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Without the least intention on the part of either, chance words had been spoken which would not be without effect. He had told her to do everything in her own way because the moment he thought of it he knew he liked her ways. They possessed a novelty and natural grace which interested him. There are both a natural and a conventional grace, and the true lady learns to blend the one with the other so as to make a charming manner essentially her own--a manner which makes a woman a lady the world over. Alida had little more than natural grace and refinement, unmodified by society. This the plain farmer could understand, and he was already awakening to an appreciation of it. It impressed him agreeably that Aethereum blockchain feeslida should be trim and neat while about her work, and that all her actions were entirely free from the coarse, slovenly manner, the limp carriage, and slatternly aspect of the whole tribe which had come and gone during the past year. They had all been so much alike in possessing disagreeable traits that he felt that Alida was the only peculiar one among them. He never thought of instituting comparisons between her and his former wife, yet he did so unconsciously. Mrs. Holcroft had been too much like himself, matter of fact, materialistic, kind, and good. Devoid of imagination, uneducated in mind, her thoughts had not ranged far from what she touched and saw. She touched them with something of their own heaviness, she saw them as objects--just what they were--and was incapable of obtaining from them much suggestion or enjoyment. She knew when the cherry and plum trees were in blossom just as she knew it was April. The beautiful sounds and changes in nature reminded her that it was time to do certain kinds of work, and with her, work was alpha and omega. As her mother had before her, she was inclined to be a house drudge rather than a housewife. Thrift, neatness, order, marked the limits of her endeavor, and she accomplished her tasks with the awkward, brisk directness learned in her mother's kitchen. Only mind, imagination, and refinement can embroider the homely details of life. Alida would learn to do all that she had done, but the woman with a finer nature would do it in a different way. Holcroft already knew he liked this way although he could not define it to himself. Tired as he was when he came home in the evening, his eyes would often kindle with pleasure at some action or remark that interested him from its novelty. In spite of his weariness and preoccupation, , in spite of a still greater obstacle--the inertia of a mind dulled by material life--he had begun to consider Alida's personality for its own sake. He liked to watch her, not to see what she did to his advantage, but how she did it. She was awakening an agreeable expectancy, and he sometimes smilingly said to himself, "What's next?""Oh, no!" he thought as he was milking the last cow, "I'd much rather she'd take her own natural way in doing things. It would be easier for her and it's her right and--and somehow I like her way just as I used to like Bessie's ways. She isn't Bessie and never can be, and for some reason I'd like her to be as different as possible."

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Unconsciously and unintentionally, however, he had given Alida's sensitive nature a slight wound. She felt that she had been told in effect, "You can help me all you please, and I would rather you would do this in a way that will not awaken associations, but you must not think of me or expect me to think of you in any light that was not agreed upon." That he had feared the possibility of this, that he might have fancied he saw indications of this, hurt her pride--that pride and delicacy of feeling which most women shield so instinctively. She was now consciously on her guard, and so was not so secure against the thoughts she deprecated as before. In spite of herself, a restraint would tinge her manner which he would eventually feel in a vague, uncomfortable way.But he came in at last, very tired and thoroughly good-natured. "I'm going to town tomorrow," he said, "and I thought of taking a very early start so as to save time. Would you like to go?""There's no need of my going.""I thought perhaps you'd enjoy the drive.""I would have to meet strangers and I'm so entirely content in being alone--I won't go this time unless you wish it."

"Well, if you don't care about it, I'll carry out my first plan and take a very early start. I want to sell the butter and eggs on hand, repay Tom Watterly, and get some seeds. We need some things from the store, too, I suppose?""Yes, you are such a coffee drinker--" she began, smiling.The next moment Rose caught sight of him. She flushed all over anduttered a little exclamation, and she bounded towards him like alittle antelope, and put out both her hands at once. He could onlygive her one.

