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首页 » 英文短篇小说 » I Walked in Arden » Chapter Twelve WE PASS AN ORDEAL AND SAIL FOR HOME
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The warm days of May and June found Helen and me again riding over the low rolling country back of Deep Harbor. At least, that is what we did on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. On other days we rode at night, not without protest from Mrs. Claybourne. Fortunately, however, the trousseau kept her too deeply employed to offer much resistance.

Spring in that country was the same joy and wonder that it is in England. The fields stayed brown longer, perhaps, for vineyards are slow in coming into leaf, and Indian corn is not planted until late. The woods made up for any delay of the open fields. Such brilliant, tender greens of ferns and mosses, such strange and overpowering scents from grasses and leafy hollows! To be sure, we watched the panorama of spring and early summer with lovers' eyes, but I defy any one not to find that countryside an earthly paradise.

And at night, even in the darkness when there was no moon, we rode miles through velvety black, rich with the odours of growing things. Dogs would bark at our horses from farm-yard gates as we passed, and sleeping cattle near the road would lift drowsy heads in surprise at the sound of our horses' hoofs. There were no motor-cars to come roaring down at us from around corners with dazzling glare of monster eyes, or so few that they were not met on back country roads. We could ride on with loose rein, certain no danger was ahead. It was on these rides that we could really talk and get to know one another. Not that we had rushed at love in the autumn, ignorant of what we did. Yet it seemed as if each day we found new depths to explore and grew nearer to one another the further we went.

I can remember little of what we said or of what subjects we talked about. Much of it was lovers' talk, sometimes too absurd or trivial to put down in black and white, or else too sacred to come staring at one from the pages of a narrative. At other times we spoke of that future, now so near us, and built dream plans—a little cottage with a red-tiled roof to be somewhere in Hertfordshire, with a vegetable garden and standard rose trees; or again, we wandered in fancy through the mysteries of London, buying books off a stall in the Farringdon Road or sitting in some old church near the crossed feet of a Crusader. It was I who built up for her the dream pictures of England—the England of my childhood—the London which, once it is in one's blood, is there forever. Helen had never been abroad, and to her my stories were like those Othello told to Desdemona. She learned to know England in imagination and came to speak familiarly of it, as if she herself had grown up on its soil.

And yet we both loved America too. From a hilltop in May, looking across miles of open country to the blue lake, our hearts would swell with joy that so fair a land was ours. England was to be our country of adventure, in which, side by side, we were to seek fame and do our allotted task in life. We thought no less of one country for the joy with which we looked forward to the other.

On the first of July Knowlton and I turned the factory over to the representatives of the new owners. They were a New York corporation, and I was rather amused to observe that the general manager arrived with the same chip on his shoulder for Deep Harbor that I had first carried. He was a little, fussy man of about thirty-five, with a brown Van Dyke beard, and he asked me, with a haughty air, if I knew where there was anything fit to eat to be found.

"You have had breakfast at Shaefer's," I said. I could see Knowlton's grin over the corner of my shoulder. We were in his office at the factory.

"I have," Mr. Ebling replied, with a grimace.

"There is no place in Deep Harbor that calls itself a restaurant where you can get anything fit to eat, Mr. Ebling." I uttered this solemnly.

"Good God!" he exclaimed.

"But if you will lunch with me today, I can promise you satisfaction. I can also arrange a card for you at the club. It has a rather remarkable chef."

His gratitude was overpowering. Then we proceeded to sign endless papers, with some exchanges of difficulties between the lawyers of each party. I had a full power of attorney from my father to sign for him, and whenever a lawyer said "Here, if you please," I wrote my name with a flourish. At the end a certified check was handed to me, and I passed it on to Knowlton. Then Knowlton and I stood up. Our tenure was over.

As Mr. Ebling followed me out, I caught Knowlton stealing a last look at his little office. He lingered a moment by the shop door and watched the men at the machines, as we arrived downstairs. Since we were still to be in Deep Harbor for another month, there was no ceremony of saying good-bye. Some of the men, nevertheless, came up to shake hands with Knowlton and me. I hated to turn these workmen over to another management, and I saw Knowlton was thinking the same thing. He had built up an extraordinarily efficient and loyal set of men,—"hand-picked," he called them. I had a distinct impression that Mr. Ebling would not be so good a man to work for. His Van Dyke beard was against him. Also his eyes lacked a twinkle; in its stead was a look which showed that Mr. Ebling was the most important object to be considered.

