‘And yet she has come to me; she has braved everything to come.’ I might say that, to liken her to the women who break rules and read duties by their own light, but I could not cheat my knowledge of her. Mrs. Waddy met me in the hall of my father’s house, as usual, pressing, I regretted to see, one hand to her side. ‘Her heart,’ she said, ’was easily set pitty-pat now.’ She had been, by her master’s orders, examined by two of the chief physicians of the kingdom, ‘baronets both.’ They advised total rest. As far as I could apprehend, their baronetcies and doings in high regions had been of more comfort than their prescriptions.
‘What I am I must be,’ she said, meekly; ’and I cannot quit his service till he’s abroad again, or I drop. He has promised me a monument. I don’t want it; but it shows his kindness.’
A letter from Heriot informed me that the affair between Edbury and me was settled: he could not comprehend how.
‘What is this new Jury of Honour? Who are the jurymen?’ he asked, and affected wit.
I thanked him for a thrashing in a curt reply.
My father had left the house early in the morning. Mrs. Waddy believed that he meant to dine that evening at the season’s farewell dinner of the Trump-Trick Club: ’Leastways, Tollingby has orders to lay out his gentlemen’s-dinners’ evening-suit. Yesterday afternoon he flew down to Chippenden, and was home late. To-day he’s in the City, or one of the squares. Lady Edbury’s—ah! detained in town with the jaundice or toothache. He said he was sending to France for a dentist: or was it Germany, for some lady’s eyes? I am sure I don’t know. Well or ill, so long as you’re anything to him, he will abound. Pocket and purse! You know him by this time, Mr. Harry. Oh, my heart!’
A loud knock at the door had brought on the poor creature’s palpitations.
This visitor was no other than Prince Ernest. The name on his card was Graf von Delzenburg, and it set my heart leaping to as swift a measure as Mrs. Waddy’s.
Hearing that I was in the house, he desired to see me.
We met, with a formal bow.
’I congratulate you right heartily upon being out of the list of the nekron,’ he said, civilly. ’I am on my way to one of your watering-places, whither my family should have preceded me. Do you publish the names and addresses of visitors daily, as it is the custom with us?’
I relieved his apprehensions on that head: ’Here and there, rarely; and only at the hotels, I believe.’ The excuse was furnished for offering the princess’s address.
’Possibly, in a year or two, we may have the pleasure of welcoming you at Sarkeld,’ said the prince, extending his hand. ’Then, you have seen the Countess of Delzenburg?’
’On the day of her arrival, your Highness. Ladies of my family are staying on the island.’
He paused, and invited me to bow to him. We bowed thus in the room, in the hall, and at the street-door.