“I’m afraid you are one of those young men who try to be bad and can’t. They are hopeless.”
“But I am superstitious about that letter. I’ve carried it in my pocket for weeks. It’s a kind of mentor. Whenever some fool thing comes into my head, I stop and think of the letter.”
“That is good. The writer hasn’t wasted her time.”
“I love you!” whispered John.
Miss Challoner smiled into his eyes. The smile encouraged him, and he raised her hand to his lips.
Ah, if it were not for those gloves! Why did he not say something? She was positive that he had them. To smile and laugh and talk; to face the altar, knowing that he possessed those hateful gloves! To pretend to deceive when she knew that he was not deceived! It was maddening. It was not possible that Warrington had the gloves; he would never have kept them all this while. What meant this man at her side? What was he going to do? She recollected a play in which there was a pair of gloves. The man had thrown them at the woman’s feet, and, at the very altar, turned and left her. But she knew that men did not do such things in life. She was innocent of any wrong; this knowledge sustained her.
“A honeymoon in Switzerland: it has been the dream of my life.” This time he drew her arm through his and crossed the room to his mother’s side. “Mother mine, we shall be gone only three months; then we shall come home to stay.”
“I shall miss you so; you have been away so much that I am hardly acquainted with you.”
The woman who was to become her daughter suddenly dropped on her knees beside the chair.
“Please love me, too. I have been so lonely all my life.”
“My daughter!” Mrs. Bennington laid her hand on the splendid head.
“I shall never marry,” said Patty decidedly.
“What? Young lady, don’t let any one hear you make such a remark. One of these fine days somebody will swoop you up and run off with you. I don’t know but that I could play the part fairly well.” Warrington laughed.
“Indeed! You’d have a time of it.”
“I dare say. But there’s the breakfast waiting.”
Toasts and good wishes, how easy they are to give!
At the church the women cried a little. Women cry when they are happy, they cry when they are not; their tears keep a man guessing year in and year out. But this is no place for a dissertation on tears. There’s time enough for that.
The bride and groom left immediately for Boston, from which city they were to sail for Europe the following day. In the carriage John drew his bride close to his heart.
“Mine!” he said, kissing her. “God grant that I may make you happy, girl.”
“John, you are the finest gentleman in the world!”
His hand stole into his coat pocket and gently dropped something into her lap. She looked down and saw through her tears a crumpled pair of white kid gloves. Then she knew what manner of man was this at her side.