The three of us walked away together, Mr. Ebling picking his way with some displeasure through the choking dust of our Twelfth Street:

"Where are we going, Ted? To the club?" Knowlton asked, as I kept on down Twelfth Street.

"Mr. Claybourne was kind enough to suggest that the three of us take luncheon with him at his residence. I thought we could walk to Myrtle Boulevard and point out some of our important plants to Mr. Ebling on the way. Over there," I said, turning to Ebling, "is the Deep Harbor Packing Company. Beyond is the Lakeside Casting and Manufacturing Company."

"Good God," exclaimed Mr. Ebling, stumbling over an empty tin can that lay in the middle of the street. Knowlton's grin widened and deepened. It grew positively diabolic as Mr. Ebling took a silk handkerchief from his sleeve and began flicking dust from his spats.

"Don't they ever water this confounded street?" he asked.

"Never," I replied. "Wait until August—this is nothing."

"Is there no way we can ride?" he inquired at the end of an interminable block of noisy and dirty buildings.

"The cars don't take us where we want to go," I replied. "We can soon turn down Wintergreen Street, and then we are almost there."

Knowlton, by now, was signalling me to be careful, but I was having too much fun. "That is a model plant," I continued, like a cathedral guide. "It's the Deep Harbor Wrought Iron Works. I understand that their power plant holds the world's record for the number of pounds of water evaporated per pound of coal."

Knowlton made a noise which sounded very much like a suppressed snort. Mr. Ebling politely adjusted his pince-nez and gazed at the brick walls. A freight train, the engine spitting live cinders and greasy smoke, clanged up the street between us and the model plant. Mr. Ebling shook cinders from his light grey Fedora hat, and wiped smut from his eyes.

I took mercy upon him at this point and turned down a side street leading toward the residence section.

"Really," Mr. Ebling protested, as we came to Myrtle Boulevard, "I'm not presentable enough to lunch with your friends. Please tell me the way back to the hotel." I would not hear of this, so he again made such a toilet as he could with his handkerchief. I rang the bell at the Claybournes', and in we went. Mr. Ebling's affability returned at once. Mrs. Claybourne was gracious and Helen deliciously demure. She sensed a joke somewhere from my manner, but could not guess what it was. A cocktail made Mr. Ebling expand. I could see another opinion of Deep Harbor visibly forming itself in his mind.

"We've just come from the plant," I said, as we sat down.

"Then you transferred across town from the square," remarked Mrs. Claybourne.

"No, we walked," I interrupted hastily. "I wanted to point out some of our plants to Mr. Ebling."

"Walked!" cried Mrs. Claybourne.

"I understood we could not get here except by walking," Mr. Ebling said, raising his eyebrows.

"Ted, you must be crazy," Mr. Claybourne chuckled. "You ride from your plant within a block of here every day."

"Ted thought Mr. Ebling would like to see the sights," Knowlton spoke in my defence.

"Yes, very interesting place from a commercial point of view. I enjoyed getting a general idea of the town."

Helen pinched me under the table, and I let out an unexpected "ouch."

"Helen!" said her mother. "What are you doing?"

"She pinched me and made me scream," I said. "It isn't fair."

"Those two children are engaged, Mr. Ebling," Mr. Claybourne interposed. "You'll have to pardon their bad manners."

Mr. Ebling lifted his eyebrows again. "Really? I congratulate you."

After luncheon Mr. Claybourne took over Mr. Ebling, and Knowlton carried me away to deposit our check at the bank. It was part of the agreement that Knowlton and I should work beside the new management for a month, until things ran smoothly.

"Don't play any more kid tricks on Ebling, Ted," Knowlton warned me as we parted at the bank. "You've done enough for today."

The great day was approaching; sometimes it seemed with great rapidity, and again I thought the end of the month would never come. The trousseau, with all kinds of shopping and trying things on, took up a great deal of Helen's time, and Mrs. Claybourne banished me for days on end. I did a lot of work in the laboratory, with the new chemist, to keep occupied, but I found it hard to take work seriously.

One morning Mrs. Claybourne informed me that she had made an appointment for me at eleven to call upon the minister who was to marry us. I had no chance to find out from Helen what this meant, but was bundled off to keep the engagement.

I entered his study with decidedly mixed feelings. It was reminiscent of going to the dentist's. He was a tall, sandy-haired elderly young man, with a fine but slightly stagey face. "Could play jeune premiers just as he stands," I thought, as he shook my hand and seated me in a deep leathern armchair.

