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Mr. Troy heard her, and stepped forward to interfere before Lady Lydiard could speak. The man had recovered his self-control; the lawyer took his place again on the scene.

“You must not leave us, my dear,” he said to Isabel, “until I have put a question to Mr. Moody in which you are interested. Do you happen to have the number of the lost bank-note?” he asked, turning to the steward.

Moody produced his slip of paper with the number on it. Mr. Troy made two copies of it before he returned the paper. One copy he put in his pocket, the other he handed to Isabel.

“Keep it carefully,” he said. “Neither you nor I know how soon it may be of use to you.”

Receiving the copy from him, she felt mechanically in her apron for her pocketbook. She had used it, in playing with the dog, as an object to hide from him; but she had suffered, and was still suffering, too keenly to be capable of the effort of remembrance. Moody, eager to help her even in the most trifling thing, guessed what had happened. “You were playing with Tommie,” he said; “is it in the next room?”

The dog heard his name pronounced through the open door. The next moment he trotted into the drawing-room with Isabel’s pocketbook in his mouth. He was a strong, well-grown Scotch terrier of the largest size, with bright, intelligent eyes, and a coat of thick curling white hair, diversified by two light brown patches on his back. As he reached the middle of the room, and looked from one to another of the persons present, the fine sympathy of his race told him that there was trouble among his human friends. His tail dropped; he whined softly as he approached Isabel, and laid her pocketbook at her feet.

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She knelt as she picked up the pocketbook, and raised her playfellow of happier days to take her leave of him. As the dog put his paws on her shoulders, returning her caress, her first tears fell. “Foolish of me,” she said, faintly, “to cry over a dog. I can’t help it. Good-by, Tommie!”

Putting him away from her gently, she walked towards the door. The dog instantly followed. She put him away from her, for the second time, and left him. He was not to be denied; he followed her again, and took the skirt of her dress in his teeth, as if to hold her back. Robert forced the dog, growling and resisting with all his might, to let go of the dress. “Don’t be rough with him,” said Isabel. “Put him on her ladyship’s lap; he will be quieter there.” Robert obeyed. He whispered to Lady Lydiard as she received the dog; she seemed to be still incapable of speaking — she bowed her head in silent assent. Robert hurried back to Isabel before she had passed the door. “Not alone!” he said entreatingly. “Her Ladyship permits it, Isabel. Let me see you safe to your aunt’s house.”

Isabel looked at him, felt for him, and yielded.

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“Yes,” she answered softly; “to make amends for what I said to you when I was thoughtless and happy!” She waited a little to compose herself before she spoke her farewell words to Lady Lydiard. “Good-by, my Lady. Your kindness has not been thrown away on an ungrateful girl. I love you, and thank you, with all my heart.”

Lady Lydiard rose, placing the dog on the chair as she left it. She seemed to have grown older by years, instead of by minutes, in the short interval that had passed since she had hidden her face from view. “I can’t bear it!” she cried, in husky, broken tones. “Isabel! Isabel! I forbid you to leave me!”

But one person could venture to resist her. That person was Mr. Troy — and Mr. Troy knew it.