“I know not. She is asleep. The ball to-night is to be fairy-land and love-land, an Arabian night’s dream and a midsummer night’s dream all in one. I told her to rest, for she was weary and nervous with expectation.”
“I dare say. But what is the good of being young if it is not to expect miracles?”
“George Hyde calls for her at eight o’clock. I shall let her sleep until seven, give her some refreshment, and then assist her to dress.”
“George Hyde! So you still believe in trusting the cat with the cream?”
“I still believe in Cornelia. Come, now, and drink a cup of tea. To-morrow the Van Ariens’ excitement will be over, and we shall have rest.”
“I think not. The town is now ready to move to Philadelphia. I hear that Mrs. Adams is preparing to leave Richmond Hill. Washington has already gone, and Congress is to meet in December. Even the Quakers are intending all sorts of social festivities.”
“But this will not concern us.”
“It may. If George Hyde does not go very soon to England, we shall go to Philadelphia. I wish to rid myself and Cornelia of his airs and graces and wearisome good temper, his singing and reciting and tringham-trangham poetry. This story has been long enough; we will turn over and end it.”
“It will be a great trial to Cornelia.”
“It may, or it may not—there is Rem—Rem is your own suggestion. However, we have all to sing the hymn of Renunciation at some time; it is well to sing it in youth.”
Mrs. Moran did not answer. When answering was likely to provoke anger, she kept silence and talked the matter over with herself. A very wise plan. For where shall we find a friend so intimate, so discreet, so conciliating as self? Who can speak to us so well?—without obscurity, without words, without passion. Yes, indeed: “I will talk to myself” is a very significant phrase.
The ruling idea of any mind assumes the foreground of thought; and after Arenta’s marriage the dominant desire of George Hyde was to have his betrothal to Cornelia recognized and assured. He was in haste to light his own nuptial torch, and afraid every day of that summons to England which would delay the event. Hitherto, both had been satisfied with the delicious certainty of their own hearts. To bring Love to discussion and catechism, to talk of Love in connection with house and money matters, to put him into bonds, however light those bonds might be, was indeed a safe and prudent thing for their future happiness; but, so far, the present with its sweet freedom and uncertainty had been more charming to their imagination. Suddenly, however, Hyde felt the danger and stress of this uncertainty and the fear of losing what he appeared to hold so lightly.