“That is certainly looking far ahead,” returned Mrs. Faude, with a polite sneer.
“Not farther than is our duty, since after marriage it is too late to consider, to any profit, what kind of parent our already irrevocably chosen partner for life will probably make.”
“Well, well, every one to her taste!” said Mrs. Faude, rising to go, “but had I a daughter, I should infinitely prefer for her husband, such a young man as my Clarence Augustus to such as that poor artist who is so attentive to Miss Travilla.
“Good-morning. I am sure I may trust you not to blazon this matter abroad?”
“You certainly may, Mrs. Faude,” Elsie returned with sweet and gentle courtesy, “and believe me, it has been very painful to me to speak words that have given pain to you.”
“What is it, little wife?” Mr. Travilla asked, coming in a moment after Mrs. Faude’s departure and finding Elsie alone and seemingly sunk in a painful reverie.
She repeated what had just passed, adding, “I am very glad now that we decided to return to Philadelphia to-morrow. I could see that Mrs. Faude was deeply offended, and it would be unpleasant to both of us to remain longer in the same house; but as she and her son go with the boating party to-day, and we leave early in the morning, we are not likely to encounter each other again.”
“Yes, it is all for the best,” he said. “But I wish I could have shielded you from this trial.”
“The brave man is not he who feels no fear,
For that were stupid and irrational;
But he whose soul its fear subdues,
And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.”
The Travillas returned home to Ion in November and took up with new zest the old and loved routine of study, work and play.
Elsie was no longer a schoolgirl, but still devoted some hours of each day to the cultivation of her mind and the keeping up of her accomplishments; also pursued her art studies with renewed ardor under the tuition of Lester Leland, who, his health requiring during the winter, a warmer climate than that of his northern home, had come at the urgent request of his relatives, to spend the season at Fairview.
Elsie had a number of gentlemen friends, some of whom she highly esteemed, but Lester’s society was preferred to that of any other.
Malcom Lilburn had grown very jealous of Lester, and found it difficult indeed to refrain from telling his love, but had gone away without breathing a word of it to any one.
Not to Scotland, however; he and his father were traveling through the West, visiting the principal points of interest, and had partly promised to take Ion in their way as they returned; which would probably not be before spring.