"You can trust both of us," her husband answered.
The firmness of his tone irritated her. "I will judge of that for myself," she said. "Go back to the next room," she added, turning to Mrs. Evelin; "I will hear you separately."
The companion, whose duty it was to obey--whose modesty and gentleness had won her mistress's heart--refused to retire.
"No," she said; "I have been deceived too. I have _my_ right to hear what Lord Howel has to say for himself."
Beaucourt attempted to support the claim that she had advanced. His wife sternly signed to him to be silent. "What do you mean?" she said, addressing the question to Mrs. Evelin.
"I mean this. The person whom you speak of as a nobleman was presented to me as 'Mr. Vincent, an artist.' But for that deception I should never have set foot in your ladyship's house."
"Is this true, my lord?" Lady Howel asked, with a contemptuous emphasis on the title of nobility.
"Quite true," her husband answered. "I thought it possible that my rank might prove an obstacle in the way of my hopes. The blame rests on me, and on me alone. I ask Mrs. Evelin to pardon me for an act of deception which I deeply regret."