hundred and thirty-seven pounds, so you can imagine my
But nature is not so unfair to honest men as to give wisdom to the cunning. Rarely does reason prevail against passion in such a mind as Severne's. It ended, as might have been expected, in his going down to Vizard Court with Zoe.
An express train soon whirled them down to Taddington, in Barfordshire. There was Harris, with three servants, waiting for them, one with a light cart for their luggage, and two with an open carriage and two spanking bays, whose coats shone like satin. The servants, liveried, and top-booted, and buckskin-gloved, and spruce as if just out of a bandbox, were all smartness and respectful zeal. They got the luggage out in a trice, with Harris's assistance. Mr. Harris then drove away like the wind in his dog-cart; the traveling party were soon in the barouche. It glided away, and they rolled on easy springs at the rate of twelve miles an hour till they came to the lodge-gate. It was opened at their approach, and they drove full half a mile over a broad gravel path, with rich grass on each side, and grand old patriarchs, oak and beech, standing here and there, and dappled deer, grazing or lying, in mottled groups, till they came to a noble avenue of lofty lime-trees, with stems of rare size and smoothness, and towering piles on piles of translucent leaves, that glowed in the sun like flakes of gold.
At the end of this avenue was seen an old mansion, built of that beautiful clean red brick--which seems to have died out-- and white-stone facings and mullions, with gables and oriel windows by the dozen; but between the avenue and the house was a large oval plot of turf, with a broad gravel road running round it; and attached to the house, but thrown a little back, were the stables, which formed three sides of a good-sized quadrangle, with an enormous clock in the center. The lawn, kitchen-garden, ice-houses, pineries, green houses, revealed themselves only in peeps as the carriage swept round the spacious plot and drew up at the hall door.
No ringing of bells nor knocking. Even as the coachman tightened his reins, the great hall door was swung open, and two footmen appeared. Harris brought up a rear-guard, and received the party in due state.
A double staircase, about ten feet broad, rose out of the hall, and up this Mr. Harris conducted Severne, the only stranger, into a bedroom with a great oriel window looking west.
"This is your room, sir," said he. "Shall I unpack your things when they come?"
Severne assented, and that perfect major-domo informed him that luncheon was ready, and retired cat-like, and closed the door so softly no sound was heard.
Mr. Severne looked about him, and admitted to himself that, with all his experiences of life, this was his first bedroom. It was of great size, to begin. The oriel window was twenty feet wide, and had half a dozen casements, each with rose-colored blinds, though some of them needed no blinds, for green creepers, with flowers like clusters of grapes, curled round the mullions, and the sun shone mellowed through their leaves. Enormous curtains of purple cloth, with cold borders, hung at each side in mighty folds, to be drawn at night-time when the eye should need repose from feasting upon color.