‘And what says the divine Wallachia?’
’Poor Wally! She says nothing, but she thinks that I am a castaway and a recreant. I am a recreant, I know but yet I think that I was right. I know I could not help myself.’
‘Of course you were right, my dear,’ said the sage Nora. ’If you had the notion in your head, it was wise to get rid of it; but I knew how it would be when you spoke to him.’
‘You were not so weak when he came to you.’
’That was altogether another thing. It was not arranged in heaven that I was to become his captive.’
After that Wallachia Petrie never again tried her influence on her former friend, but admitted to herself that the evil was done, and that it could not be remedied. According to her theory of life, Caroline Spalding had been wrong, and weak—had shewn herself to be comfort-loving and luxuriously-minded, had looked to get her happiness from soft effeminate pleasures rather than from rational work and the useful, independent exercise of her own intelligence. In the privacy of her little chamber Wallachia Petrie shed not absolute tears but many tearful thoughts over her friend. It was to her a thing very terrible that the chosen one of her heart should prefer the career of an English lord’s wife to that of an American citizeness, with all manner of capability for female voting, female speechmaking, female poetising, and, perhaps, female political action before her. It was a thousand pities! ‘You may take a horse to water,’ said Wallachia to herself, thinking of the ever-freshly springing fountain of her own mind, at which Caroline Spalding would always have been made welcome freely to quench her thirst ‘but you cannot make him drink if he be not athirst.’ In the future she would have no friend. Never again would she subject herself to the disgrace of such a failure. But the sacrifice was to be made, and she knew that it was bootless to waste her words further on Caroline Spalding. She left Florence before the wedding, and returned alone to the land of liberty. She wrote a letter to Caroline explaining her conduct, and Caroline Spalding shewed the letter to her husband as one that was both loving and eloquent.
‘Very loving and eloquent,’ he said. ’But, nevertheless, one does think of sour grapes.’
‘There I am sure you wrong her,’ said Caroline.
MRS FRENCH’S CARVING KNIFE
During these days there were terrible doings at Exeter. Camilla had sworn that if Mr Gibson did not come to, there should be a tragedy, and it appeared that she was inclined to keep her word. Immediately after the receipt of her letter from Mr Gibson she had had an interview with that gentleman in his lodgings, and had asked him his intentions. He had taken measures to fortify himself against such an attack; but, whatever those measures were, Camilla had broken