The porter took up the box, and departed, and Aurelia was left with her new companion sniffing all round the room, much excited by the neighbourhood of his natural enemies. However, he obeyed her call, and let her make friends, and read the name on the brass plate upon his collar. When she read “Sir A. Belamour, Bart.,” she took the little dog in her arms and kissed it’s white head.
Being fairly rested, and having no task to accomplish, she felt the day much longer, though less solitary, in the companionship of the dog, to whom she whispered many fond compliments, and vain questions as to his name. With him at her heels and Madge and her cats safely shut into the kitchen, she took courage to wander about the dull court, and then to explore the mansion and try to get a view from the higher windows, in case they were not shuttered up like the lower ones. The emptiness of Bowstead was nothing to this, and she smiled to herself at having thought herself a prisoner there.
Most of the rooms were completely dismantled, or had only ghastly rags of torn leather or tapestry hanging to their walls. The upper windows, however, were merely obscured by dust and cobwebs. Her own bedroom windows only showed the tall front of an opposite house, but climbing to the higher storey, she could see at the back over the garden wall the broad sheet of the Thames, covered with boats and wherries, and the banks provided with steps and stairs, at the opening of every street on the opposite side, where she beheld a confused mass of trees, churches, and houses. Nearer, the view to the westward was closed in by a stately edifice which she did not know to be Somerset House; and from another window on the east side of the house she saw, over numerous tiled roofs, a gateway which she guessed to be Temple Bar, and a crowded thoroughfare, where the people looked like ants, toiling towards the great dome that rose in the misty distance. Was this the way she was to see London?
Coming down with a lagging step, she met Madge’s face peering up. “Humph! there you be, my fine miss! No gaping after sweethearts from the window, or it will be the worse for you.”
The terrier growled, as having already adopted his young lady’s defence, and Aurelia, dreading a perilous explosion of his zeal in her cause, hurried him into her parlour.
CHAPTER XXXI. THE SECOND TASK.
Hope no more,
Since thou art furnished with hidden lore,
To ’scape thy due reward if any day
Without some task accomplished passed away.