Gladly she departed, after an exchange of curtsies, happily not hearing the words behind her:—
“An artful young minx.”
“And imagine the impudence of securing Jumbo’s attendance, forsooth!”
“Nay,” said Mrs. Hunter, “she seemed to me a pretty modest young gentlewoman enough.”
“Pretty! Yes, she comes of my Lady’s own stock, and will be just such another.”
“Yes; it is quite plain that it is true that my Lady sent her here because she had been spreading the white apron for the young baronet.”
“And now she is trying her arts on poor cousin Amyas Belamour. You heard how she would take no advice, and replied with impertinence.”
“Shall you give my Lady a hint?”
“Not I. I have been treated with too much insolence by Lady Belamour to interfere with her again,” said Mrs. Phoebe, drawing herself up; “I shall let things take their course unless I can remonstrate with my own kinsman.”
CHAPTER XIII. THE FLUTTER OF HIS WINGS.
Then is Love’s hour
Oh, how he flies away!—T. MOORE.
Meanwhile Aurelia, mounted on a pair of pattens brought by the negro to keep her above the dew, was crossing the park by the light of a fine hunter’s moon, Jumbo marching at a respectful distance in the rear. He kept on chuckling to himself with glee, and when she looked round at him, he informed her with great exultation that “Mas’r had not been alone. His honour had been to see him. Mas’r so glad.”
“Sir Amyas!” exclaimed Aurelia: “Is he there still?”
“No, missie. He went away before supper.”
“Did he see the young ladies?”
“Oh, yes, missie. He came before mas’r up, quite promiskius,” said Jumbo, who loved a long word. “I tell him, wait till mas’r be dress, and took him to summer parlour. He see little missies out in garden; ask what chil’ren it was. His Hounour’s sisters, Miss Fay, Missie Letty, Missie Amy, I say! His Honour wonder. ‘My sisters,’ he say, ‘my sisters here,’ and out he goes like a flash of lightning and was in among them.”
Aurelia’s first thought was “Oh, I hope they were clean and neat, and that they behaved themselves. I wish I had been at home.” Wherewith followed the recollection that Sir Amyas had been called her beau, and her cheeks burnt; but the recent disagreeable lecture on etiquette showed her that it would only have led to embarrassment and vexation to have had any question of an interview with a young gentleman by so little her elder. Nor would she have known what to say to him. Old Mr. Belamour in the dark was a very different matter, and she had probably had an escape from much awkwardness.