“You are coming?”
“Look here, Ciss, you are not so foolish as to misunderstand me. When I said that I distrusted your discretion, I meant, of course, that you might innocently do things which would make people talk about you. There is no harm in reminding you of the danger.”
“Perhaps not; though it would be more like yourself to scorn people’s talk.”
“That is only possible if we chose to go back to our life of solitude. I’m afraid it wouldn’t suit you very well now.”
“No; I am far too eager to see my name in fashionable lists. Has not all my life pointed to that noble ambition?”
She regarded him with a smile from her distance, a smile that trembled a little about her lips, and in which her clear eyes had small part. Elgar, without replying, began to turn down the lamp.
“This is what has made you so absent and uneasy for the last week or two?” Cecily added.
The lamp was extinguished
“Yes, it is,” answered Elgar’s voice in the darkness. “I don’t like the course things have been taking.”
“Then you were quite right to speak plainly. Be at rest; you shall have no more anxiety.”
She opened the door, and they went upstairs together. In the bedroom Cecily found her little boy sleeping quietly; she bent above him for a few moments, and with soft fingers smoothed the coverlet.
There was no further conversation between them—except that Cecily just mentioned the news her aunt had received from Mrs. Spence.
At breakfast they spoke of the usual subjects, in the usual way. Elgar had his ride, amused himself in the library till luncheon, lolled about the drawing-room whilst Cecily played, went to his club, came back to dinner,—all in customary order. Neither look nor word, from him or Cecily, made allusion to last night’s incident.
The next morning, when breakfast was over, he came behind his wife’s chair and pointed to an envelope she had opened.
“What strange writing! Whose is it?”
“From Mrs. Travis.”
He moved away, and Cecily rose. As she was passing him, he said:
“What has she to say to you?”
“She acknowledges the letter I sent her yesterday morning, that’s all.”
“You wrote—in the way you proposed?”
He allowed her to pass without saying anything more.
During the first six months of her wedded life, Cecily wrote from time to time in a handsomely-bound book which had a little silver lock to it. She was then living at the seaside in Cornwall, and Reuben occasionally went out for some hours with the fishers, or took a long solitary ride inland, just to have the delight of returning to his home after a semblance of separation; in his absence, Cecily made a confidant of the clasped volume. On some of its fair pages were verses, written when verse came to her more easily than prose, but read not even to him who occasioned them. A passage or two of the unrhymed thoughts, with long periods of interval, will suggest the course of her mental history.