“Plainer than any of the fine ones—than you, for instance. The earl is much altered, but I should have known them both anywhere. I should have known her from the likeness to her poor mother—just the same eyes and sweet expression.”
Aye, those brown eyes, so full of sweetness and melancholy; few who had once seen could mistake or forget them; and Barbara Hare, forgetting where she was, looked at them much that day.
“She is very lovely,” thought Barbara, “and her dress is certainly that of a lady. I wish I had not had this streaming pink feather. What fine jackdaws she must deem us all!”
The earl’s carriage, an open barouche, was waiting at the gate, at the conclusion of the service. He handed his daughter in, and was putting his gouty foot upon the step to follow her, when he observed Mr. Carlyle. The earl turned and held out his hand. A man who could purchase East Lynne was worthy of being received as an equal, though he was but a country lawyer.
Mr. Carlyle shook hands with the earl, approached the carriage and raised his hat to Lady Isabel. She bent forward with her pleasant smile, and put her hand into his.
“I have many things to say to you,” said the earl. “I wish you would go home with us. If you have nothing better to do, be East Lynne’s guest for the remainder of the day.”
He smiled peculiarly as he spoke, and Mr. Carlyle echoed it. East Lynne’s guest! That is what the earl was at present. Mr. Carlyle turned aside to tell his sister.
“Cornelia, I shall not be home to dinner; I am going with Lord Mount Severn. Good-day, Barbara.”
Mr. Carlyle stepped into the carriage, was followed by the earl, and it drove away. The sun shone still, but the day’s brightness had gone out for Barbara Hare.
“How does he know the earl so well? How does he know Lady Isabel?” she reiterated in her astonishment.
“Archibald knows something of most people,” replied Miss Corny. “He saw the earl frequently, when he was in town in the spring, and Lady Isabel once or twice. What a lovely face hers is!”
Barbara made no reply. She returned home with Miss Carlyle, but her manner was as absent as her heart, and that had run away to East Lynne.
MR. KANE’S CONCERT.
Before Lord Mount Severn had completed the fortnight of his proposed stay, the gout came on seriously. It was impossible for him to move away from East Lynne. Mr. Carlyle assured him he was only too pleased that he should remain as long as might be convenient, and the earl expressed his acknowledgments; he hoped soon to be re-established on his legs.