"So you and Helen are to be married," he began, offering me a cigarette. It did not put me at my ease. The only suitable reply I could think of was "Yes—on the thirtieth." I lit the cigarette, hoping inspiration from it later.

"It is a solemn step you are taking," he continued. "Are you sure you have thoroughly searched your hearts?"

"If you mean, do we love each other, I think there is no doubt of it," I answered, the bristles on my back rising a trifle.

"Did you know I went to your college?" he asked, shifting the attack.

"No. What was your class?"

"Before your time, I think." He went on to tell me some reminiscences of Hilltown in his day. He had been a 'varsity half-back, and I remembered now the tradition of him that came down to our crowd. I was annoyed to discover that I was beginning to feel at ease. At last we reached the point. Would I go to communion with Helen the Sunday before our marriage?

I did not know what to say. I did not wish to hurt Mrs. Claybourne's feelings, but I did not see how I could, in honesty. I put my difficulty to him.

"My mother belongs to the Church of England," I explained, "and it is the only one I have ever attended—except cathedrals on the Continent. But I don't know what I believe."

"Do any of us?" he said with a rather wonderful softness in his eyes. "Do we have to believe anything? Isn't faith enough?"

I thought for a while. "I don't wish to commit perjury," I said.

He smiled. "You have faith enough to believe it would be perjury?"

"Or false pretences. Your church—the Episcopal—is a great tradition—one I respect as I do our other English-speaking traditions—all the things we stand for that make up the decent things of this world. I value all of it too much to lie about it. Don't you see?—I can't come to communion, for it means too much to come dishonestly."

"You are very young, Edward," he smiled with his hand on my shoulder. "Will you let an older man decide?"

"I wish I could," I said.

"If Helen comes, you surely won't stand aside?"

"But will she come? Have you asked her?"

His face clouded for a moment with a genuine look of pain.

"Don't you both wish to marry with clean hearts?"

"Yes," I answered, "and we shall. That is why I can't lie to please you."

I knew my retort was unfair, but I wanted him also to see my side. He stood a while looking down at me. It was clear there was nothing theatrical about this man's faith, however like an actor he might look. I knew he wanted to reach out to me and hold me with the faith that held him. Yet I could not yield. Had he perhaps been less in earnest, less sincere, I might have offered him lip-service for the sake of peace. His very strength gave me strength to resist. It had to be all or nothing. I got to my feet.

"I am sorry," I said, holding out my hand.

"I think you are, Edward," he answered, taking my hand in a firm grip. "You'll not urge Helen against it?"

"Helen's conscience is her own."

"Come, that's a good beginning. And because you are sorry to refuse, I have still hope." He smiled at me. I shook my head.

"At any rate, you'll come to church next Sunday?"

"Yes"—and with this compromise we parted.

Helen's friends vied with one another in giving us small dinner parties and dances during the last two weeks. There was no limit to the hospitality of Deep Harbor, once you were an accepted member of what was known as "the right people." If I dropped into Mr. Claybourne's down-town club of a late afternoon, a dozen crowded tables would invite me to sit down, with the greeting "We're just ordering a round, Ted. What will yours be?" I knew all the business men and the younger crowd of my own age, but none of them intimately. Knowlton, curiously enough, was on the same footing of apparent welcome, but he had not been invited to join either the country club or the down-town club. Miss Hershey's refusal to visé his passport kept him an outsider, even with the men. No one disliked him, and there was a general appreciation of his business sagacity, but he simply did not belong. I made several efforts to break down these bars for Knowlton. It was useless; they would not give way.

The whole social organization of Deep Harbor was an interesting study in practical democracy. The inner circle of business men, who seemed to treat a barber with the same intimate friendliness that they did each other, nevertheless were a close corporation into which it was not easy to gain admittance. The women were, of course, even more strict. A few men belonged to the down-town club whom we never saw at dinners or dances. There were only three streets on which it was permissible to live; Myrtle Boulevard was the chief of these, but two more, parallel to it, were allowable. On the connecting cross streets the newly married couples of "the right people" lived in two-family houses, against the day they would move to the important thoroughfare. A house anywhere else was taboo, unless one went right out into the country, on the country-club side of the town. It was a matter of considerable uneasiness to Mrs. Claybourne that my little study and bedroom was on the wrong side of State Street. I heard from her that that had been also one of the earlier objections to "taking me up." I had, however, stuck to my rooms, for they were both comfortable and inexpensive.

