Other persons concerned in the coming drama had had past difficulties to think out, and future movements to consider, during the interval occupied by Arnold and Blanche on their return journey to England. Between the seventeenth and the twentieth of September Geoffrey Delamayn had left Swanhaven, on the way to his new training quarters in the neighborhood in which the Foot-Race at Fulham was to be run. Between the same dates, also, Captain Newenden had taken the opportunity, while passing through London on his way south, to consult his solicitors. The object of the conference was to find means of discovering an anonymous letter-writer in Scotland, who had presumed to cause serious annoyance to Mrs. Glenarm.
Thus, by ones and twos, converging from widely distant quarters, they were now beginning to draw together, in the near neighborhood of the great city which was soon destined to assemble them all, for the first and the last time in this world, face to face.
THE WAY OUT.
BREAKFAST was just over. Blanche, seeing a pleasantly-idle morning before her, proposed to Arnold to take a stroll in the grounds.
The garden was blight with sunshine, and the bride was bright with good-humor. She caught her uncle’s eye, looking at her admiringly, and paid him a little compliment in return. “You have no idea,” she said, “how nice it is to be back at Ham Farm!”
“I am to understand then,” rejoined Sir Patrick, “that I am forgiven for interrupting the honey-moon?”
“You are more than forgiven for interrupting it,” said Blanche—“you are thanked. As a married woman,” she proceeded, with the air of a matron of at least twenty years’ standing, “I have been thinking the subject over; and I have arrived at the conclusion that a honey-moon which takes the form of a tour on the Continent, is one of our national abuses which stands in need of reform. When you are in love with each other (consider a marriage without love to be no marriage at all), what do you want with the excitement of seeing strange places? Isn’t it excitement enough, and isn’t it strange enough, to a newly-married woman to see such a total novelty as a husband? What is the most interesting object on the face of creation to a man in Arnold’s position? The Alps? Certainly not! The most interesting object is the wife. And the proper time for a bridal tour is the time—say ten or a dozen years later—when you are beginning (not to get tired of each other, that’s out of the question) but to get a little too well used to each other. Then take your tour to Switzerland—and you give the Alps a chance. A succession of honey-moon trips, in the autumn of married life—there is my proposal for an improvement on the present state of things! Come into the garden, Arnold; and let us calculate how long it will be before we get weary of each other, and want the beauties of nature to keep us company.”