‘Shall you desire to call your husband a fool?’
‘He will, I suppose, be at least as dear to you as a brother?’
‘I never had a brother.’
‘Your sister, then! It is the same, I suppose?’
’If I were to have a husband, I hope he would be the dearest to me of all. Unless he were so, he certainly would not be my husband. But between a man and his wife there does not spring up that playful, violent intimacy admitting of all liberties, which comes from early nursery associations; and, then, there is the difference of sex.’
‘I should not like my wife to call me a fool,’ he said.
’I hope she may never have occasion to do so, Mr Glascock. Marry an English wife in your own class as, of course, you will and then you will be safe.’
‘But I have set my heart fast on marrying an American wife,’ he said.
’Then I can’t tell what may befall you. It’s like enough, if you do that, that you may be called by some name you will think hard to bear. But you’ll think better of it. Like should pair with like, Mr Glascock. If you were to marry one of our young women, you would lose in dignity as much as she would lose in comfort.’ Then they parted, and she went off to say farewell to other guests. The manner in which she had answered what he had said to her had certainly been of a nature to stop any further speech of the same kind. Had she been gentle with him, then he would certainly have told her that she was the American woman whom he desired to take with him to his home in England.
Towards the end of February Sir Peter Mancrudy declared Miss Stanbury to be out of danger, and Mr Martin began to be sprightly on the subject, taking to himself no inconsiderable share of the praise accruing to the medical faculty in Exeter generally for the saving of a life so valuable to the city. ‘Yes, Mr Burgess,’ Sir Peter said to old Barty of the bank, ’our friend will get over it this time, and without any serious damage to her constitution, if she will only take care of herself.’ Barty made some inaudible grunt, intended to indicate his own indifference on the subject, and expressed his opinion to the chief clerk that old Jemima Wideawake as he was pleased to call her was one of those tough customers who would never die. ’It would be nothing to us, Mr Barty, one way or the other,’ said the clerk; to which Barty Burgess assented with another grunt.
Camilla French declared that she was delighted to hear the news. At this time there had been some sort of a reconciliation between her and her lover. Mrs French had extracted from him a promise that he would not go to Natal; and Camilla had commenced the preparations for her wedding. His visits to Heavitree were as few and far between as he could make them with any regard to decency; but the 31st of March was