I do not pretend to know how the aristocracy of Deep Harbor came into being. Success, which implied the possession of brains as a corollary, coupled with long residence in the town, appeared to be the general basis of it. On the other hand, Knowlton had brains and had made a success of his work; yet he was excluded. Furthermore, the men all admitted that he was "a thorough good fellow" and "a good mixer," as they expressed it. I could see no logic in keeping him out. The essence of an aristocracy, though, is the absence of any logical premise for its elections. My position, of course, was solely owing to the Claybournes.

But I must not permit my reflections on the social mysteries of Deep Harbor to interrupt too long the narrative of events. A day came when our wedding was but three more days away. It was the last time Helen and I could ride together over the hills. The final hours, according to Mrs. Claybourne, were to be spent in such frenzied preparations as would entirely forbid my presence at the house, to say nothing of riding. We determined to make the most of this ride. We packed a luncheon, bought down-town, summoned Leonidas, and rode forth.

We went slowly, a little stunned by the fact that this was our last ride. Up the hill, past "Henery" Tyler's Five Mile Farm, was our way, for we wanted to retrace all the steps of that day which had opened our eyes. We stopped at the Tylers' for a word of greeting. "Henery" was not at home—he was "in the city somewheres, most likely as not wastin' his time," but Mrs. Tyler was delighted to see us, in spite of her momentary bitterness on the subject of "Henery."

"He'll be down-right sorry to miss you young folks," she said. "It's mighty nice of you to come 'way out here to say good-bye. But Henery's always gallivantin' round when he ought to be at home 'tending to the farm. Men is restless creatures anyway, Miss Helen. Won't you come in and set in the parlour? I've got some new milk cooling out in the shed."

We accepted and dismounted.

"Walk right in and make yourselves to home. I guess you better leave the dog outside. Dogs track up a house so."

With a hasty apology for her thoughtlessness, Helen tied Leonidas to the fence. We entered the familiar little room with its horsehair furniture and the conch shells in a glass case, and sat on the very sofa where Helen had lain that evening with a wrenched knee. Mrs. Tyler disappeared in search of the milk. In a few minutes she returned with milk, a plate of cookies, and a jar of apple-butter.

"Kind of warm today," she rattled on, busy with her offering of hospitality, "but I guess we've got to expect a little hot weather in July. Milk's mighty refreshing on a warm day, 'specially if you been exercisin'. Help yourself to the apple-butter, Miss Helen. It's a good spread on cookies."

We sat and ate, grateful for her genuine friendliness. Her cookies would have taken a prize anywhere.

"Seems like it was only yesterday, Miss Helen, when you used to be in short dresses and drive out by here with your father on the way to the old cider mill. And to think of you gettin' married and goin' off across the ocean to live! Must be pretty hard on your mother to lose her daughter that way. 'Tain't as if you was to have your home across the street. I never had any children, so I ain't had to suffer. Sometimes I think it's a blessin' when I hear of the goings-on of the young folk today. Well, you never know how things might have been. Takes all my time to keep up with what is. It's the Lord's will, I tell Henery—He knows best. Take another glass of milk, Miss Helen. There's plenty more where that come from. Feed's gettin' scarce, though. It dries up in this weather."

We chatted awhile with Mrs. Tyler—perhaps it would be more accurate to say that we inserted with difficulty monosyllables at intervals into her monologue—and finally persuaded her to let us go.

A little further up the road we paused again at what we thought was about the spot where Helen's horse had fallen with her. We slid off our saddles and sat on the bank by the roadside, staring at the patch of dusty road where the miracle had been revealed to us.

"It seems years and years ago, Ted," Helen whispered. "I can't remember very much back of it. I just feel as if we had always known each other."

"In Avalon a day is a thousand years," I whispered back as she put her head against my shoulder. "Count up the number of days and see how many thousand years we have lived."

Deep Harbor lay in a smoky haze below us, and the lake beyond shimmered blue and silver in the July sun. The yellow road went straight down the hill toward the town. Across the distant fields the steam of a passing train trailed across the tops of the trees. I watched Helen's grey eyes staring at each familiar detail of her home—for the whole lay spread at our feet. The grey deepened and turned a little misty at last.

"Forgive me, Ted," she said, clinging tightly to me, "but it hurts a little to go, even with you." I kissed her wet eyes and said nothing. "I love you, Ted. I love you," and she sobbed in my arms.

