Macleod of Dare eBook

William Black
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 492 pages of information about Macleod of Dare.
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.

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Macleod of Dare from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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