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Married life


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Title:MarriedLife
TheTrueRomance
Author:MayEdginton
ReleaseDate:April30,2005[eBook#15738]
Language:English
Charactersetencoding:ISO-8859-1
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK MARRIED
LIFE***

E-textpreparedbyDavidGarcia,ananonymousvolunteer,
andtheProjectGutenbergOnlineDistributedProofreadingTeam


MARRIEDLIFE

OR
THETRUEROMANCE


By


MAYEDGINTON

Decoration
BOSTON
SMALL,MAYNARD&COMPANY
PUBLISHERS
1920


INADMIRATION
TO
ACOMPLETELYSUCCESSFUL
HUSBAND


CONTENTS
I.
II.
III.
IV.
V.
VI.
VII.
VIII.
IX.

ANTICIPATION
IRREVOCABLE
BEAUTIFUL
DREAMS
HOUSEKEEPING
DISCIPLINE
DISILLUSION


BABY
PROBLEMS


X.
XI.
XII.
XIII.
XIV.
XV.
XVI.
XVII.
XVIII.
XIX.
XX.
XXI.
XXII.
XXIII.
XXIV.
XXV.
XXVI.

RECRIMINATION
THEBANGEDDOOR
BEHINDTHEVEIL
"THEVERYDEVIL"
DRIFTING
SURRENDER
ISOLATION
REVIVAL
INTRIGUE
ANOTHERWOOING
SEPARATION
HOME-COMING
PLAINDEALING
INDIFFERENCE
FOOL'SCAP
RECOMPENSE
COMPREHENSION

MARRIEDLIFE
ORTHETRUEROMANCE




CHAPTERI
ANTICIPATION

"I'vebeenroundallthesales,"saidMarie,"huntingandhunting.Myfeetare
tired!ButI'vegotalovelylotofthings.Look!Allthiswashingribbon,apenny
a yard. And these caps—aren't they the last word? Julia, aren't they ducks? I
thoughtI'dhavemylittlecapsallalike,flesh-pinktulle."
"When'llyouwearthem?"askedJuliahardily.
"Whendootherpeoplewearthem?"retortedMarie,ratherconfused.
"Haveyoueverwornthingslikethis?"
"Well," said Marie, "perhaps not. But I've been saving up two years for it,
haven'tI?Andifagirlcan'thaveprettythingsinhertrousseau,whencanshe
havethem?"
Juliasighedandlooked.Therewasalittleclutchatherheart,butshewenton
sturdily:
"All you girls going to be married! I don't know what you expect! I know
what you'll get. You seem to think a husband's a cross between Romeo and a
fairy godmother.Well,you'llfindit'sdifferent.Youallimagine,whenyousay
good-bye to your typewriter, or the showroom, or whatever line you're in, to
marryonanincomenotsoverymuchbiggerthanyourown,thatyou'regoingto
liveinapalaceandbewaiteduponeverafterwards.You'llhavetogetupearly
andcookOsborn'sbreakfast,shan'tyou,beforehegoesout?Andmakethebeds
andsweepanddust?Andyou'rebuyingpinktullecapsasifyouweregoingto
breakfastinbedeveryday!"
"A little housework's nothing! A girl can wear pretty things when she's
married,Isuppose?"
"Oh,shecan."
"Sheoughtto.Amanhasarighttoexpect—"


"You'll find a man expects everything he has a right to, and a hundred per
cent.more."
"Osbornisverydifferentfrommostmen."
Juliasmiled,stoodup,andpressedherhandsoverherhipstosettleherskirt
smoothly;shehadanairofabandoningthetalkasuseless.Hereyesweretired
andhermouthdrooped.
"Itisn'tasthoughyouknewsuchagreatdealaboutmen,dear,"Marieadded.
"Idon'twantto,"saidJulia.
"Surely,youmustlikeOsborn?"
"WhatdoesitmatterwhetherIdoordon't,sinceyoudo?"
"Ican'tthinkhowanyonecanfailtolikeOsborn."
"Ofcourseyoucan't."
"Evenyoumustownhe'sthebest-temperedboyliving."
"Ishan'townanythingofthekindtillyou'vebeenmarriedthreemonths,and
he's had some bad dinners, and late breakfasts, and has got a bit sick of the
butcher'sbill.Thenwe'llsee."
"Little things like these can't matter between people who really love each
other.Youdon'tunderstand."
"It'sjusttheselittlethingsthattaketheedgeoff."
Marie's mother looked in and smiled to see her girl fingering her pretty
things.
"Aren'tyoutwonearlyreadytoleavetheinspectionandcometotea?"
"Juliadoesn'tlikemycaps,mum."
"Yes,Ido,"saidJulia;"allI'masking,Mrs.Amber,is,whenisshegoingto
wearthem?"


