“You’re sorry you married me,” she would often say at such times. “It’s no good saying no; I’m sure you are.”
That always made Julian think of her father, and of his own promise always to be a friend to the poor, weak, ailing creature; and he strengthened himself in his resolution to bear everything.
Waymark decided that he would venture on the step of going to see Harriet during the daytime, whilst Julian was away, in order to speak of Ida. This he did on the Monday, and was lucky enough to find her at home. She was evidently surprised at his visit, and perhaps still more so at the kind and friendly way in which he began to speak to her. In a few minutes he had worked round to his subject. He had, he said, a friend, a young lady who was very lonely, and for whom he wanted to find an agreeable companion. It had occurred to him that perhaps he might ask to be allowed to introduce her. Waymark had concluded that this would probably be the best way of putting it; Harriet would perhaps be flattered by being asked to confer the favour of her acquaintance. And indeed she seemed so; there was even something like a momentary touch of colour in her pale cheek.
“Does Julian know her?” she asked, fixing her eyes on his with the closest scrutiny.
“No, he does not.”
He would leave her to what conclusion she liked about his relations to Ida; in reality that mattered little.
“She is some one,” he went on, “for whom I have a great regard. As I say, she has really no friends, and she earns her own living. I feel sure you would find her company pleasant; she is sensible and cheerful, and would be very grateful for any kindness you showed her. Her name, by-the-by, is Ida Starr.”
“Is the name familiar to you?”
“I used to know some one called that.”
“Indeed? How strange it would be if you knew her already. I have spoken to her of you, but she didn’t tell me she knew your name.”
“Oh no, she wouldn’t. It was years and years ago. We used to go to school together—if it’s the same.”
The way in which this was spoken was not very promising, but Waymark would not be discouraged, having once brought himself to the point of carrying the scheme through. Harriet went on to ask many questions, all of which he answered as satisfactorily as he could, and in the end she expressed herself quite willing to renew Ida’s acquaintance. Waymark had watched her face as closely as she did his, and he was able to read pretty accurately what was passing in her mind. Curiosity, it was clear, was her main incentive. Good will there was none; its growth, if at all possible, would depend upon Ida herself. There was even something very like a gleam of hate in her dark eyes when Ida’s name was first spoken.
“When may I bring her!” Waymark asked. “Perhaps you would like to talk it over with Julian first? By-the-by, perhaps he remembers her as your schoolfellow?”