Her voice failed.
“Shall we never see each other again, Ida?”
“Perhaps. In a few years we might meet, and be friends. But I dare not think of that now.”
They clasped hands, for one dread moment resisted the lure of eyes and lips, and so parted.
December was half through, and it was the eve of Maud Enderby’s marriage-day. Everything was ready for the morrow. Waymark had been away in the South, and the house to which he would take his wife now awaited their coming.
It was a foggy night. Maud had been for an hour to Our Lady of the Rosary, and found it difficult to make her way back. The street lamps were mere luminous blurs upon the clinging darkness, and the suspension of the wonted traffic made the air strangely still. It was cold, that kind of cold which wraps the limbs like a cloth soaked in icy water. When she knocked at the door of her aunt’s house, and it was opened to her, wreaths of mist swept in and hung about the lighted hall. It seemed colder within than without. Footsteps echoed here in the old way, and voices lost themselves in a muffled resonance along the bare white walls. The house was more tomb-like than ever on such a night as thin To Maud’s eyes the intruding fog shaped itself into ghostly visages, which looked upon her with weird and woeful compassion. She shuddered, and hastened upstairs to her mother’s room.
After her husband’s disappearance, Mrs. Enderby had passed her days in a morbid apathy, contrasting strangely with the restless excitement which had so long possessed her. But a change came over her from the day when she was told of Maud’s approaching marriage. It was her delight to have Maud sit by her bed, or her couch, and talk over the details of the wedding and the new life that would follow upon it. Her interest in Waymark, which had fallen off during the past half-year, all at once revived; she conversed with him as she had been used to do when she first made his acquaintance, and the publication of his book afforded her endless matter for gossip. She began to speak of herself as an old woman, and of spending her last years happily in the country. To all appearances she had dismissed from her mind the calamity which had befallen her; her husband might have been long dead for any thought she seemed to give him. She was wholly taken up with childish joy in trivial matters. The dress in which Maud should be married gave her thoughts constant occupation, and she fretted at any opposition to her ideas. Still, like a child, she allowed herself to be brought round to others’ views, and was ultimately led to consent that the costume should be a very simple one, merely a new dress, in fact, which Maud would be able to wear subsequently with little change. Even thus, every detail of it was as important to her as if it had been the most elaborate piece of