’And Edith—of course, Mrs Thorne, I can’t be blind to the fact that in many ways such a marriage would be injurious to her. No man wishes to be connected with a convicted thief.’
’No, Major Grantly; but a man does wish to marry the girl that he loves. At least, I suppose so. And what man was ever able to give a more touching proof of his affection than you can to now? If I were you, I’d be at Allington before twelve o’clock tomorrow—I would indeed. What does it matter about the trumpery cheque? Everybody knows it was a mistake if he did take it. And surely you would not punish her for that?’
‘No—no; but I don’t suppose she’d think it a punishment.’
’You go and ask her then. And I’ll tell you what. If she hasn’t a house of her own to be married from, she shall be married from Chaldicotes. We’ll have such a breakfast! And I’ll make as much of her as if she were the daughter of my old friend, the bishop himself—I will indeed.’
This was Mrs Thorne’s advice. Before it was completed, Major Grantly had been carried half way to Chaldicotes. When he left his impetuous friend he was too prudent to make any promise, but he declared that what she had said should have much weight with him.
‘You won’t mention it to anybody,’ said the Major.
‘Certainly not, without your leave,’ said Mrs Thorne. ’Don’t you know I’m the soul of honour?’
UP IN LONDON
Some kind and attentive reader may perhaps remember that Miss Grace Crawley, in a letter written by her to her friend Miss Lily Dale, said a word or two of a certain John. ‘If it can only be as John wishes it!’ And the same reader, if there be one so kind and attentive, may also remember that Miss Lily Dale had declared, in reply, that ’about that other subject she would rather say nothing,’—and then she added, ’When one thinks of going beyond friendship—even if one tries to do so—there are so many barriers!’ From which words the kind and attentive reader, if such a reader be in such matters intelligent as well as kind and attentive, may have learned a great deal in reference to Miss Lily Dale.
We will now pay a visit to the John in question—a certain Mr John Eames, living in London, a bachelor, as the intelligent reader will certainly have discovered, and cousin to Miss Grace Crawley. Mr John Eames at the time of our story was a young man, some seven or eight and twenty years of age, living in London, where he was supposed by his friends in the country to have made his mark, and to be something a little out of the common way. But I do not know that he was very much out of the common way, except in the fact that he had some few thousand pounds left him by an old nobleman with great affection, and who had died some two years since. Before this, John Eames had not been a very poor man, as he filled the comfortable official position of the private secretary