I had sent a note to Richard which contained the following:
“I am sure you will be surprised to know we have returned. But the fact is, I got very tired of Italy; and we were disappointed in the apartments we wanted in Berlin, and some of the people we expected to have with us had to give it up, and altogether it seemed dull, and we thought it would be just as pleasant to come home. We were able to get staterooms that just suited us, and it didn’t seem worth while to lose them by waiting to send word. We had a very comfortable voyage, and I am glad to find myself at home, though Mrs. Throckmorton doesn’t think the rooms are very nice. I want to know if you won’t come to dinner. We dine at six. Send a line back by the boy. I want to ask you about some business matters.
And I had received for answer:
“MY DEAR PAULINE:
“Of course I am astonished to think you are at home. I enclosed you several letters by the steamer yesterday, none of them of any very great importance, though, I think. I will come up at six.
“P.S. I am very glad you wanted to come home.” #/
I read this letter over a great many times, but it did not enlighten me at all as to his intentions about marrying Charlotte Benson. It was very matter-of-fact, but that Richard’s letters always were. Evidently he had thought the same of it himself, as he read it over, and had added the postscript. But that did not seem very enthusiastic. Altogether I was not happy, waiting for six o’clock to come.
Time and chance are
but a tide,
Slighted love is sair to bide.
The dining-room and parlor of our little suite adjoined; the door was standing open between them, as I walked up and down the parlor, waiting nervously for Richard to arrive. The fire was bright, and the only light in the parlor was a soft, pretty lamp, which we had brought from Italy. There were flowers on the table, and in two or three vases, and the curtains were pretty, and there were several large mirrors. Outside, it was the twilight of a dark autumnal day; almost night already, and the lamps were lit. It lacked several minutes of six when Richard came. I felt very much agitated when he entered the room. It was a year and a half since I had seen him: besides, this piece of news! But he looked just the same as ever, and I had not the self-possession to note whether he seemed agitated at meeting me. I do not know exactly what we talked about for the first few moments, probably I was occupied in trying to excuse myself for coming home so suddenly, for I found Richard was not altogether pleased at not having been informed, and thought there must be something yet to tell. He was not used to feminine caprice, and I began to feel a good deal ashamed of myself. I had to remind myself, more than once, that I was not responsible to any one.