We heard the wheels of the dog-cart crashing on the gravel of the drive as we came into the hall. Sir Percival had started on his journey.
"Where is he going to, Marian?" Laura whispered. "Every fresh thing he does seems to terrify me about the future. Have you any suspicions?"
After what she had undergone that morning, I was unwilling to tell her my suspicions.
"How should I know his secrets?" I said evasively.
"I wonder if the housekeeper knows?" she persisted.
"Certainly not," I replied. "She must be quite as ignorant as we are."
Laura shook her head doubtfully.
"Did you not hear from the housekeeper that there was a report of Anne Catherick having been seen in this neighbourhood? Don't you think he may have gone away to look for her?"
"I would rather compose myself, Laura, by not thinking about it at all, and after what has happened, you had better follow my example. Come into my room, and rest and quiet yourself a little."
We sat down together close to the window, and let the fragrant summer air breathe over our faces.
"I am ashamed to look at you, Marian," she said, "after what you submitted to downstairs, for my sake. Oh, my own love, I am almost heartbroken when I think of it! But I will try to make it up to you—I will indeed!"
"Hush! hush!" I replied; "don't talk so. What is the trifling mortification of my pride compared to the dreadful sacrifice of your happiness?"
"You heard what he said to me?" she went on quickly and vehemently. "You heard the words—but you don't know what they meant—you don't know why I threw down the pen and turned my back on him." She rose in sudden agitation, and walked about the room. "I have kept many things from your knowledge, Marian, for fear of distressing you, and making you unhappy at the outset of our new lives. You don't know how he has used me. And yet you ought to know, for you saw how he used me to-day. You heard him sneer at my presuming to be scrupulous—you heard him say I had made a virtue of necessity in marrying him." She sat down again, her face flushed deeply, and her hands twisted and twined together in her lap. "I can't tell you about it now," she said; "I shall burst out crying if I tell you now—later, Marian, when I am more sure of myself.