One single flash of glad surprise
Just glanced from Isabel’s dark eyes,
Then vanished in the blush of shame
That as its penance instant came—
‘O thought unworthy of my race!’
The Lord of the Isles.
As little recked Fitzjocelyn of the murmurs which he had provoked, as he guessed the true secret of his victory. In his eyes, it was the triumph of merit over prejudice, and Mrs. Frost espoused the same gratifying view, though ascribing much to her nephew’s activity, and James himself, flushed with hope and success, was not likely to dissent.
Next they had to make their conquest available. Apart from Louis’s magnificent prognostications, at the lowest computation, the head master’s income amounted to a sum which to James appeared affluence; and though there was no house provided, it mattered the less since there were five to choose from in the Terrace, even if his grandmother had not wished that their household should be still the same. With Miss Conway’s own fortune and the Terrace settled on herself, where could be any risk?
Would Lady Conway think so? and how should the communication be made? James at first proposed writing to her, enclosing a letter to Isabel; but he changed his mind, unable to satisfy himself that, when absent from restraint, she might not send a refusal without affording her daughter the option. He begged his grandmother to write to Isabel; but she thought her letter might carry too much weight, and, whatever might be her hopes, it was not for her to tell the young lady that such means were sufficient.
Louis begged to be the bearer of the letter. His aunt would certainly keep terms with him, and he could insure that the case was properly laid before Isabel; and, as there could be no doubt at present of his persuasive powers, James caught at the offer. The party were still at Beauchastel, and he devised going to his old quarters at Ebbscreek, and making a descent upon them from thence.
When he came to take up his credentials, he found James and his little black leathern bag, determined to come at least to Ebbscreek with him, and declaring it made him frantic to stay at home and leave his cause in other hands, and that he could not exist anywhere but close to the scene of action.
Captain Hannaford was smoking in his demi-boat, and gave his former lodgers a hearty welcome, but he twinkled knowingly with his eye, and so significantly volunteered to inform them that the ladies were still at Beauchastel, that James’s wrath at the old skipper’s impudence began to revive, and he walked off to the remotest end of the garden.
The Captain, remaining with Louis, with whom he was always on far more easy terms, looked after the other gentleman, winked again, and confessed that he had suspected one or other of them might be coming that way this summer, though he could not say he had expected to see them both together.