This is what Ethelyn read, knowing, as she read, that it would make matters right between herself and husband—at least so far as an appointment was concerned; but she would not show it to him then. She was too angry, too much aggrieved, to admit of any attempts on her part for a reconciliation; so she put that note with the other, and then went quietly on arranging her things in their proper places. Then, when this was done, she sat down by the window and peering out into the wintry darkness watched the many lights and moving figures in Mrs. Miller’s house, which could be distinctly seen from the hotel. Richard still intended to take the early train for St. Louis, and so he retired at last, but Ethelyn sat where she was until the carriages taking the revelers home had passed, and the lights were out in Mrs. Miller’s windows, and the bell of St. John’s had ushered in the second hour of the fast. Not then did she join her husband, but lay down upon the sofa, where he found her when at six o’clock he came from his broken, feverish sleep, to say his parting words. He had contemplated the propriety of giving up his trip and remaining at home while Frank Van Buren was in town, but this he could not very well do.
“I will leave her to herself,” he thought, “trusting that what has passed will deter her from any further improprieties.”
Something like this he said to her when, in the gray dawn, he stood before her, equipped for his journey; but Ethelyn did not respond, and with her cold, dead silence weighing more upon him than bitter reproaches would have done, Richard left her and took his way through the chill, snowy morning to the depot, little dreaming as he went of when and how he and Ethelyn would meet again.
The bell in the tower of St. John’s pealed forth its summons to the house of prayer, and one by one, singly or in groups, the worshipers went up to keep this first solemn day of Lent—true, sincere worshipers, many of them, who came to weep, and pray, and acknowledge their past misdeeds; while others came from habit, and because it was the fashion, their pale, haggard faces and heavy eyes telling plainly of the last night’s dissipation, which had continued till the first hour of the morning. Mrs. Howard was there, and Mrs. Miller, too, both glancing inquiringly at Judge Markham’s pew and then wonderingly at each other. Ethelyn was not there. She had breakfast in her room after Richard left, and when that was over had gone mechanically to her closet and drawers and commenced sorting her clothes—hanging away the gayest, most expensive dresses, and laying across chairs and upon the bed the more serviceable ones, such as might properly be worn on ordinary occasions. Why she did this she had not yet clearly defined, and when, after her wardrobe was divided, and she brought out the heavy traveling trunk, made for her in Boston,