“Are you not going out, Richard?” Mrs. Hare ventured to say.
“Mamma, shall I ring for the shutters to be closed?” asked Barbara, by and by.
“Shutters closed?” said the justice. “Who’d shut out this bright moon? You have got the lamp at the far end of the room, young lady, and can go to it.”
Barbara ejaculated an inward prayer for patience—for safety of Richard, if he did come, and waited on, watching the grove in the distance. It came, the signal, her quick eye caught it; a movement as if some person or thing had stepped out beyond the trees and stepped back again. Barbara’s face turned white and her lips dry.
“I am so hot!” she exclaimed, in her confused eagerness for an excuse; “I must take a turn in the garden.”
She stole out, throwing a dark shawl over her shoulders, that might render her less conspicuous to the justice, and her dress that evening was a dark silk. She did not dare to stand still when she reached the trees, or to penetrate them, but she caught glimpses of Richard’s face, and her heart ached at the change in it. It was white, thin, and full of care; and his hair, he told her, was turning gray.
“Oh, Richard, darling, and I may not stop to talk to you!” she wailed, in a deep whisper. “Papa is at home, you see, of all the nights in the world.”
“Can’t I see my mother?”
“How can you? You must wait till to-morrow night.”
“I don’t like waiting a second night, Barbara. There’s danger in every inch of ground that this neighborhood contains.”
“But you must wait, Richard, for reasons. That man who caused all the mischief—Thorn—”
“Hang him!” gloomily interrupted Richard.
“He is at West Lynne. At least there is a Thorn, we—I and Mr. Carlyle—believe to be the same, and we want you to see him.”
“Let me see him,” panted Richard, whom the news appeared to agitate; “let me see him, Barbara, I say——”
Barbara had passed on again, returning presently.
“You know, Richard, I must keep moving, with papa’s eyes there. He is a tall man, very good-looking, very fond of dress and ornament, especially of diamonds.”
“That’s he,” cried Richard, eagerly.
“Mr. Carlyle will contrive that you shall see him,” she continued, stooping as if to tie her shoe. “Should it prove to be the same, perhaps nothing can be done—immediately done—toward clearing you, but it shall be a great point ascertained. Are you sure you should know him again?”
“Sure! That I should know him?” uttered Richard Hare. “Should I know my own father? Should I know you? And are you not engraven on my heart in letters of blood, as is he? How and when am I to see him, Barbara?”
“I can tell you nothing till I have seen Mr. Carlyle. Be here to-morrow, as soon as ever the dusk will permit you. Perhaps Mr. Carlyle will contrive to bring him here. If—”