“Do not expect me was married this morning to Colonel Markin S A we may not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers glory be to God Laura Markin”
She raised her eyes to his with the gravest, saddest irony.
“Then you—you also are delivered,” she said; but he said “What?” without special heed; and I doubt whether he ever took the trouble to understand her reference to their joint indebtedness.
“One hopes he isn’t a brute,” Lindsay went on with most impersonal solicitude, “and can support her. I suppose there isn’t any way one could do anything for her. I heard a story only yesterday about a girl changing her mind on the way out. By Jove, I didn’t suppose it would happen to me!”
“If you are hurt anywhere,” Hilda said absently, “it is only your vanity, I fancy.”
“Ah, my vanity is very sore!” He paused for an instant, wondering to find so little expansion in her. “I came to ask after Arnold,” he said. “How is he?”
“He is dead. He died at half-past five this morning.”
She left him with even less than her usual circumstance, and turned in at the gate of the Baker Institution. It happened to be the last day of her probation.
There has never been any difficulty in explaining Lindsay’s marriage with Alicia Livingstone even to himself; the reasons for it, indeed, were so many and so obvious that he wondered often why they had not struck him earlier. But it is worth noting, perhaps, that the immediate precipitating cause arose in one evening service at the Cathedral, where it had its birth in the very individual charm of the nape of Alicia’s neck, as she knelt upon her hassock in the fitting and graceful act of the responses. His instincts in these matters seem to have had a generous range, considering the tenets he was born to, but it was to him then a delightful reflection, often since repeated, that in the sheltered garden of delicate perfumes where this sweet person took her spiritual pleasure there was no rank vegetation.
It is much to Miss Hilda Howe’s credit that amid the distractions of her most successful London season she never quite abandons these two to the social joys that circle round the Ochterlony Monument and the arid scenic consolations of the Maidan. Her own experience there is one of the things, I fancy, that make her fond of saying that the stage is the merest cardboard presentation, and that one day she means to leave it, to coax back to her bosom the life which is her heritage in the wider, simpler ways of the world. She never mentions that experience more directly or less ardently. But I fear the promise I have quoted is one that she makes too often.
*** End of the project gutenberg EBOOK, the path of A Star ***
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