Page:The Lesson of the Master, The Marriages, The Pupil, Brooksmith, The Solution, Sir Edmund Orme (New York & London, Macmillan & Co., 1892).djvu/267

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
253
THE SOLUTION.

mannerly appeal to her. Montaut amused himself with again taking up his habits under her roof; the entertainment might surely have seemed mild to a man of his temper, but he let me know that it was richer than it had ever been before—poor Wilmerding showed such a face there. When I answered that it was just his face that I didn't want to see, he declared that I was the best sport of all, with my tergiversations and superstitions. He pronounced Veronica très-embellie and said that he was only waiting for her to be married to make love to her himself. I wrote to Mrs. Rushbrook that I couldn't say she had served me very well, and that now the Goldies had quitted her neighbourhood I was in despair of her doing anything. She took no notice of my letter, and I availed myself of the very first Sunday to drive out to Albano and breakfast with her. Riding across the Campagna now suddenly appeared to me too hot and too vain.

Mrs. Rushbrook told me she had not replied to me because she was about to return to Rome: she expected to see me almost as soon as, with the Holy Father's postal arrangements, a letter would be delivered to me. Meanwhile she couldn't pretend that she had done any thing for me; and she confessed that the more she thought of what I wanted the more difficult it seemed. She added however that she now had a project, which she declined to disclose to me. She contradicted herself a little, for she said at one moment that she hadn't the heart to spoil poor Veronica's happiness and at the next that it was precisely to carry out her device (such a secret as it was, even from the girl!) that she had decided to quit Albano earlier than she had intended.

"How can you spoil Veronica's happiness when she won't have any happiness? How can she have any