It was a little singular that Arthur’s arm should still linger about the waist of one who had promised to be another’s wife, provided she were asked, but so it was; it staid there, while he persuaded her to come again to Grassy Spring, and not to give up the lessons so pleasant to them both.
He was bending very near to her when a sound upon the stairs caught his ear. It was the same German air Edith had heard in the yard, and she listened breathlessly while it came nearer to the door. Suddenly the singer seemed to change her mind, for the music began slowly to recede and was soon lost to hearing within the four walls of the Den. Not a word was spoken by either Arthur or Edith, until the latter said,
“It is time I was at home,” and she arose to go.
He offered no remonstrance, but accompanying her to the gate, placed her in the saddle, and then stood watching her as she galloped away.
Three or four times Edith went to Grassy Spring, seeing nothing of the mysterious occupant of the Den, hearing nothing of her, and she began to think she might have returned to Worcester. Many times she was on the point of questioning Arthur, but from what had passed, she knew how disagreeable the subject was to him, and she generously forbore.
“I think he might tell me, anyway,” she said to herself, half poutingly, when, one morning near the latter part of April, she rode slowly toward Grassy Spring.
Their quarrel, if quarrel it could be called, had been made up, or, rather, tacitly forgotten, and Arthur more than once had cursed himself for having, in a moment of excitement, asked her to marry Richard Harrington. While praying to be delivered from temptation he was constantly keeping his eyes fixed upon the forbidden fruit, longing for it more and move, and feeling how worthless life would be to him without it. Still, by a mighty effort, he restrained himself from doing or saying aught which could be constrained into expressions of love, and their interviews were much like those which had preceded his last visit to Worcester. People were beginning to talk about him and his beautiful pupil, but leading the isolated life he did, it came not to his ears. Grace indeed, might have enlightened both himself and Edith with regard to the village gossip, but looking upon the latter as her rival, and desiring greatly that she should marry Arthur, she forebore from communicating to either of them anything which would be likely to retard an affair she fancied was progressing famously. Thus without a counsellor or friend was Edith left to follow the bent of her inclinations; and on this April morning, as she rode along, mentally chiding Arthur for not entrusting his secret to her, she wondered how she had ever managed to be happy without him, and if the time would ever come when her visits to Grassy Spring would cease.