The Hand of Ethelberta

21. A Street - Neigh's Rooms - Christopher's
As soon as Ethelberta had driven off from the Hall, Ladywell
turned back again; and, passing the front entrance, overtook
his acquaintance Mr. Neigh, who had been one of the last to
emerge. The two were going in the same direction, and they
walked a short distance together.
'Has anything serious happened?' said Neigh, noticing an
abstraction in his companion. 'You don't seem in your usual
mood to-night.'
'O, it is only that affair between us,' said Ladywell.
'Affair? Between you and whom?'
'Her and myself, of course. It will be in every fellow's mouth
now, I suppose!'
'But--not anything between yourself and Mrs. Petherwin?'
'A mere nothing. But surely you started, Neigh, when you
suspected it just this moment?'
'No--you merely fancied that.'
'Did she not speak well to-night! You were in the room, I
'Yes, I just turned in for half-an-hour: it seems that everybody
does, so I thought I must. But I had no idea that you were
feeble that way.'
'It is very kind of you, Neigh--upon my word it is--very kind;
and of course I appreciate the delicacy which--which--'
'What's kind?'
'I mean your well-intentioned plan for making me believe that
nothing is known of this. But stories will of course get wind;
and if our attachment has made more noise in the world than
I intended it should, and causes any public interest, why--ha-
ha!--it must. There is some little romance in it perhaps, and