The ‘Shall I sleep?’ seemed answered.
For days after the foregoing scene, Brookfield was unconscious of what had befallen it. Wilfrid was trying his yacht, the ladies were preparing for the great pleasure-gathering on Besworth lawn, and shaping astute designs to exclude the presence of Mrs. Chump, for which they partly condemned themselves; but, as they said, “Only hear her!” The excitable woman was swelling from conjecture to certainty on a continuous public cry of, “’Pon my hon’r!—d’ye think little Belloni’s gone and marrud Pole?”
Emilia’s supposed flight had deeply grieved the ladies, when alarm and suspicion had subsided. Fear of some wretched male baseness on the part of their brother was happily diverted by a letter, wherein he desired them to come to him speedily. They attributed her conduct to dread of Mr. Pericles. That fervid devotee of Euterpe received the tidings with an obnoxious outburst, which made them seriously ask themselves (individually and in secret) whether he was not a moneyed brute, and nothing more. Nor could they satisfactorily answer the question. He raved: “You let her go. Ha! what creatures you are—hein? But you find not anozer in fifty years, I say; and here you stop, and forty hours pass by, and not a sing in motion. What blood you have! It is water—not blood. Such a voice, a verve, a style, an eye, a devil, zat girl! and all drawn up and out before ze time by a man: she is spoilt!”
He exhibited an anguish that they were not able to commiserate. Certain expressions falling from him led them to guess that he had set some plot in motion, which Emilia’s flight had arrested; but his tragic outcries were all on the higher ground of the loss to Art. They were glad to see him go from the house. Soon he returned to demand Wilfrid’s address. Arabella wrote it out for him with rebuking composure. Then he insisted upon having Captain Gambier’s, whom he described as “ce nonchalant dandy.”
“Him you will have a better opportunity of seeing by waiting here,” said Adela; and the captain came before Mr. Pericles had retreated. “Ce nonchalant” was not quite true to his title, when he heard that Emilia had flown. He did not say much, but iterated “Gone!” with an elegant frown, adding, “She must come back, you know!” and was evidently more than commonly puzzled and vexed, pursuing the strain in a way that satisfied Mr. Pericles more thoroughly than Adela.
“She shall come back as soon as she has a collar,” growled Mr. Pericles, meaning captivity.
“If she’d only come back with her own maiden name,” interjected Mrs. Chump, “I’ll give her a character; but, upon my hon’r—d’ye think ut possible, now...?”
Arabella talked over her, and rescued her father’s name.