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happen to her; there were no bewildering changes on the way. In fact, she would see nothing but the necessity for the journey; and she started.
To say she felt like a runaway, would hardly express the extent of her feelings as she prepared for the journey; and the train had scarcely left London with her in it, before she saw both sides of the question. Would not the fact of her surreptitious start prove she knew her husband would object—and this proved, was she not acting in wilful opposition to his desire ? Besides, were Susy dying, would not her mother herself have urged Linda to come? It was too late; and when Mr. Seton came home earlier than usual, thinking poor little Linda might be dull, the following note awaited him.
“MY DEAR JASON,—Mrs. Sims has heard from mamma a very bad account of Susy. I am afraid she is dying, and I don't know what I should do if I never see her again. I am afraid to be too late if I wait till you come home. I shall just catch the three o'clock express, and be in Yorkshire in good time. I will come back to-morrow, if you like. I don't take any one with me for so short a time. I will telegraph from Nunbriar and tell you I am safe. Please accept my love.
“ Your affectionate wife,
Woman's wit had helped Linda to concoct this the first letter she had had occasion to write to him. She had always been too shy to call him by his Christian name, as he wished her to do ; but on this great occasion it became a powerful weapon to disarm his anger which at first rose hot against her. She had been prudent, too, and had not taken one of his household to witness her family's manners. She had driven to the station, moreover, in his carriage, and his footman had put her properly into the train. Moreover she was to telegraph from her journey's end, which would check any idea, if it should arise amongst his servants, that she had run away, as Mr. Seton himself considered she had. So he restrained himself before his watchful butler, and appeared to be neither perturbed nor surprised by her sudden departure; while in his heart, if he were not angry, he was desperately annoyed that she was capable of taking the law into her own hands in this way. First, he thought of going off to Mrs. Sims to hear what her news was. But this afterwards seemed an undignified proceeding, which would give licence to gossip. So he took his drive and dinner as usual; but neither practised his violin nor smoked his cigar that evening. Before he went to bed, the following telegram reached him.
“Nunbriar-quite safe—will write to-morrow.”
Upon the receipt of which he wrote as follows, for the morning's post.
MY DEAR WIFE, I need not say I was surprised to find your sisterly fears had so entirely overruled your wifely duties. You will, I hope, discover the former were overstrained. I am in receipt of your telegram. Pray remain with your parents as long as you and they desire. If you will apprise me of your return, I will meet you at the station. I hope an eligible escort may be found for your return journey. With kind compliments to your family, and love to yourself, allow me to subscribe myself,
Your affectionate husband,
“ JASON POLKELY SETON.”
SORROW AND PAIN.
He was right. Linda felt she had far better have remained at home, almost before she had got there. It was between nine and ten o'clock at night before she left the train ; and then there was the long drive from Nunbriar to Clack in a jolting chaise, through snowcovered roads, with a dark sky overhead, and ghostly trees and hedgerows rising spectrally on either hand, and intense cold chilling her very bones.
Clack was buried in snow and slumber, when at last the tired traveller found herself at her father's door. No lights were visible; no sound was audible above, below, and around; the bell had been muffled, and gave back no ring in answer to the cabman's benumbed pulls. Susy had fallen into a deep, swoon-like sleep; and