that it was likely to yield a “big” story, bigger than
"Vizard Court, Taddington, Barfordshire."
THE next morning Vizard carried Lord Uxmoor away to a magistrates' meeting, and left the road clear to Severne; but Zoe gave him no opportunity until just before luncheon, and then she put on her bonnet and came downstairs; but Fanny was with her.
Severne, who was seated patiently in his bedroom with the door ajar, came out to join them, feeling sure Fanny would openly side with him, or slip away and give him his opportunity.
But, as the young ladies stood on the broad flight of steps at the hall door, an antique figure drew nigh--an old lady, the shape of an egg, so short and stout was she. On her head she wore a black silk bonnet constructed many years ago, with a droll design, viz., to keep off sun, rain, and wind; it was like an iron coal scuttle, slightly shortened; yet have I seen some very pretty faces very prettily framed in such a bonnet. She had an old black silk gown that only reached to her ankle, and over it a scarlet cloak of superfine cloth, fine as any colonel or queen's outrider ever wore, and looking splendid, though she had used it forty years, at odd times. This dame had escaped the village ill, rheumatics, and could toddle along without a staff at a great, and indeed a fearful, pace; for, owing to her build, she yawed so from side to side at every step that, to them who knew her not, a capsize appeared inevitable.big
"Mrs. Judge, I declare," cried Zoe.big
"Ay, Miss Hannah Judge it is. Your sarvant, ma'am;" and she dropped two courtesies, one for each lady.big
Mrs. Judge was Harrington's old nurse. Zoe often paid a visit to her cottage, but she never came to Vizard Court except on Harrington's birthday, when the servants entertained all the old pensioners and retainers at supper. Her sudden appearance, therefore, and in gala costume, astonished Zoe. Probably her face betrayed this, for the old lady began, "You wonder to see me here, now, doan't ye?"big
"Well, Mrs. Judge," said Zoe, diplomatically, "nobody has a better right to come."big