"The justices!" uttered Barbara, in alarm; "and papa one? Whatever shall I do? He must not see me. I would not have him see me here for the world."
An ominous sound of talking; the justices were evidently coming forth. Mr. Dill laid hold of Barbara, whisked her through the clerks' room, not daring to take her the other way, lest he should encounter them, and shut her in his own. "What the plague brought papa here at this moment?" thought Barbara, whose face was crimson.
A few minutes and Mr. Dill opened the door again. "They are gone now, and the coast's clear, Miss Barbara."
"I don't know what opinion you must form of me, Mr. Dill," she whispered, "but I will tell you, in confidence, that I am here on some private business for mamma, who was not well enough to come herself. It is a little private matter that she does not wish papa to know of."
"Child," answered the manager, "a lawyer receives visits from many people; and it is not the place of those about him to 'think.' "
He opened the door as he spoke, ushered her into the presence of Mr. Carlyle, and left her. The latter rose in astonishment.
"You must regard me as a client, and pardon my intrusion," said Barbara, with a forced laugh, to hide her agitation. "I am here on the part of mamma--and I nearly met papa in your passage, which terrified me out of my senses. Mr. Dill shut me into his room."
Mr. Carlyle motioned to Barbara to seat herself, then resumed his own seat, beside his table. Barbara could not help noticing how different his manners were in his office from his evening manners when he was "off duty." Here he was the staid, calm man of business.