We ate our luncheon in the clearing by the wood. It was too hot for a camp fire, and, as the sandwiches had melted, Leonidas de la Patte Jaune ate more than we did. Helen was back in her usual mood of high content. Her laugh, at some clumsy antic of Leonidas or some word of mine, rang again and again through the solitude of our hiding place. The coming of dusk and the mosquitoes drove us out at last.

"Another whole day of perfect happiness, Ted," she confided, leaning across to me from her saddle.

Only Mrs. Claybourne was displeased; we were late for dinner.

And then the great day came. I had thrown one last defiance in Miss Hershey's teeth by selecting Knowlton to be my best man. In spite of the grin he grinned when I asked him, I saw that secretly he was pleased—perhaps a little moved. He came round to my rooms early in the morning to lend me aid and comfort, although the wedding was not to be until two o'clock.

"Keep a stiff upper lip, Ted," was his greeting, as he unpacked a breakfast of sorts from various pockets. He would not hear of my going out for breakfast. "Shall I make some coffee?" he asked, as he took my alcohol lamp apart. "Here's a cantaloupe, just off the ice," and he banged a melon down on the table. "Got a knife?"

I sat up in my pyjamas and surveyed his preparations.

"I'm not an invalid, Knowlton," I protested, as he tried to make a slice of toast over a gas jet. "I don't know what you conceive the functions of a best man to be, but I did not ask for cooking to be included in the specifications. In fact, I'm not certain that even Shaefer's wouldn't manage breakfast better."

"Go to hell, Ted. I learned to cook before you were born," was his rejoinder.

"That puts me under no obligation to eat it," I retorted, "especially as I wasn't present."

"Shave and shut up," he replied, unmoved. Another slice of bread was suspended over the gas jet. I made my toilet leisurely and, at the end, ate a slice of his asphyxiated toast. The coffee was excellent, thanks to the ingeniousness of the machine that made it. So was the cantaloupe—but Knowlton had not made that, either.

"Knowlton," I said, with breakfast over, "when you make toast for me, you try my friendship far."

"You're an ungrateful hound. I've got your railroad tickets to New York. Transportation for two." He emphasized the latter statement. "By No. 46—the 5.02 P. M., Eastern standard time." Deep Harbor used both Eastern and Western time.

"Keep the tickets until I want them. One thing more. Do you expect me to sit here until two o'clock talking to you?"

Knowlton's ancient grin crinkled his eyes. "A little jumpy, aren't we? Well, I don't blame you. Listen to today's Eagle—it will soothe you. 'A marriage is to be solemnized this afternoon, at two o'clock at St. Asaph's Episcopal Church, Myrtle Boulevard, between Helen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Claybourne of Myrtle Boulevard, and Edward Jevons, of London, England. The social prominence of the young people—Mr. Claybourne is one of the most prominent business men of our lake city, the president of the Claybourne Manufacturing Company, of Twelfth Street, and Mr. Jevons, the prospective groom, is favourably known for his connection with the Deep Harbor Manufacturing Company, lately acquired by a New York corporation—lends unusual interest to this affair. The Rev. Mr. Osborough will officiate. Decorations by Deering. A reception to a few intimate friends will follow at the Claybourne residence. Catering by Podalsky and Rodenheim.'"

I threw a book at Knowlton, which he skilfully dodged.

"That's nothing to what Miss Barnes, who does the social notes for the Eagle, will say tomorrow. You will be worth at least three quarters of a column—not front-page stuff, of course, but the feature story under 'Society,' opposite the woman's page," he continued, ignoring my threats.

At twelve I insisted upon going out to lunch. Knowlton stuck with me. In the grill room of the Otooska House—a lonesome spot, thronged only at night—we had a steak, with which Knowlton drank a glass of milk.

"I'm sorry, Knowlton," I said over cigarettes, "that you won't accept my father's offer and try your luck in England."

"I appreciate that, Ted. But I guess I belong over here. I'm going to take my bonus money and set up for myself as a consultant in New York. A man better stick to what he knows. If I went to London, I'd have to learn all over again. It's different with you—you are going home. I'm going to stay here."

A little before two, one of Deep Harbor's most elaborate "hacks" deposited Knowlton and me at the awning-covered approach to the portal of St. Asaph's. I remember that there were a few curious onlookers standing on the pavement outside, and inside, there seemed to be music and a lot of vegetation. Beyond these blurred impressions I can recollect nothing until I was aware that Helen was coming down the aisle on her father's arm. It flashed across me that Mrs. Claybourne must be weeping somewhere near. Helen looked at me steadily through her veil, a deep and wonderful grey in her eyes as she came on, and I know I wanted to cry out, "Oh, damn this ceremony—let's bolt for the station, dearest." We did as we had been instructed—just what, I don't know, but the Reverend Mr. Osborough's voice got under way promptly. It was in the air above me, I felt. Helen wore a wreath of orange blossoms—not unusual for a bride, of course—but I loathed their scent, as I had ever since the day of my small-boyhood when a flower girl under Charing Cross station in London had thrust some beneath my nose.

