Mr. Dexter made no response, and there the matter ended for the time; each of the ill-assorted partners farther from happiness than they had yet been since the day of their unfortunate union.
AN hour later: Scene, the public parlor.
The lady rose, a pleasant smile animating her face, and returned the gentleman’s courteous greeting.
“Mr. Hendrickson.” Yes, that was the name on her lips.
“You arrived to-day,” he said, and he took a place at the other end of the tete-a-tete.
“From Saratoga, I believe?”
“Yes. How long have you been at Newport?”
“I arrived only this morning. You are looking very well, Mrs. Dexter.”
“Yes. Time lays his hands upon you lightly!”
The shadow of another’s presence came between them.
“Mr. Dexter, my husband; Mr. Hendrickson, from B—,” said Mrs. Dexter, with the most perfect ease of manner, presenting the two gentlemen. They had met before, as the reader knows, and had good reason for remembering each other. They touched hands, Dexter frowning, and Hendrickson slightly embarrassed. Mrs. Dexter entirely herself, smiling, talkative, and with an exterior as unruffled as a mountain lake.
“How long will you remain?” she asked, speaking to Mr. Hendrickson.
“Ah! I am pleased to hear you say so. I left some very pleasant friends at Saratoga, but yours is the only familiar face I have yet seen here.”
“I saw Mr. and Mrs. Florence just now,” said Mr. Dexter.
“Yes. There they are, at the lower end of the parlor. Do you see them?”
Mrs. Dexter turned her eyes in the direction indicated by her husband, and replied in an indifferent manner:
“Mrs. Florence is looking at you now. Won’t you go over and see her?”
“After a while,” replied Mrs. Dexter. Then turning to Mr. Hendrickson, she said:
“These summer resorts are the dullest places imaginable without congenial friends.”
“So I should think. But you can scarcely know the absence of these. I heard of you at Saratoga, as forming the centre of one of the most agreeable and intelligent circles there.”
“Ah!” Mrs. Dexter was betrayed into something like surprise.
“Yes. I saw Miss Arden in New York, as I came through. She had been to Saratoga.”
“Miss Arden? I don’t remember her,” said Mrs. Dexter.
“She resides in B—.”
“Miss Arden? Miss Arden?” Mrs. Dexter seemed curious. “What is her appearance?”
“Tall, with a very graceful figure. Complexion dark enough to make her pass for a brunette. Large black eyes and raven hair.”
“In company with her mother?” said Mrs. Dexter.