But this is the way of Love; its filmiest threads easily spin themselves further; and a man once entangled is bound by that unseen chain which links the soul to its destiny.
HYDE AND ARENTA
Seldom is Love ushered into any life with any pomp of circumstance or ceremony; there is no overture to our opera, no prologue to our play, and the most momentous meetings occur as if by mere accident. A friend delayed Cornelia a while on the street; and turning, she met Hyde face to face; a moment more, or less, and the meeting had not been. Ah, but some Power had set that moment for their meeting, and the delay had been intended, and the consequences foreseen!
In a dim kind of way Hyde realized this fact as he sat the next day with an open book before him. He was not reading it; he was thinking of Cornelia—of her pure, fresh beauty; and of that adorable air of reserve, which enhanced, even while it veiled her charms. “For her love I could resign all adventures and prison myself in a law book,” he said, “I could forget all other beauties; in a word, I could marry, and live in the country. Oh how exquisite she is! I lose my speech when I think of her!”
Then he closed his book with impatience, and went to Prince’s and bought a little rush basket filled with sweet violets. Into their midst he slipped his visiting card, and saw the boy on his way with the flowers to Cornelia ere he was satisfied they would reach her quickly enough. This finished, he began to consider what he should do with his day. Study was impossible; and he could think of nothing that was possible. “It is the most miserable thing,” he muttered, “to be in love, unless you can go to the adored one, every hour, and tell her so,”—then turning aimlessly into Pearl Street, he saw Cornelia.
She was dressed only in a little morning gown of Indian chintz, but in such simple toilet had still more distinctively that air of youthful modesty which he had found so charmingly tantalizing. He hasted to her side. He blessed his good angel for sending him such an enchanting surprise. He said the most extravagant things, in the most truthful manner, as he watched the blushes of pleasure come and go on her lovely face, and saw by glimpses, under the veiling eyelids, that tender light that never was on sea or land, but only on a woman’s face when her soul is awakening to Love.
Cornelia was going to the “Universal Store” of Gerardus Duyckinck, and Hyde begged to go with her. He said he was used to shopping; that he always went with his mother, and with Lady Christina Griffin, and Mrs. White, and many others; that he had good taste, and could tell the value of laces, and knew how to choose a piece of silk, or match the crewels for her embroidery; and, indeed, pleaded his case so merrily, that there was no refusing his offer. And how it happened lovers can tell, but after the shopping was finished they found themselves walking towards the Battery with the fresh sea wind, and the bright sunshine and the joy of each other’s presence all around them.