On the next morning she met him at breakfast. She went down stairs later than usual, not till ten, having hung about her aunt’s room, thinking that thus she would escape him for the present. She would wait till he was gone out, and then she would go down. She did wait; but she could not hear the front door, and then her aunt murmured something about Brooke’s breakfast. She was told to go down, and she went. But when on the stairs she slunk back to her own room, and stood there for awhile, aimless, motionless, not knowing what to do. Then one of the girls came to her, and told her that Mr Burgess was waiting breakfast for her. She knew not what excuse to make, and at last descended slowly to the parlour. She was very happy, but had it been possible for her to have run away she would have gone.
‘Dear Dorothy,’ he said at once. ‘I may call you so, may I not?’
‘And you will love me and be my own, own wife?’
‘No, Mr Burgess.’
‘I mean that is to say—’
‘Do you love me, Dorothy?’
’Only think how ill Aunt Stanbury is, Mr Burgess; perhaps dying! How can I have any thought now except about her? It wouldn’t be right would it?’
‘You may say that you love me.’
’Mr Burgess, pray, pray don’t speak of it now. If you do I must go away.’
‘But do you love me?’
‘Pray, pray don’t, Mr Burgess!’
There was nothing more to be got from her during the whole day than that. He told her in the evening that as soon as Miss Stanbury was well, he would come again, that in any case he would come again. She sat quite still as he said this, with a solemn face but smiling at heart, laughing at heart, so happy! When she got up to leave him, and was forced to give him her hand, he seized her in his arms and kissed her. ‘That is very, very wrong,’ she said, sobbing, and then ran to her room the happiest girl in all Exeter. He was to start early on the following morning, and she knew that she would not be forced to see him again. Thinking of him was so much pleasanter than seeing him!
MR OUTHOUSE COMPLAINS THAT IT’S HARD
Life had gone on during the winter at St Diddulph’s Parsonage in a dull, weary, painful manner. There had come a letter in November from Trevelyan to his wife, saying that as he could trust neither her nor her uncle with the custody of his child, he should send a person armed with due legal authority, addressed to Mr Outhouse, for the recovery of the boy, and desiring that little Louis might be at once surrendered to the messenger. Then of course there had arisen great trouble in the house. Both Mrs Trevelyan and Nora Rowley had learned by this time that, as regarded the master of the house, they were not welcome guests at St Diddulph’s. When the threat was shewn to Mr Outhouse, he did not say a word to