"Ah!" she cried with an accent of heavenly pity, and took his handwith both hers.This was like the meridian sun coming suddenly on a cold place. Hewas all happiness.When Josephine heard he was come her eye flashed, and she saidquickly, "I will come down to welcome him--dear Edouard!"The sisters looked at one another. Josephine blushed. Rose smiledand kissed her. She colored higher still, and said, "No, she wasashamed to go down.""Why?""Look at my face.""I see nothing wrong with it, except that it eclipses otherpeople's, and I have long forgiven you that.""Oh, yes, dear Rose: look what a color it has, and a fortnight agoit was pale as ashes.""Never mind; do you expect me to regret that?""Rose, I am a very bad woman.""Are you, dear? then hook this for me.""Yes, love. But I sometimes think you would forgive me if you knewhow hard I pray to be better. Rose, I do try so to be as unhappy asI ought; but I can't, I can't. My cold heart seems as dead tounhappiness as once it was to happiness. Am I a heartless womanafter all?""Not altogether," said Rose dryly. "Fasten my collar, dear, anddon't torment yourself. You have suffered much and nobly. It wasHeaven's will: you bowed to it. It was not Heaven's will that youshould be blighted altogether. Bow in this, too, to Heaven's will:take things as they come, and do cease to try and reconcile feelingsthat are too opposite to live together.""Ah! these are such comfortable words, Rose; but mamma will see thisdreadful color in my cheek, and what can I say to her?""Ten to one it will not be observed; and if it should, I will say itis the excitement of seeing Edouard. Leave all to me."Josephine greeted Edouard most affectionately, drew from him hiswhole history, and petted him and sympathized with him deliciously,and made him the hero of the evening. Camille, who was notnaturally of a jealous temper, bore this very well at first, but atlast he looked so bitter at her neglect of him, that Rose took himaside to soothe him. Edouard, missing the auditor he most valued,and seeing her in secret conference with the brilliant colonel, felta return of the jealous pangs that had seized him at first sight ofthe man; and so they played at cross purposes.

At another period of the evening the conversation became moregeneral; and Edouard took a dislike to Colonel Dujardin. A youngman of twenty-eight nearly always looks on a boy of twenty-one withthe air of a superior, and this assumption, not being an ill-naturedone, is apt to be so easy and so undefined that the younger hardlyknows how to resent or to resist it. But Edouard was a little vainas we know; and the Colonel jarred him terribly. His quick haughtyeye jarred him. His regimentals jarred him: they fitted like aglove. His mustache and his manner jarred him, and, worst of all,his cool familiarity with Rose, who seemed to court him rather thanbe courted by him. He put this act of Rose's to the colonel'saccount, according to the custom of lovers, and revenged himself ina small way by telling Josephine in her ear "that the colonelproduced on his mind the effect of an intolerable puppy."Josephine colored up and looked at him with a momentary surprise.She said quietly, "Military men do give themselves some airs, but heis very amiable at bottom. You must make a better acquaintance withhim, and then he will reveal to you his nobler qualities."--"Oh! Ihave no particular desire," sneered unlucky Edouard. Sweet asJosephine was, this was too much for her: she said nothing; but shequietly turned Edouard over to Aubertin, and joined Rose, and undercover of her had a sweet timid chat with her falsely accused.

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This occupied the two so entirely that Edouard was neglected. Thishurt his foible, and seemed to be so unkind on the very first day ofhis return that he made his adieus to the baroness, and marched offin dudgeon unobserved.Rose missed 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.

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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.

To Camille, Josephine's fluctuations, joys, tremors, love, terror,modesty, seemed one grand total, caprice. The component parts of ithe saw not; and her caprice tortured him almost to madness. Toopenitent to give way again to violent passion, he gently fretted.His health retrograded and his temper began to sour. The eye oftimid love that watched him with maternal anxiety from under itslong lashes saw this with dismay, and Rose, who looked into hersister's bosom, devoted herself once more to soothe him withoutcompromising Josephine's delicacy. Matters were not so bad but whata fine sprightly girl like Rose could cheer up a dejected but manlycolonel; and Rose was generally successful.But then, unfortunately, this led to a fresh mystification.Riviere's natural jealousy revived, and found constant food in theattention Rose paid Camille, a brilliant colonel living in the housewhile he, poor wretch, lived in lodgings. The false position of allthe parties brought about some singular turns. I give from theirnumber one that forms a link, though a small one, in my narrative.One day Edouard came to tell Rose she was making him unhappy; he hadher alone in the Pleasaunce; she received him with a radiant smile,and they had a charming talk,--a talk all about HIM: what the familyowed him, etc.On this, his late jealousy and sense of injury seemed a thing ofthree years ago, and never to return. So hard it is for the lovingheart to resist its sun.

Jacintha came with a message from the colonel: "Would it beagreeable to Mademoiselle Rose to walk with him at the usual hour?""Certainly," said Rose.As Jacintha was retiring Edouard called to her to stop a minute.

