought of writing to Miss Effingham, and asking for an explicit answer. He could not, however, bring himself to write the letter, thinking that written expressions of love are always weak and vapid,—and deterred also by a conviction that Violet, if driven to reply in writing, would undoubtedly reply by a refusal. Fifty times he rode again in his imagination his ride in Saulsby Wood, and he told himself as often that the syren’s answer to him,—her no, no, no,—had been, of all possible answers, the most indefinite and provoking. The tone of her voice as she galloped away from him, the bearing of her countenance when he rejoined her, her manner to him when he saw her start from the Castle in the morning, all forbade him to believe that his words to her had been taken as an offence. She had replied to him with a direct negative, simply with the word “no;” but she had so said it that there had hardly been any sting in the no; and he had known at the moment that whatever might be the result of his suit, he need not regard Violet Effingham as his enemy.