The earl stroked his chin and mused. Isabel had destroyed the only reasonable conclusion he had been able to come to as to the motives for the hasty marriage. "If you do not love Mr. Carlyle, how comes it that you are so wise in the distinction between 'liking' and 'love?' It cannot be that you love anybody else?"
The question turned home, and Isabel turned crimson. "I shall love my husband in time," was all she answered, as she bent her head, and played nervously with her watch chain.
"My poor child!" involuntarily exclaimed the earl. But he was one who liked to fathom the depth of everything. "Who has been staying at Castle Marling since I left?" he asked sharply.
"I alluded to gentlemen--young men."
"Only Francis Levison," she replied.
"Francis Levison! You have never been so foolish as to fall in love with /him/?"
The question was so pointed, so abrupt, and Isabel's self- consciousness, moreover, so great, that she betrayed lamentable confusion, and the earl had no further need to ask. Pity stole into his hard eyes as they fixed themselves on her downcast, glowing face.
"Isabel," he gravely began, "Captain Levison is not a good man; if ever you were inclined to think him one, dispossess your mind of the idea, and hold him at arm's distance. Drop his acquaintance--encourage no intimacy with him."