Page:Court Royal.djvu/342

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

shut, and the curtains drawn. The servants had looked in, but had not liked to disturb him.

His sister partially opened one of the shutters, so that a ray of light entered. Then she drew a chair beside the sofa, and sat down by her brother’s head.

Presently he woke. Her gentle, pitiful, loving eyes, resting on his worn face, had disturbed him. He looked round and sat up.

‘Grace!’ he said, and brushed his hands over his brow to collect his senses.

‘Yes, dear, I am here.’

‘I thought I was visited by an angel.’

She was in a light print morning gown, her face was pale, and in the dimness of the room might well have been thus mistaken.

‘Uncle Ronald, Worthivale, and I have been keeping up quite a revel,’ he said.

She looked round; there were no glasses on the table, but plenty of papers scribbled over with calculations.

‘This looks sadly dissipated,’ he said; ‘I am sorry you see me and my room in such a condition, Grace.’

‘Oh, Herbert! do not think to deceive me. I know well what it means. All hope gone. Everything lost. Is it not so?’

He did not answer.

‘Yes, brother, I know the worst, and I am glad that I do. I have not slept at all. I was sure you and the dear uncles were restless through trouble. I have come to you thus early to set your mind at ease. The house need not be sold, the servants need not receive notice. All is not lost. E tenebris lux.’

‘I see no light.’

‘It is coming.’

‘Who will bring it?’

‘I daresay I shall.’

‘You, dear sister?’ said Lord Saltcombe with a laugh. ‘Do you remember the little snipe that supposed it could stay up the heavens with its feet, when the thunder rolled, and it thought they were falling? It said, “I, even I, will uphold the skies.”’