Marie'smothercameinandsatdownandthought.
"Ah,"shesaid,shakingherheadandlookingpinchedaboutthelips,"Idon't
know.Youmoderngirlsbuyalltheseextraordinarythings.Youaperichwomen;
butyou'llneverbeabletopaytheeverlastingcleaners'billsforthosecaps."
"She'llsoongiveupwearingthem,Mrs.Amber."
"I'msureIshan't,"Mariedenied.
"When I was a girl," said Mrs. Amber, smoothing her lap reminiscently, "I
remember I wanted a grand trousseau. But girls lived at home more in those
days;theydidn'tgoouttypingandwhatnot,earningmoneyforthemselves.SoI
couldn'tbuywhatIwantedandmydearmotherhadtoomuchsensetobuyitfor
me.Ihadstrong,usefulthings,twelveofeverything,andthey'velastedtothis
day. However, Marie thinks differently and she has earned the money to act
differently,soletherbehappyinherownwaywhileshecan."
"Won'tshe behappywhenshe'smarried?"Julia asked,whileMarie angrily
hidhertreasuresawayintissuepaper.
"I hope so," said Mrs. Amber; "I'm sure I hope so. But things are all so
differentwhenyou'remarried.Yougirlshadbettercometotea."
JulialinkedherarmstronglyinMarie'sastheyfollowedtheelderlywoman
out."Marie,love,"shewhispered,"I'magrouser.YouknowIwishyouallthe
luckintheworldandmore.YouknowIdo?"
"Ihaveit,"saidMarie,smiling."AndIhopeyou'llhaveit,too,beforelong."
On the sitting-room table tea was spread; the room was red in the firelight;
andtheflatwassohighupintheblockthatthestreetnoisesscarcelyascended
toit.Thegirlssatdownonthehearthrug,andMrs.Amberseatedherselfbefore
herteatrayandflickedawayatear.
"Aweekto-day,"shesaid,"IshallbetheloneliestoldthinginLondon.Ishall
beallbymyselfinthisflatwhenMarie'sgone."
Therewerefivecupsandsaucersonthetray,andinamomentthedoor-bell
rang,andMariespranguptoanswerit."That'sOsborn!"shecriedinaflutter.


She returned demurely between two young men, one of them holding her
handcaptive.
Osborn had brought his friend Desmond Rokeby to talk over details of the
greateventnextweek.HekissedMrs.Amberonthecheek,andturnedtoJulia
with a certain diffidence. "Miss Winter," he said, with a nervous laugh, "I've
brought Rokeby. You've met him? Rokeby, Miss Winter's going to be Marie's
bridesmaid,youknow,andyou'regoingtobemine,so...."
The little joke was received with laughter by Mrs. Amber, Marie and
Desmond;JuliaonlysmiledandRokebythought,"Whatadouryoungfemale!
Whatacolddouche!Whataperishingmistake!"
He sat down beside her on the chesterfield; the couch was small and Julia,
closebesidehim,coldandhardasarock.Heturnedfromaglanceatherprofile
to contemplate the bride-elect, and saw in her all that the modern young man
wishes to find in a girl, the sparkle of spirit, yet the feminine softness; a froufrouoftemperamentaswellasoffrills;afaceofchildlikeclaritysetwithtwo
gayeyes;hairdressedtotemptandcajole;alittlefigureofthinfrailtythatgave
herabeautifuldelicacyofappearance;little,modish,manicuredhands.
She had such pretty arts; she fluttered about small domestic duties with a
delightdaintytosee.Shesetamanimagininghowdesirableitwouldbetobuild
a nest for this delicate dear bird, and take her to it, and live deliciously ever
afterwards. This is what Osborn Kerr imagined while—like Rokeby—he
watchedher.Hehadneverseenherotherthanprettyanddainty,thanhappyand
gay; he could not conceive of her otherwise. He had not the faintest doubt of
being able to keep her so, in that nest which he had built for two on the other
sideoftown.Wheneveritwaspossible,intheteacuppassing,hetriedtotouch
herhand;helongedforhertolookathim;hewantedheralltohimself.
Aweekseemedover-longtowait.
Mrs.Amberwatchedhimwitharesignedandkindlyeye.Shewassighinga
little, kindly and resignedly, in her mind, and thinking how alike men were in
theircourting.Andpresently,whileJuliaandDesmondconversedwithaformal
hostility on the chesterfield, and the lovers snatched brief moments for
communicationinlovers'code,shesaid:
"Osborn,anotherpresentcameto-day;it'sinthedining-room;Marieoughtto


