As this offer only excited a cold and constrained bow, Glossin was obliged to remain silent, and was presently afterwards somewhat relieved by the entrance of Colonel Mannering.
"I have detained you some time, I fear, sir," said he, addressing Glossin; "I wished to prevail upon Miss Bertram to see you, as, in my opinion, her objections ought to give way to the necessity of hearing in her own person what is stated to be of importance that she should know. But I find that circumstances of recent occurrence, and not easily to be forgotten, have rendered her so utterly repugnant to a personal interview with Mr. Glossin, that it would be cruelty to insist upon it: and she has deputed me to receive his commands, or proposal, or, in short, whatever he may wish to say to her."
"Hem, hem! I am sorry, sir--I am very sorry, Colonel Mannering, that Miss Bertram should suppose--that any prejudice, in short--or idea that anything on my part--"
"Sir," said the inflexible Colonel, "where no accusation is made, excuses or explanations are unnecessary. Have you any objection to communicate to me, as Miss Bertram's temporary guardian, the circumstances which you conceive to interest her?"
"None, Colonel Mannering; she could not choose a more respectable friend, or one with whom I, in particular, would more anxiously wish to communicate frankly."
"Have the goodness to speak to the point, sir, if you please."
"Why, sir, it is not so easy all at once--but Mr. Hazlewood need not leave the room,--I mean so well to Miss Bertram, that I could wish the whole world to hear my part of the conference."
"My friend Mr. Charles Hazlewood will not probably be anxious, Mr. Glossin, to listen to what cannot concern him--and now, when he has left us alone, let me pray you to be short and explicit in what you have to say. I am a soldier, sir, somewhat impatient of forms and introductions." So saying he drew himself up in his chair, and waited for Mr. Glossin's communication.