"I wish I could have done more; I wish I could have shielded you from the annoyances you have been obliged to endure!" he answered. "Should we never meet again--"
"Oh, but we shall meet again," she interrupted. "You promised Lord Mount Severn."
"True; we may so meet casually--once in a way; but our ordinary paths in life lie far and wide apart. God forever bless you, dear Lady Isabel!"
The postboys touched their horses, and the carriage sped on. She drew down the blinds and leaned back in an agony of tears--tears for the house she was leaving, for the father she had lost. Her last thoughts had been of gratitude to Mr. Carlyle: but she had more cause to be grateful to him than she yet knew of. Emotion soon spent itself, and, as her eyes cleared, she saw a bit of crumpled paper lying on her lap, which appeared to have fallen from her hand. Mechanically she took it up and opened it; it was a bank-note for one hundred pounds.
Ah, reader! You will say that this is a romance of fiction, and a far- fetched one, but it is verily and indeed true. Mr. Carlyle had taken it with him to East Lynne, that morning, with its destined purpose.
Lady Isabel strained her eyes, and gazed at the note--gazed and gazed again. Where could it have come from? What had brought it there? Suddenly the undoubted truth flashed upon her; Mr. Carlyle had left it in her hand.
Her cheeks burned, her fingers trembled, her angry spirit rose up in arms. In that first moment of discovery, she was ready to resent it as an insult; but when she came to remember the sober facts of the last few days, her anger subsided into admiration of his wondrous kindness. Did he not know that she was without a home to call her own, without money--absolutely without money, save what would be given her in charity?
When Lord Mount Severn reached London, and the hotel which the Vanes were in the habit of using, the first object his eyes lighted on was his own wife, whom he had believed to be safe at Castle Marling. He inquired the cause.