She smiled for answer.
That smile was not the common smile; it was one of an eager exultingness, producing as he gazed the twitch of an inquisitive reflection of it on his lips. Such a smile bids us guess and quickens us to guess, warns us we burn and speeds our burning, and so, like an angel wafting us to some heaven-feasting promontory, lifts us out of ourselves to see in the universe of colour what the mouth has but pallid speech to tell. That is the very heart’s language; the years are in a look, as mount and vale of the dark land spring up in lightning.
He checked himself: he scarce dared to say it.
‘You have seen the man, Chloe?’
Her smiling broke up in the hard lines of an ecstasy neighbouring pain. ’He has come; he is here; he is faithful; he has not forgotten me. I was right. I knew! I knew!’
‘Caseldy has come?’
’He has come. Do not ask. To have him! to see him! Mr. Beamish, he is here.’
’Well, Caseldy has come, then! But now, friend Chloe, you should be made aware that the man—’
She stopped her ears. As she did so, Mr. Beamish observed a thick silken skein dangling from one hand. Part of it was plaited, and at the upper end there was a knot. It resembled the commencement of her manufactory of a whip: she swayed it to and fro, allowing him to catch and lift the threads on his fingers for the purpose of examining her work. There was no special compliment to pay, so he dropped it without remark.
Their faces had expressed her wish to hear nothing from him of Caseldy and his submission to say nothing. Her happiness was too big; she appeared to beg to lie down with it on her bosom, in the manner of an outworn, young mother who has now first received her infant in her arms from the nurse.
Humouring Chloe with his usual considerateness, Mr. Beamish forbore to cast a shadow on her new-born joy, and even within himself to doubt the security of its foundation. Caseldy’s return to the Wells was at least some assurance of his constancy, seeing that here they appointed to meet when he and Chloe last parted. All might be well, though it was unexplained why he had not presented himself earlier. To the lightest inquiry Chloe’s reply was a shiver of happiness.
Moreover, Mr. Beamish calculated that Caseldy would be a serviceable ally in commanding a proper respect for her Grace the Duchess of Dewlap. So he betook himself cheerfully to Caseldy’s lodgings to deliver a message of welcome, meeting, on his way thither, Mr. Augustus Camwell, with whom he had a short conversation, greatly to his admiration of the enamoured young gentleman’s goodness and self-compression in speaking of Caseldy and Chloe’s better fortune. Mr. Camwell seemed hurried.