The two men stood upon the top of a bank bordering the rough road which led to the sea. They were listening to the lark, which had risen fluttering from their feet a moment or so ago, and was circling now above their heads. Mannering, with a quiet smile, pointed upwards. "There, my friend!" he exclaimed. "You can listen now to arguments more eloquent than any which I could ever frame.
"Any party that adopted such means would completely alienate my sympathies. No, my dear Sir Leslie, don't stoop to such low-down means. Mannering is honest, but infatuated. Win him back by fair means, if you can, but don't attempt anything of the sort you are suggesting. I, too, know his history, from his own lips. Any one who tried to use it against him, would forfeit my friendship!"
'A vile greasy scrawl, indeed; and the letters are uncial or semi-uncial, as somebody calls your large text hand, and in size and perpendicularity resemble the ribs of a roasted pig; I can hardly make it out. 'Read aloud, said Mannering. 'I will try, answered the Lawyer. A most mystic epistle truly, and closes in a vein of poetry worthy of the Cumaean sibyl. And what have you done?
'Count no man happy till his death'; 'Count nothing finished till the end'; tags of this kind were running through her mind, while she smiled a little over the compliments that Sir Henry had been paying her. He could not express, he said, the relief with which he had heard of her return to Mannering.
Ay," continued he, shutting his eyes and speaking to himself, "we must pass over his father, and serve him heir to his grandfather Lewis, the entailer; the only wise man of his family, that I ever heard of." They had now risen to retire to their apartments for the night, when Colonel Mannering walked up to Bertram, as he stood astonished at the Counsellor's words.
'What, in the name of Sathan, are ye feared for, wi' your French gibberish, that would make a dog sick? Listen, ye stickit stibbler, to what I tell ye, or ye sail rue it while there's a limb o' ye hings to anither! Tell Colonel Mannering that I ken he's seeking me.
'Lord, papa, replied Miss Mannering, 'think how entangled all my ideas are, and you to propose to comb them out in a few minutes! If Mincing were to do so in her department she would tear half the hair out of my head. 'Well then, tell me, said the Colonel, 'where the entanglement lies, which I will try to extricate with due gentleness?
It isn't so bad as he makes out, I suppose?" "It is not so bad as that," Mannering answered, "but it is bad enough." "What became of the woman?" Fardell asked. "Parkins's mistress, I mean?" "She is my wife," Mannering answered. Fardell threw out his hands with a little gesture of despair. "We must get him away from here," he said. "If Polden gets hold of him you might as well resign at once.
"There is no man whose personal place cannot be filled. But one thing is very certain. Mannering is the only man who unites both sides of our scattered party, the only man under whom Fergusson and Johns would both serve. You know quite well the curse which has rested upon us. We have become a party of units, and our whole effectiveness is destroyed. We want welding into one entity.
'No, indeed there is nothing else except indeed that you won't expect me to hide what I feel about the war and the little we at home can do to help Her voice failed a little. The Squire said nothing. She went on, with a clearing countenance. 'So if you really wish it I will stay, Mr. Mannering and try to help you all I can. It was splendid of you to give up your plans.