“MY DEAREST NANCY:
“I have such a piece of news for you! I cannot help laughing as I picture to myself your face of delight; I would make you guess it, only I cannot bear to keep you in suspense. It has all come right! I am going to marry Frank, after all! What have I done to deserve such luck! How can I ever thank God enough for it? Do you know that my very first thought, when he asked me, was, ‘How pleased Nancy will be!’ You dear little soul! I think, when he went away that time from Tempest, that you took all the blame of it to yourself! O Nancy, do you think it is wrong to be so dreadfully happy? Sometimes I am afraid that I love him too much! it seems so hard to help it. I have no time for more now; he is waiting for me; how little I thought, a month ago, that I should be ending a letter to you for such a reason! When all is said and done, what a pleasant world it is! Do not think me quite mad. I know I sound as if I were!
My hand, and the letter with it, fall together into my lap; my head sinks back on the cushion of my chair; my eyes peruse the ceiling.
“Engaged to Musgrave! engaged to Musgrave! engaged to Musgrave!”
The words ring with a dull monotony of repetition through my brain. Poor Barbara! I think she would be surprised if she were to see my “face of delight!”
My eyes are fixed on the mouldings of the ceiling, while a jumble of thoughts mix and muddle themselves in my head. Was Brindley Wood a dream? or is this a dream? Surely one or other must be, and, if this is not a dream, what is it? Is it reality, is it truth? And, if it is, how on earth did any thing so monstrous ever come about? How did he dare to approach her? How could he know that I had not told her? Is it possible that he cares for her really?—that he cared for her all along?—that he only went mad for one wicked moment? Is he sorry? how soon shall I have to meet him? On what terms shall we be? Will Roger be undeceived at last? Will he believe me? As my thoughts fall upon him, he opens the door and enters.