He remained at the window watching, with a satirical smile, the scene within. People of almost every age, from elderly men and matrons down to boys and girls, were participating in the old-fashioned dance. The air was resonant with laughter and music. In the rollicking fun Madge appeared to have found her element. No step was lighter or quicker than hers, and merriment rippled away before her as if she were the genius of mirth. Her dark eyes were singularly brilliant, and burned as with a suppressed excitement.
“She is bound to have her fling like the rest, I suppose,” he muttered; “and that romp is more to her than the offer of a brother’s love and help—an offer half forgotten already, no doubt. Yet she puzzles one. She never was a weak girl mentally. She was always a little odd, and now she is decidedly so. Well, I will let her gang her ain gate, and I shall go mine.”
He little dreamed that she was seeking weariness, action that would exhaust, and that the expression of her eyes, so far from being caused by excitement, was produced by feelings deeper than he had ever known. When the music ceased he sauntered up and told her that her sister had retired.
“I had better follow her example,” she said.
“Would you not like a brief stroll on the piazza? After exertions that, in you, seem almost superhuman, you must be warm.”
“Why more superhuman in me than in others?”
“Simply because of my old and preconceived notions.”
“I fear I am disappointing you in every respect. I had hoped to give you pleasure.”
“Oh, well, Madge, I see we must let the past go and begin again.”
“Begin fairly, then, and not in prejudice.”
“Does it matter very much to you how I begin?”
“I shall not answer such questions.”
“I am glad to see that you can enjoy yourself so thoroughly. You can now look forward to a long career of happiness, Madge, since you can obtain so much from a reel.”
“You do not know what I am looking forward to.”
“Because you are not acquainted with me.”
“I thought I was at one time.”
“I became discontented with that time, and have tried to be different.”