“Do you suppose that is any satisfaction to me?” He walked decidedly away, and entered by the library window, and she stood grieved and wondering whether she had been wrong in pitying, or whether he were too harsh in his indignation. It was a sign that her tone and spirit had recovered, that she did not succumb in judgment, though she felt utterly puzzled and miserable till she recollected how unwell, weary, and unhappy he was, and that every fresh perception of his sister’s errors was like a poisoned arrow to him; and then she felt shocked at having obtruded the subject on him at all, and when she found him leaning back in his chair, spent and worn out, she waited on him in the quietest, gentlest way she could accomplish, and tried to show that she had put the subject entirely aside. However, when they were next alone together, he turned his face away and muttered, “What did that woman say to you?”
“Oh, Alick, I am sorry I began! It only gives you pain.”
She did go on till she had told all, and he uttered no word of comment. She longed to ask whether he disapproved of her having permitted the interview; but as he did not again recur to the topic, it was making a real and legitimate use of strength of mind to abstain from tearing him on the matter. Yet when she recollected what worldly honour would once have exacted of a military man, and the conflicts between religion and public opinion, she felt thankful indeed that half a century lay between her and that terrible code, and even as it was, perceiving the strong hold that just resentment had taken on her husband’s silently determined nature, she could not think of the neighbourhood of the Carleton family without dread.
THE POST BAG.
“Thefts, like ivy on a ruin, make the rifts
they seem to shade.”—
C. G. Duffy.
“August 3d, 7 A. M.
“My Dear Colonel Keith,—Papa is come, and I have got up so early in the morning that I have nothing to do but to write to you before we go in to Avoncester. Papa and Mr. Beechum came by the six o’clock train, and Lady Temple sent me in the waggonette to meet them. Aunt Ailie would not go, because she was afraid Aunt Ermine would get anxious whilst she was waiting. I saw papa directly, and yet I did not think it could be papa, because you were not there, and he looked quite past me, and I do not think he would have found me or the carriage at all if Mr. Beechum had not known me. And then, I am afraid I was very naughty, but I could not help crying just a little when I found you had not come; but perhaps Lady Keith may be better, and you may come before I go into court to-day, and then I shall tear up this letter. I am afraid papa thought I was unkind to cry when he was just come home, for he did not talk to me near so much as Mr. Beechum did, and his eyes kept looking out as if he did not see anything near, only quite far away. And I suppose Russian coats must be made of some sort of sheep that eats tobacco.”