There was for a moment a dull, heavy pain at Mark’s heart, caused by that little item of information which made him so uncomfortable. On the whole he did not doubt it, for everything he could recall of Morris had a tendency to strengthen the belief. Nothing could he more probable, thrown together as they had been, without other congenial society, and nothing could be more suitable.
“They are well matched,” Mark thought, as he walked listlessly through Mrs. Reynolds’ parlors, seeing only one face, and that the face of Helen Lennox, with the lily in her hair, just as it looked when she had tied the apron about his neck and laughed at his appearance.
Helen was not the ideal which in his boyhood Mark had cherished of the one who was to be his wife, for that was of a more brilliant, beautiful woman, a woman more like Juno, with whom he had always been on the best of terms, giving her some reason, it is true, for believing herself the favored one; but ideals change as years go on, and Helen Lennox had more attractions for him now than the most dashing belle of his acquaintance.
“I do not believe I am in love with her,” he said to himself that night, when, after his return from Mrs. Reynolds’ he sat for a long time before the fire in his dressing-room, cogitating upon what he had heard, and wondering why it should affect him so much. “Of course I am not,” he continued, feeling the necessity of reiterating the assertion by way of making himself believe it. “She is not at all what I used to imagine the future Mrs. Mark Ray to be. Half my friends would say she had no style, no beauty, and perhaps she has not. Certainly she does not look just like the ladies at Mrs. Reynolds’ to-night, but give her the same advantages and she would surpass them all.”
And then Mark Ray went off into a reverie, in which he saw Helen Lennox his wife, and with the aids by which he would surround her rapidly developing into as splendid a woman as little Katy Cameron, who did not need to be developed, but took all hearts at once by that natural, witching grace so much a part of herself. It was a very pleasant picture which Mark painted upon the mental canvas; but there came a great blur blotting out its brightness as he remembered Dr. Grant, and felt that Linwood was one day to be Helen’s home.
“But it shall not interfere with my being just as kind to her as before. She will need some attendant here, and Wilford, I know, will be glad to shove her off his hands. He is so infernal proud,” Mark said, and taking a fresh cigar he finished his reverie with the magnanimous resolve that were Helen a hundred times engaged she should be his especial care during her sojourn in New York.
HELEN IN SOCIETY.
It was three days before Christmas, and Katy was talking confidentially to Mrs. Banker, whom she had asked to see the next time she should call.