"Here am I once more," said Mr. Scantlebray, walking into Othello Cottage with a rap at the door but without waiting for an invitation to enter. "Come back like the golden summer, but at a quicker rate. How are you all? I left you rather curtly—without having had time to pay my proper congé.
Judith and Jamie were sitting over the fire. No candle had been lighted, for, though a good many things had been brought over to Othello Cottage for their use, candles had been forgotten, and Judith did not desire to ask for more than was furnished her, certainly not to go to the Glaze for the things needed. They had a fire, but not one that blazed. It was of drift-wood, that smouldered and would not flame, and as it burned emitted a peculiar odor.
Jamie was in good spirits, he chattered and laughed, and Judith made pretence that she listened, but her mind was absent, she had cares that had demands on every faculty of her mind. Moreover, now and then her thoughts drifted off to a picture that busy fancy painted and dangled before them—of Portugal, with its woods of oranges, golden among the burnished leaves, and its vines hung with purple grapes—with its glowing sun, its blue glittering sea—and, above all, she mused on the rest from fears, the cessation from troubles which would have ensued, had there been a chance for her to accept the offer made, and to have left the Cornish coast for ever.
Looking into the glowing ashes, listening to her thoughts as they spoke, and seeming to attend to the prattle of the boy, Judith was surprised by the entry of Mr. Scantlebray.
"There—disengaged, that is capital," said the agent. "The very thing I hoped. And now we can have a talk.