Oh, yes, you love him, dearest, or why should you fancy our secretbenefactor COULD be that Camille?""Why? Because I was mad: becabitcoin investment definitionuse it is impossible; but I see myfolly. I am going in.""What! don't you care to know who I think it was, perhaps?""No," said Josephine sadly and doggedly; she added with coldnonchalance, "I dare say time will show." And she went slowly in,her hand to her head.
Rose misseethereum blockchain killer goes by unassuming name of polkadotd him first, but said nothing.When Josephine saw he was gone, she uttered a little exclamation,and looked at Rose. Rose put on a mien of haughty indifference, butthe water was in her eyes.
Josephine looked sorrowful.When 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."Yes, too ready. It would kill me if anything happened to you on my account."
"Well, the worst would happen," he said firmly, "if we don't go right on as we've begun. If we go quietly on about our own affairs, we'll soon be let alone and that's all we ask.""Yes, yes indeed! Don't worry, James. I'll do as you wish.""Famous! You never said 'James' to me before. Why haven't you?""I don't know," she faltered, with a sudden rush of color to her pale face.
"Well, that's my name," he resumed, laughing. "I guess it's because we are getting better acquainted.She looked up and said impetuously, "You don't know how a woman feels when a man stands up for her as you did tonight."
"Well, I know how a man feels when there is a woman so well worth standing up for. It was a lucky thing that I had nothing heavier in my hand than that hickory." All the while he was looking at her curiously; then he spoke his thought. "You're a quiet little woman, Alida, most times, but you're capable of a thunder gust now and then.""I'll try to be quiet at all times," she replied, with drooping eyes."Oh, I'm not complaining!" he said, laughing. "I like the trait."He took a small pitcher and went to the dairy. Returning, he poured out two glasses of milk and said, "Here's to your health and happiness, Alida; and when I don't stand up for the woman who started out to save me from a mob of murderers, may the next thing I eat or drink choke me. You didn't know they were merely a lot of Oakville boys, did you?"
"You can't make so light of it," said she. "They tried to close on you, and if that stone had struck you on the temple, it might have killed you. They swore like pirates, and looked like ruffians with their blackened faces. They certainly were not boys in appearance.""I'm afraid I swore too," he said sadly."You had some excuse, but I'm sorry. They would have hurt you if you hadn't kept them off.""Yes, they'd probably have given me a beating. People do things in hot blood they wish they hadn't afterward. I know this Oakville rough-scuff. Since we've had it out, and they know what to expect, they'll give me a wide berth. Now go and sleep. You were never safer in your life."
She did not trust herself to reply, but the glance she gave him from her tearful eyes was so eloquent with grateful feeling that he was suddenly conscious of some unwonted sensations. He again patrolled the place and tied the dog near the barn."It's barely possible that some of these mean cusses might venture to kindle a fire, but a bark from Towser will warn 'em off. She IS a spirited little woman," he added, with a sharp change in soliloquy. "There's nothing milk-and-water about her. Thunder! I felt like kissing her when she looked at me so. I guess that crack on my skull has made me a little light-headed."
He lay down in his clothes so that he might rush out in case of any alarm, and he intended to keep awake. Then, the first thing he knew, the sun was shining in the windows.It was long before Alida slept, and the burden of her thoughts confirmed the words that she had spoken so involuntarily. "You don't know how a woman feels when a man stands up for her as you did." It is the nature of her sex to adore hardy, courageous manhood. Beyond all power of expression, Alida felt her need of a champion and protector. She was capable of going away for his sake, but she would go in terror and despair. The words that had smitten her confirmed all her old fears of facing the world alone. Then came the overpowering thought of his loyalty and kindness, of his utter and almost fierce repugnance to the idea of her leaving him. In contrast with the man who had deceived and wronged her, Holcroft's course overwhelmed her very soul with a passion of grateful affection. A new emotion, unlike anything she had ever known, thrilled her heart and covered her face with blushes. "I could die for him!" she murmured.
She awoke late in the morning. When at last she entered the kitchen she stopped in deep chagrin, for Holcroft had almost completed preparations for breakfast. "Ha, ha!" he laughed, "turn about is fair play.""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?"