She was not the sort of woman to do that. But one thing she resolved to do; and it was, to go to Lymport with Louisa, and having once got her out of her dwelling-place, never to allow her to enter it, wherever it might be, in the light of a resident again. Whether anything but the menace of a participation in her conjugal possessions could have despatched her to that hateful place, I doubt. She went: she would not let Andrew be out of her sight. Growing haughtier toward him at every step, she advanced to the strange old shop. Evan Harrington over the door! There the Countess, having meantime returned to her state of womanhood, shared her shudders. They entered, and passed in to Mrs. Mel, leaving their footman, apparently, in the rear. Evan was not visible. A man in the shop, with a yard measure negligently adorning his shoulders, said that Mr. Harrington was in the habit of quitting the shop at five.
‘Deuced good habit, too,’ said Andrew.
‘Why, sir,’ observed another, stepping forward, ’as you truly say—yes. But—ah! Mr. Andrew Cogglesby? Pleasure of meeting you once in Fallow field! Remember Mr. Perkins?—the lawyer, not the maltster. Will you do me the favour to step out with me?’
Andrew followed him into the street.
‘Are you aware of our young friend’s good fortune?’ said Lawyer Perkins. ’Yes. Ah! Well!—Would you believe that any sane person in his condition, now—nonsense apart—could bring his mind wilfully to continue a beggar? No. Um! Well; Mr. Cogglesby, I may tell you that I hold here in my hands a document by which Mr. Evan Harrington transfers the whole of the property bequeathed to him to Lady Jocelyn, and that I have his orders to execute it instantly, and deliver it over to her ladyship, after the will is settled, probate, and so forth: I presume there will be an arrangement about his father’s debts. Now what do you think of that?’
‘Think, sir,—think!’ cried Andrew, cocking his head at him like an indignant bird, ’I think he’s a damned young idiot to do so, and you’re a confounded old rascal to help him.’
Leaving Mr. Perkins to digest his judgement, which he had solicited, Andrew bounced back into the shop.
IN WHICH THE SHOP BECOMES THE CENTRE OF ATTRACTION
Under the first lustre of a May-night, Evan was galloping over the moon-shadowed downs toward Beckley. At the ridge commanding the woods, the park, and the stream, his horse stopped, as if from habit, snorted, and puffed its sides, while he gazed steadily across the long lighted vale. Soon he began to wind down the glaring chalk-track, and reached grass levels. Here he broke into a round pace, till, gaining the first straggling cottages of the village, he knocked the head of his whip against the garden-gate of one, and a man came out, who saluted him, and held the reins.