All these things were the frosts and rains of their winter, but the springtime would come and the glorious sun and flowers.
She was growing accustomed to London and the life of continual bustle, and was almost grateful for it all as it kept her from thinking.
Her stepfather and his wife mixed in a rising half-set of society where many people who were not fools came, and a number who were, but to Halcyone they all seemed a weariness. No one appeared to see anything straightly, and they seemed to be taken up with pursuits that could not divert or interest a cat. She saw quite a number of young men at dinners and was taken to the theater and suppers at the fashionable restaurants, and these entertainments she loathed. She was too desperately unhappy underneath to get even youth’s exhilaration out of them, and when she had been in London for nearly three weeks and Cheiron was preparing to return to his cottage, having delayed his departure much beyond his ordinary time, she felt she could endure the martyrdom no more.
She had stilled every voice which had whispered to her that it was indeed time that she heard some word from her lover. Because there were now only occasional notices in the papers about his health, he was supposed to be getting well.
“I will implore Cheiron to let me go back with him,” she decided firmly, as she went downstairs to breakfast. “I will ask if I may not go out and see him this morning,” and, comforted with this thought, she entered the dining-room with a brisker step than usual. No one but her stepfather was down.
He had grown accustomed, if not quite attached, to the quiet, gentle girl, and he liked her noiseless, punctual way—they had often breakfasted alone.
He was reading his Chronicle propped up in front of him, and handed her the Morning Post from the pile by his side. He silently went on with his cutlet which an obsequious butler had placed for his consumption. Halcyone turned rapidly to the column where she was accustomed to look daily for news of her lover. And there she read that Mrs. Cricklander had been entertaining a Saturday to Monday party, and that Mr. John Derringham’s recovery was now well advanced, even his broken ankle was mending rapidly and he hoped soon to be well.
A tight feeling grew round her heart, and her eyes dropped absently down the columns of the engagement announcements in which she took no interest, and then it seemed that her very soul was struck with agony as she read: