"I warn you that the facts to you will not bear a pleasant sound, Lord Mount Severn."
"Allow me to be the judge of that," said the earl.
"Business took me to Castle Marling on Good Friday. On the following day I called at your house; after your own and Isabel's invitation, it was natural I should; in fact, it would have been a breach of good feeling not to do so, I found Isabel ill-treated and miserable; far from enjoying a happy home in your house--"
"What, sir?" interrupted the earl. "Ill-treated and miserable?"
"Ill-treated even to blows, my lord."
The earl stood as one petrified, staring at Mr. Carlyle.
"I learnt it, I must premise, through the chattering revelations of your little son; Isabel, of course, would not have mentioned it to me; but when the child had spoken, she did not deny it. In short she was too broken-hearted, too completely bowed in spirit to deny it. It aroused all my feelings of indignation--it excited in me an irresistible desire to emancipate her from this cruel life, and take her where she would find affection, and I hope happiness. There was only one way which I could do this, and I risked it. I asked her to become my wife, and to return to her home at East Lynne."
The earl was slowly recovering from his petrifaction. "Then, am I to understand, that when you called that day at my house, you carried no intention with you of proposing to Isabel?"