Elizabeth thought of it as for a moment she stood in the passage, and a cold hungry light came into her neutral tinted eyes and shone upon her pale face. But she choked back the thought; she was scarcely wicked enough to wish that her sister had not been brought back to life. She only speculated on what might have happened if this had come about, just as one works out a game of chess from a given hypothetical situation of the pieces.
Perhaps, too, the same end might be gained in some other way. Perhaps Mr. Davies might still be weaned from his infatuation. The wall was difficult, but it would have to be very difficult if she could not find a way to climb it. It never occurred to Elizabeth that there might be an open gate. She could not conceive it possible that a woman might positively reject Owen Davies and his seven or ten thousand a year, and that woman a person in an unsatisfactory and uncongenial, almost in a menial position. Reject Bryngelly Castle with all its luxury and opportunities of wealth and leisure? No, the sun would set in the east before such a thing happened. The plan was to prevent the occasion from arising. The hungry light died on Elizabeth’s face, and she turned to enter the sick room when suddenly she met her father coming out.
“Who was that at the front?” he asked, carefully closing the door.
“Mr. Davies of Bryngelly Castle, father.”
“And what did Mr. Davies want at this time of night? To know about Beatrice?”
“Yes,” she answered slowly, “he came to ask after Beatrice, or to be more correct he has been waiting outside for three hours in the rain to learn if she recovered.”
“Waiting outside for three hours in the rain,” said the clergyman astonished—“Squire Davies standing outside the house! What for?”
“Because he was so anxious about Beatrice and did not like to come in, I suppose.”
“So anxious about Beatrice—ah, so anxious about Beatrice! Do you think, Elizabeth—um—you know there is no doubt Beatrice is very well favoured—very handsome they say——”
“I do not think anything about it, father,” she answered, “and as for Beatrice’s looks they are a matter of opinion. I have mine. And now don’t you think we had better go to bed? The doctors and Betty are going to stop up all night with Mr. Bingham and Beatrice.”
“Yes, Elizabeth, I suppose that we had better go. I am sure we have much to be thankful for to-night. What a merciful deliverance! And if poor Beatrice had gone the parish must have found another schoolmistress, and it would have meant that we lost the salary. We have a great deal to be thankful for, Elizabeth.”
“Yes,” said Elizabeth, very deliberately, “we have.”
OWEN DAVIES AT HOME