The inability under which I labored of refraining from imparting bad news is tenfold increased in the case of good. I must have some one to whom to relate my prosperity. It will certainly not be Mrs. Huntley this time. Though I have struggled against the feeling as unjust, and disloyal to my faith in Roger, I still cannot suppress a sharp pang of distrust and jealousy, as often as I think of her, and of the relation made to me by Frank, as to her former connection with my husband. Neither am I in any hurry to tell Frank. To speak truth, I am in no good-humor with him or with his unhandsome shilly-shallying, and unaccountable postponement of what became a duty months ago.
Never mind! this also will come right when Roger returns. The delightful stir and hubbub in my soul hinder me from working or reading, or any tranquil in-door occupation; and, as afternoon draws on, fair and not cold, I decide upon a long walk. The quick exercise will perhaps moderately tire me, and subdue my fidgetiness by the evening, and nobody can hinder me from thinking of Roger all the way.
Barbara has a cold—a nasty, stuffy, choky cold; so I must do without her. Apparently I must do without Vick too. She makes a feint, indeed, of accompanying me halfway to the front gate, then sits down on her little shivering haunches, smirks, and when I call her, looks the other way, affecting not to hear. On my calling more peremptorily, “Vick! Vick!” she tucks her tail well in, and canters back to the house on three legs.
So it comes to pass that I set out quite alone. I have no definite idea where to go—I walk vaguely along, following my nose, as they say, smiling foolishly, and talking to myself—now under my breath—now out loud. A strong southwest wind blows steadily in my face: it sounded noisy and fierce enough as I sat in the house; but there is no vice or malevolence in it—it is only a soft bluster.
Alternate clouds and sunshine tenant the sky. The shadows of the tree-trunks lie black and defined across the road—branches, twigs, every thing—then comes a sweep of steely cloud, and they disappear, swallowed up in one uniform gray: a colorless moment or two passes, and the sun pushes out again; and they start forth distinct and defined, each little shoot and great limb, into new life on the bright ground. I laugh out loud, out of sheer jollity, as I watch the sun playing at hide-and-seek with them.
What a good world! What a handsome, merry, sweetly-colored world! Unsatisfying? disappointing?—not a bit of it! It must be people’s own fault if they find it so.
I have walked a mile or so before I at length decide upon a goal, toward which to tend—a lone and distant cottage, tenanted by a very aged, ignorant, and feudally loyal couple—a cottage sitting by the edge of a brown common—one of the few that the greedy hand of Tillage has yet spared—where geese may still stalk and hiss unreproved, and errant-tinker donkeys crop and nibble undisturbed—