“He thinks me unworthy of you,” answered the lover, in a low voice, and Beatrice understood. “He has forbidden me ever to think of you now; and he will leave you penniless if you disobey him; it is a terrible misfortune, my darling; but still, thank God that your good name is safe!”
“Yes, at the expense of yours, Herbert!” cried the girl, frantically; “I see it all now, and, if I dared, I would confess to papa the truth.”
“Do not think of it!”
“I dare not; but, Herbert, don’t despair; I see now how wicked and how foolish I was to come here to-day, and what a terrible risk I have run, for if papa knew that it was I who was in the next room, he would never forgive me; we can do nothing now but wait until brighter and happier days; believe me, Herbert, if you will be true to me, I will be true to you, and I will wait for you till I am old and grey.”
He strained her passionately to his heart.
“I will never forget what you have done for me to-day, never!” said the girl, as she clung to his neck.
And then she put on her gloves and veil, and took up the sunshade that had been the cause of such a direful ending to her escapade, and went her way. And after she was gone, Mr. Pryme, with his hands in his pockets, began once more to whistle, as though the events of the afternoon had never taken place.
HER SON’S SECRET.
But love is such a mystery,
I cannot find it out,
For when I think I’m best resolved,
I then am most in doubt.”
Sir J. Suckling.
Lady Kynaston sat alone in her little morning-room; as far as she knew, she was alone in the house; Mrs. Romer had driven into London, on the cares of her trousseau intent, and she believed that Maurice had gone with her; at all events, she had heard him state his intention of going, and the departing carriage had, some time since, driven away from the door.
The morning-room looked on to the garden side of the house, and the windows were wide open; the east wind had departed, and summer had set in at last. Real summer, coming in with a rush when it did come, with warm whiffs of flower-scented wind, with flutterings of lime blossoms from the trees along the high brick wall, with brown bees and saffron butterflies hovering over the reviving flower-borders, and dragon-flies darting out of the shadows into the hot blinding sunshine. Summer at last; and oh, how welcome when it comes upon our rain-drenched and winter-pinched land.
The gardener was bedding out the geraniums along the straight ribbon border. Lady Kynaston went out once to superintend his operations, holding up a newspaper in her hand to shield her head from the rays of the sun. But it was hot, and old McCloud, the Scotch gardener, was intelligent enough to be safely left to his own devices, so she did not stop out long.