“Your husband!” sarcastically rejoined Sir Francis. “Generous man!”
A flush, deep and painful, dyed her cheeks. “I should have said my late husband. You need not have reminded me of the mistake.”
“If you will accept nothing for yourself, you must for the child. He, at any rate, falls to my share. I shall give you a few hundred a year with him.”
She beat her hands before her, as if beating off the man and his words. “Not a farthing, now or ever. Were you to attempt to send money to him, I would throw it into the nearest river. Whom do you take me for? What do you take me for?” she repeated, rising in her bitter mortification. “If you have put me beyond the pale of the world, I am still Lord Mount Severn’s daughter!”
“You did as much toward putting yourself beyond its pale as—”
“Don’t I know it? Have I not said so?” she sharply interrupted. And then she sat, striving to calm herself, clasping together her shaking hands.
“Well, if you will persist in this perverse resolution, I cannot mend it,” resumed Sir Francis. “In a little time you may probably wish to recall it; in which case a line, addressed to me at my banker’s, will—”
Lady Isabel drew herself up. “Put away those notes, if you please,” she interrupted, not allowing him to finish his sentence.
He took out his pocket-book and placed the bank notes within it.
“Your clothes—those you left here when you went to England—you will have the goodness to order Pierre to take away this afternoon. And now, Sir Francis, I believe that is all: we will part.”
“To remain mortal enemies from henceforth? Is that to be it?”
“To be strangers,” she replied, correcting him. “I wish you a good day.”
“So you will not even shake hands with me, Isabel?”
“I would prefer not.”
And thus they parted. Sir Francis left the room, but not immediately the house. He went into a distant apartment, and, calling the servants before him—there were but two—gave them each a year’s wages in advance—“That they might not have to trouble miladi for money,” he said to them. Then he paid a visit to the landlord, and handed him, likewise a year’s rent in advance, making the same remark. After that, he ordered dinner at a hotel, and the same night he and Pierre departed on their journey home again, Sir Francis thanking his lucky star that he had so easily got rid of a vexatious annoyance.
And Lady Isabel? She passed her evening alone, sitting in the same place, close to the fire and the sparks. The attendant remonstrated that miladi was remaining up too late for her strength, but miladi ordered her and her remonstrances into an adjoining room.