The man brought word that they had left the town that morning; that the cottage was closed, and the key had been deposited at the college gates.
'Did you learn their destination?' the tutor asked, trimming his fingernails with an appearance of indifference.
The servant said he had not; and after adding the common gossip of the court, that Masterson had left money, and the widow had gone to her own people, concluded, 'But they were very close after Masterson's death, and the neighbours saw little of them. There was a lawyer in and out, a stranger; and it is thought he was to marry the girl, and that that had set them a bit above their position, sir.'
'That will do,' said the tutor. 'I want to hear no gossip,' And, hiding his joy, he went off hot-foot to communicate the news to his pupil.
But Mr. Dunborough laughed in his face. 'Pooh!' he said. 'I know where they are.'
'You know? Then where are they?' Thomasson asked.
'Ah, my good Tommy, that is telling.'
'Well,' Mr. Thomasson answered, with an assumption of dignity. 'At any rate they are gone. And you must allow me to say that I am glad of it--for your sake!'
'That is as may be,' Mr. Dunborough answered. And he took his first airing in a sedan next day. After that he grew so reticent about his affairs, and so truculent when the tutor tried to sound him, that Mr. Thomasson was at his wits' end to discern what was afoot. For some time, however, he got no clue. Then, going to Dunborough's rooms one day, he found them empty, and, bribing the servant, learned that his master had gone to Wallingford. And the man told him his suspicions. Mr. Thomasson was aghast; and by that day's post--after much searching of heart and long pondering into which scale he should throw his weight--he despatched the following letter to Lady Dunborough:
'HONOURED MADAM,--The peculiar care I have of that distinguished and excellent gentleman, your son, no less than the profound duty I owe to my lord and your ladyship, induces me to a step which I cannot regard without misgiving; since, once known, it must deprive me of the influence with Mr. Dunborough which I have now the felicity to enjoy, and which, heightened by the affection he is so good as to bestow on me, renders his society the most agreeable in the world. Nevertheless, and though considerations of this sort cannot but have weight with me, I am not able to be silent, nor allow your honoured repose among the storied oaks of Papworth to be roughly shattered by a blow that may still be averted by skill and conduct.
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