“I beg your pardon, ma’am,” said she, her voice still broken when she rejoined them, “but I would not interrupt you, so I waited within; and oh, it was so like my poor old mother at home, it quite overcame me! I did not think there was anything so near the angels left on earth.”
“Nay, Loveday,” said Fay, apprehending the words in a different sense, “the angels are just as near us as ever they were to Daniel, only we cannot see them. Are they not, Cousin Aura?”
“Indeed they are, and we may be as sure that they will shut the lions’ mouths,” said Aurelia.
“Ah! may they,” sighed Loveday, who had by this time mastered her agitation, and remembered that she must discharge herself of her messages, and return hastily to my Lady’s toilette.
“I have found the recipe,” said Aurelia. “Here it is.” And she put into Loveday’s hand a yellow letter, bearing the title in scribbled writing, “Poure Embellire et blanchire la Pel, de part de Maistre Raoul, Parfumeur de la Royne Catherine.”
The helmet of darkness Pallas donned,
To hide her presence from the sight of man.
The next morning Loveday returned with orders from Lady Belamour that Miss Delavie should translate the French recipe, and make a fair copy of it. It was not an easy task, for the MS. was difficult and the French old; whereas Aurelia lived on the modern side of the Acadamie, her French was that of Fenelon and Racine.
However, she went to work as best she could in her cool corner, guessing at many of the words by lights derived from Comenius, and had just made out that the chief ingredients were pounded pearls and rubies, mixed with white of eggs laid by pullets under a year old, during the waxing of the April moon, when she heard voices chattering in the hall, and a girlish figure appeared in a light cloak and calash, whom Loveday seemed to be guiding, and yet keeping as much repressed as she could.
“Gracious Heavens!” were the first words to be distinguished; “what a frightful old place; enough to make one die of the dismals! I won’t live here when I’m married, I promise Sir Amyas! Bless me, is this the wench?”
“Your Ladyship promised to be careful,” entreated Loveday, while Aurelia rose, with a graceful gesture of acknowledgment, which, however remained unnoticed, the lady apparently considering herself unseen.
“Who are these little girls?” asked she, in a giggling whisper. “Little Waylands? Then it is true,” she cried, with a peal of shrill laughter. “There are three of them, only Lady Belamour shuts them up like kittens—I wonder she did not. Oh, what sport! Won’t I tease her now that I know her secret!”
“Your ladyship!” intreated Loveday in distress in an audible aside, “you will undo me.” Then coming forward, she said, “You did not expect me at this hour, madam; but if your French copy be finished, my Lady would like to have it at once.”