MOLLY BAWN. 279
should never have been placed upon my list. Let me pray you
to go away now, to leave Herst entirely for the present,
because it would be out of the question my seeing you
again—at least until time has convinced you of your folly.
You are an old friend, Talbot, and I would willingly try
and forget all tiiat has happened to-day, or at all events to
remember it only as a passing madness.'
'Am I a boy, a fool, that yon speak to me like this?'
cries he, catching her hand to detain her as she moves
away. ' And why do you talk of " insult" ? I only urge
you to exchange indifference for love—the indifference of a
husband who cares no more for you than for the gravel at
' And pray, sir, by what rule do you measure the
amount of my regard for Lady Stafford 1' exclaims Sir Pen¬
thony, walking through an open space in the privet hedge
that skirts this corner of the garden, where he has been
spellbound for the last two minutes. A short time, no
doubt, though a great deal can be said in it.
He is positively livid, and has his eyes fixed, not on his
enemy, but on his wife.
Lowry changes colour, but gives way not an inch; he
also tightens his grasp on Cecil's unwUling hand, and throws
up his head defiantly,
' Let my wife's hand go directly,' says Stafford, in a low
but furious tone, advancing.
By a quick movement Cecil wrenches herself free and
gets between the two men. She does not fling herself, she
simply gets there, almost—as it seems—without moving.
' Not another word. Sir Penthony,' she says quietly.
'I forbid it. I will have no scene. Mr. Lowry has be¬
haved foolishly, but I desire that nothing more be said
about it. Go'—turning to Lowry, who is frowning omin¬
ously, and pointing imperiously to a distant gate—' and do
as I asked you a few moments since—leave Herst without
So strong is her determination to avoid an eselandre,
and so masterly is her manner of carrying out her will, that
both men instinctively obey her. Sir Penthony lowers his
eyes and shifts his aggressive position; Lowry, with bent
head, and without another word, walks away from her down
the garden-path out of the gate, and disappears—for years.