How foolish I am! And yet he was not satisfied with himself. With the wonderful adaptability of women—a hereditary faculty, which depends upon the fact that from the beginning of time the sex has been continually employed in making the best of situations which were not of their own choosing—Maude carried off her new character easily and gracefully. If we are not together, all the world cannot fill the void. ‘I believe that we are much more likely to come to an arrangement if we talk it over ourselves.’, ‘I am sure I earnestly hope so,’ Wingfield answered. It was reprehensibly extravagant, but this would be their last unmarried excursion, and so they drank to the dear days of the past, and the dearer ones of the future. They walked quickly, full of eager anticipations. Good comrades as well as lovers, they talked freely, and with pleasure. And isn’t everything splendid, and am I not the luckiest—the most incredibly lucky of men. We are out for a holiday. ‘My darling, yours is just perfect. If I hadn’t liked you best, I shouldn’t have married you, Frank, should I?’, ‘Oh, we had better drop them. The people who believe in it can never have looked into a baby’s eyes. ‘Come on. That highest thing on earth, the heart of a loving woman, is too tender, too sacred, to be bruised by a wanton confidence. What a pity that she could not have a good time!’, ‘Ah well, if she loved him, dear, she had a good time in the garret.’. Then a key clicked, and a burst of cold air told them that the door was open. ‘Well, dear, I thought of staying in bed.’, ‘What nonsense, dear! ‘A nice place to be buried in, alive or dead,’ said her visitor. Frank shrugged his shoulders. “A very good book,” says he, “especially one letter of advice to a courtier, most true and good, which made me once resolve to tear out the two leaves that it was writ in, but I forbore it.” Imagine recording such a vile thought.’, ‘But what you have never explained to me yet, dear, or if you did, I didn’t understand—you don’t mind my being a little stupid, do you?—is, what object Mr. Pepys had in putting down all this in such a form that no one could read it.’, ‘Well, you must bear in mind, dear, that he could read it himself. Then there was the absolute carelessness of her manner, the quiet assumption that she was outside the usual conventionalities of life. Don’t you bless him? Six hundred years ago the English looked upon it as their holiest and most national shrine, and since then our kings and our warriors and our thinkers and our poets have all been laid there, until there is such an accumulation that the huge Abbey has hardly space for another monument. ‘Why, Frank—Frank dear, what is the matter? It was some time before he returned. And then you come and tell me that you have darkened my life. He felt very much inclined to steal upstairs upon tiptoe and see if Maude were stirring yet. He comes afterwards. ‘I feel as you said in your letter, Frank. If I didn’t laugh I should cry. Whenever I try to speak seriously to you, you always do that and spoil everything. . They marvelled together at the realism of the sculptor who had pitted Admiral Warren with the smallpox, and at the absurdity of that other one who had clad Robert Peel in a Roman toga. ‘Dear old boy! It chilled her, and made her unhappy. ‘Just the same as ever,’ said she, as he handed her down. I insist upon hearing the experiences.’. At the sound Maude would say ‘bother,’ and Frank something shorter and stronger, but, as the intruder appeared, they would both break into, ‘Well, really now it, I may have mentioned somewhere that Frank had a catholic taste in literature. There was sometimes just a touch of the savage, or at least there were indications of the possibility of a touch of the savage, in Frank Crosse. Below was engraved—, ‘It was hard that she should die just as her husband was becoming famous and successful,’ said Frank. How grand it sounds! Now, what can it matter if it is lined with silk or not?’, ‘Oh, doesn’t it? Not that he is worse than any of us. She had come early, she said, because there was to be a rehearsal of the amateur theatricals at the Dixons’ at a quarter-past four. ‘They used some powder like pepper for embalmin’ in those days,’ said the clerk. And now I have kept the biggest news to the last. Victoria, by the grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Queen, Defender of the Faith, remarked abruptly to Frank Crosse of Woking, in the county of Surrey, ‘We command you that within eight days of the service of this writ on you, inclusive of the day of such service, you cause an appearance to be entered for you in an action at the suit of the Hotspur Insurance Company, Limited.’ If he didn’t do so, Her Majesty remarked that several very unpleasant things might occur, and Hardinge Stanley, Earl of Halsbury, corroborated Her Majesty. The people turned to look at her as she passed. Any compromise which they would accept would be as much out of our power to pay as the whole sum would be, and so we may just as well see it through.’ But for once Maude did not take his opinion as final, but lay awake all night and thought it over. No woman ever found him dull. If she were going to carry out her threat, then certainly it would be better to prepare her. Maude laid her sewing on her lap, and looked across with her lips parted and her eyebrows raised. Saturday!! One is a Tantalus spirit-stand from my friends in the office. It is perfectly horrible. You are hers. ‘This is Gorgonzola, main,’ said the waiter, with a severe manner. No, you mustn’t! Oh yes, pepsine, of course.’, ‘We shall take a dose of him every night after dinner to complete the resemblance. I believe that every hope, and thought, and aspiration should be in common. Frank was a very proud man at the roots of his nature. With the slight flush upon her cheeks and the light in her eyes, she seemed the personification of youth, and life, and love. My dear Crosse, I assure you that you are being misled, and that you have not really got a leg to stand upon.’. I went to the Goldsmith’s Company in Regent Street yesterday afternoon, and I bought—what do you think? ‘Two coffees and two benedictines,’ cried Frank, and they relapsed into their chairs. You talk about my happiness before I met you—but oh, how empty it all was! Don’t begin it all over again,’ said he. Oh my goodness, what a bombshell! ‘That’s your affair,’ said he, as he handed her into the cab. ‘Because it is what we offer when we are buying the hairies—trooper’s chargers, you know. ‘Remember the women who have been less fortunate than you. I assure you, dear, that taking your, Frank took the bulky book off the table. But if you don’t, there is a train which leaves Waterloo at 6.10 and reaches Woking at 7. ‘Well, I guess that boy ended pretty high up.’. By the way, Maude, I must speak very severely to you. When he laughs, Frank says that he looks like some jolly old clean-shaven toothless friar—so chubby and good-humoured. ‘Listen to this. When one talks of freedom in married life, it means, as a rule, freedom only for the man. May God bless her.’ How strange that this apostle of reticence should have such privacies as these laid open before the curious public within so few years of his death! I am a man of moods—worse luck! I’ll copy the bond and show it to Manners, and have his opinion before you go back to-night.’. She could not take it too seriously in his company. ‘Ring, you Juggins!’ whispered Jack Selby. One wants a healthy physical basis for a healthy spiritual emotion. What is it?’. ‘Indeed you’re right, sir. Keep a brave heart, my own laddie, for I know so well that we shall come through it all right.’. There now, it was done! P.S.—Papa gave us such a fright, for he came in just now and said that the window-cleaner and all his family were very ill. ‘There is just time for nine holes at golf before it is dark, if you wilt come exactly as you are. Down here! Her hair hung beautifully over her white neck, and the reverent droop of her head was lovely to his eyes. Used in response to some men referring to women as “, Anyone who protests the results of the 2020 US, After over 50 cases brought before, and thrown out of, US, President of the United States of America. How is that?’—. As she was tempted, however (‘such a civil obliging shopman, Frank!’), to buy four yards of so-called Astrakhan trimming, a frill of torchon lace, six dear little festooned handkerchiefs, and four pairs of open-work stockings—none of which were contemplated when she entered the shop—her sixpenny saving was not as brilliant a piece of finance as she imagined. He is my husband.’, ‘You are married yourself. I am surety to a man for an indefinite sum of money. Don’t deny it! During that time he collected these letters, and he has annotated them. I could not alter my love any more than I could stop my heart from beating. It was when I said that the salt water had taken the curl out of the feather in my—no, in our—well, in, ‘Some butter, waiter, and the Stilton. It would call the Bank of England a preposterous institution if it thought it could bear Consols by doing so. Then each made remarks about the other’s documents, and claimed to see the remarks so made. And then the housekeeping, the planning, the arranging, the curtailing, the keeping up appearances upon a limited income. I don’t want you to control yourself. And one clear call for me.”’, Frank quoted. I am so sorry.’, ‘It will be all the more cosy inside. You must. It was like a conjurer giving his performance. His white face turned a shade whiter when he understood their errand. So their liability had risen from fifty to two hundred and seventy pounds. His occasional shabbiness in money matters, his jealousies, his envies, all his petty faults, which are despicable on account of their pettiness. Myself, my love, and all that I have—but how little it all amounts to! And I hope that this will be some humble atonement for the trouble that I have brought you.’, And so a first rift of light began to shine in the dark place. It is an effect which must be either ludicrous or great, and he has made it great.’