When that lady awoke at the usual hour, and heard no sound of stir, she put on her dressing-gown, and went, in the anger of a housekeeper, to Letty's room: there, to her amazement and horror, she saw the bed had lain all the night expectant. She hurried thence to the room occupied by the girl who was the cause of the mischief.
To which opinion of Aunt Letty's, as well as to some others entertained by that lady with much pertinacity, I cannot subscribe myself as an adherent. Lady Desmond had wit enough to discover that Aunt Letty did agree with her in the main, and on this account she was eager in seeking her assistance.
She resolved at last, and seemed to gain strength and some peace from the resolve, to do all in her power to avoid Tom; and certainly not once did she try to meet him. Not with him, she could resist him. Thus it went on. Her aunt saw that something was amiss, and watched her, without attempt at concealment, which added greatly to Letty's discomfort.
He remembered her in many solemn prayers, and such words as "this was dear Letty's book:" or, "this was a prayer which dear Letty was accustomed to say," were found written by him in many of her books of devotion. Mrs.
Now the path to Letty's heart through her intellect was neither open nor well trodden; but the song in question was a winged one, and flew straight thither; there was something in the tone of it that suited the pitch of her spirit-chamber. And, if Letty's heart was not easily found, it was the readier to confess itself when found.
He would have to make a clean breast of the whole affair to Letty. Then she could do as she pleased about their future intimacy. Seated in Letty's comfortable boudoir one afternoon, facing a vision of loveliness in pale yellow, he decided that he might as well have it out with her. She would understand.
Letty's notions got higher every day, and Penny never dared to speak of her cherished griefs to her lofty sister never dared to propose that they should call at Mr. Freely's to buy liquorice, though she had prepared for such an incident by mentioning a slight sore throat.
Two things had combined to produce this change of purpose the first, the state of his boots, which, beginning to dry in the sun and wind as he walked, grew more and more hideous at the end of his new gray trousers; the other, the occurring suspicion that the girl must be Letty's new shopkeeping friend, Miss Marston, on her way to visit her.
But the widening of the breach which Letty's refusal brought about only made his own position between the two women the more disagreeable to a man whose ideal of a home was that it should be a place of perpetual soothing and amusement. On the very morning of their departure for Castle Luton matters reached a small crisis.
Now we come back to where we began this chapter, the early morning of the next day, and Serena's and Letty's bustling in the pantry to have a basket of luncheon ready, so that the boating party need not lose the tide; the boating party itself at breakfast in the dining-room; Mary Beck in a transport of delight sitting by her window at the other side of the street, all ready to rush out the minute she saw Betty appear.
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