Then my husband knocked at my door again.
“I’ve written that letter and Hobson is waiting to take it. Your father will probably get it before he goes to bed. It will be a bad break on the festivities he was preparing for the village people. But you are still of the same mind, I suppose?”
I did not speak, but I rose and went over to the window. For some reason difficult to explain, that reference to the festivities had cut me to the quick.
My husband must have been fuming at my apparent indifference, and I felt as if I could see him looking at me, passionate and proud.
“Between the lot of you I think you’ve done me a great injustice. Have you nothing to say?”
Even then I did not answer.
“All right! As you please.”
A few minutes afterwards I heard the motor-car turning and driving away.
The wind had fallen, the waves were rolling into the harbour with that monotonous moan which is the sea’s memory of a storm, and a full moon, like a white-robed queen, was riding through a troubled sky.
The moon had died out; a new day had dawned; the sea was lying as quiet as a sleeping child; far out on the level horizon the sky was crimsoning before the rising sun, and clouds of white sea-gulls were swirling and jabbering above the rocks in the harbour below the house before I lay down to sleep.
I was awakened by a hurried knocking at my door, and by an impatient voice crying:
“Mary! Mary! Get up! Let me in!”
It was Aunt Bridget who had arrived in my husband’s automobile. When I opened the door to her she came sailing into the room with her new half-moon bonnet a little awry, as if she had put it on hurriedly in the dim light of early morning, and, looking at me with her cold grey eyes behind their gold-rimmed spectacles, she began to bombard me with mingled ridicule and indignant protest.
“Goodness me, girl, what’s all this fuss about? You little simpleton, tell me what has happened!”
She was laughing. I had hardly ever heard Aunt Bridget laugh before. But her vexation soon got the better of her merriment.
“His lordship’s letter arrived in the middle of the night and nearly frightened us out of our senses. Your father was for coming away straight, and it would have been worse for you if he had. But I said: ‘No, this is work for a woman, I’ll go,’ and here I am. And now tell me, what in the name of goodness does this ridiculous trouble mean?”
It was hard to say anything on such a subject under such circumstances, especially when so challenged, but Aunt Bridget, without waiting for my reply, proceeded to indicate the substance of my husband’s letter.
From this I gathered that he had chosen (probably to save his pride) to set down my resistance to ignorance of the first conditions of matrimony, and had charged my father first and Aunt Bridget afterwards with doing him a shocking injustice in permitting me to be married to him without telling me what every girl who becomes a wife ought to know.