“In that you are mistaken. But why broach so disagreeable a subject, since we are so nearly related that the very thought seems almost a sin and a crime?”
“And so you’re going to throw yourself away on old Travilla?”
Elsie faced him with flashing eyes. “No; it will be no throwing away of myself, nor will I allow him to be spoken of in such disrespectful terms, in my presence.”
“Humph!” laughed Arthur. “Well, I’ve found out how to make you angry, at all events. And I’m free to confess I don’t like Travilla, or forgive him all old scores.”
Elsie scarcely seemed to hear. A horse was coming at a quiet canter up the avenue. Both the steed and his rider wore a familiar aspect, and the young girl’s heart gave a joyous bound as the latter dismounted, throwing the reins to a servant, and came up the steps into the veranda.
She glided towards him; there was an earnest, tender clasping of hands, a word or two of cordial greeting, and they passed into the house and entered the drawing room.
“Humph! not much sentiment there; act towards each other pretty much as they always have,” said Arthur to himself, taking a cigar from his pocket and lighting it with a match. “I wonder now what’s the attraction to her for an old codger like that,” he added watching the smoke as it curled lazily up from the end of his Havana.
There was indeed nothing sentimental in the conduct of Mr. Travilla or Elsie: deep, true, heartfelt happiness there was on both sides, but calm and quiet, indulging in little demonstration, except when they were quite alone with each other. There was no secret made of the engagement, and it was soon known to all their friends and acquaintance. Mr. Travilla had always been in the habit of visiting the Oaks daily, and finding himself very much at home there; and he continued to come and go as formerly, all welcoming him with great cordiality, making him, if possible, more one of themselves than ever, while there was little change in Elsie’s manner, except that all her late reserve had fled, and given place to the old ease and freedom, the sweet, affectionate confidences of earlier days.
Mr. Dinsmore’s determination to delay the marriage for a year was decidedly a keen disappointment to the middle-aged lover, who had already endured so long and patient a waiting for his prize; yet so thankful and joyous was he that he had at last won her for his own, that, finding remonstrance and entreaties alike unavailing, he presently accepted the conditions with a very good grace, comforting himself with the certainty of the permanence of her love. Elsie had no coquettish arts, was simple-hearted, straightforward, and true, as in her childhood, and their confidence in each other was unbounded.
never feasts so high
As when the first course is of misery.”