Miss Carlyle tore the paper to atoms and scattered it. Mr. Dill afterward made copies from memory, and sent them to the journal offices. But let that pass.
“I will never forgive him,” she deliberately uttered, “and I will never forgive or tolerate her.”
THE EARL’S ASTONISHMENT.
The announcement of the marriage in the newspapers was the first intimation of it Lord Mount Severn received. He was little less thunderstruck than Miss Corny, and came steaming to England the same day, thereby missing his wife’s letter, which gave her version of the affair. He met Mr. Carlyle and Lady Isabel in London, where they were staying at one of the west-end hotels—only for a day or two, however, for they were going further. Isabel was alone when the earl was announced.
“What is the meaning of this, Isabel?” began he, without the circumlocution of greeting. “You are married?”
“Yes,” she answered, with her pretty, innocent blush. “Some time ago.”
“And to Carlyle, the lawyer! How did it come about?”
Isabel began to think how it did come about, sufficiently to give a clear answer. “He asked me,” she said, “and I accepted him. He came to Castle Marling at Easter, and asked me then. I was very much surprised.”
The earl looked at her attentively. “Why was I kept in ignorance of this, Isabel?”
“I did not know you were kept in ignorance of it. Mr. Carlyle wrote to you, as did Lady Mount Severn.”
Lord Mount Severn was a man in the dark, and looked like it. “I suppose this comes,” soliloquized he, aloud, “of your father’s having allowed the gentleman to dance daily attendance at East Lynne. And so you fell in love with him.”
“Indeed, no!” answered she, in an amused tone. “I never thought of such a thing as falling in love with Mr. Carlyle.”
“Then don’t you love him?” abruptly asked the earl.
“No!” she whispered, timidly; “but I like him much—oh, very much! And he is so good to me!”
The earl stroked his chin and mused. Isabel had destroyed the only reasonable conclusion he had been able to come to as to the motives for the hasty marriage. “If you do not love Mr. Carlyle, how comes it that you are so wise in the distinction between ‘liking’ and ‘love?’ It cannot be that you love anybody else?”
The question turned home, and Isabel turned crimson. “I shall love my husband in time,” was all she answered, as she bent her head, and played nervously with her watch chain.
“My poor child!” involuntarily exclaimed the earl. But he was one who liked to fathom the depth of everything. “Who has been staying at Castle Marling since I left?” he asked sharply.
“Mrs. Levison came down.”
“I alluded to gentlemen—young men.”
“Only Francis Levison,” she replied.