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Ellen Wood (author)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 609 pages of information about East Lynne.

Barbara threw back her neck with a haughty gesture.  “Richard!”

“What?”

“You forget yourself when you mention that name to me.”

“Well,” returned Richard.  “It was not to discuss these things that I put myself in jeopardy; and to assert my innocence can do no good; it cannot set aside the coroner’s verdict of ’Wilful murder against Richard Hare, the younger.’  Is my father as bitter against me as ever?”

“Quite.  He never mentions your name, or suffers it to be mentioned; he gave his orders to the servants that it never was to be spoken in the house again.  Eliza could not, or would not remember, and she persisted in calling your room ‘Mr. Richard’s.’  I think the woman did it heedlessly, not maliciously, to provoke papa; she was a good servant, and had been with us three years you know.  The first time she transgressed, papa warned her; the second, he thundered at her as I believe nobody else in the world can thunder; and the third he turned her from the doors, never allowing her to get her bonnet; one of the others carrying her bonnet and shawl to the gate, and her boxes were sent away the same day.  Papa took an oath—­did you hear of it?”

“What oath?  He takes many.”

“This was a solemn one, Richard.  After the delivery of the verdict, he took an oath in the justice-room, in the presence of his brother magistrates, that if he could find you he would deliver you up to justice, and that he would do it, though you might not turn up for ten years to come.  You know his disposition, Richard, and therefore may be sure he will keep it.  Indeed, it is most dangerous for you to be here.”

“I know that he never treated me as he ought,” cried Richard, bitterly.  “If my health was delicate, causing my poor mother to indulge me, ought that to have been a reason for his ridiculing me on every possible occasion, public and private?  Had my home been made happier I should not have sought the society I did elsewhere.  Barbara, I must be allowed an interview with my mother.”

Barbara Hare reflected before she spoke.  “I do not see how it can be managed.”

“Why can’t she come out to me as you have done?  Is she up, or in bed?”

“It is impossible to think of it to-night,” returned Barbara in an alarmed tone.  “Papa may be in at any moment; he is spending the evening at Beauchamp’s.”

“It is hard to have been separated from her for eighteen months, and to go back without seeing her,” returned Richard.  “And about the money?  It is a hundred pounds that I want.”

“You must be here again to-morrow night, Richard; the money, no doubt, can be yours, but I am not so sure about your seeing mamma.  I am terrified for your safety.  But, if it is as you say, that you are innocent,” she added, after a pause, “could it not be proved?”

“Who is to prove it?  The evidence is strong against me; and Thorn, did I mention him, would be as a myth to other people; nobody knew anything of him.”

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