COMING TO A CRISIS
Richard was not happy in his new home; it did not fit him like the old. He missed his mother’s petting; he missed the society of his plain, outspoken brothers; he missed his freedom from restraint, and he missed the deference so universally paid to him in Olney, where he was the only lion. In Camden there were many to divide the honors with him; and though he was perhaps unconscious of it, he had been first so long that to be one of many firsts was not altogether agreeable. With the new home and new associates more like those to which she had been accustomed, Ethelyn had resumed her training process, which was not now borne as patiently as in the halcyon days of the honeymoon, when most things wore the couleur de rose and were right because they came from the pretty young bride. Richard chafed under the criticisms to which he was so frequently subjected, and if he improved on them in the least it was not perceptible to Ethlyn, who had just cause to blush for the careless habits of her husband—habits which even Melinda observed, when in August she spent a week with Ethelyn, and then formed one of a party which went for a pleasure trip to St. Paul and Minnehaha. From this excursion, which lasted for two weeks, Richard returned to Camden in anything but an amiable frame of mind. Ethelyn had not pleased him at all, notwithstanding that she had been unquestionably the reigning belle of the party—the one whose hand was claimed in every dance, and whose company was sought in every ride and picnic. Marcia Fenton and Ella Backus faded into nothingness when she was near, and they laughingly complained to Richard that his wife had stolen all their beaux away, and they wished he would make her do better.
“I wish I could,” was his reply, spoken not playfully, but moodily, just as he felt at the time.