Dorothea! She was divested now of the shimmering satin and all her bridal splendour. How sweet and girlish she looked in this more simple array! Evidently they were going to walk home through the woods and lanes, see glow-worms and smell the hedge roses. For an instant Valentine was on the point of proposing to accompany them part of the way, but recollected himself just in time to withdraw into the shadow made by a stand of greenhouse plants, and from thence see Giles come up the steps, take the delicate ungloved hand and lay it on his arm, while the hall doors were closed behind them.
Adam and Eve were returning to Paradise on foot. The world was quite a new world. They wanted to see what it was like by moonlight, now they were married.
Valentine walked disconsolately up the stairs, and there at the head of them, through a wide-open door, he saw a maid. The pale splendours of Dorothea’s gown were lying over her arm, and she was putting gold and pearls into a case. He darted past as quickly as he could, so glad to get out of sight, lest she should recognise him, for he shrewdly suspected that this was the same person who had been sent with Dorothea to Wigfield, when she first went there—one Mrs. Brand. So, in fact, it was; her husband was dead, she no longer sailed in old Captain Rollings yacht, and Brandon had invited her to come and stay in the house a while, and see her young lady again.
How glad he was to get away and shelter himself in his own room!—an uncomfortable sensation this for a fine young man. “What should I have done but for Grand and John?” was his thought. Grand and John were very considerate the next day. In the first place, Grand scarcely mentioned the bride during breakfast; in fact, so far as appeared, he had forgotten the party altogether. John was also considerate, gave Valentine plenty to do, and in a way that made him feel the yoke, took him in hand and saw that he did it.
It is often a great comfort to be well governed. John had a talent for government, and under his dominion Valentine had the pleasure of feeling, for the first time in his life, that he had certain things to do which must and should be done, after which he had a full right to occupy himself as he pleased.
A MORNING CALL.
“Learn now for
That I, which know my heart, do here pronounce
By the very truth of it, I care not for you.”—Cymbeline.
“John,” said Valentine, ten days after this dinner party, “you have not called on D. yet, nor have I.”
“No,” John answered, observing his wish, “and it might not be a bad plan for us to go together.”
“Thank you, and if you would add the twins to—to make the thing easier and less formal.”
“Nonsense,” said John; “but yes, I’ll take some of the children, for of course you feel awkward.” He did not add, “You should not have made such a fool of yourself,” lest Valentine should answer, “I devoutly wish I had not;” but he went on, “And why don’t you say Dorothea, instead of using a nickname?”