showittoyou."
"Willyou,Marie?"askedtheyoungman,whilehisheartleapt,andthepulses
inhisheadseemedsinginglikelarksonasummermorning.
"Would you care to see it?" she replied, with a studied sedateness which
Osborn found unutterably sweet, and which did not in the least deceive the
watchingmother.
Andinamomentthetwowerealone,itseemedinanotherworld.Thisnew
worldwascompassedbythewallsoftheslipofanapartmentcalledthediningroom,butwhichwaskitchenaswell,fortherewerenomaidsintheflat.Thetop
oftheoakdresserhadbeenclearedofitsbitsofbluechinaandpewtertomake
way for the array of wedding gifts, and they were presented bravely. Perhaps
among the display was the last received of which Mrs. Amber spoke, but
whetheritwas,orwasnot,neitherMarienorOsborncared.
Theywerealone.
There had pressed upon them, hard and perpetually, during the eighteen
months of their engagement, the many difficulties with which opportunity is
cautiously guarded by its custodians. They met in restaurants, in parks, and in
the homes of either, and seldom could they be alone; and because they were
superiorpeople,notoftheclasswhichlovesunashamedlyinthepublicplacesif
ithasnowhereelsetolove,theyrestrainedthemselves. Itwasalongand hard
probation,lightenedsometimes,somerareandprecioustimes,bysuchmoments
asnowoccurred.Assoonasthekitchen-dining-roomdoorclosedbehindthem
liketheportalsofsanctuary,OsbornheldouthisarmsandMariewenttothem.
She rested there while Osborn kissed her with hard, devouring kisses which
madehermurmurlittlepleasedprotests.
All the while she was thinking, "A week to-day!" Her eyes travelled to the
clock."Atsixo'clock,aweekthisafternoon,IshallbeMrs.Kerr.Weshallbeat
thehotel,unpacking."
"Notverylongnow,"saidOsbornbetweenhiskisses."Soonwe'llbealoneas
muchaswelike.We'llbeabletoshutourowndooroneverybody.Won'titbe
priceless?"
Mariethoughtitwould.Shefingeredhiscoatlapelswithhermodishhands,


and smiled with downcast eyelashes. In happy procession her dreams paraded
by.SheflittedaglanceupatOsborn'sfaceforamomentandlookeddownagain.
Hewasgood-looking;hewasthebest-lookingmansheknew;hisclotheswere
sogood;hisvoicewassocharming;hehadnomeanstreaklikesomemen;he
was all gold. He was generous. Even while he had been spending all his bank
balance, and more, on that nest for her at the other side of town, it had been
delightfultobetakenoutbyhimtothenicestrestaurants,hearchicdinnersand
goodwinesorderedwithathrillinglavishness.Manygirlsmustenvyher.
"Alotoffellowswillenvyme,"OsbornmurmuredevenwhileMariethought
herthoughts.
She protested again with soft words and the procession of dreams went by.
The little home—how charming it would be! The chintz that matched her two
besttrousseaufrocks,thesolidityandpolishofherdining-roomchairs,thewhite
paintandpalespringcoloursofhersitting-room,howravishingitallwas!The
conveniences of the kitchen, the latest household apparatus, would they not
make the keeping of the perfect flat a sort of toy occupation for a pretty girl's
fewseriousmoments?InspiteofJulia,allwouldbeeasyandsweet.Inakimono
and one of those pink caps one could cook a breakfast without soiling one's
fingers. Osborn would like to see his wife look beautiful behind the coffeepot.
She would manage splendidly. The income, of course, would seem small to
some women, muddleheads, but she could manage. She could make the most
darlingclothes,bakecakeslikeaconfectioner's.Osbornwouldbesurprised.
Shemusthaveapinkpinafore,asmockedone.
Whatwoulditbelike,thefirstfewdaystogether?
"Comeandsitdown,"Osbornbegged,andhedrewhertotheonebigchair,
intowhichtheybothsqueezed."Iloveyou,"hesaid,"oh,Idoloveyou!Andwe
cantrustoldRokebytolookafteryourmotherandJulia.Whataterrorthegirl
is!"
"Shehatesmen,"saidMarie,withapoutingmouth.
"Then they will hate her and I don't wonder," the young man replied
scornfully.
"Don'tletustalkaboutJulia."


"No,let'stalkaboutus.Iboughttheclock,darling."
"Theclock!Didtheyknockdowntheprice?"
"No,theydidn't,"saidOsborn,"butyouwanteditandthatwasgoodenough
forme."
Hereyessparkled."Youshouldn'tbeextravagantonmyaccount."
"Let me kiss you," said Osborn, "that's all I want. You liked the old clock,
anditwilllookrippinginthehall,won'tit?"
"Weshallbealloaknow."
"Sayyou'repleased,then,youbeautiful."
"I am. I did want that clock. A grandfather clock—I don't know—there's
somethingaboutit."
"As for the price, sweetheart, why bother? It'll only add a few more
instalments to the whole bally lump. It will be all right. I'll get a rise soon—
marriedman,youknow!Responsibilities,youknow!Expenses!"
"Mother'sstartinguswitheverykindofsaucepanandbroomandbrushyou
canthinkof."
"Blessher!"
"Osborn,itwillbeanawf'lysmartflat."
"Itwill,withyouinit."
"No, but really. Everyone will admire it. I mean everyone to admire. We'll
havesomelittledinner-parties,won'twe?"
"Willwe,Cook?"
"Ishallmakethesweetsbeforehand,andwe'llhavechafing-dishorcasserole
things. That sort of dinner. It's quite smart, Osborn. And dessert's easy. Julia's
givingusfingerbowls,tip-topones—realcut-glass."


"Blessher!"
"We'restartingawf'lywell,Osborn."
"Do you think I don't know that? We love each other; nothing ever goes
wrongwhenpeopleloveeachother.You'llbegladenoughtogiveuptheoffice,
too,won'tyou?"
"Won'tI!"
"Iknowyouwill.IhatetohaveyouinaCityoffice,withanybounderstaring
atyou.Whenyou'reMrs.KerronlyIcanstare."
"Ilikeyourconfidence!"
"ButIshallmakeupforeveryone.Ishallstareallthetime."
"Shallyouwanttogototheclubeveryevening?"
"Ishan'teverwanttogototheclub."
Although Marie had known what the answer would be—or she would not
haveaskedthequestion—itmadeherveryhappy.Itwasdelightfultohearonly
whatonewantedtohear;toseeonlywhatonewantedtosee.Lifeappearedasa
graceful spectacle, a sort of orderly carnival refined to taste. There would, of
course, be the big thrill in it—Osborn. It would be wonderful to have him
cominghometohersuccessfullittledinnerseveryevening.Peopledidn'twanta
greatdeal,afterall;allthediscontented,puling,peevish,wantingpeopleonemet
mustbegreatfools;theyhadmadetheirbedsandmadethemwrong;thegreat
thing,thesimplesecret,wastomakethemright.Ahusbandandwifemustpull
together,ineverything.Pullingtogetherwouldbesheerjoy.
"Osborn,"shesaid,"howwellweunderstandeachother,don'twe?"
"Ishouldthinkwedo,"whisperedtheyoungman.
"Fewmarriedpeopleseemreallyhappy."
"Theymustmanagelifebadly,mustn'tthey?"


"Iremembermotherandfather;motherlikestheideaofmygettingmarried,
buttheyusedoftentobenaggingaboutsomething.Expenses,Ithink."
"All that I have will be yours, you love," said Osborn, with profound
tenderness.
"ButIshan'taskforit,"saidMarie,withaflashofintuition."Youdon'tknow
how careful I can be. It won't cost you much more than it does now; less,
perhaps,becauseyouwon'talwaysbediningattheclub."
"But you'll come into town and lunch with me very often, shan't you,
dearest?"
"Nearlyeveryday."
"Hush!"
Osborngotoutofthechairandsatonitsarm;Marieremainedaloneinthe
cushioneddepths,lookingflushedandbrilliant;andMrs.Ambercameinslowly.
"Marie, I want to show Julia your dress; or would you like to show it
yourself?"
"Isitthedress?"Osbornasked,lookingdownonthetopofMarie'sshining
head.
Mrs.Ambersighedandsmiledandthebride-electsatup,sparkling.
"I'llcome,mother."
"Letmecome,too,"saidOsborn.
"I'llbringitintothesitting-roomandleteveryoneseeit,shallI,Marie?"her
motheraskedhastily.
She hurried away and Marie followed her to the bedroom, while Osborn
stood in the doorway, looking in at the two eager women about their joyous
errand. He put his hands in his pockets and smiled. It was pleasant to be
involved in the bustle about the precious thing they were unwrapping from
swathesoftissuepaper."Becareful,dear,"theelderwomankeptsaying,"there's


