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    Chapter 33

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    Chapter 33
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    It was, as Mrs. Archer smilingly said to Mrs. Welland,
    a great event for a young couple to give their first
    big dinner.

    The Newland Archers, since they had set up their
    household, had received a good deal of company in an
    informal way. Archer was fond of having three or four
    friends to dine, and May welcomed them with the
    beaming readiness of which her mother had set her the
    example in conjugal affairs. Her husband questioned
    whether, if left to herself, she would ever have asked
    any one to the house; but he had long given up trying
    to disengage her real self from the shape into which
    tradition and training had moulded her. It was
    expected that well-off young couples in New York should
    do a good deal of informal entertaining, and a Welland
    married to an Archer was doubly pledged to the

    But a big dinner, with a hired chef and two
    borrowed footmen, with Roman punch, roses from
    Henderson's, and menus on gilt-edged cards, was a different
    affair, and not to be lightly undertaken. As Mrs. Archer
    remarked, the Roman punch made all the difference;
    not in itself but by its manifold implications--since it
    signified either canvas-backs or terrapin, two soups, a
    hot and a cold sweet, full decolletage with short sleeves,
    and guests of a proportionate importance.

    It was always an interesting occasion when a young
    pair launched their first invitations in the third person,
    and their summons was seldom refused even by the
    seasoned and sought-after. Still, it was admittedly a
    triumph that the van der Luydens, at May's request,
    should have stayed over in order to be present at her
    farewell dinner for the Countess Olenska.

    The two mothers-in-law sat in May's drawing-room
    on the afternoon of the great day, Mrs. Archer writing
    out the menus on Tiffany's thickest gilt-edged bristol,
    while Mrs. Welland superintended the placing of the
    palms and standard lamps.

    Archer, arriving late from his office, found them still
    there. Mrs. Archer had turned her attention to the
    name-cards for the table, and Mrs. Welland was
    considering the effect of bringing forward the large gilt
    sofa, so that another "corner" might be created
    between the piano and the window.

    May, they told him, was in the dining-room inspecting
    the mound of Jacqueminot roses and maidenhair in
    the centre of the long table, and the placing of the
    Maillard bonbons in openwork silver baskets between
    the candelabra. On the piano stood a large basket of
    orchids which Mr. van der Luyden had had sent from
    Skuytercliff. Everything was, in short, as it should be
    on the approach of so considerable an event.

    Mrs. Archer ran thoughtfully over the list, checking
    off each name with her sharp gold pen.

    "Henry van der Luyden--Louisa--the Lovell Mingotts
    --the Reggie Chiverses--Lawrence Lefferts and
    Gertrude--(yes, I suppose May was right to have
    them)--the Selfridge Merrys, Sillerton Jackson, Van
    Newland and his wife. (How time passes! It seems only
    yesterday that he was your best man, Newland)--and
    Countess Olenska--yes, I think that's all. . . ."

    Mrs. Welland surveyed her son-in-law affectionately.
    "No one can say, Newland, that you and May are not
    giving Ellen a handsome send-off."

    "Ah, well," said Mrs. Archer, "I understand May's
    wanting her cousin to tell people abroad that we're not
    quite barbarians."

    "I'm sure Ellen will appreciate it. She was to arrive
    this morning, I believe. It will make a most charming
    last impression. The evening before sailing is usually so
    dreary," Mrs. Welland cheerfully continued.

    Archer turned toward the door, and his mother-in-
    law called to him: "Do go in and have a peep at the
    table. And don't let May tire herself too much." But he
    affected not to hear, and sprang up the stairs to his
    library. The room looked at him like an alien countenance
    composed into a polite grimace; and he perceived
    that it had been ruthlessly "tidied," and prepared,
    by a judicious distribution of ash-trays and cedar-wood
    boxes, for the gentlemen to smoke in.

    "Ah, well," he thought, "it's not for long--" and he
    went on to his dressing-room.

