THE WORLD GOES ON THE SAME.
Into my chamber brightly
Came the early sun’s good-morrow;
On my restless bed, unsightly,
I sat up in my sorrow.
It is an amazing thing, the strength and power of pride. Pride, and the law of self-respect and self-preservation in our being, is the force that holds us in our course. When we reflect upon it, how few of all the myriads fly out from it and are lost. That I ate my meals; that I dressed myself with care; that I took walks and drives: that I did not avoid my companions, and listened patiently to what they chose to say: these were the evidences of that centripetal law within that was keeping me from destruction. It would be difficult to imagine a person more unhappy. Undisciplined and unfortified by the knowledge that disappointment is an integral part of all lives, there had suddenly come upon me a disappointment the most total. It covered everything; there was not a flicker of hope or palliation. And I had no idea where to go to make myself another hope, or in what course lay palliation. As we have prepared ourselves or have been prepared, so is the issue of our temptations. My great temptation came upon me, foolish, ignorant, unprepared: the wonder would have been if I had resisted it to my own credit.
The days went on as usual at R——, and I must hold my place among the careless daughters and not let them see my trouble. Careless daughters, indeed they were, and I shuddered at the thought of their cold eyes: no doubt their eyes, bright as well as cold, saw that something was amiss with me; with all my bravery, I could not keep the signs of wretchedness out of my pale face. But they never knew the story, and they could only guess at what made me wretched. It is amazing (again) what power there is in silence, and how much you can keep in your hands if you do not open them. People may surmise—may invent, but they cannot know your secret unless you tell it to them, and their imaginings take so many forms, the multitude of things that they create blot out all definite design. Thus every one at R—— had a different theory about my loss of spirits and the relapse of Mr. Langenau, but no one ever knew what passed that night.
Richard came. He was closeted with Sophie until after midnight, but I do not think he told her anything that she desired to know. I think he only tried to find out from her what had passed (and she did not know that I had been in the library since she spoke to me). If Mr. Langenau had been well, I have no doubt that it was his design to have dismissed him on the following day, no matter at what hazard. How much he knew I cannot tell, but enough to have warranted him in doing that, perhaps. He probably would have put it in Mr. Langenau’s power to have gone without any coloring put upon his going that would have affected his standing in the household. This was his design, no doubt; otherwise he would have told his sister all. His delicate consideration for me made him guard as sacred the fact that I had wasted my hope and love so cruelly.