‘Look here, young un,’ said Heriot; ’you’re a good little fellow, and I like you, but just tell her I believe in nothing but handwriting, and if she writes to me for it humbly and nicely she shall have it back. Say I only want to get a copy taken by a first-rate painter.’
Julia shed tears at his cruelty, called him cruel, wicked, false to his word. She wrote, but the letter did not please him, and his reply was scornful. At prayers morning and evening, it was pitiful to observe her glance of entreaty and her downfallen eyelashes. I guessed that in Heriot’s letters to her he wanted to make her confess something, which she would not do. ’Now I write to him no more; let him know it, my darling,’ she said, and the consequence of Heriot’s ungrateful obstinacy was that we all beheld her, at the ceremony of the consecration of the new church, place her hand on Mr. Boddy’s arm and allow him to lead her about. Heriot kept his eyes on them; his mouth was sharp, and his arms stiff by his sides. I was the bearer of a long letter to her that evening. She tore it to pieces without reading it. Next day Heriot walked slowly past Mr. Boddy holding the portrait in his hands. The usher called to him!
‘What have you there, Heriot?’
My hero stared. ‘Only a family portrait,’ he answered, thrusting it safe in his pocket and fixing his gaze on Julia’s window.
‘Permit me to look at it,’ said Mr. Boddy.
‘Permit me to decline to let you,’ said Heriot.
‘Look at me, sir,’ cried Boddy.
‘I prefer to look elsewhere, sir,’ replied Heriot, and there was Julia visible at her window.
‘I asked you, sir, civilly,’ quoth Boddy, ’for permission to look,— I used the word intentionally; I say I asked you for permission . . .’
‘No, you didn’t,’ Heriot retorted, quite cool; ’inferentially you did; but you did not use the word permission.’
‘And you turned upon me impudently,’ pursued Boddy, whose colour was thunder: ’you quibbled, sir; you prevaricated; you concealed what you were carrying . . .’
‘Am carrying,’ Heriot corrected his tense; ’and mean to, in spite of every Boddy,’ he murmured audibly.
‘Like a rascal detected in an act of felony,’ roared Boddy, ’you concealed it, sir . . .’