Dorothy was a gift of God, and the trouble that gnawed at her heart she would not let out to gnaw at her father’s.
“There’s Ducky come to call us to dinner,” she said, and rising, went to meet her.
“Dinner!” groaned Mr. Drake, and would have remained where he was. But for Dorothy’s sake he rose and followed her, feeling almost like a repentant thief who had stolen the meal.
THE HEATH AT NESTLEY.
On the Monday morning, Mr. Bevis’s groom came to the rectory with a note for the curate, begging him and Mrs. Wingfold to dine at Nestley the same day if possible.
“I know,” the rector wrote, “Monday is, or ought to be, an idle day with you, and I write instead of my wife, because I want to see you on business. I would have come to you, had I not had reasons for wishing to see you here rather than at Glaston. The earlier you can come and the longer you can stay the better, but you shall go as soon after an early dinner as you please. You are a bee and I am a drone. God bless you.
The curate took the note to his wife. Things were at once arranged, an answer of ready obedience committed to the groom, and Helen’s pony-carriage ordered out.
The curate called every thing Helen’s. He had a great contempt for the spirit of men who marry rich wives and then lord it over their money, as if they had done a fine thing in getting hold of it, and the wife had been but keeping it from its rightful owner. They do not know what a confession their whole bearing is, that, but for their wives’ money, they would be but the merest, poorest nobodies. So small are they that even that suffices to make them feel big! But Helen did not like it, especially when he would ask her if he might have this or that, or do so and so. Any common man who heard him would have thought him afraid of his wife; but a large-hearted woman would at once have understood, as did Helen, that it all came of his fine sense of truth, and reality, and obligation. Still Helen would have had him forget all such matters in connection with her. They were one beyond obligation. She had given him herself, and what were bank-notes after that? But he thought of her always as an angel who had taken him in, to comfort, and bless, and cherish him with love, that he might the better do the work of his God and hers; therefore his obligation to her was his glory.
“Your ponies go splendidly to-day, Helen,” he said, as admiringly he watched how her hands on the reins seemed to mold their movements.
They were the tiniest, daintiest things, of the smallest ever seen in harness, but with all the ways of big horses, therefore amusing in their very grace. They were the delight of the children of Glaston and the villages round.
“Why will you call them my ponies, Thomas?” returned his wife, just sufficiently vexed to find it easy to pretend to be cross. “I don’t see what good I have got by marrying you, if every thing is to be mine all the same!”