There was a pause. Even Mollie felt a little fluttered, now that the time had come.
“I know the disparity of years is great,” the baronet said, quite trembling in his eagerness; “but my whole existence will be devoted to you; every pleasure wealth can purchase shall be yours; every wish that I can anticipate shall be anticipated. You will be my darling, my idol. I love you passionately. Say not, then, I am too old.”
“I don’t,” said Mollie—“I don’t mind your age in the least. I rather dislike young men; I’ve had such a surfeit of them.”
“Then I may hope?” breathlessly.
“Oh, yes, Sir Roger, you may hope. I am not in love with anybody else that I know of.”
“And you will be my wife?”
“Ah, that’s another thing! I don’t seem to care about being married, somehow. You must give me time, Sir Roger. Come, let us go in to supper. I will tell you by and by.”
“As you please, my beautiful Mollie. Only don’t keep me waiting too long, and let your answer be ‘yes’ when it comes.”
Miss Dane partook of supper with a very good appetite, accepted Mr. Ingelow for a waltz and Dr. Oleander for a quadrille, smiled sweetly and graciously upon both, and took Sir Roger’s arm, at the close of the ball, for the carriage.
“Well, Miss Dane—Mollie!” the baronet said, eagerly, “have you decided? What is it to be—yes or no?”
And Mollie looked up in his face with those starry, azure eyes, and that bewildering smile, and answered sweetly:
Miss Dane returned to New York “engaged,” and with the fact known to none save herself and the enraptured Welshman.
“There is no need to be in a hurry,” the young lady said to her elderly adorer; “and I want to be safely at home before I overwhelm them with the news. There is always such fussing and talking made over engagements, and an engagement is dreadfully humdrum and doweryish anyhow.”
That was what Miss Dane said. What she thought was entirely another matter.
“I do want Doctor Oleander and Mr. Sardonyx to propose; and if they discover I’ve accepted the baronet, they won’t. I am dying to see the wry faces they will make over ‘No, thanks!’ Then there is Hugh Ingelow—”
But Mollie’s train of wicked thoughts was apt to break off at this point, and a remorseful expression cloud her blue eyes.
“Poor Hugh! Poor fellow! It’s a little too bad to treat him so; and he’s dreadfully fond of me, too. But, then, it’s impossible to help it; of course it is. I want to be rich, and wear diamonds, and travel over the world, and be ‘My Lady!’ and poor, dear Hugh couldn’t keep a cat properly. Ah! what a pity all the nice men, and the handsome men, must be poor!”
Faithfully in the train of the Walraven party returned Mollie’s adorers. No one was surprised at the continued devotion of Messrs. Ingelow and Oleander; but every one was surprised at Sir Roger Trajenna.