The questions were beginning, and I made an effort to pull myself together. What was my cue? I heard Osborough whispering something under his breath. I had missed the first response, and he was prompting me. Would Knowlton grin? I couldn't look around. I stumbled through my lines, and Knowlton came forward with the ring. Helen was letter-perfect; not once did she fluff her lines or miss a bit of stage business. I admired her for it. We had to kneel—side by side. I saw the ring on her finger—it must be nearly over. We got up again—"Now!" I thought. No, Osborough was off again. What was this about? A sermon specially for our benefit—we were kneeling before the altar. I blinked at the candles to avoid looking at Osborough. I had hold of Helen's hand. I felt her press mine gently. "She's kept her head—I knew she would!" I thought in an ecstasy of delight over her self-control. "Probably knows everything that's happening." Ah, the benediction at last—obviously the finale; that isn't the right technical word. We were standing up—Helen had thrown back her veil.

"Kiss me quick, Ted, before any one else gets to me," I heard her say. I obeyed with great speed. Osborough was next, then Knowlton—things were growing confused again, and I'm not sure of my facts. There was a fearful uproar from the organ, and we were very near it. We started back down the aisle, Helen on my arm. Women peered into our faces. I felt that there were a great many persons treading on our heels—bridesmaids, some of them, and Knowlton mixed up with them. I wanted to look around, but a strange woman was glaring at me from a pew near at hand. What had become of my hat? It mysteriously appeared again at the door—out of the void a hand passed it to me. Helen and I were wafted into a carriage—I am certain our own legs had nothing to do with it—rice and confetti fell into our laps—and the horses started with a jerk.

"Ted, we're married," Helen said, and laid her cheek against mine. I closed my eyes and held her hand tightly. Some things are hard to realize. There was a clamour in my brain, and I couldn't think. The carriage stopped. The Claybourne house was not over a few hundred yards from the church.

Knowlton helped us out. "How the devil did you get here ahead of us?" I asked in terrified surprise. His grin returned. It was reassuring, like finding a link with home when lost in a strange place. The unseen force took us up the steps and into the house—more flowers and greens. We were made to stand by the drawing-room doors, Knowlton close behind me. Mr. and Mrs. Claybourne were next, and there were embraces; Mr. Claybourne shook my hand and clapped me on the back. Then floods of people—Uncle Peter and his wife, with bridesmaids and ushers. The ushers kissed Helen, and I had to kiss the bridesmaids. One got kissed twice, and there was a great deal of laughter at my expense. They were difficult to tell apart. In the background several women were weeping. After it did not seem possible I could kiss another girl—for all and sundry followed the bridesmaids, while Helen was kept busy by the male half of Deep Harbor—we sat down to what was called a breakfast.

There was a large bride's cake and champagne, to say nothing of Uncle Peter's speech. It was a funny speech: that is to say, each word he uttered was received with roars of laughter. I don't, myself, remember it. Plate after plate of various foods were put in front of us by swarthy foreign waiters, and whisked away again before I got around to eat. I wasn't hungry. In the midst of a particularly noisy demonstration I became aware that I was being called on for a speech.

"Get up, Ted," Helen whispered. I got up, and my teeth chattered, but no words flowed through them. Knowlton handed me a glass of champagne, with a grin floating across it. I said something; great applause and laughter. This was encouraging, considering I hadn't any idea what I had said. I went on—more applause. I pulled Helen to her feet, and we drank from the same glass of champagne as a climax. Tremendous hit! We sat down.

Helen went upstairs to change to a travelling frock. From the top of the stairs she tossed her bridal bouquet to the bridesmaids. They tore it apart like a pack of hounds making a kill. Knowlton led me away to another room to dress, as a policeman might help a blind man across Piccadilly Circus. Mysteriously to me, I found my own dressing bag there and all my things laid out. Knowlton sat on the bed and grinned at me as I struggled into the other clothes.

"Pretty good for a somnambulist," he conceded when I had done.

"Knowlton," I said, trying my best to make my true feelings carry, "I don't know what I should have done without you today."

