Mrs. Chump gave a sugary suck with her tongue. Emilia returned the money to her.
“Ye’re foolush!” said Mrs. Chump. “A shut fist’s good in fight and bad in friendship. Do ye know that? Open your hand.”
“Excuse me,” persisted Emilia.
“Pooh! take the money, or I’ll say ye’re in a conspiracy to make me blindman’s-buff of the parrty. Take ut.”
“I don’t want it.”
“Maybe, it’s not enough?”
“I don’t want any, ma’am.”
“Ma’am, to the deuce with ye! I’ll be callin’ ye a forr’ner in a minute, I will.”
Emilia walked away from a volley of terrific threats.
For some reason, unfathomed by her, she wanted to be alone with Wilfrid and put a question to him. No other, in sooth, than the infallible test. Not, mind you, that she wished to be married. But something she had heard (she had forgotten what it was) disturbed her, and that recent trifling with pain, in her excess of happiness, laid her open to it. Her heart was weaker, and fluttered, as if with a broken wing. She thought, “if I can be near him to lean against him for one full hour!” it would make her strong again. For, she found that if her heart was rising on a broad breath, suddenly, for no reason that she knew, it seemed to stop in its rise, break, and sink, like a wind-beaten billow. Once or twice, in a quick fear, she thought: “What is this? Is this a malady coming before death?” She walked out gloomily, thinking of the darkness of the world to Wilfrid, if she should die. She plucked flowers, and then reproached herself with plucking them. She tried to sing. “No, not till I have been with him alone;” she said, chiding her voice to silence. A shadow crossed her mind, as a Spring-mist dulls the glory of May. “Suppose all singing has gone from me—will he love wretched me?”
By-and-by she met him in the house. “Come
out of doors
to-night,” she whispered.
Wilfrid’s spirit of intrigue was never to be taken by surprise. “In the wood, under the pine, at nine,” he replied.
“Not there,” said Emilia, seeing this place mournfully dark from Cornelia’s grief. “It is too still; say, where there’s water falling. One can’t be unhappy by noisy water.”
Wilfrid considered, and named Wilming Weir. “And there we’ll sit and you’ll sing to me. I won’t dine at home, so they won’t susp-a-fancy anything.—Soh! and you want very much to be with me, my bird? What am I?” He bent his head.