before she had even taken off her hat, she sat down to think of it all,--sending her maid away meanwhile to fetch her a cup of tea. He must have meant it for an offer. There had, at any rate, been enough to justify her in so taking it. The present he had made her of the horse could mean nothing else. Under no other circumstances would it be possible that she should either take the horse or use him. Certainly it was an offer, and as such she would instruct her uncle to use it. Then she allowed her imagination to revel in thoughts of Rufford Hall, of the Rufford house in town, and a final end to all those weary labours which she would thus have brought to so glorious a termination.
LORD RUFFORD WANTS TO SEE A HORSE
LORD RUFFORD had been quite right about the duchess. Arabella had only taken off her hat, and was drinking her tea when the duchess came up to her. ' Lord Rufford says that you were too tired to come in,' said the duchess.
'I am tired, aunt;--very tired. But there is nothing the matter with me. We had to ride ever so far coming home, and it was that knocked me up.'
'It was very bad, your coming home with him in a postchaise, Arabella.' 'Why was it bad, aunt? I thought it very nice.' 'My dear, it shouldn't have been done. You ought to have known that. I certainly wouldn't have had you here had I thought that there would be anything of the kind.'
'It is going to be, all right,' said Arabella, laughing. According to her grace's view of things it was not and could not be made 'all right.' It would not have been all right were the girl to become Lady Rufford to-morrow. The scandal, or loud reproach due to evil doings, may be silenced by subsequent conduct. The merited punishment may not come visibly. But nothing happening after