apinhere."Or"Don'thurry,oryou'llhavethepleatsoutofplace."AndMarie's
hands trembled over their task. When all the paper was removed, Mrs. Amber
saidimportantly,"Nowjustliftitup;giveittomelikethat;I'llcarryitin,"but
Mariecried:"No,Iwill,"andshethrewthegownoverhershouldertillherhead
emergedasfromthefrothofseawaves,andranintothesitting-roomwithit.
Mrs.Amber'seyesweremoistwithpride."It'sabeautifuldress,"shesaidto
Osborn,whohadturnedeagerlyafterhisgirl;"Iwanthertolooksweet.Here,
wouldn't you like to take something? Here's the shoes; I've got the stockings.
Wouldn'tyouliketocarrytheshoes?"
MariewasspreadingoutthegownonthechesterfieldfromwhichJuliaand
Desmond had risen to make room for it. Mrs. Amber laid the silk stockings
reverentlynearandOsborndangledhisburden,sayinggaily:"AndhereareMrs.
Kerr'sslippers."
Rokeby stood back, observing. "It's all out of my line," he said, "but don't
thinkI'mnotrespectful;Iam.What'smore,I'mfairlydazzled.IthinkI'llhaveto
getmarried."
"Youmightdoworse,oldman,"repliedOsbornjoyfully.
Rokeby lighted another cigarette. He looked around the room and at the
peopleinit.Hehadbeenfamiliarwithmanysuchinteriorsandsituations,being
thekindofmanwhoofficiatedatweddingsbutneverintheprincipalpart."Poor
oldOsborn!"hethought."Anothergoodmandownandout!"Helookedatthe
girl,deckedbyArtandNatureforhernaturalconquest.Hedidnotwonderhow
longherradiancewouldendure;hethoughtheknew.Heentertainedhimselfby
tracingthelikenesstohermother,andthemother'sslimnesshadthickened,and
hershouldersrounded;hereyesweretired,alittledour;theylookedoutwithout
enthusiasmattheworld,exceptwhentheyresteduponherdaughter.Thenthey
becameratherliketheeyesofMarielookingatherweddinggown.

OsborntookMarie'sheadbetweenhishands,andkissedhereyesandmouth.
"That'sforgoodnight,"hewhispered;"RokebyandIaregoinghome.Youare
thesweetestthing,andIshalldreamofyouallnight.Promisetodreamofme."


"It'sacertainty."
"Itis?"saidtheyoungmanrapturously."Iamsimplytoohappy,then."
"Let'sgoandlookattheflatto-morrow."
"Haveteawithmeintown,darling,andI'lltakeyou."
Mrs.AmberandRokebycameoutintothehall.Rokebyworeaverypatient
air, and Marie's mother beamed with that soft and sorrowful pleasure which
womenhaveforsuchcircumstances.
"Now say good night," said she softly, "say good night. Good-bye, Mr.
Rokeby,andweshallseeyouagainaweekto-day?"
"Aweekto-day."
Thetwomenwentoutanddownthestairsintothestreet.Rokebyhadhisair
ofgood-humouredandinvinciblepatienceandOsborndreamed.
"I'llseeyourighthome,"saidRokeby.
"Andyou'llcomein,andhaveadrink."
"Thanks.PerhapsIwill.Haven'tyougotatrousseautoshowme?"
"Getout,youfool!"
"Whatdochapsfeellike,Iwonder,"saidRokeby,"whenthedayofjudgment
issonear?"
"Ishan'ttellyou,youdamnedscoffer!"
"Well,well,"saidRokeby,"I'veseenlotsofnicefellowsgounderthissame
way. It always makes me very sorry. I do all I can in the way of preventive
measures,butit'sneveranygood,andthere'snocure.Ab-so-lutelynone.There's
norealluckinthebusiness,either,asfarasI'veseen,thoughofcoursesomeare
luckierthanothers."
"Did you mention luck?" Osborn exclaimed, from his dream. "Don't you
thinkI'mlucky?Isay,Desmond,oldthing,don'tyouthinkI'moneofthemost


