might now give her a good turn; and some lies she must have told;--such had been the emergencies of her position! As she thought of it all she was glad that her aunt had met her; and when Lord Rufford was summoned to take her out to dinner on that very Sunday,--a matter as to which her aunt managed everything herself,--she was immediately aware that her lies had done her good service.
'This was more than I expected,' Lord Rufford said when they were seated.
'She knew that she had overdone it when she sent you away in that cavalier way,' replied Arabella, 'and now she wants to show that she didn't mean anything.'
THE DAY AT PELTRY
THE duchess did tell the duke the whole story about Lord Rufford and Arabella that night,--as to which it may be said that she also was false. But according to her conscience there were two ways of telling such a secret. As a matter of course she told her husband everything. That idle, placid, dinner-loving man was in truth consulted about each detail of the house and family;--but the secret was told to him with injunctions that he was to say nothing about it to any one for twenty-four hours. After that the duchess was of opinion that he should speak to Lord Rufford. 'What could I say to him?' asked the duke, 'I'm not her father.'
'But your brother is so indifferent.'
'No doubt. But that gives me no authority, If he does mean to marry the girl he must go to her father;--or it is possible that he might come to me. But if he does not mean it, what can I do?' He promised, however, that he would think of it.
It was still dark night, or the morning was still dark as night, when Arabella got out of bed and opened her window. The coming of a frost now might ruin her. The absence of it might give her everything in life that she wanted. Lord Rufford had promised her a tedious com