The sneer fell harmlessly on Lady Isabel's ear. She only believed something had put Mrs. Vane out of temper. It certainly had; and that something, though Isabel little suspected it, was the evident admiration Captain Levison evinced for her fresh, young beauty; it quite absorbed him, and rendered him neglectful even of Mrs. Vane.
"Here, child, take your cross," said the old lady. "It is very pretty; prettier on your neck than diamonds would be. You don't want embellishing; never mind what Emma says."
Francis Levison took the cross and chain from her hand to pass them to Lady Isabel. Whether he was awkward, or whether her hands were full, for she held her gloves, her handkerchief, and had just taken up her mantle, certain it is that it fell; and the gentleman, in his too quick effort to regain it, managed to set his foot upon it, and the cross was broken in two.
"There! Now whose fault was that?" cried Mrs. Levison.
Isabel did not answer; her heart was very full. She took the broken cross, and the tears dropped from her eyes; she could not help it.
"Why! You are never crying over a stupid bauble of a cross!" uttered Mrs. Vane, interrupting Captain Levison's expression of regret at his awkwardness.
"You can have it mended, dear," interposed Mrs. Levison.
Lady Isabel chased away the tears, and turned to Captain Levison with a cheerful look. "Pray do not blame yourself," she good-naturedly said; "the fault was as much mine as yours; and, as Mrs. Levison says, I can get it mended."