“I mean Miss Denham!”
“Ned, I don’t care to discuss Miss Denham. When I think of your connecting that lovely lady with a crazy creature you met somewhere or other, I am troubled touching your intellect.”
“But I do not any longer connect her with that unfortunate girl. I told you to put all that out of your mind.”
“I don’t find it easy to do, Ned; it is so monstrous. Was not this dinner an arrangement for me to see Miss Denham and in some way judge her?”
“No, Flemming; there was a moment yesterday evening when I had some such wild idea. I had grown morbid by being alone all day and brooding over a resemblance which I have not been able to prevent affecting me disagreeably at intervals. This resemblance does not exist for you, and you have not been subtile enough to put yourself in my place. However, all that is past; it shall not disturb me in future. When I invited the Denhams to this dinner it was solely that I might present you to the woman I shall marry if she will have me.”
“She is too good for you, Ned.”
“I know it. That’s one thing makes me love her. I admire superior people; it is my single merit. I wouldn’t stoop to marry my equal. Flemming, what possessed you to question her about New Hampshire?”
“We were speaking of the White Hills, and the question asked itself. I wasn’t thinking of your puerilities; don’t imagine it. I hope her reply settled you. What are you going to do now?”
“I shall go with them to Chamouni.”
“My plan is to wait there until the uncle comes.”
“That would be an excellent plan if you wanted to marry the uncle. If I were you, Ned, I would go and speak with Miss Denham, and then with the aunt, who will be worth a dozen uncles if you enlist her on your side. She doesn’t seem unfriendly to you.”
“I will do that, Flemming,” returned Lynde thoughtfully. “I am not sure that Miss Denham would marry me. We are disposing of her as if she could be had for the asking. I might lose everything by being premature.”
“Premature! I’ve a mind to stay over and fall in love with her myself. I could do it in a day and a half, and you have been six weeks about it.”
“Six weeks! I sometimes think I have loved her all my life,” said Lynde.
From the Schweizerhof the young men drove without speaking to the railroad station, which they reached just in time for Flemming to catch his train. With hurriedly exchanged promises to write each other, the two parted on the platform. Then Lynde in a serenely happy frame of mind caused himself to be driven to the Rue des Paquis, where he stopped at the chateau of the French marquis, which looked remarkably like a livery-stable, and arranged for a certain travelling-carriage to be at the door of the hotel the next morning at eight.