Family Pride eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 685 pages of information about Family Pride.

If possible he would prefer that no one should intrude upon them now, and he chafed her icy hands and bathed her face until the eyes unclosed again, but with a shudder turned away as they met his.  Then as she grew stronger and remembered the past she started up, exclaiming:  “If Genevra Lambert is your wife, what then am I?  Oh, Wilford, how could you make me not a wife, when I trusted and loved you so much?”

He knew now that she was laboring under a mistake, and he did not wonder at the violence of her emotions if she believed he had wronged her so cruelly, and coming nearer to her he said:  “You mistake me; Genevra Lambert was my wife once, but is not now, for she is dead.  Do you hear me, Katy?  Genevra died years ago, when you were a little girl playing in the fields at home.”

By mentioning Silverton he hoped to bring back something of her olden look, in place of the expression which troubled and frightened him.  The experiment was successful and great tears gathered in Katy’s eyes, washing out the wild, unnatural gleam, while the lips whispered:  “And it was her picture Juno saw.  She told me the night I came and I tried to question you.  You remember?”

Wilford did remember it and he replied:  “Yes, but I did not suppose you knew I had a picture.  You have been a good wife, Katy, never to mention it since then;” and he tried to kiss her forehead, but she covered it with her hands, saying, sadly:  “Not yet, Wilford, I cannot bear it now.  I must know the whole about Genevra.  Why didn’t you tell me before?  Why have you deceived me so?”

“Katy,” and Wilford grew very earnest in his attempts to defend himself, “do you remember that day we sat under the buttonwood tree and you promised to be mine?  Try and recall the incidents of that hour and see if I did not hint at some things past which I wished had been otherwise—­did not offer to show you the blackest page of my whole life and you would not see it.  Was that so, Katy?”

“Yes,” she answered, and he continued:  “You said you were satisfied to take me as I was.  You would not hear evil against me and so I acquiesced, bidding you not shrink back if ever the time should come when you must read that page.  I was to blame, I know, but there were many extenuating circumstances, much to excuse me for withholding what you would not hear.”

Wilford did not like to be censured, neither did he like to censure himself, and now that Katy was out of danger and comparatively calm, he began to build about himself a fortress of excuses for having kept from her the secret of his life.

“Would not most any man have done just as I did?” he continued.  “Can you mention one who would not?”

“Yes, Cousin Morris,” Katy answered; “he would never have deceived me thus.”

A little vexed at the mention of Dr. Grant, Wilford replied:  “I do not pretend to be a saint, and I believe your cousin does; but I doubt whether even he, with all his goodness, would do very differently from what I have done; but tell me how, where did you hear of Genevra?”

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Family Pride from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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