“Such a miraculous piece of happiness!” the young fellow ejaculated; and his joy was so evident that Cornelia could not bear to spoil it with any reluctances, or with half-way graciousness. She fell into his joyous mood, and as star to star vibrates light, so his soul touched her soul, through some finer element than ordinary life is conscious of. A delightsome gladness was between them, and their words had such heart gaiety, that they seemed to dance as they spoke; while the wind blowing Cornelia’s curls, and scarf, and drapery, was like a merry playfellow.
Now Love has always something in it of the sea; and the murmur of the tide against the pier, the hoarse voices of the sailor men, the scent of the salt water, and all the occult unrecognized, but keenly felt life of the ocean, were ministers to their love, and forever and ever blended in the heart and memory of the youth and maid who had set their early dream of each other to its potent witchery. Time went swiftly, and suddenly Cornelia remembered that she was subject to hours and minutes, A little fear came into her heart, and closed it, and she said, with a troubled air, “My mother will be anxious. I had forgotten. I must go home.” So they turned northward again, and Cornelia was silent, and the ardour of her lover was a little chilled; but yet never before had Cornelia heard simple conversation which seemed so eloquent, and so full of meanings— only, now and then, a few brief words; but oh! what long, long thoughts, they carried with them!
At the gates of her home they stood a moment, and there Hyde touched her hand, and said, “I have never, in all my life, been so happy. It has been a walk beyond hope, and beyond expression!” And she lifted her face, and the smile on her lips and the light in her eyes answered him. Then the great white door shut her from his sight, and he walked rapidly away, saying to his impetuous steps—
“An enchanting creature! An adorable girl! I have given her my heart; and lost, is lost; and gone, is gone forever. That I am sure of. But, by St. George! every man has his fate, and I rejoice that mine is so sweet and fair! so sweet! so sweet! so fair!”
Cornelia trembled as she opened the parlour door, she feared to look into her mother’s face, but it was as serene as usual, and she met her daughter’s glance with one of infinite affection and some little expectancy. This was a critical moment, and Cornelia hesitated slightly. Some little false sprite put a ready excuse into her heart, but she banished it at once, and with the courage of one who fears lest they are not truthful enough, she said with a blunt directness which put all subterfuge out of the question—
“Mother, I have been a long time, but I met Lieutenant Hyde, and we walked down to the Battery; and I think I have stayed beyond the hour I ought to have stayed—but the weather was so delightful.”
“The weather is very delightful, and Lieutenant Hyde is very polite. Did he speak of the violets he sent you?”