'Yes,' said Theodora, surprised.
'I suppose you have not heard him say how he is conducting himself?'
'Have you heard that he is going to be married to Mrs. Finch?'
Theodora was astonished at the effect of this communication on her sober staid old friend. She started, made an incredulous outcry, caused it to be repeated, with its authority, then rose up, exclaiming, 'The wretch! My poor Emma! I never was more rejoiced. But Emma!'
The sight of Theodora's surprise recalled her to herself. 'Ah! you do not know?' she said; and having gone so far, was obliged to explain, with expressions of gratitude to Arthur and Violet for having so well guarded a secret that now might continue hidden for ever.
Theodora was slow in comprehending, so monstrous was the idea of Emma Brandon engaged to Mark Gardner! She put her hands before her eyes, and said she must be dreaming--she could not credit it. When convinced, there was something in her manner that pleased and comforted Lady Elizabeth by the kind feeling and high esteem it showed.
'Let me ask you one question, my dear ' she said, 'just to set my mind at rest. I was told that your brother's affairs were involved with those of that unhappy man. I trust it is no longer so.'
Theodora explained, as far as she understood, how Percy had extricated him.