for me,” he exclaimed. “I thought all — all middle-aged
"Oh, of course you can stay there till we actually come; but we can't have the bride and bridegroom under one roof. Why, my dear fellow, you know better than that."
There was no help for it. It sickened him with fears of what might happen in those few fatal days, during which Mr. Carden, Grace herself, and a household over which he had no control, would occupy the house, and would receive the Postman, whose very face showed him incorruptible.
He stayed till the last moment; stopped a letter of five lines from Little, in which he said he should be in New York very soon, en route for England; and the very next day he received the Cardens, with a smiling countenance and a fainting heart, and then vacated the premises. He ordered Lally to hang about the Villa at certain hours when the post came in, and do his best. But his was catching at a straw. His real hope was that neither Little himself, nor a letter in his handwriting, might come in that short interval.
It wanted but five days to the wedding.
Hitherto it had been a game of skill, now it was a game of chance; and every morning he wished it was evening, every evening he wished it was morning.
The day Raby came back from Eastbank he dined at home, and, in an unguarded moment, said something or other, on which Mrs. Little cross-examined him so swiftly and so keenly that he stammered, and let out Grace Carden was on the point of marriage.
"Marriage, while my son is alive!" said Mrs. Little, and looked from him to Jael Dence, at first with amazement, and afterward with a strange expression that showed her mind was working.
A sort of vague alarm fell upon the other two, and they waited, in utter confusion, for what might follow.