astonishinglyluckyfellowsonGod'searth?"
"Yououghttoknow."
"Oh,comeoffthatsillypedestalofpretence.Cynicism'srotten.Marriageis
theonlylife."
"'Neverforme!'"RokebyquotedJulia.
"Awfulgirl!"saidOsborn,referringtoherbriefly."'Orridfemale.What?"
"Veryhandsome,"saidRokeby.
"Handsome!I'veneverseenit.She'snottobecomparedtoMarie,anyway.
Youhaven'tansweredmyquestion.Don'tyouthinkI'mlucky?"
"Yes,youare,"repliedRokebysincerely,turningtolookathim,"foranyman
tobeashappyasyouseemtobeevenforfiveminutesisagreatbigsliceofluck
toberemembered."
"Marie'sawonderfulgirl.Shecandoabsolutelyanything,Ibelieve.Itseems
incrediblethatagirlwithhandslikeherscancookandsew,butshecan.Isn'tita
wonder?"
"Itsoundsripping."
Theywalkedoninsilence,Osbornbackupinhisclouds.Atlastheawaked
tosay:
"Well,hereweare.You'llcomein?"
"ShallI?"
"Do.Ishan'thavesomanymoreeveningsof—"
"Freedom—"
"—Ofloneliness,confoundyou!Comein!"
Rokeby followed him into his rooms, on the second floor. A good fire was
burning,buttheywerejustbachelorroomsfullofhired—andcheap—furniture.


As Osborn cast off his overcoat and took Rokeby's, he glanced around
expressively.
"Youshouldseetheflat.Youwillseeitsoon.AllMarie'sarrangement,and
absolutelycharming."
"Thanksawfully.I'llbeyourfirstcaller."
"Well,don'tforgetit.What'llyouhave?"
"Whiskey,please."
"So'llI."
Osborn gave Desmond one of the two armchairs by the fire, and took the
other himself. Another silence fell, during which Rokeby saw Osborn smiling
secretlyandinvoluntarilytohimselfashehadseenothermensmile.Theman
wasuplifted;hismindsoaredinheaven,whilehisbodydweltinahiredplush
chairinthesitting-roomoffurnishedlodgings.Rokebytookhisdrink,contented
nottointerrupt;hewatchedOsborn,andsawthelightplayoverhisface,andthe
thoughtsfullofbeautycomeandgo.Atlength,followingthedirectionofsome
thought,againitwasOsbornwhobrokethemutualquiet,exclaiming:
"I'venevershownyouherlatestportrait!"
"Let'slook.I'dloveto."
The lover rose, opened the drawer of a writing-table, and took out a
photograph, a very modern affair, of most artistic mounting. He handed it
jealouslytoDesmondandwassilentwhiletheothermanlooked.Thegirl'sface,
wondrously young and untroubled, frail, angelic, rose from a slender neck and
shoulders swathed in a light gauze cloud. Her gay eyes gazed straight out.
Rokebylookedlongerthanheknew,verythoughtfully,andOsbornputhishand
upontheportrait,pulleditawayasjealouslyashehadgivenit,andsaid:
"They'vealmostdoneherjusticeforonce."
"Top-hole,oldman,"Rokebyrepliedsympathetically.






CHAPTERII
IRREVOCABLE

When Osborn dressed for his wedding he felt in what he called first-class
form. He thought great things of life; life had been amazingly decent to him
throughout.Ithadneverstruckhimanyuntowardblow.Thedeathofhisparents
had been sadness, certainly, but it was a natural calamity, the kind every sane
manexpectedsoonerorlaterandbracedhimselffor.Hismotherhadlefthima
very little money, and his father had left him a very little money; small as the
sum total was, it gave a man the comfortable impression of having private
means. He paid the first instalments on the dream-flat's furniture with it, and
therewassomeleftstill,totakeMarieandhimawayonafinehoney-moon,and
to brighten their first year with many jollities. His salary was all right for a
fellowofhisage.Mariewasnotfarwrongwhenshesaidthattheywerestarting
"awfullywell."
Osbornsang:
"And—when—I—tell—them,
AndI'mcertainlygoingtotellthem,
ThatI'mthemanwhosewifeyou'reonedaygoingtobe,
They'llneverbelieveme—"
That latest thing in revue songs fitted the case to a fraction. He was the
luckiestmaninthewholegreatroundworld.
Osbornwaspleasedwithhisreflectionintheglass.Forhisweddinghehad
boughthisfirstmorning-coatandsilkhat.Hehadbeenasexcitedasagirl.He
hadanewdress-suit,too,andadinner-jacketfromthebesttailorintown,ready
packed for travelling. He had been finicking over his coloured shirts,
handkerchiefs,andsocks;asetofmauve,asetofblue,asetofgrey;thebrown
set with the striped shirt; they were all awf'ly smart. Marie was so dainty, she
likedamantobesmart,too.Allhewantedwastopleaseher.
Rokeby came early, as quiet and lacklustre as ever. He sat down in the
obvious lodging-house bedroom, lighted a cigarette and looked at Osborn


