Mrs. Bellew looked at him hard; the defiance in her eyes changed to a sort of pity. She took a quick step and put her hand on his shoulder.
“It’s all right, old boy—all right!” she said. “There’s nothing there!”
MR. PARAMOR DISPOSES
Mrs. Pendyce, who, in accordance with her husband’s wish, still occupied the same room as Mr. Pendyce, chose the ten minutes before he got up to break to him Gregory’s decision. The moment was auspicious, for he was only half awake.
“Horace,” she said, and her face looked young and anxious, “Grig says that Helen Bellew ought not to go on in her present position. Of course, I told him that you’d be annoyed, but Grig says that she can’t go on like this, that she simply must divorce Captain Bellew.”
Mr. Pendyce was lying on his back.
“What’s that?” he said.
Mrs. Pendyce went on
“I knew it would worry you; but really”—she fixed her eyes on the ceiling—“I suppose we ought only to think of her.”
The Squire sat up.
“What was that,” he said, “about Bellew?”
Mrs. Pendyce went on in a languid voice and without moving her eyes:
“Don’t be angrier than you can help, dear; it is so wearing. If Grig says she ought to divorce Captain Bellew, then I’m sure she ought.”
Horace Pendyce subsided on his pillow with a bounce, and he too lay with his eyes fixed on the ceiling.
“Divorce him!” he said—“I should think so! He ought to be hanged, a fellow like that. I told you last night he nearly drove over me. Living just as he likes, setting an example of devilry to the whole neighbourhood! If I hadn’t kept my head he’d have bowled me over like a ninepin, and Bee into the bargain.”
Mrs. Pendyce sighed.
“It was a narrow escape,” she said.
“Divorce him!” resumed Mr. Pendyce—“I should think so! She ought to have divorced him long ago. It was the nearest thing in the world; another foot and I should have been knocked off my feet!”
Mrs. Pendyce withdrew her glance from the ceiling.
“At first,” she said, “I wondered whether it was quite—but I’m very glad you’ve taken it like this.”
“Taken it! I can tell you, Margery, that sort of thing makes one think. All the time Barter was preaching last night I was wondering what on earth would have happened to this estate if—if——” And he looked round with a frown. “Even as it is, I barely make the two ends of it meet. As to George, he’s no more fit at present to manage it than you are; he’d make a loss of thousands.”
“I’m afraid George is too much in London. That’s the reason I wondered whether—I’m afraid he sees too much of——”
Mrs. Pendyce stopped; a flush suffused her cheeks; she had pinched herself violently beneath the bedclothes.