‘Why not, sir, if she be this piece of innocence?’ Mr. Beamish was led to inquire.
‘She fears you, sir,’ Caseldy answered. ’You have inspired her with an extraordinary fear of you.’
‘I have?’ said the beau: it had been his endeavour to inspire it, and he swelled somewhat, rather with relief at the thought of his possessing a power to control his delicate charge, than with our vanity; yet would it be audacious to say that there was not a dose of the latter. He was a very human man; and he had, as we have seen, his ideas of the effect of the impression of fear upon the hearts of women. Something, in any case, caused him to forget the cavalier.
They were drawn to the three preceding them, by a lively dissension between Chloe and Mr. Camwell.
Duchess Susan explained it in her blunt style: ’She wants him to go away home, and he says he will, if she’ll give him that double skein of silk she swings about, and she says she won’t, let him ask as long as he pleases; so he says he sha’n’t go, and I’m sure I don’t see why he should; and she says he may stay, but he sha’n’t have her necklace, she calls it. So Mr. Camwell snatches, and Chloe fires up. Gracious, can’t she frown!—at him. She never frowns at anybody but him.’
Caseldy attempted persuasion on Mr. Camwell’s behalf. With his mouth at Chloe’s ear, he said, ’Give it; let the poor fellow have his memento; despatch him with it.’
‘I can hear! and that is really kind,’ exclaimed Duchess Susan.
‘Rather a missy-missy schoolgirl sort of necklace,’ Mr. Beamish observed; ’but he might have it, without the dismissal, for I cannot consent to lose Alonzo. No, madam,’ he nodded at the duchess.
Caseldy continued his whisper: ’You can’t think of wearing a thing like that about your neck?’
‘Indeed,’ said Chloe, ‘I think of it.’
‘Why, what fashion have you over here?’
‘It is not yet a fashion,’ she said.
’A silken circlet will not well become any precious pendant that I know of.’
‘A bag of dust is not a very precious pendant,’ she said.
‘Oh, a memento mori!’ cried he.
And she answered, ‘Yes.’
He rallied her for her superstition, pursuing, ’Surely, my love, ’tis a cheap riddance of a pestilent, intrusive jaloux. Whip it into his hands for a mittimus.’
‘Does his presence distress you?’ she asked.
’I will own that to be always having the fellow dogging us, with his dejected leer, is not agreeable. He watches us now, because my lips are close by your cheek. He should be absent; he is one too many. Speed him on his voyage with the souvenir he asks for.’
‘I keep it for a journey of my own, which I may have to take,’ said Chloe.
‘You will follow; you cannot help following me, Caseldy.’
He speculated on her front. She was tenderly smiling. ’You are happy, Chloe?’