She had the front chamber completely refurnished when she fell asleep, and besides had some exciting and entirely victorious feminine tilts with sundry women friends who had ventured to intimate that her son had made an odd matrimonial choice. It was quite a cold night, and she wondered if that child had sufficient clothing on her bed. She was in reality, in her own way, as much in love with the girl as her son.
Carroll, in the ensuing weeks, living alone with Charlotte, endured a species of mental and spiritual torture which might have been compared with the rack and wheel of the Inquisition. It seemed to Arthur Carroll in those days as if torture was as truly one of the elements incumbent upon man’s existence as fire, water, or air. He got an uncanny fancy that if it ceased he would cease. He had all his life, except in violent stresses, that happy, contented-with-the-sweet-of-the-moment temperament popularly supposed to be a characteristic of the butterfly over the rose. But deprive the butterfly of the rose and he might easily become a more tragic thing than any in existence. Now Carroll was deprived of his rose, he could get absolutely none of the sweets out of existence from whence his own individuality manufactured its honey. Even Charlotte’s presence became an additional torment to him, dearly as he loved her and as thoroughly as he realized what her coming back had done for him, from what it had saved him. She had given him the impetus which placed him back in his normal condition, but, back there, he suffered even more, as a man will suffer less under a surgical operation than when the influence of the anesthetics has ceased. There was absolutely no ready money in the house during those weeks except the sum which Charlotte’s aunt had sent her, which was fast diminishing, and a few scattering dollars, or rather, pennies, which Carroll picked up in ways which almost unhinged his brain when he reflected upon them afterwards. Whatever he had done before, the man tried in those days every means to obtain an honest livelihood, except the one which he knew was always open, and from which he shrank with such repugnance that it seemed he could not even contemplate it and his mind retain his balance. In his uneasy sleep at night he often had a dream of that experience which had yielded him money, which might yield him money again. He saw before him the sea of faces, of the commonest American type, of the type whose praise and applause mean always a certain disparagement. He saw his own face, his proud, white face with the skin and lineaments of a proud family, stained into the likeness of a despised race; he heard his own tongue forsaking the pure English of his fathers for the soft thickness of the negro, roaring the absurd sentimental songs; he saw his own stately limbs contorted in the rollicking, barbaric dance—and awoke with a cold sweat over him. He knew all the time that that was all