It was late into the night when she at last reached The Fishermans Rest. She had done the whole journey in less than eight hours, thanks to innumerable changes of horses at the various coaching stations, for which she always paid lavishly, thus obtaining the very best and swiftest that could be had.
Her coachman, too, had been indefatigable; the promise of special and rich reward had no doubt helped to keep him up, and he had literally burned the ground beneath his mistress coach wheels.
The arrival of Lady Blakeney in the middle of the night caused a considerable flutter at The Fishermans Rest. Sally jumped hastily out of bed, and Mr. Jellyband was at great pains how to make his important guest comfortable.
Both these good folk were far too well drilled in the manners appertaining to innkeepers, to exhibit the slightest surprise at Lady Blakeneys arrival, alone, at this extraordinary hour. No doubt they thought all the more, but Marguerite was far too absorbed in the importancethe deadly earnestnessof her journey, to stop and ponder over trifles of that sort.
The coffee-roomthe scene lately of the dastardly outrage on two English gentlemenwas quite deserted. Mr. Jellyband hastily relit the lamp, rekindled a cheerful bit of fire in the great hearth, and then wheeled a comfortable chair by it, into which Marguerite gratefully sank.
Will your ladyship stay the night? asked pretty Miss Sally, who was already busy laying a snow-white cloth on the table, preparatory to providing a simple supper for her ladyship.
No! not the whole night, replied Marguerite. At any rate, I shall not want any room but this, if I can have it to myself for an hour or two.
It is at your ladyships service, said honest Jellyband, whose rubicund face was set in its tightest folds, lest it should betray before the quality that boundless astonishment which the worthy fellow had begun to feel.
I shall be crossing over at the first turn of the tide, said Marguerite, and in the first schooner I can get. But my coachman and men will stay the night, and probably several days longer, so I hope you will make them comfortable.
Yes, my lady; Ill look after them. Shall Sally bring your ladyship some supper?
Yes, please. Put something cold on the table, and as soon as Sir Andrew Ffoulkes comes, show him in here.
Yes, my lady.
Honest Jellybands face now expressed distress in spite of himself. He had great regard for Sir Percy Blakeney, and did not like to see his lady running away with young Sir Andrew. Of course, it was no business of his, and Mr. Jellyband was no gossip. Still, in his heart, he recollected that her ladyship was after all only one of them furriners; what wonder that she was immoral like the rest of them?
Dont sit up, honest Jellyband, continued Marguerite, kindly, nor you either, Mistress Sally. Sir Andrew may be late.
Jellyband was only too willing that Sally should go to bed. He was beginning not to like these goings- on at all. Still, Lady Blakeney would pay handsomely for the accommodation, and it certainly was no business of his.
Sally arranged a simple supper of cold meat, wine, and fruit on the table, then with a respectful curtsey, she retired, wondering in her little mind why her ladyship looked so serious, when she was about to elope with her gallant.
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