The Black Moth (Chapter 4, page 1 of 8)

Previous Page
Next Page

Chapter 4

Richard went slowly back to his chair. After a moment he sat down, staring blankly out of the window, his hands loosely clasped on the desk before him. So he remained for a long while, immobile. At last, with the faintest of sighs, he moved and picked up a quill. He dipped it in the ink, and, with his other hand, drew towards him a sheaf of papers. Presently he was writing steadily.

For perhaps twenty minutes the quill travelled to and fro across the pages; then it paused, and Richard looked up towards the door.

It opened to admit Lady Lavinia. She came rustling into the room with her embroidery in her hand. She dropped her husband a mock curtsey and went over to a high-backed armchair, stretching out a dimpled hand to draw it forward. But even as her fingers touched it she had changed her mind, and fluttered over to the couch, there to seat herself with much swirling of brocades and arrangement of skirts. She then proceeded to occupy herself with her work, plying her needle hurriedly and jerkily.

A Plum Coloured Shot Silk Flowered Brocade Dress. 1755-75. from Old English Costumes, c. 1908, p.21.

Richard watched her in silence, following each turn of the pretty hand and each movement of her fair head.

The silence was evidently not to my lady's taste, for she presently began to beat an impatient tattoo on the floor with one slender foot. Still he said nothing, and she raised her pure china-blue eyes to his face.

"Why so glum, Dick? Why do you not talk to me?" Her voice was rather high-pitched and childish, and she had a curious way of ending each sentence with an upward lilt and a long drawn-out accent, very fascinating to listen to.

Richard smiled with an obvious effort.

"Am I, my dear? I crave your pardon. Warburton has just been."

Her face clouded over instantly, and the full-lipped mouth drooped petulantly.

"He has seen him."

"Oh?" She made the word twice its length, and filled it with disinterest.

"Yes. Jack will have none of it. He asks me to be his steward and to use Wyncham as I will. He is very generous."

"Yes, oh yes. And you will, Richard?"

He ignored the question.

"He-Warburton-says he is not much changed."

"Oh?" Again the long-drawn monosyllable, accompanied by a tiny yawn.

"He says he does not think-Jack-bears me ill-will-" He paused, as if expecting her to speak, but she was absorbed in arranging two flowers-culled from a bowl at her side-at her breast, and took no notice. Carstares turned his head away wearily.

"If it were not for you, my dear, I would tell the truth. I believe I shall go crazed an I do not."

Previous Page
Next Page

Rate This Book

Current Rating: 2.8/5 (443 votes cast)

Review This Book or Post a Comment