THE HOUSE OF COMMONS
Next day was Sunday. Beatrice did not go to church. For one thing, she feared to see Owen Davies there. But she took her Sunday school class as usual, and long did the children remember how kind and patient she was with them that day, and how beautifully she told them the story of the Jewish girl of long ago, who went forth to die for the sake of her father’s oath.
Nearly all the rest of the day and evening she spent in writing that which we shall read in time—only in the late afternoon she went out for a little while in her canoe. Another thing Beatrice did also: she called at the lodging of her assistant, the head school teacher, and told her it was possible that she would not be in her place on the Tuesday (Monday was, as it chanced, a holiday). If anybody inquired as to her absence, perhaps she would kindly tell them that Miss Granger had an appointment to keep, and had taken a morning’s holiday in order to do so. She should, however, be back that afternoon. The teacher assented without suspicion, remarking that if Beatrice could not take a morning’s holiday, she was sure she did not know who could.
Next morning they breakfasted very early, because Mr. Granger and Elizabeth had to catch the train. Beatrice sat through the meal in silence, her calm eyes looking straight before her, and the others, gazing on them, and at the lovely inscrutable face, felt an indefinable fear creep into their hearts. What did this woman mean to do? That was the question they asked of themselves, though not of each other. That she meant to do something they were sure, for there was purpose written on every line of her cold face.
Suddenly, as they sat thinking, and making pretence to eat, a thought flashed like an arrow into Beatrice’s heart, and pierced it. This was the last meal that they could ever take together, this was the last time that she could ever see her father’s and her sister’s faces. For her sister, well, it might pass—for there are some things which even a woman like Beatrice can never quite forgive—but she loved her father. She loved his very faults, even his simple avarice and self-seeking had become endeared to her by long and wondering contemplation. Besides, he was her father; he gave her the life she was about to cast away. And she should never see him more. Not on that account did she hesitate in her purpose, which was now set in her mind, like Bryngelly Castle on its rock, but at the thought tears rushed unbidden to her eyes.
Just then breakfast came to an end, and Elizabeth hurried from the room to fetch her bonnet.
“Father,” said Beatrice, “if you can before you go, I should like to hear you say that you do not believe that I told you what was false—about that story.”
“Eh, eh!” answered the old man nervously, “I thought that we had agreed to say nothing about the matter at present.”