Madame Fribsby and Mirobolant were on their way home in the Clavering fly; Laura was in bed with an easy heart and asleep at Lady Rockminster's; and the Claverings at rest at the inn at Baymouth, where they had quarters for the night. A short time after the disturbance between Pen and the chef, Blanche had come out of the refreshment-room, looking as pale as a lemon-ice.
Pen of course had to go and see his uncle on the day after their colloquy, and not being admitted, he naturally went to Lady Rockminster's apartments, where the old lady instantly asked for Bluebeard, and insisted that he should come to dinner.
"Do you know about the Parliament plan, then?" Pen asked. "Know? all the world knows! I have heard it talked about many times. Lady Rockminster's doctor talked about it to-day. I daresay it will be in the Chatteris paper to-morrow. It is all over the county that Sir Francis Clavering, of Clavering, is going to retire, in behalf of Mr.
Also, refreshments of a superior class were here ready for the ladies and gentlemen of the county families who came to the ball; but the commoner sort of persons were kept out of the room by a waiter who stood at the portal, and who said that was a select room for Lady Clavering and Lady Rockminster's parties, and not to be opened to the public till supper-time, which was not to be until past midnight.
"God bless you!" he said, "I want to speak to you I must speak to you Let me dance with you." "Not for three dances, dear Pen," she said, smiling: and he fell back, biting his nails with vexation, and forgetting to salute Pynsent. After Lady Rockminster's party, Lady Clavering's followed in the procession.
He pacified Lionel with the news; for, if he went along to the Universities Club at half-past eight, he must surely be able to place the money in Lord Rockminster's own hands. "Maurice, you're awfully kind," his friend murmured. "And you've had nothing to eat all day. Tell Mrs. Jenkins to get you something " "Oh, that's all right," Mangan said, carelessly.
The cabman, although a hansom-cabman, said Thank you for the gratuity which was put into his hand, and Pen ran up the stairs of the hotel to Lady Rockminster's apartments. Laura was alone in the drawing-room, reading, with a pale face, by the lamp. The pale face looked up when Pen opened the door. May we follow him? The great moments of life are but moments like the others.
So that before Miss Bell had been a year in Lady Rockminster's house, there was not a single person in it whose love she had not won by the use of this talisman. From the old lady to the lowest dependent of her bounty, Laura had secured the good-will and kindness of every body.
Nothing, indeed, could be more bland and kind than Lady Rockminster's whole demeanor, except for one moment when the major talked about his boy throwing himself away, at which her ladyship broke out into a little speech, in which she made the major understand, what poor Pen and his friends acknowledged very humbly, that Laura was a thousand times too good for him.
"If Lady Rockminster asks you herself, will you listen to her?" Pynsent cried, eagerly. "No," Laura said. "I beg you never to speak of this any more. I must go away if you do;" and with this she left him. Pynsent never asked for Lady Rockminster's intercession; he knew how vain it was to look for that: and he never spoke again on that subject to Laura or to any person.