“Suppose the sky should fall, or the sun should go out, or that I could stop loving you, or any of the impossible things that could not happen once in a million years. Aren’t you ashamed of yourself to doubt me in this way? Answer me, miss,” he said with mock ferocity.
For answer she laid her cheek against his.—“I am so happy, dear, that I am almost afraid.”
He pressed her tenderly. “And now, darling, for the conspiracy—Cupid’s conspiracy. You write to your mother to-night and say that you will be home on Wednesday because you will. Then tell Mrs. Tremont that you have had a wire from her saying you must go home Friday (I’ll see that you do receive such a telegram), and leave Friday morning by the 9:40. I will keep out of the way, because the entire Tremont contingent will doubtless see you off. I will then meet you at one of the stations near Boston. I can’t tell you which, till I hear from my friend, the Reverend John Langdon. He will have everything arranged.”
She looked at him with dilating eyes, her cheeks blanched with fear.
“Anna,” he said, almost roughly, “if you have no confidence in me, I will go out of your life forever.”
“Yes, yes, I believe in you,” she said. “It isn’t that, but it is the first thing I have ever kept from mother, and I would feel so much more comfortable if she knew.”
“Baby. An’ so de ittle baby must tell its muvver ev’yting,” he mimicked her, till she felt ashamed of her good impulse—an impulse which if she had yielded to, it would have saved her from all the bitterness she was to know.
“And so you will do as I ask you, darling?”
“Do you promise?”
“Yes,” and they sealed the bargain with a kiss.
“Dearest, I must be going. It would never do for Mrs. Tremont to see us together. I should forget and call you pet names, and then you would be sent supperless to bed, like the little girls in the story books.”
“I suppose you must go,” she said, regretfully.
“It will not be for long,” and with another kiss he left her.
The mock marriage.
“Thus grief still treads upon the
heel of pleasure,
Married in haste, we may repent at leisure.”—Congreve.
It seemed to Anna when Friday came, that human experience had nothing further to offer in the way of mental anguish and suspense. She had thrashed out the question of her secret marriage to Sanderson till her brain refused to work further, and there was in her mind only dread and a haunting sense of loss. If she had only herself to consider, she would not have hesitated a moment. But Sanderson, his father, and her own mother were all involved.
Was she doing right by her mother? At times, the advantage to the invalid accruing from this marriage seemed manifold. Again it seemed to Anna but a senseless piece of folly, prompted by her own selfish love for Sanderson. And so the days wore on until the eventful Friday came, and Anna said good-bye to Mrs. Standish Tremont with livid cheeks and tearful eyes.