"I don't either," he grinned. "It was my toast at breakfast that gave you the strength for the ordeal."

He produced a packet of papers. "Now you are coming out of your trance nicely, I'll give you these," he went on. "This envelope, which is green, contains your railroad tickets; this blue one, your steamer tickets; the white one, the checks for your baggage. Get that?"

He opened my coat and put them in the inside pocket and buttoned me up again, like a child. "If you find your mind gone on the train, just tell the conductor to search you."

At the door of the room I had a final word with Mr. Claybourne. Then the three of us went downstairs. In a few minutes Helen appeared. She looked more beautiful in her tailor-made travelling dress than in her bridal array. My head swam again when I went to her. We were surrounded by a babel of voices, and Miss Hershey led in Mrs. Claybourne. Every one was going to the station to see us off. Leonidas was howling dismally outside from the centre of a large crate which was to be his prison as far as New York. On this one point Helen was adamant. She would not go to England without Leonidas.

The preliminary farewells began, and even Jane, the maid, joined the chorus of feminine weepers. The Claybournes, Helen, and I got into one carriage; Knowlton, with an assortment of bridesmaids, followed in another. More rice and confetti, not to speak of old shoes tied to the carriage by white ribbons. We were not to be spared a single torture. The crowd at the station were delighted with our arrival. Leonidas and his cage gave the final touch. Some merry wag, blast his eyes, had tied a large bow of white ribbon to Leonidas' collar. There was no time to remove it, for the New York train thundered in from the further West, and the ivory flashes of a Pullman porter took over our care. We left in a bedlam, Mr. Claybourne's face looking rather solemnly at us, Mrs. Claybourne, quite overcome, on Miss Hershey's shoulder, and Knowlton's grin frozen half way. Helen and I waved as long as they were in sight, then turned around in our seats and faced each other....

Two days later the Cunarder backed out from her dock and our voyage began. Helen and I stood on the top deck, where we could see the tugs turn the ship around. The fantastic skyline of Manhattan loomed over us.

"Lady Grey Eyes, I love you," I whispered, as our boat went slowly down stream. "Are you glad?"

"My darling!" floated from her lips, no more than a breath. I had to lean close to her to hear. "I'm so happy, Ted!"

We stood upon the upper deck until dusk, watching the coast fade into the haze. At last it had gone, save for one far flashing light. We were at sea.

At dinner we found ourselves seated opposite a dear old English lady, who took one look at Helen and then and there resolved to "mother" her. We had hoped, half seriously, that we could escape passing as bride and groom. No sooner, however, had we taken our seats than a delighted steward brought in a large basket of white roses, set off with white ribbons. This he placed in front of Helen. It bore a card, with this legend: "From the Deep Harbor gang." The old English lady said, "How sweet of your friends, my dear." I had another opinion of their conduct. I didn't mind so much, for Helen was loveliest when she blushed.

After dinner we sat and talked a bit with the old English lady—a Mrs. Parsons from High Wycombe. To tell the truth, I liked to hear her call Helen "my dear." It was a good omen. She asked us a hundred questions which, somehow, we did not mind at all. Helen poured out her heart to her. It was "Ted this" and "Ted that" until I threatened to put my hand over her mouth.

"I shall call you Edward and Helen," Mrs. Parsons announced decisively. "It would be positively ridiculous to call two such babies Mr. and Mrs. Jevons. How old are you, Helen?"

"Nineteen," said Helen with absolutely her prettiest blush.

"And you, Edward?"

"Twenty-four," I confessed, as Helen most brazenly leaned against my shoulder.

"What your mothers were thinking of, I can't imagine," exclaimed Mrs. Parsons. "You shouldn't be out without a nurse."

When we went to our cabin Helen said: "I like to have people nice to us, don't you, Ted?"

"I love to have them nice to you," I answered.

A few days later Helen and I stood far forward on the boat deck, straining our eyes for the first glimpse of land. She was all excitement, dancing up and down with little steps and squeezing my arm in between times. "It is just like one of our fairy stories, Ted," she whispered, her face so close that the sea wind blew a damp lock of her hair across my eyes. From the ship's bridge a cynical first officer, telescope under arm, smiled down at us. Helen turned toward him and called: "Oh, please tell us as soon as you see anything." He nodded and sent a sailor down to us with a pair of binoculars. Porpoises were leaping and playing about the ship; the sea gulls were beginning to accumulate off the stern. Helen tried to focus the glasses, but her hands shook so with joy and excitement, I had to help her.

