And as for John Eames—in those bitter moments of her reflection she almost wished the same in regard to him. If he would only cease to be her lover, he might be very well; but he was not very well to her as long as his pretensions were dinned into her ear by everybody who knew her. And then she told herself that John would have a better chance if he had been content to plead for himself. In this, I think, she was hard upon her lover. He had pleaded for himself as well as he knew how, and as often as the occasion had been given to him. It had hardly been his fault that his case had been taken in hand by other advocates. He had given no commission to Mrs Thorne to plead for him.
Poor Johnny. He had stood in much better favour before that lady had presented her compliments to Miss L D. It was that odious letter, and the thoughts which it had forced upon Lily’s mind, which were now most inimical to his interests. Whether Lily loved him or not, she did not love him well enough to be jealous of him. Had nay such letter reached her respecting Crosbie in the happy days of her young love, she would have simply have laughed at it. It would have been nothing to her. But now she was sore and unhappy, and any trifle was powerful enough to irritate her. ‘Is Miss L D engaged to marry Mr J E?’ ‘No,’ said Lily, out loud. ’Lily Dale is not engaged to marry John Eames, and never will be so engaged.’ She was almost tempted to sit down and write the required answer to Miss M D. Though the letter had been destroyed, she well remembered the number of the post-office in the Edgware Road. Poor John Eames.
That evening she told Emily Dunstable that she thought she would like to return to Allington before the day that had been appointed for her. ’But why,’ said Emily, ‘should you be worse than your word?’
’I daresay it will seem silly, but the fact is I am homesick. I’m not accustomed to be away from mama for so long.’
‘I hope it is not what occurred today at the picture-gallery.’
‘I won’t deny that it is that in part.’
‘That was a strange accident, you know, that might never occur again.’
‘It has occurred twice already, Emily.’
’I don’t call the affair in the park anything. Anybody may see anybody else in the Park, of course. He was not brought near you that he could annoy you there. You ought certainly to wait till Mr Eames has come back from Italy.’
Then Lily decided that she must and would go back to Allington on the next Monday, and she actually did write a letter to her mother that night to say that such was her intention. But on the morrow her heart was less sore, and the letter was not sent.
THE END OF JAEL AND SISERA