. Just you try one and see.’, ‘But no one can know that it is lined with silk.’, ‘When I rustle into a room, dear, every woman in it knows that my skirt is lined with silk.’. If your peace should help another to peace, or your storm console another who is storm-tossed, then I know that you will feel repaid for this intrusion upon your privacy. Maude, setting the silence down to the shyness of a first visit, tried to make matters easier. Mrs. Hunt Mortimer says that though we may be less original than men, we are more assim— more assmun—’, ‘That’s what I say—assimulative. If you see any way in which I could save, or any money I spend which you think is unjustifiable, I do wish that you would tell me. He enjoys the fruits, but he ignores the work which raised them. Anyhow, it looks charming. ‘But why should he repeat it three times?’, ‘Perhaps,’ said Mrs. Beecher, ‘it was Mr. Setebos, and Mrs. Setebos, and a little Setebos.’, ‘Now, if you are going to make fun, I won’t read. In the meantime they started off together down an ill-lit and ill-kept road, which opened into that more important thoroughfare in which their own villa was situated. And I have to find this sum before Monday.’, ‘I can’t do it, Harrison. ‘What lines for a very old man to write! The bills come to more than a hundred pounds; the biggest one is forty-two pounds to Snell and Walker, the Conduit Street tailors. It is really extraordinary, for by nature I am so easily frightened. If you went out of it, what would be left? I suppose it is about time that I thought of catching my train for town. ‘Beg pardon, sir, but did you see it in the Times?’, ‘That, sir. ‘We have gone too far to stop. His whole future depended upon the answer to that question. It really does seem ridiculous. The best pleasures of life are absolutely inexpensive. Then they laid the table, and served the supper, and enjoyed this picnic meal of their own creating as no conventional meal could ever have been enjoyed. Well, we could not spend a Saturday afternoon better, so if you will meet me to-morrow at Charing Cross, we shall have a cosy little lunch together at Gatti’s, and then go down to Chelsea.’. Do not be too free with your reminiscences, you young husband. ‘There’s a good omen!’ cried Maude. Besides, it is cooler in this weather. ‘You must have known him very slightly if you can’t see that it is the truth.’, ‘Then I must have known him very slightly.’. ‘Well, if you would really like to hear, Frank, as a proof of my confidence and trust, I will tell you. Frank was also in a blue serge boating-suit, which was appropriate enough, for they spent most of their time upon the water, as a glance at his hands would tell. I should be so sorry if there were any misunderstanding about this, and you only found out when too late. Please tell me! If they don’t, one or other will sooner or later chafe at the restriction. ‘Suède gloves,’ yes, she had told Frank that when she came to town, she would buy some suède gloves at a certain shop in the City, where she could get for three and threepence a pair which would cost her three and ninepence in Woking. ‘Oh look, Maude,’ he cried. A voice at their elbows brought them back to the present. Wait till the next time, ‘Besides, it really is a very absurd title,’ remarked Mrs. Beecher, who was fond of generalising from her six months’ experience of matrimony. I want every year to draw me closer and closer, until we really are as nearly the same person as it is possible to be upon earth.’. So I want to put this where we can get it on an emergency, and where in the meantime it will bring us some interest. However, to hark back to what I was about to say, he outlived her by fifteen years or so. And again, there is the desire to compress a telegraphic message into the minimum sixpennyworth, and so send an ambiguous and cryptic sentence, when sevenpence would have made it as clear as light. He also took a five-pound note and placed it where he knew he could lay his hands upon it easily. Do you think I might take it?’. His absolute love for his wife shielded him from all danger. What are my prospects? My dearest Maude,—You know that your mother suggested, and we agreed, that we should be married about the beginning of September. It seems an obvious thing to do when the pudding is there in front of me. How anything so graceful came to be built by this tasteless and utilitarian nation must remain a marvel to the traveller. 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