Suddenly the look-out called from the crow's nest on the mast. According to the experts of the sea the noise he made should have been "Land-ho!" but it did not sound like anything articulate. We could still see nothing, for we were lower down. The officer on the bridge pointed the direction for us; Helen and I kept snatching the binoculars from one another. Then the top of a light-house stuck up above the horizon. We could hear a scurrying of passengers.

"How disappointing!" exclaimed Helen. "I thought we would see white chalk cliffs."

"This is Ireland—not England," I answered. "The Old Head of Kinsale is dark rock a few miles behind the light-house. If the Irish cliffs were like the English, Irishmen would paint them a different colour."

It was not long before we were close enough to the coast to see the emerald of the fields at the summit of the rocky cliffs. A line of white edged the meeting of the black rocks with the blue of the sea. Helen drew a long breath as she gazed at the startling beauty of the Irish coast.

"Ted! Ted!" she whispered. "It makes me want to cry."

Passengers crowded about us, and the wise man who knows everything began explaining in a loud voice to all and sundry.

"Ted, take me away. Isn't there somewhere on this boat that we can see all by ourselves?"

We found a cranny, further aft, between two life boats. Helen rested her elbows on the rail, her chin in her hands, and gazed, the starlight of her eyes shining.

"Don't speak to me for a while, darling," she said. "I want to look."

I studied the curve of the back of her neck, where the light brown hair played little tricks of its own while her head was bent forward. She was unconscious of what I was doing.

"Put your arm around me, Ted. No one can see," she sighed from between her hands. "Don't talk."

I obeyed. I never touched her that it did not seem a miracle that I should be permitted such liberty. It was like touching something exquisitely delicate and sacred. Not that she was "petite" in the sense in which that banal word is generally used; on the contrary, she was tall and of athletic figure. It was her beauty that seemed, nevertheless, dainty and fragile. "You'll spoil me, Ted, if you make such a fuss over me," she had once laughingly warned me.

We were wakened from our reverie by the hearty voice of Mrs. Parsons behind us. "That is Ireland over there, my children," she said, with the air of one giving valuable and hitherto unknown information. Helen and I started apart guiltily. We had not yet been married long enough to get over the self-consciousness of an engaged couple. Mrs. Parsons unrolled a map, with great difficulty because of the wind. We were in for a lecture. "This is where we are."

She indicated a spot which would be about sixty miles in circumference, out in the open sea. "Up there is Queenstown. That is where we are going. Then Liverpool is up there, just back of Anglesea."

Helen said the right thing, while her eyes shot a look at me which only I could understand.

"See, I've brought you some chocolates, my dear," and Mrs. Parsons fished in the jumbled depths of a handbag. She handed them to Helen. "Mind you don't forget to come down for tea. I'll send the steward when it's quite ready," and she was off.

Helen laughed a laugh that was a joy to hear. "She'll be bringing us bottles of warm milk next. But she's a dear, Ted."

After tea we returned to the boat deck. The ship was approaching Queenstown harbour. There may be more beautiful spots on the surface of this earth than this harbour, but if so, Helen and I had never seen any of them.

"Ted, did you ever dream of such green grass! And look at those little white houses—like fairy houses, Ted! And the trees! What a funny shape they are, Ted. Look at them."

"I am looking, my dearest." I did not dare say what it meant to me to be nearing home. I thought it would sound disloyal to Helen and to the happiness we were bringing with us.

"There is an English cruiser, flying the white ensign," I exclaimed—a queer feeling inside me at the sight of her flag.

"Is that an English flag? I thought the English flag was red, with a union Jack in the corner."

"Helen!" I cried, in a voice more shocked than I realized it would sound. "You don't know the white ensign?"

"Ted, how can I possibly know all your beastly old flags?" she flared up. "Please don't look at me like that, Ted. What have I done?"—and a mist gathered quickly in her grey eyes.

"I forgot, dearest," I said, slipping my arm tightly around her. "Please forgive me. But that flag means we are home."

Her soft hand found mine and clung. "Home, Ted," she whispered, "our home." She looked at the cruiser lying near us. The ensign fluttered jauntily in the wind. "We are Americans, Ted," she said after a long pause. "I wonder if we ought to feel the way we do?"

"The best way is to love both our homes, Helen sweetheart."

She looked up at me and smiled: "Love is enough, Ted," she said softly—and we both remembered the old clearing by the wood back of Deep Harbor, where we had read William Morris together.


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