He said no more; and indeed, words seemed to be useless.
So he chose the house himself,—one that could not fail to please Bella, he felt exultantly. She would be less than woman if she were not glad to exchange the second-rate little dwelling in the Camberwell New Road for the substantial residence, with its modern improvements and embellishments in such a neighbourhood as Camelot Square.
It was not perhaps a palace, but it was a very great deal more imposing than anything they had dreamt of in the early days of their married life, and yet John Chetwynd told himself with a sigh that he would gladly give up fame and prosperity to win back the old love-light in his wife’s eyes.
And there are some among us who cannot love for so little—“Of man’s love a thing apart.” Perhaps John Chetwynd would have been a happier man had he been one of these.
Even the task of furnishing fell to the doctor’s lot. Bella did not refuse, nor did she object to accompany him on what he might have naturally supposed would be a congenial task for her, but she showed herself so indifferent throughout that, after an effort or two to make her contented, he gave it up, and it ended in his carrying the whole thing through himself.
And he was not sorry when at length it was completed. On the morrow he would bring Bella to her new home.
He stood under the bright lighted chandelier and looked round him. The carpet was thick and soft. Bella liked carpets her feet could sink into, she had once said. There by the fireplace was the most luxurious easy chair he could purchase, upholstered in her favourite colour, pale blue. He pictured the dainty figure nestling in it, and a little glow stirred at his heart. After all, she was his wife, his fondly loved wife, and who could tell? Perhaps with the old life, old feuds would die out and with the new, joy and happiness dawn for them both once more.
John Chetwynd was not a religious man; he rarely went to church and he never prayed; but now he covered his face with his hands, and his lips moved inaudibly.
He was asking for a blessing on the new life, and there was something like a tear in his eye and a suspicious huskiness in his voice as he called out “Come in” in answer to a hurried knock at the door and flung open the lid of a grand piano which was littered with music and songs, running his hands over the keys and smiling a little.
The piano was to be a surprise: Bella knew nothing about it.
Perhaps it would keep her more at home, for she was very fond of music.
It had cost more than he ought to have paid, but still it was for her.
“Come in, Mrs. Brewer—what is it? I’m just off. You will have us both here to-morrow at this time for good and all, I hope.”
“Indeed, sir, and I’m glad to hear it. Things do look most beautiful, and no mistake.”
The good soul shambled across the floor and held out a letter wrapped in the corner of her apron.