Half an hour, and then Mr. Carlyle came pelting up, passed the gates, and turned on to the grass. There he saw his wife. She had fallen asleep, her head leaning against the trunk of a tree. Her bonnet and parasol lay at her feet, her scarf had dropped, and she looked like a lovely child, her lips partly open, her cheeks flushed, and her beautiful hair falling around. It was an exquisite picture, and his heart beat quicker within him as he felt that it was all his own. A smile stole to his lips as he stood looking at her. She opened her eyes, and for a minute could not remember where she was. Then she started up.
“Oh, Archibald! Have I been asleep?”
“Ay; and might have been stolen and carried off. I could not afford that, Isabel.”
“I don’t know how it came about. I was listening for you.”
“What have you been doing all day?” he asked, as he drew her arm within his, and they walked on.
“Oh, I hardly know,” she sighed. “Trying the new piano, and looking at my watch, wishing the time would go quicker, that you might come home. The ponies and carriage have arrived, Archibald.”
“I know they have, my dear. Have you been out of doors much?”
“No, I waited for you.” And then she told him about Marvel. He felt vexed, saying she must replace her with all speed. Isabel said she knew of one, a young woman who had left Lady Mount Severn while she, Isabel, was at Castle Marling; her health was delicate, and Lady Mount Severn’s place too hard for her. She might suit.
“Write to her,” said Mr. Carlyle.
The carriage came round—a beautiful little equipage—and Isabel was ready. As Mr. Carlyle drove slowly down the dusty road, they came upon Miss Corny, striding along in the sun with a great umbrella over her head. She would not turn to look at them.
Once more, as in the year gone by, St. Jude’s Church was in a flutter of expectation. It expected to see a whole paraphernalia of bridal finery, and again it was doomed to disappointment, for Isabel had not put off the mourning for her father. She was in black—a thin gauze dress—and her white bonnet had small black flowers inside and out. For the first time in his life, Mr. Carlyle took possession of the pew belonging to East Lynne, filling the place where the poor earl used to sit. Not so Miss Corny—she sat in her own.
Barbara was there with the Justice and Mrs. Hare. Her face wore a gray, dusky hue, of which she was only too conscious, but could not subdue. Her covetous eyes would wander to that other face, with its singular loveliness and its sweetly earnest eyes, sheltered under the protection of him for whose sheltering protection she had so long yearned. Poor Barbara did not benefit much by the services that day.
Afterward they went across the churchyard to the west corner, where stood the tomb of Lord Mount Severn. Isabel looked at the inscription, her veil shading her face.