My Lady's Money
FOR a quarter of an hour the drawing-room remained empty. At the end of that
time the council in the boudoir broke up. Lady Lydiard led the way back into the
drawing-room, followed by Hardyman, Isabel being left to look after the dog.
Before the door closed behind him, Hardyman turned round to reiterate his last
medical directions--or, in plainer words, to take a last look at Isabel.
"Plenty of water, Miss Isabel, for the dog to lap, and a little bread or biscuit, if he
wants something to eat. Nothing more, if you please, till I see him to-morrow."
"Thank you, sir. I will take the greatest care--"
At that point Lady Lydiard cut short the interchange of instructions and civilities.
"Shut the door, if you please, Mr. Hardyman. I feel the draught. Many thanks! I
am really at a loss to tell you how gratefully I feel your kindness. But for you my
poor little dog might be dead by this time."
Hardyman answered, in the quiet melancholy monotone which was habitual with
him, "Your Ladyship need feel no further anxiety about the dog. Only be careful
not to overfeed him. He will do very well under Miss Isabel's care. By the bye, her
family name is Miller--is it not? Is she related to the Warwickshire Millers of
Lady Lydiard looked at him with an expression of satirical surprise. "Mr.
Hardyman," she said, "this makes the fourth time you have questioned me about
Isabel. You seem to take a great interest in my little companion. Don't make any
apologies, pray! You pay Isabel a compliment, and, as I am very fond of her, I am
naturally gratified when I find her admired. At the same time," she added, with
one of her abrupt transitions of language, "I had my eye on you, and I had my
eye on her, when you were talking in the next room; and I don't mean to let you
make a fool of the girl. She is not in your line of life, and the sooner you know it