without a smile. He prepared himself to be bored and amazed; weddings,
tiresome as they were, always amazed him. And he was prepared, too, for a
settledinsanityinOsbornuntil—
"Iwonderhowlonghe'llbe?"Rokebythought.
"I've finished packing," said Osborn, clapping his old brushes together; the
newoneslayamongthenewsuits."It'stimewestarted,almost,isn'tit?"
"Not by an hour," Rokeby answered, consulting a wrist watch. "Have you
breakfasted?"
"Notyet."
"You'dbetter,hadn'tyou?"
Osbornwasconcernedwiththesetofthenewcoatoverhisfineshoulders.
"BreakfastwasonthetablewhenIcamethrough,"addedRokeby.
"Wasit?"repliedOsbornabsently.
Rokeby took his friend's arm, piloted him with patient firmness into the
sitting-room,andpulledoutachair.
Osbornateanddrankspasmodically.Betweenthespasmshehummedunder
hisbreath:
"And—when—I—tell—them,
AndI'mcertainlygoingtotellthem,
ThatI'mthemanwhosewifeyou'reonedaygoingtobe,
They'llneverbelieveme—"
Rokebysmokedseveralcigarettes.
"Howlong'llittakeustogettothechurch?"Osbornaskedpresently,withhis
eyeontheclock.
"Tenminutes,about.We'llwalk."
"Desmond,Isay,Iwouldn'tliketobelate."


"I'lllookafterthat.I'veescortedagoodmanyfellowstothetumbril."
"Desmond,thatnonsenseofyoursgetsboring."
"Allright!Sorry."
"Let'sstart,"saidOsborn.
So they started on their short walk. The pale gold sun of a splendid crisp
morning hailed them and the streets were bright. Already, though they arrived
earlyatthechurch,severalpewswerefullofwhisperingguestswhoturnedand
lookedandsmiled,withnodsthatbeckoned,atthetwoyoungmen.
"What'llwedo?"Osbornwhispered.
"Hide,"saidRokeby.
They hid in a cold, stony little place which Rokeby said was a vestry, and
theretheywaitedwhileinterminableminutesdriftedby.Osbornfellintoadream
fromwhichhewasonlyfullyrousedbyfindinghimselfparadedsidebysideat
the chancel steps with a dazzling apparition, robed in white clouds, veiled and
wreathed.Shecarriedagreatbouquet.Hestolealookatherentrancingprofile
andthoughtthatneverhadshelookedsolovely.Shehadaflushonhercheeks,
hergayeyeswereserious,andherlittlebarelefthand,when,underwhispered
instructions, he took it, startled him by being tremulous and cold as ice. He
presseditandfelttremendouslyprotective.
An irrevocable Act had taken place without fuss or difficulty, or any
abnormalsignsandwonders;thegoldcirclewasonMarie'sfingerandtheywere
married. For a moment or two, while they knelt and a strange clergyman was
addressingthem,Osbornwassurprisedattheease,thespeedandsimplicitywith
whichtwopeoplegaveeachothertheirlives.Hedidnotknowwhatelsehehad
expected,buthowsimpleitallwas!Thiswastheirdayofdays;theirwedding.
HestoleanotherlookatMarieandfoundherrapt,calm.
He began to be annoyed with the presence of the clergyman, of Desmond,
andJulia,whowaiteddisapprovinglyuponthebride,ofMarie'smotherandthe
smallhordeoffriendsandrelations;hebegantothink,"IfonlyitwasoverandI
hadhertomyself!Inanotherhour,surely,we'llbeaway."