Then, turning to Rose, he begged her very ceremoniously toreconsider that determination."What determination?""To sacrifice me to this Colonel Dujardin." Still politely, only alittle grimly.

Rose opened her eyes. "Are you mad?" inquired she with quiethauteur."Neither mad nor a fool," was the reply. "I love you too well toshare your regard with any one, upon any terms; least of all uponthese, that there is to be a man in the world at whose beck and callyou are to be, and at whose orders you are to break off an interviewwith me. Perdition!""Dear Edouard, what folly! Can you suspect me of discourtesy, aswell as of--I know not what. Colonel Dujardin will join us, that isall, and we shall take a little walk with him.""Not I. I decline the intrusion; you are engaged with me, and Ihave things to say to you that are not fit for that puppy to hear.

So choose between me and him, and choose forever."Rose colored. "I should be very sorry to choose either of youforever; but for this afternoon I choose you.""Oh, thank you--my whole life shall prove my gratitude for thispreference."Rose beckoned Jacintha, and sent her with an excuse to ColonelDujardin. She then turned with an air of mock submission toEdouard. "I am at monsieur's ORDERS."Then this unhappy novice, being naturally good-natured, thanked heragain and again for her condescension in setting his heart at rest.He proposed a walk, since his interference had lost her one. Sheyielded a cold assent. This vexed him, but he took it for grantedit would wear off before the end of the walk. Edouard's heartbounded, but he loved her too sincerely to be happy unless he couldsee her happy too; the malicious thing saw this, or perhaps knew itby instinct, and by means of this good feeling of his she revengedherself for his tyranny. She tortured him as only a woman cantorture, and as even she can torture only a worthy man, and one wholoves her. In the course of that short walk this inexperiencedgirl, strong in the instincts and inborn arts of her sex, drove pinsand needles, needles and pins, of all sorts and sizes, through herlover's heart.She was everything by turns, except kind, and nothing for longtogether. She was peevish, she was ostentatiously patient andsubmissive, she was inattentive to her companion and seeminglywrapped up in contemplation of absent things and persons, thecolonel to wit; she was dogged, repulsive, and cold; and she neverwas herself a single moment. They returned to the gate of thePleasaunce. "Well, mademoiselle," said Riviere very sadly, "thatinterloper might as well have been with us.""Of course he might, and you would have lost nothing by permittingme to be courteous to a guest and an invalid. If you had not playedthe tyrant, and taken the matter into your own hands, I should havefound means to soothe your jeal--I mean your vanity; but youpreferred to have your own way. Well, you have had it.""Yes, mademoiselle, you have given me a lesson; you have shown mehow idle it is to attempt to force a young lady's inclinations inanything."He bade her good-day, and went away sorrowful.She cut Camille dead for the rest of the day.

Next morning, early, Edouard called expressly to see her."Mademoiselle Rose," said he, humbly, "I called to apologize for theungentlemanly tone of my remonstrances yesterday.""Fiddle-dee," said Rose. "Don't do it again; that is the bestapology.""I am not likely to offend so again," said he sadly. "I am goingaway. I am sorry to say I am promoted; my new post is ten leagues.

HE WILL HAVE IT ALL HIS OWN WAY NOW. But perhaps it is best. WereI to stay here, I foresee you would soon lose whatever friendlyfeeling you have for me.""Am I so changeable? I am not considered so," remonstrated Rose,gently.Riviere explained; "I am not vain," said he, with that self-knowledge which is so general an attribute of human beings; "no manless so, nor am I jealous; but I respect myself, and I could neverbe content to share your time and your regard with Colonel Dujardin,nor with a much better man. See now; he has made me arrogant. WasI ever so before?""No! no! no! and I forgive you now, my poor Edouard.""He has made you cold as ice to me.""No! that was my own wickedness and spitefulness.""Wickedness, spitefulness! they are not in your nature. It is allthat wretch's doing."Rose sighed, but she said nothing; for she saw that to excuseCamille would only make the jealous one more bitter against him.

"Will you deign to write to me at my new post? once a month? inanswer to my letters?""Yes, dear. But you will ride over sometimes to see us.""Oh, yes; but for some little time I shall not be able. The dutiesof a new post.""Perhaps in a month--a fortnight?""Sooner perhaps; the moment I hear that man is out of the house."Edouard went away, dogged and sad; Rose shut herself up in herroom and had a good cry. In the afternoon Josephine came andremonstrated with her. "You have not walked with him at all to-day.""No; you must pet him yourself for once. I hate the sight of him;it has made mischief between Edouard and me, my being so attentiveto him. Edouard is jealous, and I cannot wonder. After all, whatright have I to mystify him who honors me with his affection?"Then, being pressed with questions by Josephine, she related to herall that had passed between Edouard and her, word for word."Poor Camille!" sighed Josephine the just.

