Jael obeyed, with a sigh. She went back to her party--they were gone. The carriage was just disappearing round a turn in the road. She looked at it with amazement, and even with anger. It seemed to her a brazen act of bad faith.
"I wouldn't have believed it of her," said she, and went back to the house, mortified and grieved. She did not go to Mr. Raby again; but he happened to catch sight of her about an hour afterward, and called to her--"How is this, Jael? Have you let them go alone, because of a magpie?" And he looked displeased.
"Nay, sir: she gave me the slip, while I went to speak to you for her good; and I call it a dirty trick, saving your presence. I told her I'd be back in a moment."
"Oh, it is not her doing, you may be sure; it is the young gentleman. He saw a chance to get her alone, and of course he took it. I am not very well pleased; but I suppose she knows her own mind. It is to be a marriage, no doubt." He smoothed it over, but was a little put out, and stalked away without another word: he had said enough to put Jael's bosom in a flutter, and open a bright prospect to her heart; Miss Carden once disposed of in marriage, what might she not hope? She now reflected, with honest pride, that she had merited Henry's love by rare unselfishness. She had advised him loyally, had even co-operated with him as far as any poor girl, with her feelings for him, could do; and now Mr. Coventry was going to propose marriage to her rival, and she believed Miss Carden would say "yes," though she could not in her heart believe that even Miss Carden did not prefer the other. "Ay, lad," said she, "if I am to win thee, I'll be able to say I won thee fair."
These sweet thoughts and hopes soon removed her temporary anger, and nothing remained to dash the hopeful joy that warmed that large and loyal heart this afternoon, except a gentle misgiving that Mr. Coventry might make Grace a worse husband than she deserved. It was thus she read the magpie, from three o'clock till six that afternoon.
When a man and a woman do any thing wrong, it is amusing to hear the judgments of other men and women thereupon. The men all blame the man, and the women all the woman. That is judgment, is it not?
But in some cases our pitch-farthing judgments must be either heads or tails; so Mr. Raby, who had cried heads, when a Mrs. Raby would have cried "woman," was right; it WAS Mr. Coventry, and not Miss Carden, who leaned over to George, and whispered, "A sovereign, to drive on without her! Make some excuse."
The cunning Yorkshire groom's eye twinkled at this, and he remained passive a minute or two: then, said suddenly, with well-acted fervor, "I can't keep the pony waiting in the cold, like this;" applied the whip, and rattled off with such decision, that Grace did not like to interfere, especially as George was known to be one of those hard masters, an old servant.