For the next half mile he drove in silence, with a heavy frown on his face; thebuy xbox with bitcoinn he broke out sternly, "If you don't promise to mind Mrs. Holcroft and please her in everything, I'll leave you at the poorhouse door and drive home again."
Josephine looked sorrowful.free litecoin app modWhen they talked over everything together at night, she reproachedherself. "We behaved ill to poor Edouard: we neglected him.""He is a little cross, ill-tempered fellow," said Rose pettishly.
"Oh, no! no!""And as vain as a peacock.""Has he not some right to be vain in this house?""Yes,--no. I am very angry with him. I won't hear a word in hisfavor," said Rose pouting: then she gave his defender a kiss. "Yes,dear," said Josephine, answering the kiss, and ignoring the words,"he is a dear; and he is not cross, nor so very vain, poor boy! nowdon't you see what it was?""No.""Yes, you do, you little cunning thing: you are too shrewd not tosee everything.""No, indeed, Josephine; do tell me, don't keep me waiting: I can'tbear that.""Well, then--jealous! A little.""Jealous? Oh, what fun! Of Camille? Ha! ha! Little goose!""And," said Josephine very seriously, "I almost think he would bejealous of any one that occupied your attention. I watched him moreor less all the evening.""All the better. I'll torment my lord.""Heaven forbid you should be so cruel.""Oh! I will not make him unhappy, but I'll tease him a little; it isnot in nature to abstain."This foible detected in her lover, Rose was very gay at the prospectof amusement it afforded her.And I think I have many readers who at this moment are awaitingunmixed enjoyment and hilarity from the same source.I wish them joy of their prospect.Edouard called the next day: he wore a gloomy air. Rose met thiswith a particularly cheerful one; on this, Edouard's face clearedup, and he was himself again; agreeable as this was, Rose felt alittle disappointed. "I am afraid he is not very jealous afterall," thought she.Josephine left her room this day and mingled once more with thefamily. The bare sight of her was enough for Camille at first, butafter awhile he wanted more. He wanted to be often alone with her;but several causes co-operated to make her shy of giving him manysuch opportunities: first, her natural delicacy, coupled with herhabit of self-denial; then her fear of shocking her mother, andlastly her fear of her own heart, and of Camille, whose power overher she knew. For Camille, when he did get a sweet word alone withher, seemed to forget everything except that she was his betrothed,and that he had come back alive to marry her. He spoke to her ofhis love with an ardor and an urgency that made her thrill withhappiness, but at the same time shrink with a certain fear and self-reproach. Possessed with a feeling no stronger than hers, butsingle, he did not comprehend the tumult, the trouble, the dailycontest in her heart. The wind seemed to him to be always changing,and hot and cold the same hour. Since he did not even see that shewas acting in hourly fear of her mother's eye, he was little likelyto penetrate her more hidden sentiments; and then he had not touchedher key-note,--self-denial.
Women are self-denying and uncandid. Men are self-indulgent andoutspoken.And this is the key to a thousand double misunderstandings; forbelieve me, good women are just as stupid in misunderstanding men ashonest men are in misunderstanding women."Well," she sighed, "there's no use of making excuses now."
"There's no occasion for any. Did you ever see such a looking case as I am with this bandage around my head?""Does it pain you?" she asked sympathetically."Well, it does. It pains like thunder.""The wound needs dressing again. Let me cleanse and bind it up."
"Yes, after breakfast.""No, indeed; now. I couldn't eat my breakfast while you were suffering so."
"I'm more unfeeling then than you are, for I could."She insisted on having her way, and then tore up her handkerchief to supply a soft linen bandage."You're extravagant, Alida," but she only shook her head."Famous! That feels better. What a touch you have! Now, if you had a broken head, my fingers would be like a pair of tongs."
She only shook her head and smiled."You're as bad as Jane used to be. She never said a word when she could shake or nod her meaning.""I should think you would be glad, after having been half talked to death by her mother.""As I said before, take your own way of doing things. It seems the right way after it is done."
A faint color came into her face, and she looked positively happy as she sat down to breakfast. "Are you sure your head feels better?" she asked."Yes, and you look a hundred per cent better. Well, I AM glad you had such a good sleep after all the hubbub."
"I didn't sleep till toward morning," she said, with downcast eyes."Pshaw! That's too bad. Well, no matter, you look like a different person from what you did when I first saw you. You've been growing younger every day."