    Ten days had passed since Madame Olenska's departure
    from New York. During those ten days Archer
    had had no sign from her but that conveyed by the
    return of a key wrapped in tissue paper, and sent to his
    office in a sealed envelope addressed in her hand. This
    retort to his last appeal might have been interpreted as
    a classic move in a familiar game; but the young man
    chose to give it a different meaning. She was still fighting
    against her fate; but she was going to Europe, and
    she was not returning to her husband. Nothing, therefore,
    was to prevent his following her; and once he had
    taken the irrevocable step, and had proved to her that
    it was irrevocable, he believed she would not send him

    This confidence in the future had steadied him to
    play his part in the present. It had kept him from
    writing to her, or betraying, by any sign or act, his
    misery and mortification. It seemed to him that in the
    deadly silent game between them the trumps were still
    in his hands; and he waited.

    There had been, nevertheless, moments sufficiently
    difficult to pass; as when Mr. Letterblair, the day after
    Madame Olenska's departure, had sent for him to go
    over the details of the trust which Mrs. Manson Mingott
    wished to create for her granddaughter. For a couple of
    hours Archer had examined the terms of the deed with
    his senior, all the while obscurely feeling that if he had
    been consulted it was for some reason other than the
    obvious one of his cousinship; and that the close of the
    conference would reveal it.

    "Well, the lady can't deny that it's a handsome
    arrangement," Mr. Letterblair had summed up, after
    mumbling over a summary of the settlement. "In fact
    I'm bound to say she's been treated pretty handsomely
    all round."

    "All round?" Archer echoed with a touch of
    derision. "Do you refer to her husband's proposal to give
    her back her own money?"

    Mr. Letterblair's bushy eyebrows went up a fraction
    of an inch. "My dear sir, the law's the law; and your
    wife's cousin was married under the French law. It's to
    be presumed she knew what that meant."

    "Even if she did, what happened subsequently--."
    But Archer paused. Mr. Letterblair had laid his pen-
    handle against his big corrugated nose, and was looking
    down it with the expression assumed by virtuous
    elderly gentlemen when they wish their youngers to
    understand that virtue is not synonymous with ignorance.

    "My dear sir, I've no wish to extenuate the Count's
    transgressions; but--but on the other side . . . I wouldn't
    put my hand in the fire . . . well, that there hadn't been
    tit for tat . . . with the young champion. . . ." Mr.
    Letterblair unlocked a drawer and pushed a folded
    paper toward Archer. "This report, the result of discreet
    enquiries . . ." And then, as Archer made no
    effort to glance at the paper or to repudiate the suggestion,
    the lawyer somewhat flatly continued: "I don't
    say it's conclusive, you observe; far from it. But straws
    show . . . and on the whole it's eminently satisfactory
    for all parties that this dignified solution has been

    "Oh, eminently," Archer assented, pushing back the

    A day or two later, on responding to a summons
    from Mrs. Manson Mingott, his soul had been more
    deeply tried.

    He had found the old lady depressed and querulous.

    "You know she's deserted me?" she began at once;
    and without waiting for his reply: "Oh, don't ask me
    why! She gave so many reasons that I've forgotten
    them all. My private belief is that she couldn't face the
    boredom. At any rate that's what Augusta and my
    daughters-in-law think. And I don't know that I
    altogether blame her. Olenski's a finished scoundrel; but
    life with him must have been a good deal gayer than it
    is in Fifth Avenue. Not that the family would admit
    that: they think Fifth Avenue is Heaven with the rue de
    la Paix thrown in. And poor Ellen, of course, has no
    idea of going back to her husband. She held out as
    firmly as ever against that. So she's to settle down in
    Paris with that fool Medora. . . . Well, Paris is Paris;
    and you can keep a carriage there on next to nothing.
    But she was as gay as a bird, and I shall miss her."
    Two tears, the parched tears of the old, rolled down
    her puffy cheeks and vanished in the abysses of her

    "All I ask is," she concluded, "that they shouldn't
    bother me any more. I must really be allowed to digest
    my gruel. . . ." And she twinkled a little wistfully at

    It was that evening, on his return home, that May
    announced her intention of giving a farewell dinner to
    her cousin. Madame Olenska's name had not been
    pronounced between them since the night of her flight
    to Washington; and Archer looked at his wife with

    "A dinner--why?" he interrogated.

