“A child!” said Mrs. Moran.
“A girl, then, a little mite of a creature. Mrs. Davy told me the Captain carried her in his arms to the carriage which took them to Hyde Manor.”
“And how should Mrs. Davy know?”
“The Davys live next door to the Pells, and the servants of one house carried the news to the other house. She said the General sent to his son’s lodging to see if he was in town, but he was not. It was then only eight o’clock in the morning.”
“How unlikely such a story is! Do you believe it?”
“Ask to-morrow. As for me, I neither know nor care. That is the report. Who can tell what the Hydes will do?”
Then Cornelia said a hasty “good-night” and went to her room. She was sick at heart; she trembled, something in her life had lost its foot-hold, and a sudden bewildering terror—she knew not how to explain—took possession of her. For once she forgot her habitual order and neatness; her pretty dress was thrown heedlessly across a chair, and she fell upon her knees weeping, and yet she could not pray.
Still the very posture and the sweet sense of help and strength it implied, brought her the power to take into consideration such unexpected news, and such unexplained neglect on her lover’s part, “General Hyde has returned; that much I feel certain of,” she thought, “and Joris must have left Hyde Manor about the time his father reached New York. Joris would take the river road, being the shortest, his father would take the highway as the best for the carriage. Consequently, they passed each other and did not know it. Then Joris has been sent for, and it was right and natural that he should go—but oh, he might have written!—ten words would have been enough—It was right he should go—but he might have written!—he might have written!”—and she buried her face in her pillow and wept bitterly. Alas! Alas! Love wounds as cruelly when he fails, as when he strikes; and even when Cornelia had outworn thought and feeling, and fallen into a sorrowful sleep, she was conscious of this failure, and her soul sighed all night long “He might have written!”
The night so unhappy to Cornelia was very much more unhappy to Hyde. He had sent his letter to her before eleven in the morning, and if Fortune were kind to him, he expected an answer soon after leaving Madame Jacobus. Her departure from New York depressed him very much. She had been the good genius of his love, but he told himself that it had now “grown to perfection, and could, he hoped, stand in its own strength.” Restlessly he watched the hours away, now blaming, now excusing, anon dreaming of his coming bliss, then fidgeting and fearing disappointment from being too forward in its demanding. When noon passed, and one o’clock struck, he rang for some refreshment; for he guessed very accurately the reason of delay.