Vernon had watched his opportunity, and at the first sound of the piano had gained Lucretia's side, and with grave politeness pre-engaged her hand for the opening dance.
Although it was probably merely the name Lucretia which Ariosto and other poets used comparing it with the classic ideal of feminine honor it is, nevertheless, difficult wholly to reject the interpretation of Lucretia's modern advocates, for, even when this comparison was not made, other admirers Ariosto especially praised the beautiful duchess for her decorum.
Her handwriting is not uniform; sometimes it has strong lines which remind us of the striking, energetic writing of her father; at others it is sharp and fine like that of Vittoria Colonna. None of Lucretia's letters indicate that she fully understood Latin, and her father once stated that she had not mastered that language.
The name, indeed, was unknown to them, nor could they conjecture the bearer of so ordinary a patronymic; but there had been secrets enough in Lucretia's life to render her apprehensive of encountering those who had known her in earlier years; and Varney feared lest any rumour reported to St. John might create his mistrust, or lessen the hold obtained upon a victim heretofore so unsuspicious.
The name of that place magic name, once so replete with visions of happiness and content seemed to recall Cynthia's spirit from its flight. Yes, the spirit was there, for it flashed in her eyes as she turned and looked into Miss Lucretia's face. "Are these the articles you read?" she asked; taking the clippings from her muff. Miss Lucretia put on her spectacles.
Lucretia's interview with her uncle was a masterpiece of art. What pity that such craft and subtlety were wasted in our little day, and on such petty objects; under the Medici, that spirit had gone far to the shaping of history.
"It must be that," concurred the Trainer, but in a hesitating tone that showed he was not more than half satisfied. "You backed the stable?" queried Allis, as an afterthought. "Yes, an' Lauzanne'll have a chance to-day to show whether he's worth the pencil that wrote his name beside Lucretia's." "You are starting him to-day? I had almost forgotten that he was entered."
Lucretia's win would put everything right; even her father, relieved of financial worry, would improve. The bright morning seemed to whisper of victory; Lucretia would surely win. It was not within the laws of fate that they should go on forever and ever having bad luck. She had come to have a reassuring look at the grand little mare that was to turn the tide of all their evil fortune.
Lucretia hailed it, though she saw the cause, Susan shrank from the name of Mainwaring on Lucretia's lips; shrank from the familiar intercourse so ruthlessly forced on her! With a bright eye, that day, Lucretia met her lover; yet she would not tell him of Susan's intended departure, she had not the courage. Dalibard was foiled.
This contradiction in Lucretia's temper, so suspicious, so determined, puzzled even his penetration. He saw that bolder tactics were required. He waylaid Mainwaring on the young man's way to his lodgings, and after talking to him on indifferent matters, asked him carelessly whether he did not think Susan far gone in a decline.