“For wild, or calm, or far
I love thee still, thou glorious sea.”
“I bless thee for kind looks
Shower’d on my path like dew,
For all the love in those deep eyes,
A gladness ever new.”
It is late in the afternoon of a delicious October day; the woods back of the two cottages where the Dinsmores, Travillas and Raymonds have spent the last three or four months are gorgeous with scarlet, crimson and gold; the air from the sea is more delightful than ever, but the summer visitors to the neighboring cottages and hotels have fled, and the beach is almost deserted, as Edward and his child-wife wander slowly along it, hand in hand, their attention divided between the splendors of a magnificent sunset and the changing beauty of the sea; yonder away in the distance it is pale gray; near at hand delicate green slowly changing to pink, each wave crested with snowy foam, and anon they all turn to burnished gold.
“Oh, how very beautiful!” cries Zoe, in an ecstasy of delight. “Edward, did you ever see anything finer?”
“Never! Let us go down this flight of steps and seat ourselves on the next to the lowest. We will then be quite near the waves and yet out of danger of being wet by them.”
He led her down as he spoke, seated her comfortably and himself by her side with his arm around her.
“I’ve grown very fond of the sea,” she remarked. “I shall be sorry to leave it. Will not you?”
“Yes and no,” he answered, doubtfully. “I, too, am fond of old ocean, but eager to get to Ion and begin life in earnest. Isn’t it time, seeing I have been a married man for nearly five months? But why that sigh, love?”
“O Edward, are you not sorry you are married? Are you not sometimes very much ashamed of me?” she asked, her cheek burning hotly and the downcast eyes filling with tears.
“Ashamed of you, Zoe? Why, darling, you are my heart’s best treasure,” he said, drawing her closer to his side, and touching his lips to her forehead. “What has put so absurd an idea into your head?”
“I know so little, so very little compared with your mother and sisters,” she sighed. “I’m finding it out more and more every day, as I hear them talk among themselves and to other people.”
“But you are younger than any of them, a very great deal younger than mamma, and will have time to catch up to them.”
“But I’m a married woman and so can’t go to school any more. Ah,” with another and very heavy sigh, “I wish papa hadn’t been quite so indulgent, or that I’d had sense enough not to take advantage of it to the neglect of my studies!”
“No, I suppose it would hardly do to send you to school, even if I could spare you—which I can’t,” he returned laughingly, “but there is a possibility of studying at home, under a governess or tutor. What do you say to offering yourself as a pupil to grandpa?”