He was at once placed upon his guard, telling himself that he saw the necessity of holding by his child. How could he tell? Might there not be policemen down from Florence, ready round the house, to seize the boy and carry him away. Though all his remaining life should be a torment to him, though infinite plagues should be poured upon his head, though he should die like a dog, alone, unfriended, and in despair, while he was fighting this battle of his, he would not give way. ’That is sufficient,’ he said. ‘Louey must return now to his own chamber.’
‘I may go with him?’
’No, Emily. You cannot go with him now. I will thank you to release him, that I may take him.’ She still held the little fellow closely pressed in her arms. ’Do not reward me for my courtesy by further disobedience,’ he said.
‘You will let me come again?’ To this he made no reply. ’Tell me that I may come again.’
‘I do not think that I shall remain here long.’
‘And I may not stay now?’
‘That would be impossible. There is no accommodation for you.’
‘I could sleep on the boards beside his cot,’ said Mrs Trevelyan.
‘That is my place,’ he replied. ’You may know that he is not disregarded. With my own hands I tend him every morning. I take him out myself. I feed him myself. He says his prayers to me. He learns from me, and can say his letters nicely. You need not fear for him. No mother was ever more tender with her child than I am with him.’ Then he gently withdrew the boy from her arms, and she let her child go, lest he should learn to know that there was a quarrel between his father and his mother. ‘If you will excuse me,’ he said, ’I will not come down to you again today. My servant will see you to your carriage.’
So he left her; and she, with an Italian girl at her heels, got into her vehicle, and was taken back to Siena. There she passed the night alone at the inn, and on the next morning returned to Florence by the railway.
‘Will they despise him?’
Gradually the news of the intended marriage between Mr Glascock and Miss Spalding spread itself over Florence, and people talked about it with that energy which subjects of such moment certainly deserve. That Caroline Spalding had achieved a very great triumph, was, of course, the verdict of all men and of all women; and I fear that there was a corresponding feeling that poor Mr Glascock had been triumphed over, and, as it were, subjugated. In some respects he had been remiss in his duties as a bachelor visitor to Florence, as a visitor to Florence who had manifestly been much in want of a wife. He had not given other girls a fair chance, but had thrown himself down at the feet of this American female in the weakest possible manner. And then it got about the town that he had been refused over and over again by Nora