“Would that she had! Or would that I had sooner discovered my own entire recovery, which I owe in very truth to the sweet being who has brought new life alike of body and mind to me, and who must think I have requited her so cruelly.”
CHAPTER XXVII. CYTHEREA’S BOWER.
There Citherea, goddesse was
Honourid highly for her majeste,
And eke her sonne, the mighty god I weene,
Cupid the blinde, that for his dignite
A M lovers worshipp on ther kne.
There was I bid on pain of dethe to pere,
By Mercury, the winged messengre.—CHAUCER.
By twelve o’clock on the ensuing day Mr. Belamour, with Eugene and Jumbo, was set down at a hotel near Whitehall, to secure apartments, while the Major went on to demand his daughter from Lady Belamour, taking with him Betty, whom he allowed to be a much better match for my Lady than he could be. Very little faith in his cousin Urania remained to him in the abstract, yet even now he could not be sure that she would not talk him over and hoodwink him in any actual encounter. Sir Amyas likewise accompanied him, both to gratify his own anxiety and to secure admission. The young man still looked pale and worn with restless anxiety; but he had, in spite of remonstrances, that morning discarded his sling, saying that he should return to his quarters. Let his Colonel do his worst the; he had still more liberty than if compelled to return to his mother’s house.
Lady Belamour had, on her second marriage, forsaken her own old hereditary mansion in the Strand, where Sir Jovian had died, and which, she said, gave her the vapours. Mr. Wayland, whose wealth far exceeded her own, had purchased one of the new houses in Hanover Square, the fashionable quarter and very much admired; but the Major regretted the gloomy dignity of the separate enclosure and walled court of Delavie House, whereas the new one, in modern fashion, had only an area and steps between the front and the pavement.
The hall door stood wide open, with a stately porter within, and lackeys planted about at intervals. Grey descended from the box, and after some inquiry, brought word that “her Ladyship was at breakfast,” then, at a sign from his master, opened the carriage door. Sir Amyas, taking Betty by the tips of her fingers, led her forward, receiving by the way greetings and inquiries from the servants, whose countenances showed him to be a welcome arrival.
“Is it a reception day, Maine?” he asked of a kind of major-domo whom he met on the top of the broad stairs.
“No, your honour.”
“Is company with her ladyship?”
“No, not company, sir,” with a certain hesitation, which damped Betty’s satisfaction in the first assurance.