’Isabel could only blush, smile, look doubtful, and yet so very happy and grateful, that Mr. Mansell became cautious, lest his impulse should have carried him too far, and, after having ordered the vehicle to be prepared, he caught her by the hand, and detained her, saying, ’Mind you, Miss, you are not to take this for over-much. I’m afraid it is a silly business, and I did not want you to throw yourself away on a schoolmaster. I must see and talk to the man myself; but I won’t have anything that’s not open and above-board, and that my Lady shall see for once in her life!’
‘I’m not afraid,’ said Isabel, smiling. ’James will make his own way with you.’
Isabel ran away to excuse and explain her confession to Lady Conway; while Mr. Mansell indulged in another whistle, and then went to inform his wife that he was afraid the girl had been making a fool of herself; but it was not Lady Conway’s fault that she was nothing worse, and he was resolved, whatever he did, to show that honesty was the only thing that would go down with him.
The boat was rocking on the green waves, and Louis was in the act of waving an adieu to deaf Mrs. Hannaford, when a huntsman’s halloo caused James to look round and behold Mr. Mansell standing up in his dogcart, making energetic signals with his whip.
He had meant to be very guarded, and wait to judge of James before showing that he approved, but the excitement of the chase betrayed him into a glow of cordiality, and he shook hands with vehemence.
’That’s right!—just in time! Jump in, and come home to breakfast. So you wouldn’t be a party to my Lady’s tricks!—just like her—just as she wheedled poor Conway. I will let her see how I esteem plain dealing! I don’t say that I see my way through this business; but we’ll talk it over together, and settle matters without my Lady.’
James hardly knew where he was, between joy and surprise. The invitation was extended to his companion; but Fitzjocelyn discerned that both James and Mr. Mansell would prefer being left to themselves; he had a repugnance to an immediate discussion with the one aunt, and was in haste to carry the tidings to the other: and besides, it was becoming possible that letters might arrive from the travellers. Actuated by all these motives, he declined the offer of hospitality, and rowed across to Bickleypool, enlightening the Captain on the state of affairs as far as he desired.
THE THIRD TIME.
Tho’ this was fair, and that
And you the toast of all the town,
I sighed and said, amang them a’,
Ye are not Mary Morison.
Mrs. Frost and Louis were very merry over the result of Lady Conway’s stratagems, and sat up indulging in bright anticipations until so late an hour, that Louis was compelled to relinquish his purpose of going home that night, but he persisted in walking to Ormersfield before breakfast, that he might satisfy himself whether there were any letters.