They had chosen one of the most fashionable seaside resorts as an idyllic
honeymoon setting. The journey was not long, only long enough to enjoy the
amenities of luxurious travelling. Rokeby had seen to the tea-basket and the
foot-warmers,ashehadtothemagazines.Marierepeatedwhatshehadsaidto
Julia:
"Oh,isn'titnice,gettingmarried!"
"Beingmarriedisnicer,"saidOsbornardently."I'llcomeandsitbesideyou.
Let'stakeoffyourhat.Now,putyourheadonmyshoulder.Isn'titjolly?Iwant
totellyouhowbeautifulyoulookedinchurch.Iwashalfscared."
"SowasIatfirst."
"Butyou'renotnow?You'renotscaredwithme?"
"No—no,"saidMariewithbatedbreath.
Osbornsmiled."I'mgoingtomakeyouveryhappy.Youshallbethehappiest
girlintown.You'regoingtohaveabsolutelyallyouwant.Butfirst,beforewe
go back to town, there's our honeymoon, the best holiday of our lives. That's
joyfultothinkof,isn'tit,darling?"
"It'slovely!"
"Gladyouthinkso,too,Mrs.Kerr."
"Osborn,nowtellmehowmyfrocklooked."
"Icouldn't!"hecriedinsomeawe.Hesighedasifatabeautifulmemory.
"Ah!"saidMarie,satisfied,"youlikedit?"
Shelayagainsthisshouldersupremelycontent.Thewinterlandscape,which
hadlostitsmorningsun,wasrushingbythemanditlookedcold.Butinsidethe
honeymoon carriage all was warm, love-lit and glowing. There was no dusk.
Mariereviewedthedayinherlight,clearmind,andithadbeenverygood.Hers
hadbeenaweddingsuchasshehadalwayswanted.Osbornhadlookedsofine.


Shereviewedthedetailssocarefullythoughtoutandarrangedforbyherselfand
hermother.Withtheunthinkingselfishnessofayounggaygirl,shediscounted
thestrainonthemother'spurseandheart.Thefavourshadbeenexactlytheright
thing;thecakewasgood;thelittleroomshadn'tseemedatallbad;AuntToppy's
newgownwasanunexpectedconcessiontotheoccasion;Mrs.Amberhadbeen
really almost distinguished; the country cousins hadn't looked too dreadfully
rural.Peoplehadn'tbeenstiff,orawkward,ordull.AsforMr.Rokeby—thatwas
averygracefulspeechhemade.Hewasratheragiftedman;worthknowing.
ButOsbornhadverynicefriends.
With the agility of woman, her mind jumped ahead to those little dinnerparties.Souponepreparedwellbeforehand;achicken,encasserole....
PerhapsOsbornsawtheabstractionofhermindandwasjealousofit;atthe
moment she must think of nothing save him, as he could think of nothing but
her. He put his hand under her chin, to lift her dreamy face, and he kissed her
lipspossessively.
"Here,"hedemanded,againstthem,"whatareyouthinkingabout?We'renot
going to think of anything or anyone but just ourselves. We're going to live
entirely in the next glorious fortnight, for a whole fortnight. Have you any
objectiontothatprogramme,Mrs.Kerr?"
"No,no,"saidMariesighing,"no,no!It'sbeautiful."




CHAPTERIII
BEAUTIFUL

The young Kerrs gave themselves a fine time; an amazing time. A dozen
timesadaytheyusedtotelleachotherwithasolemndelighthowamazingitall
was. When they awoke in the mornings, in a sleeping apartment far more
splendidthananytheycouldeversanelyhope—notthattheyweresane—torent
forthemselves,whenaninterestedifblaséechambermaidenteredwithearlytea,
finding Marie in one of the pink caps and a pink matinée over a miraculously
frailnightdress,withOsbornhopelesslysurprisedandadmiring,theyusedtosay
toeachother,whilethebridedispensedthetea:
"Isn'titallnice?Didyoueverimagineanythingcouldbesonice?"
Whentheydescendedtobreakfast,veryfreshandspruce,undertheeyesof
suchservantsastheycouldneverexpecttohirethemselves,theylookedateach
otheracrossthetablefortwo,andtouchedeachother'sfootunderitandasked:
"Doesn'titseemextraordinarytobebreakfastingtogetherlikethis?"
And when one of the cars from the hotel garage was ordered round to take
themforarun,andtheysnuggledsidebysideonwell-sprungcushionssuchas
they would probably never ride upon again, they held hands and exclaimed
under their breath: "This is fine, isn't it? I wish this could last for ever! Some
day,whenourshipcomesin,we'llhavethismakeofcar."
And when they walked the length of the pier together, two well-clad and
well-lookingyoungpeople,theywouldgazeouttoseawiththesamevision,see
theinfiniteprospectsofthehorizonandsayprofoundly:"We'reoutatlastonthe
bigvoyage.Didn'tourengagementseemendless?Butnow—we'reoff!"
Fordinner,inthegreatdining-room,withtheorchestraplayingdimlyinthe
adjacent Palm Court, Mrs. Osborn Kerr would put on the ineffable wedding
gown, and all the other guests and the servants, with experienced eyes, would
knowitforwhatit was;and Mr.OsbornKerrworethedinnerjacketfrom the
besttailorintown,andaftertheyhadprogressedalittlewiththeirwine—they
had a half-bottle every night; what would the bill be?—they would look into


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