The idea of revolt, of refusing to go, appealed to her first anger strongly. But, on consideration, she saw that merely asserting her rights would not be enough—that she must train him to respect them. If she refused to go he would simply leave her; yes, he was just the man, the wild man, to do precisely that disgraceful thing. And she would be horribly afraid to spend the night alone in those woods with only the guides and Selina, not to speak of facing the morrow—for he might refuse to take her back! Where would she turn in that case? What would her grandmother say? Who would support her in making such a scandal and giving up a husband for reasons that could not be made impressive in words though they were the best of all reasons in terms of feeling? No, if she gave him up she would be absolutely alone, condemned on every hand, in the worst possible position. Then, too, the break was unattractive for another reason. Though she despised herself for her weakness, she did not wish to give up the man who had given her that brief glimpse of happiness she had dreamed as one dreams an impossibility. Did not wish? Could not—would not—give him up. “I belong to him!” she thought with a thrill of ecstasy and of despair.
“But he’d better be careful!” she grumbled. “If I should begin to dislike him there’d be no going back.” And then it recurred to her that this would be as great a calamity of loss for her as for him —and she went at her packing in a better humor. “I’ll explain to him that I yield this once, but—” There she stopped herself with a laugh. Of what use to explain to him?—him who never listened to explanations, who did not care a fig why people did as he wished, but was content that they did. As for warning him about “next time”—how ridiculous! She could hear his penetrating, rousing voice saying: “We’ll deal with ‘next time’ when it comes.”
MRS. JOSHUA CRAIG
“We change at Albany,” said he when they were on the train, after a last hour of mad scramble, due in part to her tardiness, in the main to the atmosphere of hysteric hustle and bustle he created as a precaution.
“At Albany!” she exclaimed. “Why, when do we get there?”
“At midnight!” It was the last drop in the cup of gall, she thought. “Why, we’d get to Lenox, or to some place where we’d have to change again, long before morning! Josh, you must be out of your senses. It’s a perfect outrage!”
“Best I could do,” said he, laughing uproariously and patting her on the back. “Cheer up. You can sleep on my shoulder until we get to Albany.”
“We will go on to New York,” said she stiffly, “and leave from there in the morning.”
“Can’t do it,” said he. “Must change at Albany. You ought to learn to control your temper over these little inconveniences of life. I’ve brought a volume of Emerson’s essays along and I’ll read to you if you don’t want to sleep.”