“Seven hours more!” say I, with a burst of desperateness.
“I am so sorry for you, Nancy! what can one do for you?” says my husband, looking thoroughly discomfited, concerned, and helpless. “Would you care to have a book?”
“I cannot read in a train,” reply I, dolorously, “it makes me sick!” Then feeling rather ashamed of my peevishness—“Never mind me!” I say, with a dusty smile; “I am quite happy! I—I—like looking out.”
The day falls, the night comes. On, on, on! There is a bit of looking-glass opposite me. I can no longer see any thing outside. I have to sit staring at my own plain, grimed, bored face. In a sudden fury, I draw the little red silk curtain across my own image. Thank God! I can no longer see myself. Sir Roger ceases to try his eyes with the print of the Westminster, and closes it.
“I wonder,” say I, pouring some eau-de-cologne on my pocket-handkerchief, and trying to cleanse my face therewith, but only succeeding in making it a muddy instead of a dusty smudge—“I wonder whether we shall meet any one we know at Dresden?”
“I should not wonder,” replies Sir Roger, cheerfully.
“Is the Hotel de Saxe the place where most English go?” inquire I, anxiously. “Ah, you do not know! I must ask Schmidt.”
“I hope we shall,” say I, straining my eyes to make out the objects in the dark outside. “We have been very unlucky so far, have not we?”
“Are you so anxious to meet people? are you so dull already, Nancy?” he asks, in that voice of peculiar gentleness which I have already learned to know hides inward pain.
“Oh, no, no!” cry I, with quick remorse. “Not at all! I have always longed to travel! At one time Barbara and I were always talking about it, making plans, you know, of where we would go. I enjoy it, of all things, especially the pictures—but do not you think it would be amusing to have some one to talk to at the tables d’hote, some one English, to laugh at the people with?”
“Yes,” he answers, readily, “of course it would. It is quite natural that you should wish it. I heartily hope we shall. We will go wherever it is most likely.”
After long, long hours of dark rushing, Dresden at last. We drive in an open carriage through an unknown town, moonlit, silent, and asleep. German towns go to bed early. We cross the Elbe, in which a second moon, big and clear as the one in heaven, lies quivering, waving with the water’s wave; then through dim, ghostly streets, and at last—at last— we pull up at the door of the Hotel de Saxe, and the sleepy porter comes out disheveled.
“There is no doubt,” say I, aloud, when I find myself alone in my bedroom, Sir Roger not having yet come up, and the maid having gone to bed—addressing the remark to the hot water in which I have been bathing my face, stiff with dirt, and haggard with fatigue. “There is no use denying it, I hate being married!”