Victorian Short Stories: Stories of Courtship eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Victorian Short Stories.
informed him that ’Quicksilver was a sure thing’.  Much correspondence passed without another meeting being effected, and he lent her five pounds to pay a debt of honour incurred through her husband’s ‘absurd confidence in Quicksilver’.  A week later this horsey husband of hers brought her on to Brighton for the races there, and hither John Lefolle flew.  But her husband shadowed her, and he could only lift his hat to her as they passed each other on the Lawns.  Sometimes he saw her sitting pensively on a chair while her lord and thrasher perused a pink sporting-paper.  Such tantalizing proximity raised their correspondence through the Hove Post Office to fever heat.  Life apart, they felt, was impossible, and, removed from the sobering influences of his cap and gown, John Lefolle dreamed of throwing everything to the winds.  His literary reputation had opened out a new career.  The Winifred lyrics alone had brought in a tidy sum, and though he had expended that and more on despatches of flowers and trifles to her, yet he felt this extravagance would become extinguished under daily companionship, and the poems provoked by her charms would go far towards their daily maintenance.  Yes, he could throw up the University.  He would rescue her from this bully, this gentleman bruiser.  They would live openly and nobly in the world’s eye.  A poet was not even expected to be conventional.

She, on her side, was no less ardent for the great step.  She raged against the world’s law, the injustice by which a husband’s cruelty was not sufficient ground for divorce.  ’But we finer souls must take the law into our own hands,’ she wrote.  ’We must teach society that the ethics of a barbarous age are unfitted for our century of enlightenment.’  But somehow the actual time and place of the elopement could never get itself fixed.  In September her husband dragged her to Scotland, in October after the pheasants.  When the dramatic day was actually fixed, Winifred wrote by the next post deferring it for a week.  Even the few actual preliminary meetings they planned for Kensington Gardens or Hampstead Heath rarely came off.  He lived in a whirling atmosphere of express letters of excuse, and telegrams that transformed the situation from hour to hour.  Not that her passion in any way abated, or her romantic resolution really altered:  it was only that her conception of time and place and ways and means was dizzily mutable.

But after nigh six months of palpitating negotiations with the adorable Mrs. Glamorys, the poet, in a moment of dejection, penned the prose apophthegm, ‘It is of no use trying to change a changeable person.’

V

But at last she astonished him by a sketch plan of the elopement, so detailed, even to band-boxes and the Paris night route via Dieppe, that no further room for doubt was left in his intoxicated soul, and he was actually further astonished when, just as he was putting his hand-bag into the hansom, a telegram was handed to him saying:  ’Gone to Homburg.  Letter follows.’

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Victorian Short Stories: Stories of Courtship from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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