“Her over-sensitive mind has taken up a wrong impression,” he said, as he talked with himself; “and, instead of saying or doing anything to increase that impression, I should, by word and act of kindness, have done all in my power for its removal. Two wrongs never make a right. Passion met by passion results not in peace. I should have soothed and yielded, and so won her back to reason. As a man, I ought to possess a cooler and more rationally balanced mind. She is a being of feeling and impulse,—loving, ardent, proud, sensitive and strong-willed. Knowing this, it was madness in me to chafe instead of soothing her; to oppose, when gentle concession would have torn from her eyes an illusive veil. Oh that I could learn wisdom in time! I was in no ignorance as to her peculiar character. I knew her faults and her weaknesses, as well as her nobler qualities; and it was for me to stimulate the one and bear with the others. Duty, love, honor, humanity, all pointed to this.”
The longer Mr. Emerson’s thoughts ran in this direction, the deeper grew his feeling of self-condemnation, and the more tenderly yearned his heart toward the young creature he had left alone with the enemies of their peace nestling in her bosom and filling it with passion and pain. After separating himself from his party, he drove back toward the hotel at a speed that soon put his horses into a foam.
The bursting of the storm.
MR. DELANCY was sitting in his library on the afternoon of the fourth day since the wedding-party left Ivy Cliff, when the entrance of some one caused him to turn toward the door.
“Irene!” he exclaimed, in a tone of anxiety and alarm, as he started to his feet; for his daughter stood before him. Her face was pale, her eyes fixed and sad, her dress in disorder.
“Irene, in Heaven’s name, what has happened?”
“The worst,” she answered, in a low, hoarse voice, not moving from the spot where she first stood still.
“Speak plainly, my child. I cannot bear suspense.”
“I have left my husband and returned to you!” was the firmly uttered reply.
“Oh, folly! oh, madness! What evil counselor has prevailed with you, my unhappy child?” said Mr. Delancy, in a voice of anguish.
“I have counseled with no one but myself.”
“Never a wise counselor—never a wise counselor! But why, why have you taken this desperate step?”
“In self-protection,” replied Irene.
“Sit down, my child. There!” and he led her to a seat. “Now let me remove your bonnet and shawl. How wretched you look, poor, misguided one! I could have laid you in the grave with less agony than I feel in seeing you thus.”
Her heart was touched at this, and tears fell over her face. In the selfishness of her own sternly-borne trouble, she had forgotten the sorrow she was bringing to her father’s heart.