“You’ll make me horribly vain, Anna, if you persist in preferring me to Adam; but then I dare say, Eve would have preferred him and Paradise to me and the ‘White Rose.’”
“But, then, Eve’s taste lacked discrimination. She had to take Adam or become the first girl bachelor. With me there might have been alternatives.”
“There might have been others, to speak vulgarly?”
“By Jove, Anna, I don’t see how you ever did come to care for me!” The laughter died out of his eyes, his face grew prefer naturally grave, he strode over to the window and looked out on the desolate landscape. For the first time he realized the gravity of his offense. His crime against this girl, who had been guilty of nothing but loving him too deeply stood out, stripped of its trappings of sentiment, in all its foul selfishness. He would right the wrong, confess to her; but no, he dare not, she was not the kind of woman to condone such an offense.
“Needles and pins, needles and pins, when a man’s married his trouble begins,” quoted Anna gayly, slipping up behind him and, putting her arms about his neck; “one would think the old nursery ballad was true, to look at you, Lennox Sanderson. I never saw such a married-man expression before in my life. You wanted to know why I fell in love with you. I could not help it, because you are YOU.”
She nestled her head in his shoulder and he forgot his scruples in the sorcery of her presence.
“Darling,” he said; taking her in his arms, with perhaps the most genuine affection he ever felt for her, “I wish we could spend our lives here in this quiet little place, and that there were no troublesome relations or outside world demanding us.”
“So do I, dear,” she answered, “but it could not last; we are too perfectly happy.”
Neither spoke for some minutes. At that time he loved her as deeply as it was possible for him to love anyone. Again the impulse came to tell her, beg for forgiveness and make reparation. He was holding her in his arms, considering. A moment more, and he would have given way to the only unselfish impulse in his life. But again the knock, followed by the discreet cough of the proprietor. And when he entered to tell them that the horses were ready for their drive, “Mrs. Lennox” hastened to put on her jacket and “Mr. Lennox” thanked his stars that he had not spoken.
THE WAYS OF DESOLATION.
“Oh! colder than the wind that freezes
Founts, that but now in sunshine play’d,
Is that congealing pang which seizes
The trusting bosom when betray’d.”—Moore.
Four months had elapsed since the honeymoon at the White Rose Tavern, and Anna was living at Waltham with her mother who grew more fretful and complaining every day. The marriage was still the secret of Anna and Sanderson. The honeymoon at the White Rose had been prolonged to a week, but no suspicion had entered the minds of Mrs. Moore or Mrs. Standish Tremont, thanks to Sanderson’s skill in sending fictitious telegrams, aided by so skilled an accomplice as the “Rev.” John Langdon.