‘What Lord Peterborough’s son? Oh, dear, yes. Such a singular being!’
Lady Rowley thought that she could perceive that her phoenix had not made himself agreeable at the embassy. It might perhaps be that he had buried himself away from society because of his love. ’And is here now?’ asked Lady Rowley.
’I cannot say at all. He is sometimes here and sometimes with his father at Naples. But when here, he lives chiefly with the Americans. They say he is going to marry an American girl their minister’s niece. There are three of-them, I think, and he is to take the eldest.’ Lady Rowley asked no more questions, and let her august visitor go, almost without another word.
‘We shall be so poor’
Mr Glascock at that moment was not only in Florence, but was occupying rooms in the very hotel in which the Rowleys were staying. Lady Rowley, when she heard that he was engaged to marry an American lady, became suddenly very sick at heart sick with a sickness that almost went beyond her heart. She felt ill, and was glad to be alone. The rumour might be untrue. Such rumours generally are untrue. But then, as Lady Rowley knew very well, they generally have some foundation in truth. Mr Glascock, if he were not actually engaged to the American girl, had probably been flirting with her and, if so, where was that picture which Lady Rowley had been painting for herself of a love-lorn swain to be brought back to the pleasures and occupations of the world only by the girl of whom he was enamoured? But still she would not quite give up the project. Mr Glascock, if he was in Italy, would no doubt see by the newspapers that Sir Marmaduke and his family were in Florence and would probably come to them. Then, if Nora would only behave herself, the American girl might still be conquered.
During two or three days after this nothing was seen or heard of Mr Glascock. Had Lady Rowley thought of mentioning the name to the waiter at the hotel, she would have learned that he was living in the next passage; but it did not occur to her to seek information in that fashion. Nor did she ask direct questions in other quarters about Mr Glascock himself. She did, however, make inquiry about Americans living in Florence, especially about the American Minister and, before a week had passed overhead, had been introduced to the Spaldings. Mrs Spalding was very civil, and invited Lady Rowley and all the girls and Sir Marmaduke to come to her on her ‘Fridays.’ She received her friends every Friday, and would continue to do so till the middle of June. She had nieces who would, she said, be so happy to make the acquaintance of the Miss Rowleys.