“I think it was you who have changed,” said Grace, fancying that she could already foresee the restless, uneasy, and not altogether agreeable woman, which Edith, as Richard’s wife, would assuredly become.
Possibly Richard, too, thought of this, for a sigh escaped him as he heard Edith find fault with her beautiful home.
Still he offered no remonstrance to going from home awhile, and two weeks more found them at the Catskill Mountain House, where at first not one of the assembled throng suspected that the beautiful young maiden who in the evening danced like a butterfly in their midst, and in the morning bounded up the rocky heights like some fearless, graceful chamois, was more than ward to the man who had the sympathy of all from the moment the whispered words went round, “He is blind.”
Hour after hour would Edith sit with him upon the grass plat overlooking the deep ravine, and make him see with her eyes the gloriously magnificent view, than which there is surely none finer in all the world; then, when the looked toward the west, and the mountain shadow began to creep across the valley, the river, and the hills beyond, shrouding them in an early twilight, she would lead him away to some quiet sheltered spot, where unobserved, she could lavish upon him the little acts of love she knew he so much craved and which she would not give to him when curious eyes were looking on. It was a blissful paradise to Richard, and when in after years he looked back upon the past, he always recurred to those few weeks as the brightest spot in his whole life, blessing Edith for the happiness she gave him during that season of delicious quiet spent amid the wild scenery of the Catskill Mountains.
The land of flowers.
It was the original plan for the party to remain two weeks or more at the Mountain House, and then go on to Saratoga, but so delighted were they with the place that they decided to tarry longer, and the last of August found them still inmates of the hotel, whose huge white walls, seen from the Hudson, stand out from the dark wooded landscape, like some mammoth snow bank, suggestive to the traveller of a quiet retreat and a cool shelter from the summer’s fervid heat. Edith’s health and spirits were visibly improved, and her musical laugh often rang through the house in tones so merry and gleeful that the most solemn of the guests felt their boyhood coming back to them as they heard the ringing laugh, and a softer light suffused their cold, stern eyes as they paused in the midst of some learned discussion to watch the frolicsome, graceful belle of the Mountain House—the bride elect of the blind man.