The Hand but Not the Heart eBook

Timothy Shay Arthur
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 225 pages of information about The Hand but Not the Heart.

At first Mr. Dexter was puzzled, and his ardent feelings chilled.  He loved, admired, almost worshipped the beautiful girl from whom consent had been extorted, and her quiet, cold manner, troubled his sorely.  Glimpses of the real truth dawned into his mind.  He let his thoughts go back, and went over again, in retrospection, every particular of their intercourse—­dwelling minutely upon her words, looks, manner and emotions at the time he first pressed his suit upon her.  The result was far from satisfactory.  She had not met his advances as he had hoped; but rather fled from him—­and he had gained her only by pursuit.  Her ascent had not come warmly from her heart, but burdened with a sigh.  Mr. Dexter felt that though she was his, she had not been fairly won.  The conviction troubled him.

“I will release her,” he said, in a sudden glow of generous enthusiasm.  But Mr. Dexter had not the nobility for such a step.  He was too selfish a man to relinquish the prize.

“I will woo and win her still.”  This was to him a more satisfactory conclusion.  But he had won all of her in his power to gain.  Her heart was to him a sealed book.  He could not unclasp the volume, nor read a single page.

Earnestly at times did Jessie strive to appear attractive in the eyes of her betrothed—­to meet his ardor with returning warmth.  But the effort was accompanied with so much pain, that suffering was unable to withdraw wholly beneath a veil of smiles.

The wordy, restless pleasure evinced by Mrs. Loring, was particularly annoying to Jessie; so much so that any allusion by her aunt to the approaching marriage, was almost certain to cloud her brow.  And yet so gratified was this worldly-minded woman, at the good fortune of her niece in securing so (sic) brillant an alliance, that it seemed as if, for a time, she could talk of nothing else.

Mr. Dexter urged an early marriage, while Jessie named a period nearly a year in advance; but, as she could give no valid reason for delaying their happiness so long, the time was shortened to four months.  As the day approached, the pressure on the heart of Miss Loring grew heavier.

“Oh, if I could die!” How many times in the silence of night and in the loneliness of her chamber did her lips give forth this utterance.

But the striving spirit could not lay down its burden thus.

Not once, since the exciting interview we have described, had Paul and Jessie met.  At places of fashionable amusement she was a constant attendant in company with Dexter, who was proud of her beauty.  But though her eyes searched everywhere in the crowded audiences, in no instance did she recognize the face of Hendrickson.  In festive companies, where he had been a constant attendant, she missed his presence.  Often she heard him inquired after, yet only once did the answer convey any intelligence.  It was at an evening party.  “Where is Mr. Hendrickson?  It is a long time since I have seen him,” she heard a lady say.  Partly turning she recognized Mrs. Denison as the person addressed.  The answer was in so low a tone that her ear did not make it out, though she listened with suspended breath.

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The Hand but Not the Heart from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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