supposedly, and now the Astapori were ruled by a whore
"Let me off easier than I supposed," muttered J.C., as he watched her cross the street and enter Dr. Kennedy's gate. "It will be mighty mean, though, if she does array herself against my wife, for Madam Kelsey is quoted everywhere, and even Mrs. Lane, who lives just opposite, dare not open her parlor blinds until assured by ocular demonstration that Mrs. Kelsey's are open too. Oh, fashion, fashion, what fools you make of your votaries! I am glad that I for one dare break your chain and marry whom I please," and feeling more amiably disposed toward J.C. De Vere than he had felt for many a day, the young man started for the church, where to his great joy he found Maude alone.
She was not surprised to see him, nay, she was half expecting him, and the flush which deepened on her cheek as he came to her side showed that his presence was not unwelcome. Human nature is the same everywhere, and though Maude was perhaps as free from its weaknesses as almost anyone, the fact that her lover was so greatly coveted by others increased rather than diminished her regard for him, and when he told her what had passed between himself and Mrs. Kelsey, and urged her to give him a right to defend her against that haughty woman's attacks by engaging herself to him at once, she was more willing to tell him Yes than she had been in the morning. Thoughts of James De Vere did not trouble her now--he had ceased to remember her ere this--had never been more interested in her than in any ordinary acquaintance, and so, though she knew she could be happier with him than with the one who with his arm around her waist was pleading for her love, she yielded at last, and in that dim old church, with the summer moonlight stealing up the dusky aisles, she promised to be the wife of J.C. De Vere on her eighteenth birthday.
Very pleasant now it seemed sitting there alone with him in the silent church. Very pleasant walking with him down the quiet street, and when her chamber was reached, and Louis, to whom she told her story, whispered in her ear, "I am glad that is so," she thought it very nice to be engaged, and was conscious of a happier, more independent feeling than she had ever known before. It seemed so strange that she, an unpretending country girl, had won the heart that many a city maiden had tried in vain to win, and then with a pang she thought of Nellie, wondering what excuse she could render her for having stolen J.C. away.
"But he will stand between us," she said; "he will shield me from her anger," and grateful for so potent a protector, she fell asleep, dreaming alas, not of J.C., but of him who called her Cousin Maude, and whose cousin she really was to be.
J.C. De Vere, too, had dreams of a dark-eyed girl, who, in the shadowy church, with the music she had made still vibrating on the ear, had promised to be his. Dreams, too, he had of a giddy throng who scoffed at the dark-eyed girl, calling her by the name which he himself had given her. It was not meet, they said, that he should wed the "Milkman's Heiress," but with a nobleness of soul unusual in him, he paid no heed to their remarks, and folded the closer to his heart the bride which he had chosen.
Alas! that dreams so often prove untrue.
THE ENGAGEMENT, REAL AND PROSPECTIVE.
To her niece Mrs. Kelsey had communicated the result of her interview with J.C., and that young lady had fallen into a violent passion, which merged itself at last into a flood of tears, and ended finally in strong hysterics. While in this latter condition Mrs. Kelsey deemed it necessary to summon her brother, to whom she narrated the circumstances of Nellie's illness. To say that the doctor was angry would but feebly express the nature of his feelings. He had fully expected that Nellie would be taken off his hands, and he had latterly a very good reason for wishing that it might be so.
he website materials are all from the internet. If there are any infringement issues, please contact us and delete them immediately after verification!