"Why am I to decline to see her?"
"In consequence of her behavior to your aunt, to be sure! No: I have said all I wanted to say--and I have no time to spare for answering idle questions. Good-by."
Socially-speaking, doctors try the patience of their nearest and dearest friends, in this respect--they are almost always in a hurry. Doctor Allday's precipitate departure did not tend to soothe Emily's irritated nerves. She began to find excuses for Mrs. Ellmother in a spirit of pure contradiction. The old servant's behavior might admit of justification: a friendly welcome might persuade her to explain herself. "If she applies to me," Emily determined, "I shall certainly receive her."
Having arrived at this resolution, her mind reverted to Alban.
Some of the sharp things she had said to him, subjected to after-reflection in solitude, failed to justify themselves. Her better sense began to reproach her. She tried to silence that unwelcome monitor by laying the blame on Alban. Why had he been so patient and so good? What harm was there in his calling her "Emily"? If he had told her to call _him_ by his Christian name, she might have done it. How noble he looked, when he got up to go away; he was actually handsome! Women may say what they please and write what they please: their natural instinct is to find their master in a man--especially when they like him. Sinking lower and lower in her own estimation, Emily tried to turn the current of her thoughts in another direction. She took up a book--opened it, looked into it, threw it across the room.
If Alban had returned at that moment, resolved on a reconciliation--if he had said, "My dear, I want to see you like yourself again; will you give me a kiss, and make it up"--would he have left her crying, when he went away? She was crying now.
If Emily's eyes could have followed Alban as her thoughts were following him, she would have seen him stop before he reached the end of the road in which the cottage stood. His heart was full of tenderness and sorrow: the longing to return to her was more than he could resist. It would be easy to wait, within view of the gate, until the doctor's visit came to an end. He had just decided to go back and keep watch--when he heard rapid footsteps approaching. There (devil take him!) was the doctor himself.
"I have something to say to you, Mr. Morris. Which way are you walking?"