Caseldy was not at home, and Mr. Beamish proceeded to the lodgings of the duchess. Chloe had found her absent. The two consulted. Mr. Beamish put on a serious air, until Chloe mentioned the pastrycook’s shop, for Duchess Susan had a sweet tooth; she loved a visit to the pastrycook’s, whose jam tarts were dearer to her than his more famous hot mutton pies. The pastry cook informed Mr. Beamish that her Grace had been in his shop, earlier than usual, as it happened, and accompanied by a foreign-looking gentleman wearing moustachois. Her Grace, the pastrycook said, had partaken of several tarts, in common with the gentleman, who complimented him upon his excelling the Continental confectioner. Mr. Beamish glanced at Chloe. He pursued his researches down at the Pump Room, while she looked round the ladies’ coffee house. Encountering again, they walked back to the duchess’s lodgings, where a band stood playing in the road, by order of her Grace; but the duchess was away, and had not been seen since her morning’s departure.
’What sort of character would you give mistress Susan of Dewlap, from your personal acquaintance with it?’ said Mr. Beamish to Chloe, as they stepped from the door.
Chloe mused and said, ’I would add “good” to the unkindest comparison you could find for her.’
‘But accepting the comparison!’ Mr. Beamish nodded, and revolved upon the circumstance of their being very much in nature’s hands with Duchess Susan, of whom it might be said that her character was good, yet all the more alive to the temptations besetting the Spring season. He allied Chloe’s adjective to a number of epithets equally applicable to nature and to women, according to current ideas, concluding: ’Count, they call your Caseldy at his lodgings. “The Count he is out for an airing.” He is counted out. Ah! you will make him drop that “Count” when he takes you from here.’
‘Do not speak of the time beyond the month,’ said Chloe, so urgently on a rapid breath as to cause Mr. Beamish to cast an inquiring look at her.
She answered it, ’Is not one month of brightness as much as we can ask for?’
The beau clapped his elbows complacently to his sides in philosophical concord with her sentiment.
In the afternoon, on the parade, they were joined by Mr. Camwell, among groups of fashionable ladies and their escorts, pacing serenely, by medical prescription, for an appetite. As he did not comment on the absence of the duchess, Mr. Beamish alluded to it; whereupon he was informed that she was about the meadows, and had been there for some hours.
‘Not unguarded,’ he replied to Mr. Beamish.
‘Aha!’ quoth the latter; ‘we have an Argus!’ and as the duchess was not on the heights, and the sun’s rays were mild in cloud, he agreed to his young friend’s proposal that they should advance to meet her. Chloe walked with them, but her face was disdainful; at the stiles she gave her hand to Mr. Beamish; she did not address a word to Mr. Camwell, and he knew the reason. Nevertheless he maintained his air of soldierly resignation to the performance of duty, and held his head like a gentleman unable to conceive the ignominy of having played spy. Chloe shrank from him.