    Her colour rose. "But you like Ellen--I thought you'd
    be pleased."

    "It's awfully nice--your putting it in that way. But I
    really don't see--"

    "I mean to do it, Newland," she said, quietly rising
    and going to her desk. "Here are the invitations all
    written. Mother helped me--she agrees that we ought
    to." She paused, embarrassed and yet smiling, and
    Archer suddenly saw before him the embodied image
    of the Family.

    "Oh, all right," he said, staring with unseeing eyes at
    the list of guests that she had put in his hand.

    When he entered the drawing-room before dinner May
    was stooping over the fire and trying to coax the logs
    to burn in their unaccustomed setting of immaculate

    The tall lamps were all lit, and Mr. van der Luyden's
    orchids had been conspicuously disposed in various
    receptacles of modern porcelain and knobby silver. Mrs.
    Newland Archer's drawing-room was generally thought
    a great success. A gilt bamboo jardiniere, in which
    the primulas and cinerarias were punctually renewed,
    blocked the access to the bay window (where the old-
    fashioned would have preferred a bronze reduction of
    the Venus of Milo); the sofas and arm-chairs of pale
    brocade were cleverly grouped about little plush tables
    densely covered with silver toys, porcelain animals and
    efflorescent photograph frames; and tall rosy-shaded
    lamps shot up like tropical flowers among the palms.

    "I don't think Ellen has ever seen this room lighted
    up," said May, rising flushed from her struggle, and
    sending about her a glance of pardonable pride. The
    brass tongs which she had propped against the side of
    the chimney fell with a crash that drowned her husband's
    answer; and before he could restore them Mr.
    and Mrs. van der Luyden were announced.

    The other guests quickly followed, for it was known
    that the van der Luydens liked to dine punctually. The
    room was nearly full, and Archer was engaged in showing
    to Mrs. Selfridge Merry a small highly-varnished
    Verbeckhoven "Study of Sheep," which Mr. Welland
    had given May for Christmas, when he found Madame
    Olenska at his side.

    She was excessively pale, and her pallor made her
    dark hair seem denser and heavier than ever. Perhaps
    that, or the fact that she had wound several rows of
    amber beads about her neck, reminded him suddenly of
    the little Ellen Mingott he had danced with at children's
    parties, when Medora Manson had first brought
    her to New York.

    The amber beads were trying to her complexion, or
    her dress was perhaps unbecoming: her face looked
    lustreless and almost ugly, and he had never loved it as
    he did at that minute. Their hands met, and he thought
    he heard her say: "Yes, we're sailing tomorrow in the
    Russia--"; then there was an unmeaning noise of opening
    doors, and after an interval May's voice: "Newland!
    Dinner's been announced. Won't you please take Ellen

    Madame Olenska put her hand on his arm, and he
    noticed that the hand was ungloved, and remembered
    how he had kept his eyes fixed on it the evening that he
    had sat with her in the little Twenty-third Street drawing-
    room. All the beauty that had forsaken her face seemed
    to have taken refuge in the long pale fingers and faintly
    dimpled knuckles on his sleeve, and he said to himself:
    "If it were only to see her hand again I should have to
    follow her--."

    It was only at an entertainment ostensibly offered to
    a "foreign visitor" that Mrs. van der Luyden could
    suffer the diminution of being placed on her host's left.
    The fact of Madame Olenska's "foreignness" could
    hardly have been more adroitly emphasised than by
    this farewell tribute; and Mrs. van der Luyden accepted
    her displacement with an affability which left no doubt
    as to her approval. There were certain things that had
    to be done, and if done at all, done handsomely and
    thoroughly; and one of these, in the old New York
    code, was the tribal rally around a kinswoman about
    to be eliminated from the tribe. There was nothing on
    earth that the Wellands and Mingotts would not have
    done to proclaim their unalterable affection for the
    Countess Olenska now that her passage for Europe
    was engaged; and Archer, at the head of his table, sat
    marvelling at the silent untiring activity with which her
    popularity had been retrieved, grievances against her
    silenced, her past countenanced, and her present irradiated
    by the family approval. Mrs. van der Luyden
    shone on her with the dim benevolence which was her
    nearest approach to cordiality, and Mr. van der Luyden,
    from his seat at May's right, cast down the table glances
    plainly intended to justify all the carnations he had sent
    from Skuytercliff.

