Maitland having thus concluded his remarks by dropping into a courteous plural in deference to Mr. Jenkins, the court adjourned until Monday, and I left Gwen in Maitland’s charge while I hurried home, fearful lest I should not be the first to bring to Jeannette the glad news of her father’s innocence, for I had not the slightest doubt of Maitland’s ability to prove conclusively all he had undertaken.
I need not describe to you my interview with Jeannette. There are things concerning it which, even at this late day, when their roseate hue glows but dimly in the blue retrospect of the past,—it would seem sacrilege for me to mention to another. Believe me, I am perfectly aware of your inquisitive nature, and I know that this omission may nettle you. Charge it all up, then, to the perversity of a bachelor in the throes of his first, last, and only love experience. You must see that such things cannot be conveyed to another with anything like their real significance. Were I to say I was carried beyond myself by her protestations of gratitude until, in a delirium of joy, I seized her in my arms and covered her with kisses, do you for a moment fancy you could appreciate my feelings? Do you imagine that the little tingle of sympathy which you might experience were I to say that, instead of pushing me from her, I felt her clasp tighten about me,—would tell you anything of the great torrent of hot blood that deluged my heart as she lay there in my arms, quivering ecstatically at every kiss? No! a thousand times no! Therefore have I thought best to say nothing about it. Our love can keep its own secrets.—But alas! this was long ago, and as I sit here alone writing this to you, I cannot but wonder, with a heavy sense of ever-present longing, where on this great earth Jeannette—’my Jeannette,’ I have learned to call her—is now. You see a bachelor’s love-affair is a serious thing, and years cannot always efface it. But to return to the past:
Jeannette, I think, was not more pleased than Gwen at the turn affairs had taken. Indeed, so exuberant was Gwen in her quiet way that I marvelled much at the change in her, so much, indeed, that finally I determined to question Alice about it.