The Haunted Hotel HTML version

Chapter 5
After only one week of travelling in Scotland, my lord and my lady returned
unexpectedly to London. Introduced to the mountains and lakes of the Highlands, her
ladyship positively declined to improve her acquaintance with them. When she was asked
for her reason, she answered with a Roman brevity, 'I have seen Switzerland.'
For a week more, the newly-married couple remained in London, in the strictest
retirement. On one day in that week the nurse returned in a state of most uncustomary
excitement from an errand on which Agnes had sent her. Passing the door of a
fashionable dentist, she had met Lord Montbarry himself just leaving the house. The
good woman's report described him, with malicious pleasure, as looking wretchedly ill.
'His cheeks are getting hollow, my dear, and his beard is turning grey. I hope the dentist
hurt him!'
Knowing how heartily her faithful old servant hated the man who had deserted her,
Agnes made due allowance for a large infusion of exaggeration in the picture presented to
her. The main impression produced on her mind was an impression of nervous
uneasiness. If she trusted herself in the streets by daylight while Lord Montbarry
remained in London, how could she be sure that his next chance-meeting might not be a
meeting with herself? She waited at home, privately ashamed of her own undignified
conduct, for the next two days. On the third day the fashionable intelligence of the
newspapers announced the departure of Lord and Lady Montbarry for Paris, on their way
to Italy.
Mrs. Ferrari, calling the same evening, informed Agnes that her husband had left her with
all reasonable expression of conjugal kindness; his temper being improved by the
prospect of going abroad. But one other servant accompanied the travellers--Lady
Montbarry's maid, rather a silent, unsociable woman, so far as Emily had heard. Her
ladyship's brother, Baron Rivar, was already on the Continent. It had been arranged that
he was to meet his sister and her husband at Rome.
One by one the dull weeks succeeded each other in the life of Agnes. She faced her
position with admirable courage, seeing her friends, keeping herself occupied in her
leisure hours with reading and drawing, leaving no means untried of diverting her mind
from the melancholy remembrance of the past. But she had loved too faithfully, she had
been wounded too deeply, to feel in any adequate degree the influence of the moral
remedies which she employed. Persons who met with her in the ordinary relations of life,
deceived by her outward serenity of manner, agreed that 'Miss Lockwood seemed to be
getting over her disappointment.' But an old friend and school companion who happened
to see her during a brief visit to London, was inexpressibly distressed by the change that
she detected in Agnes. This lady was Mrs. Westwick, the wife of that brother of Lord
Montbarry who came next to him in age, and who was described in the 'Peerage' as
presumptive heir to the title. He was then away, looking after his interests in some mining
property which he possessed in America. Mrs. Westwick insisted on taking Agnes back