And now the glorious artist, ere he yet
Had reached the Lemnian Isle, limping, returned;
With aching heart he sought his home.
How were they to get the slumbering maiden home? That was the next question. Loveday advised carrying her direct to her old prison, where she would wake without alarm; but Sir Amyas shuddered at the notion, and Betty said she could not take her again into a house of Lady Belamour’s.
The watermen, who were enthusiastic in the cause, which they understood as that of one young sweetheart rescued by the other, declared that they would carry the sweet lady between them on the cushions of their boat, laid on stretchers; and as they knew of a land-place near the Royal York, with no need of crossing any great thoroughfare, Betty thought this the best chance of taking her sister home without a shock.
The boat from Woolwich had shot London Bridge immediately after them, and stopped at the stairs nearest that where they landed; and just as Sir Amyas, with an exclamation of annoyance at his unserviceable arm, had resigned Aurelia to be lifted on to her temporary litter, a hand was laid on his shoulder, a voice said “Amyas, what means this?” and he found himself face to face with a small, keen-visaged, pale man, with thick grizzled brows overhanging searching dark grey eyes, shaded by a great Spanish hat.
“Sir! oh sir, is it you?” he cried, breathlessly; “now all will be well!”
“I am very glad you think so, Amyas,” was the grave answer; “for all this has a strange appearance.”
“It is my dearest wife, sir, my wife, whom I have just recovered after —Oh, say, sir, if you think all is well with her, and it is only a harmless sleeping potion. Sister—Betty—this is my good father, Mr. Wayland. He is as good as a physician. Let him see my sweetest life.”