‘Maurice talked nonsense,’ said Claude; ’you were only foolish in believing him.’
Phyllis went up to Claude, and laid her head on his arm; Mr. Hawkesworth held out his hand to her, but she did not look up, and Claude withdrawing his arm, and raising her head, found that she was crying. Eleanor and Lilias both rose, and came towards her but Claude made them a sign, and led her away.
‘What a fine story this will be for Reginald,’ said William.
‘And for Rotherwood,’ said Mr. Mohun.
‘I do not see how it happened,’ said Eleanor.
‘Of course Ada did it herself,’ said William.
‘Of course,’ said Maurice. ’It was all from Emily’s setting them to seal her letter, that is plain now.’
‘Would not Ada have said so?’ asked Eleanor.
Lily sighed at the thought of what Eleanor had yet to learn.
‘Did you tell them to seal your letter, Emily?’ said Mr. Mohun.
‘I am sorry to say that I did tell them to send
it,’ said Emily, ’but
I said nothing about sealing, as Jane remembers, and I forgot that
Maurice’s gunpowder was in the room.’
Eleanor shook her head sorrowfully, and looked down at her knitting, and Lily knew that her mind was made up respecting little Henry’s dwelling-place.
It was some comfort to have raised no false expectations.
‘Ada must not be frightened and agitated to-night,’ said Mr. Mohun, ’but I hope you will talk to her to-morrow, Eleanor. Well, Claude, have you made Phyllis understand that she is acquitted?’
‘Scarcely,’ said Claude; ’she is so overcome and worn out, that I thought she had better go to bed, and wake in her proper senses to-morrow.’
‘A very unconscious heroine,’ said William. ’She is a wonder—I never thought her anything but an honest sort of romp.’
‘I have long thought her a wonderful specimen of obedience,’ said Mr. Mohun.
William and Claude now walked to the parsonage, and the council broke up; but it must not be supposed that this was the last that Emily and Maurice heard on the subject.
CHAPTER XXIII: JOYS AND SORROWS
’Complaint was heard on every part
Of something disarranged.’
The next day, Sunday, was one of the most marked in Lily’s life. It was the first time she saw Mr. Devereux after his illness, and though Claude had told her he was going to church, it gave her a sudden thrill of joy to see him there once more, and perhaps she never felt more thankful than when his name was read before the Thanksgiving. After the service there was an exchange of greetings, but Lily spoke no word, she felt too happy and too awe-struck to say anything, and she walked back to the New Court in silence.