    Archer, who seemed to be assisting at the scene in a
    state of odd imponderability, as if he floated somewhere
    between chandelier and ceiling, wondered at
    nothing so much as his own share in the proceedings.
    As his glance travelled from one placid well-fed face to
    another he saw all the harmless-looking people engaged
    upon May's canvas-backs as a band of dumb conspirators,
    and himself and the pale woman on his right as
    the centre of their conspiracy. And then it came over
    him, in a vast flash made up of many broken gleams,
    that to all of them he and Madame Olenska were
    lovers, lovers in the extreme sense peculiar to "foreign"
    vocabularies. He guessed himself to have been, for
    months, the centre of countless silently observing eyes
    and patiently listening ears, he understood that, by
    means as yet unknown to him, the separation between
    himself and the partner of his guilt had been achieved,
    and that now the whole tribe had rallied about his wife
    on the tacit assumption that nobody knew anything, or
    had ever imagined anything, and that the occasion of
    the entertainment was simply May Archer's natural
    desire to take an affectionate leave of her friend and

    It was the old New York way of taking life "without
    effusion of blood": the way of people who dreaded
    scandal more than disease, who placed decency above
    courage, and who considered that nothing was more
    ill-bred than "scenes," except the behaviour of those
    who gave rise to them.

    As these thoughts succeeded each other in his mind
    Archer felt like a prisoner in the centre of an armed
    camp. He looked about the table, and guessed at the
    inexorableness of his captors from the tone in which,
    over the asparagus from Florida, they were dealing
    with Beaufort and his wife. "It's to show me," he
    thought, "what would happen to ME--" and a deathly
    sense of the superiority of implication and analogy over
    direct action, and of silence over rash words, closed in
    on him like the doors of the family vault.

    He laughed, and met Mrs. van der Luyden's startled

    "You think it laughable?" she said with a pinched
    smile. "Of course poor Regina's idea of remaining in
    New York has its ridiculous side, I suppose;" and
    Archer muttered: "Of course."

    At this point, he became conscious that Madame
    Olenska's other neighbour had been engaged for some
    time with the lady on his right. At the same moment he
    saw that May, serenely enthroned between Mr. van der
    Luyden and Mr. Selfridge Merry, had cast a quick
    glance down the table. It was evident that the host and
    the lady on his right could not sit through the whole
    meal in silence. He turned to Madame Olenska, and
    her pale smile met him. "Oh, do let's see it through," it
    seemed to say.

    "Did you find the journey tiring?" he asked in a
    voice that surprised him by its naturalness; and she
    answered that, on the contrary, she had seldom travelled
    with fewer discomforts.

    "Except, you know, the dreadful heat in the train,"
    she added; and he remarked that she would not suffer
    from that particular hardship in the country she was
    going to.

    "I never," he declared with intensity, "was more
    nearly frozen than once, in April, in the train between
    Calais and Paris."

    She said she did not wonder, but remarked that,
    after all, one could always carry an extra rug, and that
    every form of travel had its hardships; to which he
    abruptly returned that he thought them all of no account
    compared with the blessedness of getting away.
    She changed colour, and he added, his voice suddenly
    rising in pitch: "I mean to do a lot of travelling myself
    before long." A tremor crossed her face, and leaning
    over to Reggie Chivers, he cried out: "I say, Reggie,
    what do you say to a trip round the world: now, next
    month, I mean? I'm game if you are--" at which Mrs.
    Reggie piped up that she could not think of letting
    Reggie go till after the Martha Washington Ball she
    was getting up for the Blind Asylum in Easter week;
    and her husband placidly observed that by that time he
    would have to be practising for the International Polo

    But Mr. Selfridge Merry had caught the phrase "round
    the world," and having once circled the globe in his
    steam-yacht, he seized the opportunity to send down
    the table several striking items concerning the shallowness
    of the Mediterranean ports. Though, after all, he
    added, it didn't matter; for when you'd seen Athens
    and Smyrna and Constantinople, what else was there?
    And Mrs. Merry said she could never be too grateful to
    Dr. Bencomb for having made them promise not to go
    to Naples on account of the fever.

