It is not to be supposed that a letter undertaken under such auspices could be in any way conciliatory or pleasant in its tone. Such as it was, Vera put it straight into the fire directly she had read it; no one ever saw it but herself.
“I have heard from your mother,” she said to Sir John.
“Yes? I am very glad. She wrote everything that was kind, no doubt.”
“I dare say she meant to be kind,” said Vera; which was not true, because she knew perfectly that there had been no kindness intended. But she pursued the subject no further.
“I hope you will like Maurice,” said Sir John, presently; “he is a good-hearted boy, though he has been sadly extravagant, and given me a good deal of trouble.”
“I shall be glad to know your brother,” said Vera, quietly. “Is he coming to Kynaston?”
“Yes, eventually; but you will meet him first at Shadonake when you go to stay there: they have asked a large party for that week, I hear, and Maurice will be there.”
Now, by this time Vera knew that the photograph she had once found in the old writing-table drawer at Kynaston was that of her lover’s brother Maurice.
A MEETING ON THE STAIRS.
Since first I saw your face
I resolved to honour and renown you;
If now I be disdained,
I wish my heart had never known you.
The Sun whose beams most glorious are
Rejecteth no beholder,
And your sweet beauty past compare
Made my poor eyes the bolder.
I have often wondered why, in the ordering of human destinies, some special Providence, some guardian spirit who is gifted with foreknowledge, is not mercifully told off to each of us so to order the trifles of our lives that they may combine to the working together of our weal, instead of conspiring, as they too often and too evidently do, for our woe.
Look back upon your own life, and upon the lives of those whose story you have known the most intimately, and see what straws, what nonentities, what absurd trivialities have brought about the most important events of existence. Recollect how, and in what manner, those people whom it would have been well for you never to have known came across you. How those whose influence over you is for good were kept out of your way at the very crisis of your life. Think what a different life you would have led; I do not mean only happier, but how much better and purer, if some absurd trifle had not seemed to play into the hands, as it were, of your destiny, and to set you in a path whereof no one could at the time foresee the end.