‘For My Son’s Sake.’
The ball had taken place on a Thursday – New Year’s Eve. The days dragged on at Yoresett House, in the manner described, until the following Monday. On that afternoon, a dark and cloudy one, the quietness of the village street was broken. Sir Gabriel Danesdale, his groom behind him, rode up to the door. Sir Gabriel inquired if the ladies were at home; he was told that they were, and he dismounted and went in, leaving his horse to be walked about by his groom, to the great wonderment of the watching population. He was ushered into the parlour, where Judith and her mother sat. Mrs. Conisbrough was fluttered. Only once or twice, since her widowhood, had Sir Gabriel ever entered her house. He had glanced about him as he passed through the hall – he had seen the bareness and the chillness of everything, and his heart was filled with pity and with some self-reproach. Marion Arkendale, with her dark eyes and her light foot, had been so bonny; ‘the Flower of Danesdale’ had been her name. He did not know how it was that she had fallen out of the society of the place, had disappeared from the friendly circles, gradually, but surely.