‘I ought to be very proud,’ said Nora.
’I think you ought, as Mr Glascock is a man whose good opinion is certainly worth having. Here he is. Mr Glascock, I hope your ears are tingling. They ought to do so, because we are saying all manner of fine things about you.’
’I could not be well spoken of by two on whose good word I should set a higher value,’ said he.
‘And whose do you value the most?’ said Caroline.
‘I must first know whose eulogium will run the highest.’
Then Nora answered him. ’Mr Glascock, other people may praise you louder than I can do, but no one will ever do so with more sincerity.’ There was a pretty earnestness about her as she spoke, which Lady Rowley ought to have heard. Mr Glascock bowed, and Miss Spalding smiled, and Nora blushed.
‘If you are not overwhelmed now,’ said Miss Spalding, ’you must be so used to flattery, that it has no longer any effect upon you. You must be like a drunkard, to whom wine is as water, and who thinks that brandy is not strong enough.’
‘I think I had better go away,’ said Mr Glascock, ’for fear the brandy should be watered by degrees.’ And so he left them.
Nora had become quite aware, without much process of thinking about it, that her former lover and this American young lady were very intimate with each other. The tone of the conversation had shewn that it was so and, then, how had it come to pass that Mr Glascock had spoken to this American girl about her, Nora Rowley? It was evident that he had spoken of her with warmth, and had done so in a manner to impress his hearer. For a minute or two they sat together in silence after Mr Glascock had left them, but neither of them stirred. Then Caroline Spalding turned suddenly upon Nora, and took her by the hand. ’I must tell you something,’ said she, ‘only it must be a secret for awhile.’
‘I will not repeat it.’
’Thank you, dear. I am engaged to him as his wife. He asked me this very afternoon, and nobody knows it but my aunt. When I had accepted him, he told me all the story about you. He had very often spoken of you before, and I had guessed how it must have been. He wears his heart so open for those whom he loves, that there is nothing concealed. He had seen you just before he came to me. But perhaps I am wrong to tell you that now. He ought to have been thinking of you again at such a time.’
‘I did not want him to think of me again.’
’Of course you did not. Of course I am joking. You might have been his wife if you wished it. He has told me all that. And he especially wants us to be friends. Is there anything to prevent it?’
’On my part? Oh, dear, no except that you will be such grand folk, and we shall be so poor.’
‘We!’ said Caroline, laughing. ‘I am so glad that there is a “we."’