5. CHAPTER V
My hand dropped from the curtain. But don't suppose--oh, don't suppose--
that the dreadful embarrassment of my situation was the uppermost
idea in my mind! So fervent still was the sisterly interest
I felt in Mr. Godfrey, that I never stopped to ask myself why
he was not at the concert. No! I thought only of the words--
the startling words--which had just fallen from his lips.
He would do it to-day. He had said, in a tone of terrible resolution,
he would do it to-day. What, oh what, would he do? Something even
more deplorably unworthy of him than what he had done already?
Would he apostatise from the faith? Would he abandon us at
the Mothers'-Small-Clothes? Had we seen the last of his angelic
smile in the committee-room? Had we heard the last of his unrivalled
eloquence at Exeter Hall? I was so wrought up by the bare idea
of such awful eventualities as these in connection with such a man,
that I believe I should have rushed from my place of concealment,
and implored him in the name of all the Ladies' Committees in
London to explain himself--when I suddenly heard another voice
in the room. It penetrated through the curtains; it was loud,
it was bold, it was wanting in every female charm. The voice of
"Why have you come up here, Godfrey?" she asked. "Why didn't you
go into the library?"
He laughed softly, and answered, "Miss Clack is in the library."
"Clack in the library!" She instantly seated herself on the ottoman
in the back drawing-room. "You are quite right, Godfrey. We had much
better stop here."
I had been in a burning fever, a moment since, and in some
doubt what to do next. I became extremely cold now, and felt
no doubt whatever. To show myself, after what I had heard,
was impossible. To retreat--except into the fireplace--
was equally out of the question. A martyrdom was before me.
In justice to myself, I noiselessly arranged the curtains
so that I could both see and hear. And then I met my martyrdom,
with the spirit of a primitive Christian.
"Don't sit on the ottoman," the young lady proceeded.
"Bring a chair, Godfrey. I like people to be opposite to me
when I talk to them."