Her own worship of her sister she knew full well he understood, though he spoke of her but little.
"Well may you gaze at her," he said. "So does all the world, and honours and adores."
He proffered her at last his arm, and she, having strangely taken courage, let him lead her through the rooms and persuade her to some refreshment. Seeing her so wondrously emerge from her chrysalis, and under the protection of so distinguished a companion, all looked at her as she passed with curious amazement, and indeed Mistress Anne was all but overpowered by the reverence shown them as they made their way.
As they came again into the apartment wherein the host and hostess received their guests, Anne felt her escort pause, and looked up at him to see the meaning of his sudden hesitation. He was gazing intently, not at Clorinda, but at the Earl of Dunstanwolde.
"Madam," he said, "pardon me that I seem to detain you, but--but I look at my kinsman. Madam," with a sudden fear in his voice, "he is ailing--he sways as he stands. Let us go to him. Quickly! He falls!"
And, in sooth, at that very moment there arose a dismayed cry from the guests about them, and there was a surging movement; and as they pressed forward themselves through the throng, Anne saw Dunstanwolde no more above the people, for he had indeed fallen and lay out- stretched and deathly on the floor.
'Twas but a few seconds before she and Osmonde were close enough to him to mark his fallen face and ghastly pallor, and a strange dew starting out upon his brow.
But 'twas his wife who knelt beside his prostrate body, waving all else aside with a great majestic gesture of her arm.