Colonel Quaritch, V.C. eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 449 pages of information about Colonel Quaritch, V.C..
leaves about the feet.  As we grow old we are too apt to grow away from beauty and what is high and pure, our hearts harden by contact with the hard world.  We examine love and find, or believe we find, that it is nought but a variety of passion; friendship, and think it self-interest; religion, and name it superstition.  The facts of life alone remain clear and desirable.  We know that money means power, and we turn our face to Mammon, and if he smiles upon us we are content to let our finer visions go where our youth has gone.

“Trailing clouds of glory do we come
From God, who is our home.”

So says the poet, but alas! the clouds soon melt into the grey air of the world, and some of us, before our course is finished, forget that they ever were.  And yet which is the shadow of the truth—­those dreams, and hopes, and aspirations of our younger life, or the corruption with which the world cakes our souls?

Ida knew that she could not expect her father to sympathise with her; she knew that to his judgment, circumstances being the same, and both suitors being equally sound in wind and limb, the choice of one of them should, to a large extent, be a matter to be decided by the exterior considerations of wealth and general convenience.

However, she had made her choice, made it suddenly, but none the less had made it.  It lay between her father’s interest and the interest of the family at large and her own honour as a woman—­for the mere empty ceremony of marriage which satisfies society cannot make dishonour an honourable thing.  She had made her choice, and the readers of her history must judge if that choice was right or wrong.

After dinner Harold came again as he had promised.  The Squire was not in the drawing-room when he was shown in.

Ida rose to greet him with a sweet and happy smile upon her face, for in the presence of her lover all her doubts and troubles vanished like a mist.

“I have a piece of news for you,” said he, trying to look as though he was rejoiced to give it.  “Edward Cossey has taken a wonderful turn for the better.  They say that he will certainly recover.”

“Oh,” she answered, colouring a little, “and now I have a piece of news for you, Colonel Quaritch.  My engagement with Mr. Edward Cossey is at an end.  I shall not marry him.”

“Are you sure?” said Harold with a gasp.

“Quite sure.  I have made up my mind,” and she held out her hand, as though to seal her words.

He took it and kissed it.  “Thank heaven, Ida,” he said.

“Yes,” she answered, “thank heaven;” and at that moment the Squire came in, looking very miserable and depressed, and of course nothing more was said about the matter.



Six weeks passed, and in that time several things happened.  In the first place the miserly old banker, Edward Cossey’s father, had died, his death being accelerated by the shock of his son’s accident.  On his will being opened, it was found that property and money to no less a value than 600,000 pounds passed under it to Edward absolutely, the only condition attached being that he should continue in the house of Cossey and Son and leave a certain share of his fortune in the business.

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Colonel Quaritch, V.C. from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.