“But there, there, love, do not cry any more over it; happily, the whole thing is a secret between us two, and we may now dismiss the disagreeable subject forever.
“But shall we not promise each other that we will never part in anger, even when the separation may not be for an hour? or ever lie down to sleep at night unreconciled, if there has been the slightest misunderstanding or coldness between us?”
“Oh, yes, yes, I promise!” she cried eagerly; “but, oh, dear Ned, I hope we will never, never have any more coldness or quarrelling between us, never say a cross word to each other.”
“And I join you, dearest, in both wish and promise.”
“I am growing very babyish,” she said presently with a wistful look up into his face; “I can hardly bear to think of being parted from you for a day; and I suppose you’ll have to be going off again to attend to that business affair?”
“Yes, as soon as I see that my wife is quite well enough to undertake the journey; for I’m not going again without her.”
“Oh, will you take me with you, Ned?” she cried joyfully. “How very good in you.”
“Good to myself, little woman,” he said, smiling down at her; “it will turn a tiresome business trip into a pleasure excursion. I have always found my enjoyment doubled by the companionship of my better half.”
“I call that rank heresy,” she said laughing, “you’re the better half as well as the bigger. I wish I were worthy of such a good husband,” she added earnestly and with a look of loving admiration. “I’m very proud of you, my dear—so good and wise and handsome as you are!”
“Oh, hush, hush! such fulsome flattery,” he returned, coloring and laughing. “Let me see; this is Friday, so near the end of the week that I do not care to leave home till next week. We will say Tuesday morning next, if that will suit you, love?”
“Nicely,” she answered. “Oh, I’m so glad you have promised to take me with you!”
Before two days had passed Zoe was quite herself again, and as full of delight at the prospect of going away for a little trip as any child could have been. She wore so bright a face, was so merry and frolicsome, that it was a pleasure to watch her, especially when with her husband, and not aware that any other eye was upon her.
His face, too, beamed with happiness.
Elsie’s eyes resting upon them would sometimes fill with tears—half of joy in their felicity, half of sorrowful yet tender reminiscence. In his present mood Edward was very like his father in looks, in speech, in manner.
Tuesday morning came, bringing with it delightful weather; Edward had decided to take a later train than when starting before, because he would not have Zoe roused too soon from sleep.
They took breakfast with the family at the usual hour, an open barouche waiting for them at the door; then with a gay good-by to all set out upon their journey, driving to the nearest station, and there taking the cars.