Georgiana closed her desk. She had been suspicious at first of another sentiment in the background, but was now quite convinced of the simplicity of Emilia’s design. She said: “I will tell you exactly how I am placed. I do not know, that under any circumstances, I could have given into your hands so large a sum as this that you ask for. My brother has a fortune; and I have also a little property. When I say my brother has a fortune, he has the remains of one. All that has gone has been devoted to relieve your countrymen, and further the interests he has nearest at heart. What is left to him, I believe, he has now thrown into the gulf. You have heard Lady Charlotte call him a fanatic.”
Emilia’s lip quivered.
“You must not blame her for that,” Georgiana continued. “Lady Gosstre thinks much the same. The world thinks with them. I love him, and prove my love by trusting him, and wish to prove my love by aiding him, and being always at hand to succour, as I should be now, but that I obeyed his dearest wish in resting here to watch over you. I am his other self. I have taught him to feel that; so that in his devotion to this cause he may follow every impulse he has, and still there is his sister to fall back on. My child! see what I have been doing. I have been calculating here.” Georgiana took a scroll from her desk, and laid it under Emilia’s eyes. “I have reckoned our expenses as far as Turin, and have only consented to take Lady Gosstre’s valet for courier, just to please her. I know that he will make the cost double, and I feel like a miser about money. If Merthyr is ruined, he will require every farthing that I have for our common subsistence. Now do you understand? I can hardly put the case more plainly. It is out of my power to do what you ask me to do.”
Emilia sighed lightly, and seemed not much cast down by the refusal. She perceived that it was necessarily positive, and like all minds framed to resolve to action, there was an instantaneous change of the current of her thoughts in another direction.
“Then, my darling, my one prayer!” she said. “Postpone our going for a week. I will try to get help for them elsewhere.”
Georgiana was pleased by Emilia’s manner of taking the rebuff; but it required an altercation before she consented to this postponement; she nodded her head finally in anger.
By the park-gates that evening, Wilfrid received a letter from the hands of Tracy Runningbrook. It said: “I am not able to see you now. When I tell you that I will see you before I leave England, I insist upon your believing me. I have no head for seeing anybody now. Emilia”—was the simple signature, perused over and over again by this maddened lover, under the flitting gate-lamp, after Tracy had left him. The coldness of Emilia’s name so briefly given, concentrated every fire in his