‘And Bella knows it.’
‘Not a word of it.’
’She does. I am sure she does. But it is all nothing. I will not accept it. He cannot treat me so. I will drag him there, but he shall come.’
‘You can’t make him, my dear.’
’I will make him. And you would help me, mamma, if you had any spirit. What, a fortnight before the time, when the things are all bought! Look at the presents that have been sent! Mamma, he doesn’t know me. And he never would have done it, if it had not been for Bella, never. She had better take care, or there shall be such a tragedy that nobody ever heard the like. If she thinks that she is going to be that man’s wife she is mistaken.’ Then there was a pause for a moment.
‘Mamma,’ she said, ’I shall go to him at once. I do not care in the least what anybody may say. I shall go to him at once.’ Mrs French felt that at this moment it was best that she should be silent.
THE ROWLEYS GO OVER THE ALPS
By the thirteenth of May the Rowley family had established itself in Florence, purposing to remain either there or at the baths of Lucca till the end of June, at which time it was thought that Sir Marmaduke should begin to make preparations for his journey back to the Islands. Their future prospects were not altogether settled. It was not decided whether Lady Rowley should at once return with him, whether Mrs Trevelyan should return with him, nor was it settled among them what should be the fate of Nora Rowley. Nora Rowley was quite resolved herself that she would not go back to the Islands, and had said as much to her mother. Lady Rowley had not repeated this to Sir Marmaduke, and was herself in doubt as to what might best be done. Girls are understood by their mothers better than they are by their fathers. Lady Rowley was beginning to be aware that Nora’s obstinacy was too strong to be overcome by mere words, and that other steps must be taken if she were to be weaned from her pernicious passion for Hugh Stanbury. Mr Glascock was still in Florence. Might she not be cured by further overtures from Mr Glascock? The chance of securing such a son-in-law was so important, so valuable, that no trouble was too great to be incurred, even though the probability of success might not be great.
It must not, however, be supposed that Lady Rowley carried off all the family to Italy, including Sir Marmaduke, simply in chase of Mr Glascock. Anxious as she was on the subject, she was too proud, and also too well-conditioned, to have suggested to herself such a journey with such an object. Trevelyan had escaped from Willesden with the child, and they had heard again through Stanbury that he had returned to Italy. They had all agreed that it would be well that they should leave London for awhile, and see something of the continent; and when it was told to them that little Louis was probably in Florence,