“How very odd,” thought Lady Honoria as she walked rapidly along the cliff towards her lodging. “I suppose that man must be in love with her. Well, I do not wonder at it. I never saw such a face and arm. What a picture that scene in the room would make! She saved Geoffrey and now she’s dead. If he had saved her I should not have wondered. It is like a scene in a novel.”
From all of which it will be seen that Lady Honoria was not wanting in certain romantic and artistical perceptions.
ELIZABETH IS THANKFUL
Geoffrey, lying before the fire, newly hatched from death, had caught some of the conversation between his wife and the assistant who had recovered him to life. So she was gone, that brave, beautiful atheist girl—gone to test the truth. And she had saved his life!
For some minutes the assistant did not enter. He was helping in another room. At last he came.
“What did you say to Lady Honoria?” Geoffrey asked feebly. “Did you say that Miss Granger had saved me?”
“Yes, Mr. Bingham; at least they tell me so. At any rate, when they pulled her out of the water they pulled you after her. She had hold of your hair.”
“Great heavens!” he groaned, “and my weight must have dragged her down. Is she dead, then?”
“We cannot quite say yet, not for certain. We think that she is.”
“Pray God she is not dead,” he said more to himself than to the other. Then aloud—“Leave me; I am all right. Go and help with her. But stop, come and tell me sometimes how it goes with her.”
“Very well. I will send a woman to watch you,” and he went.
Meanwhile in the other room the treatment of the drowned went slowly on. Two hours had passed, and as yet Beatrice showed no signs of recovery. The heart did not beat, no pulse stirred; but, as the doctor knew, life might still linger in the tissues. Slowly, very slowly, the body was turned to and fro, the head swaying, and the long hair falling now this way and now that, but still no sign. Every resource known to medical skill, such as hot air, rubbing, artificial respiration, electricity, was applied and applied in vain, but still no sign!
Elizabeth, pale and pinched, stood by handing what might be required. She did not greatly love her sister, they were antagonistic and their interests clashed, or she thought they did, but this sudden death was awful. In a corner, pitiful to see, offering groans and ejaculated prayers to heaven, sat the old clergymen, their father, his white hair about his eyes. He was a weak, coarse-grained man, but in his own way his clever and beautiful girl was dear to him, and this sight wrung his soul as it had not been wrung for years.
“She’s gone,” he said continually, “she’s gone; the Lord’s will be done. There must be another mistress at the school now. Seventy pounds a year she will cost—seventy pounds a year!”