Her face flushed like a girl's under his direct, admiring gaze, making her all the more pretty. She hastened to divert direct attention from herself by asking, "You haven't heard from anyone this morning?""No, but I guess the doctor has. Some of those fellows will have to keep shady for a while."As they were finishing breakfast, Holcroft looked out of the open kitchen door and exclaimed, "By thunder! We're going to hear from some of them now. Here comes Mrs. Weeks, the mother of the fellow who hit me.""Won't you please receive her in the parlor?""Yes, she won't stay long, you may be sure. I'm going to give that Weeks tribe one lesson and pay off the whole score."He merely bowed coldly to Mrs. Weeks' salutation and offered her a chair. The poor woman took out her handkerchief and began to mop her eyes, but Holcroft was steeled against her, not so much on account of the wound inflicted by her son as for the reason that he saw in her an accomplice with her husband in the fraud of Mrs. Mumpson.
"I hope you're not badly hurt," she began."It might be worse."
"Oh, Mr. Holcroft!" she broke out sobbingly, "spare my son. It would kill me if you sent him to prison.""He took the chance of killing me last night," was the cold reply. "What's far worse, he insulted my wife."
"Oh, Mr. Holcroft! He was young and foolish; he didn't realize--""Were you and your husband young and foolish," he interrupted bitterly, "when you gulled me into employing that crazy cousin of yours?"
This retort was so overwhelming that Mrs. Weeks sobbed speechlessly.Alida could not help overhearing the conversation, and she now glided into the room and stood by her husband's side."James," she said, "won't you do me a favor, a great kindness?"Mrs. Weeks raised her eyes and looked wonderingly at this dreadful woman, against whom all Oakville was talking.
"I know what you wish, Alida," he replied sternly, "but I can't do it. This is a case for justice. This woman's son was the leader of that vile crowd that insulted you last night. I can forgive his injuring me, but not the words he used about you. Moreover, when I was alone and struggling to keep my home, Mrs. Weeks took part with her husband in imposing on me their fraud of a cousin and in tricking me out of honest money. Any woman with a heart in her breast would have tried to help a man situated as I was. No, it's a clear case of justice, and her son shall go to jail."Mrs. Weeks wailed afresh at this final sentence. Holcroft was amazed to see his wife drop on her knees beside his chair. He raised her instantly. "Don't do such a thing as that," he said huskily.
Without removing her pleading eyes from his face she asked gently, "Who told us to forgive as we would be forgiven? James, I shall be very unhappy if you don't grant this mother's prayer."He tried to turn away, but she caught his hand and held his eyes with hers. "Alida," he said in strong agitation, "you heard the vile, false words that Timothy Weeks said last night. They struck you down like a blow. Can you forgive him?"
"Yes, and I plead with you to forgive him. Grant me my wish, James; I shall be so much happier, and so will you.""Well, Mrs. Weeks, now you know what kind of a woman your son came to insult. You may tell your neighbors that there's one Christian in Oakville. I yield to Mrs. Holcroft, and will take no further action in the affair if we are let alone."
Mrs. Weeks was not a bad woman at heart, and she had received a wholesome lesson. She came and took Alida's hand as she said, "Yes, you are a Christian--a better woman than I've been, but I aint so mean and bad but what, when I see my fault, I am sorry and can ask forgiveness. I do ask your forgiveness, Mr. Holcroft. I've been ashamed of myself ever since you brought my cousin back. I thought she would try, when she had the chance you gave her, but she seems to have no sense.""There, there! Let bygones be bygones," said the farmer in embarrassment. "I've surrendered. Please don't say anything more.""You've got a kind heart, in spite--""Oh, come now! Please quit, or I'll begin to swear a little to keep up the reputation my neighbors have given me. Go home and tell Tim to brace up and try to be a man. When I say I'm done with a grudge, I AM done. You and Mrs. Holcroft can talk all you like, but please excuse me," and with more than most men's horror of a scene, he escaped precipitately.
"Sit down, Mrs. Weeks," said Alida kindly."Well, I will. I can't say much to excuse myself or my folks--"
"You've already said everything, Mrs. Weeks," interrupted Alida gently; "you've said you are sorry."Mrs. Weeks stared a moment, and then resumed sententiously, "Well, I've heard more gospel in that remark than if I'd gone to church. And I couldn't go to church, I could never have gone there again or held my head up anywhere if--if--"
"That's all past and gone," said Alida, smiling. "When Mr. Holcroft says anything, you may depend on it.""Well, God bless you for intercedin'--you had so much to forgive. Nobody shall ever speak a word against you again while I've got breath to answer. I wish you'd let me come and see you sometimes."