It was clear that a new light had fallen on her intelligence.
Merthyr was satisfied to see her sit down to the table, and he at once went out to issue directions for the first step in the new and momentous expedition.
Emilia put the bread to her mouth, and crumbled it on a dry lip: but it was evident to Georgiana, hostile witness as she was, that Emilia’s mind was gradually warming to what Merthyr had said, and that a picture was passing before the girl. She perceived also a thing that no misery of her own had yet drawn from Emilia. It was a tear that fell heavily on the back of her hand. Soon the tears came in quick succession, while the girl tried to eat, and bit at salted morsels. It was a strange sight for Georgiana, this statuesque weeping, that got human bit by bit, till the bosom heaved long sobs: and yet no turn of the head for sympathy; nothing but passionless shedding of big tear-drops!
She went to the girl, and put her hand upon her; kissed her, and then said: “We have no time to lose. My brother never delays when he has come to a resolve.”
Emilia tried to articulate: “I am ready.”
“But you have not eaten!”
Emilia made a mechanical effort to eat.
“Remember,” said Georgiana, “we have a long distance to go. You will want your strength. You would not be a burden to him? Eat, while I get your things ready.” And Georgiana left her, secretly elated to feel that in this expedition it was she, and she alone, who was Merthyr’s mate. What storm it was, and what conflict, agitated the girl and stupefied her, she cared not to guess, now that she had the suitable designation, ‘savage,’ confirmed in all her acts, to apply to her.
When Tracy Runningbrook came down at his ordinary hour of noon to breakfast, he found a twisted note from Georgiana, telling him that important matters had summoned Merthyr to London, and that they were all to be seen at Lady Gosstre’s town-house.
“I believe, by Jove! Powys manoeuvres to get her away from me,” he shouted, and sat down to his breakfast and his book with a comforted mind. It was not Georgiana to whom he alluded; but the appearance of Captain Gambier, and the pronounced discomposure visible in the handsome face of the captain on his hearing of the departure, led Tracy to think that Georgiana’s was properly deplored by another, though that other was said to be engaged. ‘On revient toujours,’ he hummed.
Three days passed as a running dream to Emilia. During that period she might have been hurried off to Italy without uttering a remonstrance. Merthyr’s spirited talk of the country she called her own; of its heroic youth banded to rise, and sworn to liberate it or die; of good historic names borne by men, his comrades, in old campaigning adventures; and stories and incidents of those past days—all given with his changed face, and changed ringing voice, almost moved her to plunge forgetfully into this new tumultuous stream while the picture of the beloved land, lying shrouded beneath the perilous star it was about to follow grew in her mind.