“If there isn’t room for us here, we can board at Abbie’s; it would be very pleasant, wouldn’t it?” said Sophie; but Bressant made no rejoinder.
Professor Valeyon was getting on well beneath the weight of his prospective loss. He indulged in as many comforting reflections as he could. Cornelia would still be with him, and he loved her as much in one way as Sophie in another. He seemed to think, too, that the bride and groom would probably settle somewhere in the neighborhood. Again, he felt a greater natural affection for Bressant than for any other young man; what son-in-law, after all, would he have preferred to have? And there may have been additional considerations equally pleasant in the contemplation.
Sophie was in her element; the loveliness and richness of her character came out like a sweet, sustaining perfume. In love, all her faculties found their fullest exercise. There was no doubt nor darkness in her soul. Without looking upon her lover as an angel, she saw in him the grand possibilities which human nature still possesses, and felt that she might aid them somewhat to develop and flourish.
As for Bressant, originally the least inclined of any of the circle to be pensive and sombre, he now seemed occasionally to contend with shadows of some kind. He was far from being habitually gloomy, but his moods were not to be depended upon; sometimes a turn of the conversation would seem to alter him; sometimes a word which he himself might utter; sometimes a silence, which found him light-hearted, would leave him troubled and restless. Sophie, so strong and trustful was her happiness, never suspected that any thing more than the fretting of his sickness was responsible for this, and, indeed, thought little about it at all; for, after all, what was it compared to the full tide which swept them both along in such an overmastering harmony?
Within a week from the day of the engagement, a letter came from Cornelia, speaking of her desire to be at home again, and further intimating that she meant to return in a month at farthest. She did not write with as much liveliness and light-heartedness as usual. Sophie read the letter aloud to Bressant and her father as they sat in the former’s room on a cool August afternoon.
“How surprised she will be to hear what has been going on!” said Sophie, looking for Bressant to sympathize with her smile. “I’ll write to her this evening and tell her all about it.” She paused to imagine Cornelia’s delight, astonishment, and playful dismay on learning that her younger sister, whom nobody ever suspected of such a thing, was going to be married, and to “that deaf creature,” too, whom they had discussed so freely only two months or so before. “She must know before anybody,” said Sophie; and the professor, as he rubbed his spectacles, grunted in approval.
But Bressant chewed his mustache, and said, hastily, the blood reddening his face: “No, no! wait—wait till she comes back. She can know it first, still; but you had better tell her with words. You can see, with your own eyes, then, how—how it pleases her.”