“And a fine ‘keep’ it would be! You shall have that sum every quarter!”
“No, no! no, no! I do not deserve it; I could not accept it; I have forfeited all claim to assistance.”
“Not to mine. Now, it is of no use to excite yourself, my mind is made up. I never willingly forego a duty, and I look upon this not only as a duty, but as an imperative one. Upon my return, I shall immediately settle four hundred upon you, and you can draw it quarterly.”
“Then half that sum,” she reflected, knowing how useless it was to contend with Lord Mount Severn when he got upon the stilts of “duty.” “Indeed, two hundred a year will be ample; it will seem like riches to me.”
“I have named the sum, Isabel, and I shall not make it less. A hundred pounds every three months shall be paid to you, dating from this day. This does not count,” said he, laying down some notes on the table.
He took her hand within his in token of farewell; turned and was gone.
And Lady Isabel remained in her chamber alone.
Alone; alone! Alone for evermore!
A sunny afternoon in summer. More correctly speaking, it may be said a summer’s evening, for the bright beams were already slanting athwart the substantial garden of Mr. Justice Hare, and the tea hour, seven, was passing. Mr. and Mrs. Hare and Barbara were seated at the meal; somehow, meals always did seem in process at Justice Hare’s; if it was not breakfast, it was luncheon—if it was not luncheon, it was dinner—if it was not dinner, it was tea. Barbara sat in tears, for the justice was giving her a “piece of his mind,” and poor Mrs. Hare deferently agreeing with her husband, as she would have done had he proposed to set the house on fire and burn her up in it, yet sympathizing with Barbara, moved uneasily in her chair.
“You do it for the purpose; you do it to anger me,” thundered the justice, bringing down his hand on the tea-table and causing the cups to rattle.
“No I don’t, papa,” sobbed Barbara.
“Then why do you do it?”
Barbara was silent.
“No; you can’t answer; you have nothing to urge. What is the matter, pray, with Major Thorn? Come, I will be answered.”
“I don’t like him,” faltered Barbara.
“You do like him; you are telling me an untruth. You have liked him well enough whenever he has been here.”
“I like him as an acquaintance, papa; not as a husband.”
“Not as a husband!” repeated the exasperated justice. “Why, bless my heart and body, the girl’s going mad! Not as a husband! Who asked you to like him as a husband before he became such? Did ever you hear that it was necessary or expedient, or becoming for a young lady to act on and begin to ‘like’ a gentleman as ‘her husband?’”
Barbara felt a little bewildered.