Man and Wife HTML version
MEANWHILE Arnold remained shut up in the head-waiter's pantry--chafing secretly at
the position forced upon him.
He was, for the first time in his life, in hiding from another person, and that person a man.
Twice--stung to it by the inevitable loss of self-respect which his situation occasioned--he
had gone to the door, determined to face Sir Patrick boldly; and twice he had abandoned
the idea, in mercy to Anne. It would have been impossible for him to set himself right
with Blanche's guardian without betraying the unhappy woman whose secret he was
bound in honor to keep. "I wish to Heaven I had never come here!" was the useless
aspiration that escaped him, as he doggedly seated himself on the dresser to wait till Sir
Patrick's departure set him free.
After an interval--not by any means the long interval which he had anticipated--his
solitude was enlivened by the appearance of Father Bishopriggs.
"Well?" cried Arnold, jumping off the dresser, "is the coast clear?"
There were occasions when Mr. Bishopriggs became, on a sudden, unexpectedly hard of
hearing, This was one of them.
"Hoo do ye find the paintry?" he asked, without paying the slightest attention to Arnold's
question. "Snug and private? A Patmos in the weelderness, as ye may say!"
His one available eye, which had begun by looking at Arnold's face, dropped slowly
downward, and fixed itself, in mute but eloquent expectation, on Arnold's waistcoat
"I understand!" said Arnold. "I promised to pay you for the Patmos--eh? There you are!"
Mr. Bishopriggs pocketed the money with a dreary smile and a sympathetic shake of the
head. Other waiters would have returned thanks. The sage of Craig Fernie returned a few
brief remarks instead. Admirable in many things, Father Bishopriggs was especially great
at drawing a moral. He drew a moral on this occasion from his own gratuity.
"There I am--as ye say. Mercy presairve us! ye need the siller at every turn, when there's
a woman at yer heels. It's an awfu' reflection--ye canna hae any thing to do wi' the sex
they ca' the opposite sex without its being an expense to ye. There's this young leddy o'
yours, I doot she'll ha' been an expense to ye from the first. When you were coortin' her,
ye did it, I'll go bail, wi' the open hand. Presents and keep-sakes, flowers and jewelery,
and little dogues. Sair expenses all of them!"
"Hang your reflections! Has Sir Patrick left the inn?"
The reflections of Mr. Bishopriggs declined to be disposed of in any thing approaching to
a summary way. On they flowed from their parent source, as slowly and as smoothly as
"Noo ye're married to her, there's her bonnets and goons and under-clothin'--her ribbons,
laces, furbelows, and fallals. A sair expense again!"