“Certainly I promise, Beatrice,” she said mildly. “I do not swear, for ‘swear not at all,’ you know. I only did what I thought my duty in warning Mr. Davies. If he chooses to go on with the matter, it is no affair of mine. I had no wish to hurt you, or Mr. Bingham. I acted solely from my religious convictions.”
“Oh, stop talking religion, Elizabeth, and practise it a little more!” said her father, for once in his life stirred out of his feeble selfishness. “We have all undertaken to keep our mouths sealed for this week.”
Then Beatrice left the room, and after her went Owen Davies without another word.
“Elizabeth,” said her father, rising, “you are a wicked woman! What did you do this for?”
“Do you want to know, father?” she said coolly; “then I will tell you. Because I mean to marry Owen Davies myself. We must all look after ourselves in this world, you know; and that is a maxim which you never forget, for one. I mean to marry him; and though I seem to have failed, marry him I will, yet! And now you know all about it; and if you are not a fool, you will hold your tongue and let me be!” and she went also, leaving him alone.
Mr. Granger held up his hands in astonishment. He was a selfish, money-seeking old man, but he felt that he did not deserve to have such a daughter as this.
WHAT BEATRICE SWORE
Beatrice went to her room, but the atmosphere of the place seemed to stifle her. Her brain was reeling, she must go out into the air—away from her tormentors. She had not yet answered Geoffrey’s letter, and it must be answered by this post, for there was none on Sunday. It was half-past four—the post went out at five; if she was going to write, she should do so at once, but she could not do so here. Besides, she must find time for thought. Ah, she had it; she would take her canoe and paddle across the bay to the little town of Coed and write her letter there. The post did not leave Coed till half-past six. She put on her hat and jacket, and taking a stamp, a sheet of paper, and an envelope with her, slipped quietly from the house down to old Edward’s boat-house where the canoe was kept. Old Edward was not there himself, but his son was, a boy of fourteen, and by his help Beatrice was soon safely launched. The sea glittered like glass, and turning southwards, presently she was paddling round the shore of the island on which the Castle stood towards the open bay.
As she paddled her mind cleared, and she was able to consider the position. It was bad enough. She saw no light, darkness hemmed her in. But at least she had a week before her, and meanwhile what should she write to Geoffrey?