“Don’t talk like that,” cried Saidie disdainfully, “You make me tired!”
After this there was a lull; John Chetwynd observed that he had need of more forbearance towards his wilful wife, and tried to exercise it. He told himself that there was love enough and to spare; that with the deep affection he was convinced Bella bore him there was nothing really to fear. She was young and ill-advised, and it behoved him to keep a careful watch over her, and above all things not to draw too tight a rein. As for her threat of returning to her old life and its meretricious attractions, after the first shock he dismissed it from his mind. She had not really intended doing anything of the sort; such a step was impossible. It was a wild idea, born of the excitement of the moment, and unworthy of a further thought, and so he put it aside. Had not the question been argued and threshed out once and for all soon after marriage? He recalled with a curious lump in his throat how she had put her hands into his and said; “Your wishes are my wishes, now and always, Jack.” And there had been an end of the matter.
“I will wait until the atmosphere has cleared a little,” said John Chetwynd, reflectively, “and then I’ll tell her that at the end of the year we will leave Camberwell and take a larger house in a better neighbourhood.”
Thus, out of his love for his young wife, he made excuses for her and took her back to his heart again.
And Bella? Jack’s conduct puzzled her. She had fully expected that he would be exceedingly angry and displeased, and in her own mind had prepared certain little set phrases which were to impress him with the fact that she intended to do as she pleased and would not allow herself to be dictated to or coerced. And thus it was that on the following morning she came down to breakfast with it must be confessed a forbidding look upon her pretty face and a defiant air about her bearing. But all her newly formed resolves were put to flight when Jack came towards her and deliberately kissed the lips which she vainly tried to withhold.
“Bella, you and I love each other too well to quarrel,” he said kindly; “let us forget all that happened last night.”
What could she say? In spite of herself she felt that she was yielding; and though she did not meet him half way as he had fondly anticipated she would do, still she allowed him to draw her into his arms and did not repulse his caresses.
She might have shown a more generous spirit, it is true. Since he had tacitly acknowledged that they had been mutually to blame, she might have offered something in the shape of an expression of regret; but peace in any shape and at any cost Chetwynd felt he must have.