Her Hero by Ethel M. Dell
Priscilla never quite realised afterwards how it was that the whole of that long summer day slipped by and her confession remained still unspoken. She did make one or two attempts to lead round to the subject, but each seemed to be foredoomed to failure, and at last she abandoned the idea--for that day, at least. It seemed, after all, but a paltry thing in face of her great happiness.
They sped homeward at length in the light of a cloudless sunset, smoothly and swiftly as if they swooped through air.
"I will take you to the edge of the park," Carfax said; and when they reached it he took her in his arms, holding her fast, as if he could not bear to let her go.
They parted at last almost in silence, but with the tacit understanding that they would meet in the glen on the following day.
Priscilla walked home through the lengthening shadows with a sense of wonderment and unreality at her heart. He had asked for no pledge, yet she knew that the bond between them was such as might stretch to the world's end and never break. They belonged to each other irrevocably now, whatever might intervene.
She reached the Abbey, walking as in a maze of happiness, with no thought for material things.
Romeo came to greet her with effusion, and an air of having something to tell her. She fondled him, and went on with him into the house. They entered by a conservatory, and so through the shrouded drawing-room into the great hall.
The girl's eyes were dazzled by the sudden gloom she found there. She expected to meet no one, and so it was with a violent start that she saw a man's figure detach itself from the shadows and come towards her.
"Who is it?" she asked sharply; and then in astonishment: "Why, Dad!"
Her father's voice answered her, but not with the gruff kindliness to which she was accustomed. It came to her grim and stern, and she knew instinctively that he hated the errand that had brought him.
"I have come down to fetch you," he said. "I do not approve of your being here alone. It is unusual and quite unnecessary. You are quite well?"
"Yes, I am well," Priscilla said. "But why should you object to my being here?"
She stood still, facing him. She knew who had inspired this interference, and from the bottom of her soul she resented it. Her father did not answer. Thinking it over calmly later, she knew that he was ashamed.
"Be ready to start from here in half an hour," he said. "We shall catch the nine-thirty."
Priscilla made no further protest. Her father had never addressed that tone to her before, and it cut her to the heart.
"Very well," she said; and turned to go.
Her deep voice held no anger, and only Romeo, pressed close against her, knew that the hand that had just caressed him was clenched and quivering.