Heartsease or Brother's Wife
I am not yet of Earl Percy's mind.--King Henry IV
'Violet,' said Theodora, the next morning, 'I want to know if Percy said more to
Arthur than to us?'
She spoke with deepening colour, and Violet's glowed still more, as she
answered: 'Arthur asked him, and he said he would not BEGIN an acquaintance,
but that there was no occasion to break off the ordinary civilities of society. He
accused her of no more than levity. Yes, those were Arthur's words.'
'I am going to get to the bottom of it,' said Theodora; 'and give Georgina a
She departed; and Violet sat down to her letters, with little Johnnie crawling at
her feet; but in a few minutes she was interrupted by the entrance of Mr.
Fotheringham, asking for Theodora.
'She is gone out. She could not rest without an explanation from Mrs. Finch.'
'A proper farrago she will hear,' said Percy. 'I found I could settle to nothing, so I
thought it best to come and have it out.'
'I hope she will soon come in.'
'Don't let me interrupt you. Go on with your letters.--Ha! little master!'
In his present temper, play with the baby was the most congenial occupation,
and he made the little fellow very happy till he was carried off for his midday
sleep. Then he tried to read, but seemed so uneasy, that Violet wondered if it
would be intermeddling to hint at Theodora's real views. At last, as if he could
bear it no longer, he abruptly said, 'Mrs. Martindale, do you know anything of
'Very little,' she answered. 'Theodora was telling me about them yesterday,
before you came. I believe she only likes them for old acquaintance' sake.'
'Is it true that she used to go out with them last year?'
'I believe that she did sometimes.'
'At least, I hope that will not happen again.'
'No, I should not think it would. I am sure Theodora does not entirely approve of
'She defended her through thick and thin.'
'You shocked her with the suddenness of what you said. She cannot forget the
having been happy together as children; but she thinks as you do, and disliked
the marriage very much. Before you came, she had been lamenting over Mrs.
'Then, it was pure perverseness!'
'If I said so, I wonder what you would answer,' said Violet, with a bright, arch
'I should hear reason,' said Percy, roughly, as if to repel the sweetness; yet it had
a mollifying effect, and he presently spoke with less irritation and more regret.
'She suspects no evil, and cannot understand any imputation on her friend. She
fancies I speak from report, but I have known this fellow, Mark, all my life. His