‘Well!’ said Lady Lufton, stopping him in the passage—’have you seen her?’
‘Yes; I have seen her.’
’She is a good girl—a very good girl. I am in a great hurry, and hardly know how to tell you more now.’
‘You say that she is a good girl.’
’I say that she is a very good girl. An angel could not have behaved better. I will tell you some day, Lady Lufton, but I can hardly tell you now.’
When the archdeacon was gone old Lady Lufton confided to young Lady Lufton her very strong opinion that many months would not be gone before Grace Crawley would be the mistress of Cosby Lodge. ’It will be a great promotion,’ said the old lady, with a little toss of her head. When Grace was interrogated afterwards by Mrs Robarts as to what had passed between her and the archdeacon she had very little to say as to the interview. ‘No he did not scold me,’ she replied to an inquiry from her friend. ‘There is no engagement,’ said Grace. ’But I suppose you acknowledged, my dear, that a future engagement is quite possible?’ ’I told him, Mrs Robarts,’ Grace answered, after hesitating for a moment, ’that I would never marry his son as long as papa was suspected by any one in the world of being a thief. And I will keep my word.’ but she said nothing to Mrs Robarts of the pledge which the archdeacon had made to her.
THE CROSS-GRAINEDNESS OF MEN
By the time that the archdeacon reached Plumstead his enthusiasm in favour of Grace Crawley had somewhat cooled itself; and the language which from time to time he prepared for conveying his impressions to his wife, became less fervid as he approached his home. There was his pledge, and by that he would abide;—and so much he would make both his wife and son understand. But any idea which he might have entertained for a moment of extending the promise he had given and relaxing that given to him was gone before he saw his own chimneys. Indeed, I fear he had by that time begun to feel that the only salvation now open to him must come from the jury’s verdict. If the jury should declare Mr Crawley to be guilty, then—; he would not say even to himself that in such case all would be right, but he did feel that much as he might regret the fate of the poor Crawleys, and of the girl whom in his warmth he had declared to be almost an angel, nevertheless to him personally such a verdict would bring consolatory comfort.
‘I have seen Miss Crawley,’ he said to his wife, as soon as he had closed the door of his study, before he had been two minutes out of the chaise. He had determined that he would dash at the subject at once, and he thus carried his resolution into effect.
‘You have seen Grace Crawley?’
’Yes; I went up to the parsonage and called upon her. Lady Lufton advised me to do so.’