“And” (smiling) “your plan. See what a good memory I have—your plan of marrying her to Musgrave, how does that work?”
“My plan!” cry I, tremulously, while a sudden torrent of scarlet pours all over my face and neck. “I do not know what you are talking about! I never had any such plan! Phew!” (lifting up the arm that is round my waist, hastily removing it, rising and going to the window), “how hot this room grows of an afternoon!”
So the king enjoys his own again, and Roger is at home. Not yet—and now it is the next morning—has his return become real to me. Still there is something phantom and visionary about it: still it seems to me open to question whether, if I look away from him for a moment, he may not melt and disappear into dream-land.
All through breakfast I am dodging and peeping from behind the urn to assure myself of the continued presence and substantial reality of the strong shoulders and bronze-colored face that so solidly and certainly face me. As often as I catch his eye—and this is not seldom, for perhaps he too has his misgivings about me—I smile, in a manner, half ashamed, half sneaky, and yet most wholly satisfied.
The sun, who is not by any means always so well-judging, often hiding his face with both hands from a wedding, and hotly and gaudily flaming down on a black funeral, is shining with a temperate February comeliness in at our windows, on our garden borders; trying (and failing) to warm up the passionless melancholy of the chilly snow-drop families, trying (and succeeding) to add his quota to the joy that already fills and occupies our two hearts.
“How fine it is!” I cry, flying with unmatronly agility to the window, and playing a waltz on the pane. “That is right! I should have been so angry if it had rained; let us come out at once—I want to hear your opinion about the laurels; they want cutting badly, but I could not have them touched while you were away, though Bobby’s fingers—when he was here—itched to be hacking at them. Come, I have got on my strong boots on purpose!—at once”
“At once?” he repeats, a little doubtfully turning over the letters that lie in a heap beside his plate. “Well, I do not know about that— duty first, and pleasure afterward. Had not I better go to Zephine Huntley’s, and get it over?”
“To Zephine Huntley’s?” repeat I, my fingers suddenly breaking off in the middle of their tune, as I turn quickly round to face him; the smile disappearing from my face, and my jaw lengthening; “you do not mean to say that you are going there again?”
“Yes, again!” he answers, laughing a little, and slightly mimicking my tragic tone; “why not, Nancy?”
I make no answer. I turn away and look out; but I see a different landscape. It looks to me as if I were regarding it through dark-blue glass.