to advances which, in her innocence, she was not supposed
to understand. As the play proceeded, his brows
grew darker and darker. And the husband, who ought
to have been the guardian of his wife’s honor?
Well, the husband in this rather poor play was a creation
that is common in modern English drama. He represented
one idea at least that the English playwright has
certainly not borrowed from the French stage.
Moral worth is best indicated by a sullen demeanor.
The man who has a pleasant manner is dangerous and
a profligate; the virtuous man—the true-hearted
Englishman—conducts himself as a boor, and
proves the goodness of his nature by his silence and
his sulks. The hero of this trumpery piece was
of this familiar type. He saw the gay fascinator
coming about his house; but he was too proud and dignified
to interfere. He knew of his young wife becoming
the byword of his friends; but he only clasped his
hands on his forehead, and sought solitude, and scowled
as a man of virtue should. Macleod had paid but
little attention to stories of this kind when he had
merely read them; but when the situation was visible—when
actual people were before him—the whole
thing looked more real, and his sympathies became
active enough. How was it possible, he thought,
for this poor dolt to fume and mutter, and let his
innocent wife go her own way alone and unprotected,
when there was a door in the room, and a window by
way of alternative? There was one scene in which
the faithless friend and the young wife were together
in her drawing-room. He drew nearer to her; he
spake softly to her; he ventured to take her hand.
And while he was looking up appealingly to her, Macleod
was regarding his face. He was calculating to
himself the precise spot between the eyes where a
man’s knuckles would most effectually tell; and
his hand was clinched, and his teeth set hard.
There was a look on his face which would have warned
any gay young man that when Macleod should marry, his
wife would need no second champion.
But was this the atmosphere by which she was surrounded?
It is needless to say that the piece was proper enough.
Virtue was triumphant; vice compelled to sneak off
discomfited. The indignant outburst of shame,
and horror, and contempt on the part of the young
wife, when she came to know what the villain’s
suave intentions really meant, gave Miss White an
excellent opportunity of displaying her histrionic
gifts; and the public applauded vehemently; but Macleod
had no pride in her triumph. He was glad when
the piece ended—when the honest-hearted
Englishman so far recovered speech as to declare that
his confidence in his wife was restored, and so far
forgot his stolidity of face and demeanor as to point
out to the villain the way to the door instead of kicking
him thither. Macleod breathed more freely when
he knew that Gertrude White was now about to go away
to the shelter and quiet of her own home. He
went back to his rooms, and tried to forget the precise
circumstances in which he had just seen her.