“Father, you are close to the highway. Have you seen Annie?”
“I have just left her.”
“She is further from us than ever.”
“Richard Hyde,” he answered,” she is on her way to God, and she can rest nothing short of that.”
“Hush! Love is here!”
On the morning that Hyde sailed for America, Cornelia received the letter he had written her on the discovery of Rem’s dishonourable conduct. So much love, so much joy, sent to her in the secret foldings of a sheet of paper! In a hurry of delight and expectation she opened it, and her beaming eyes ran all over the joyful words it brought her— sweet fluttering pages, that his breath had moved, and his face been aware of. How he would have rejoiced to see her pressing them to her bosom, at some word of fonder memory or desire.
There was much in this letter which it was necessary her father and mother should hear—the Earl’s message to them—Hyde’s own proposition for an immediate marriage, and various necessities referring to this event. But she was proud and happy to read words of such noble, straightforward affection; and the Doctor was especially pleased by the deference expressed for his wishes. When he left the house that day he kissed his daughter with pride and tenderness, and said to Mrs. Moran—
“Ava, there will be much to get, and much to do in a short time, but money manages all things Do not spare where it is necessary.” And then what important and interesting consultations followed! what lists of lovely garments became imperative, which an hour before had not been dreamed of! what discussions as to mantua makers and milliners! as to guests and ceremonies! as to all the details of a life unknown, but invested by love and youth, with a delightfully overwhelming importance.
Cornelia was so happy that her ordinary dress of grey camelot did not express her; she felt constrained to add to it some bows of bright scarlet ribbon, and then she looked round about her room, and went through her drawers, to find something else to be a visible witness to the light heart singing within her. And she came across some coral combs that Madame Jacobus had given her, and felt their vivid colouring in the shining masses of her dark hair, to be one of the right ways of saying to herself, and all she loved, “See how happy I am!”
In the afternoon, when the shopping for the day had been accomplished, she went to Captain Jacobus, to play with him the game of backgammon which had become an almost daily duty, and to which the Captain attached a great importance. Indeed, for many weeks it had been the event of every day to him; and if he was no longer dependent on it, he was grateful enough to acknowledge all the good it had done him. “I owe your daughter as much as I owe you, sir,” he would say to Doctor Moran, “and I owe both of you a bigger debt than I can clear myself of.”