THE FIRST WIFE.
Softly and swiftly the hazy September days glided into dun October, who shook down leafy showers of crimson and of gold upon the withered grass, and then gave place to the dark November rains, which made the city seem doubly desolate to Katy, who, like the ghost of her former self, moved listlessly about her handsome home, starting quickly as a fancied baby cry fell on her ear, and then weeping bitterly as she remembered the sad past and thought of the still sadder present. Katy was very unhappy, and the world, as she looked upon it, seemed utterly cheerless. For much of this unhappiness Wilford was himself to blame. After the first few days, during which he was all kindness and devotion, he did not try to comfort her, but seemed irritated that she should mourn so deeply for the child which, but for her indiscretion, might have been living still. Her seclusion from gay society troubled him. He did not like staying at home, and their evenings, when they were alone, passed in gloomy silence. At last Mrs. Cameron, annoyed at what annoyed her son, brought her influence to bear upon her daughter-in-law, trying to rouse her to something like her olden interest in the world; but all to no effect, and matters grew constantly worse, as Wilford thought Katy unreasonable and selfish, while Katy tried hard not to think him harsh in his judgment of her, and exacting in his requirements. “Perhaps she was the one most in fault; it could not be pleasant for him to see her so entirely changed from what she used to be,” she thought, one morning late in November, when her husband had just left her with an angry frown upon his face and reproachful words upon his lips.
Father Cameron and his daughters were out of town, and Mrs. Cameron, feeling lonely in their absence, had asked Wilford and Katy to dine with her. But Katy did not wish to go, and so Wilford had left her in anger, saying “she could suit herself, but he should go at all events.”
Left alone, Katy began to feel that she had done wrong in declining the invitation. Surely she could go there, and the echo of the bang with which Wilford had closed the street door was still vibrating in her ear, when her resolution began to give way, and while Wilford was riding moodily downtown, thinking harsh things against her, she was meditating what she thought might be an agreeable surprise. She would go around and meet him at dinner, trying to appear as much like her old self as she could, and so atone for anything which had hitherto been wrong in her demeanor.