Now, if this is too often the melancholy finale to a wedding trip, even with regard to persons who start forth on it full of hopes of happiness, of faith in each other, and of fervent affection on both sides, how much worse is not the case when there are small hopes of happiness, no faith whatever on one side, and of affection none at all on the other?
This was how it was with Captain and Mrs. Maurice Kynaston on their six weeks’ wedding trip abroad. They went to a great many places they had neither of them seen before. They stayed a week in Paris, where Helen bought more dresses and declared herself supremely happy; they visited the falls of the Rhine, which Maurice said deafened him; and ran through Switzerland, which they both voted detestably uncomfortable and dirty—the hotels, bien entendu, not the mountains. They stopped a night on the St. Gothard, which was too cold for them, and a week or two at the Italian lakes, which were too hot. They sauntered through the picture-galleries of Milan and Turin, at which places Maurice’s yawns became prolonged and audible; and they floated through the canals of Venice in gondolas, which Helen asserted to be more ragged and full of fleas than any London four-wheeler. And then they turned homewards, and by the time they neared the shores of the Channel once more they had had so many quarrels that they had forgotten to count them, and they had both privately discovered that matrimony is an egregious and, alas! an irreparable mistake. Such a discovery was possibly inevitable; perhaps they would have come in time to the same conclusion had they remained at home, but they certainly found it out all the quicker for having gone abroad.
Helen, perhaps, was the most to be pitied of the two. For Maurice there had been no illusions to dispel, no dreams to be dissipated, no castles built upon the sand to fall shattered into atoms; he had known very well what he had to expect; he did not love the wife he was marrying, and he did love somebody else. It had not, therefore, been a brilliant prospect of bliss. Nevertheless, he had certainly hoped, with that vague kind of hope in which Englishmen are prone to indulge, that things would “come right” in some fashion, and that he and Helen would manage “to get on” together. That they did not do so was an annoyance, but hardly a surprise to him.