"Oh, dear, yes! poor Camille! who has the power to make us allmiserable, and who does it, and will go on doing it until he ishappy himself.""Ah! would to Heaven I could make him as happy as he deserves tobe.""You could easily make him much happier than that. And why not doit?""O Rose," said Josephine, shocked, "how can you advise me so?"She then asked her if she thought it possible that Camille could beignorant of her heart."Josephine," replied Rose, angrily, "these men are absurd: theybelieve only what they see. I have done what I can for you andCamille, but it is useless. Would you have him believe you lovehim, you must yourself be kind to him; and it would be a charitableaction: you would make four unhappy people happy, or, at least, putthem on the road; NOW they are off the road, and, by what I haveseen to-day, I think, if we go on so much longer, it will be toolate to try to return. Come, Josephine, for my sake! Let me go andtell him you will consent--to all our happinesses. There, the crimeis mine." And she ran off in spite of Josephine's faint andhypocritical entreaties. She returns the next minute looking allaghast. "It is too late," said she. "He is going away. I am surehe is, for he is packing up his things to go. I spied through theold place and saw him. He was sighing like a furnace as he strappedhis portmanteau. I hate him, of course, but I was sorry for him. Icould not help being. He sighed so all the time, piteously."Josephine turned pale, and lifted her hands in surprise and dismay."Depend on it, Josephine, we are wrong," said Rose, firmly: "thesewretches will not stand our nonsense above a certain time: they arenot such fools. We are mismanaging: one gone, the other going; bothlosing faith in us."Josephine's color returned to her cheek, and then mounted high.Presently she smiled, a smile full of conscious power and furtivecomplacency, and said quietly, "He will not go."Rose was pleased, but not surprised, to hear her sister speak soconfidently, for she knew her power over Camille. "That is right,"said she, "go to him, and say two honest words: 'I bid you stay.'""O Rose! no!""Poltroon! You know he would go down on his knees, and staydirectly.""No: I should blush all my life before you and him. I COULD not. Ishould let him go sooner, almost. Oh, no! I will never ask a manto stay who wishes to leave me. But just you go to him, and sayMadame Raynal is going to take a little walk: will he do her thehonor to be her companion? Not a word more, if you love me.""I'll go. Hypocrite!"Josephine received Camille with a bright smile. She seemed inunusually good spirits, and overflowing with kindness and innocentaffection. On this his high gloomy brow relaxed, and all hisprospects brightened as by magic. Then she communicated to him anumber of little plans for next week and the week after. Among therest he was to go with her and Rose to Frejus. "Such a sweet place:

I want to show it you. You will come?"He hesitated a single moment: a moment of intense anxiety to thesmiling Josephine."Yes! he would come: it was a great temptation, he saw so little ofher.""Well, you will see more of me now.""Shall I see you every day--alone, I mean?""Oh, yes, if you wish it," replied Josephine, in an off-hand,indifferent way.

He seized her hand and devoured it with kisses. "Foolish thing!"murmured she, looking down on him with ineffable tenderness."Should I not be always with you if I consulted my inclination?--letme go.""No! consult your inclination a little longer.""Must I?""Yes; that shall be your punishment.""For what? What have I done?" asked she with an air of greatinnocence.

"You have made me happy, me who adore you," was the evasive reply.Josephine came in from her walk with a high color and beaming eyes,and screamed, "Run, Rose!"On this concise, and to us not very clear instruction, Rose slippedup the secret stair. She saw Camille come in and gravely unpack hislittle portmanteau, and dispose his things in the drawers withsoldier-like neatness, and hum an agreeable march. She came andtold Josephine.

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC#

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster

Mark Suster

Written by

2x entrepreneur. Sold both companies (last to salesforce.com). Turned VC looking to invest in passionate entrepreneurs 〞 I*m on Twitter at @msuster

Both Sides of the Table

Perspectives of a 2x entrepreneur turned VC at @UpfrontVC, the largest and most active early-stage fund in Southern California. Snapchat: msuster