    "But you must have three weeks to do India properly,"
    her husband conceded, anxious to have it understood
    that he was no frivolous globe-trotter.

    And at this point the ladies went up to the drawing-

    In the library, in spite of weightier presences, Lawrence
    Lefferts predominated.

    The talk, as usual, had veered around to the Beauforts,
    and even Mr. van der Luyden and Mr. Selfridge
    Merry, installed in the honorary arm-chairs tacitly
    reserved for them, paused to listen to the younger man's

    Never had Lefferts so abounded in the sentiments
    that adorn Christian manhood and exalt the sanctity of
    the home. Indignation lent him a scathing eloquence,
    and it was clear that if others had followed his example,
    and acted as he talked, society would never have
    been weak enough to receive a foreign upstart like
    Beaufort--no, sir, not even if he'd married a van der
    Luyden or a Lanning instead of a Dallas. And what
    chance would there have been, Lefferts wrathfully
    questioned, of his marrying into such a family as the Dallases,
    if he had not already wormed his way into certain
    houses, as people like Mrs. Lemuel Struthers had managed
    to worm theirs in his wake? If society chose to
    open its doors to vulgar women the harm was not
    great, though the gain was doubtful; but once it got in
    the way of tolerating men of obscure origin and tainted
    wealth the end was total disintegration--and at no
    distant date.

    "If things go on at this pace," Lefferts thundered,
    looking like a young prophet dressed by Poole, and
    who had not yet been stoned, "we shall see our children
    fighting for invitations to swindlers' houses, and
    marrying Beaufort's bastards."

    "Oh, I say--draw it mild!" Reggie Chivers and young
    Newland protested, while Mr. Selfridge Merry looked
    genuinely alarmed, and an expression of pain and disgust
    settled on Mr. van der Luyden's sensitive face.

    "Has he got any?" cried Mr. Sillerton Jackson,
    pricking up his ears; and while Lefferts tried to turn the
    question with a laugh, the old gentleman twittered into
    Archer's ear: "Queer, those fellows who are always
    wanting to set things right. The people who have the
    worst cooks are always telling you they're poisoned
    when they dine out. But I hear there are pressing reasons
    for our friend Lawrence's diatribe:--typewriter
    this time, I understand. . . ."

    The talk swept past Archer like some senseless river
    running and running because it did not know enough
    to stop. He saw, on the faces about him, expressions of
    interest, amusement and even mirth. He listened to the
    younger men's laughter, and to the praise of the Archer
    Madeira, which Mr. van der Luyden and Mr. Merry
    were thoughtfully celebrating. Through it all he was
    dimly aware of a general attitude of friendliness toward
    himself, as if the guard of the prisoner he felt himself to
    be were trying to soften his captivity; and the perception
    increased his passionate determination to be free.

    In the drawing-room, where they presently joined the
    ladies, he met May's triumphant eyes, and read in them
    the conviction that everything had "gone off" beautifully.
    She rose from Madame Olenska's side, and immediately
    Mrs. van der Luyden beckoned the latter to a
    seat on the gilt sofa where she throned. Mrs. Selfridge
    Merry bore across the room to join them, and it became
    clear to Archer that here also a conspiracy of
    rehabilitation and obliteration was going on. The silent
    organisation which held his little world together was
    determined to put itself on record as never for a moment
    having questioned the propriety of Madame Olenska's
    conduct, or the completeness of Archer's domestic
    felicity. All these amiable and inexorable persons were
    resolutely engaged in pretending to each other that they
    had never heard of, suspected, or even conceived possible,
    the least hint to the contrary; and from this tissue
    of elaborate mutual dissimulation Archer once more
    disengaged the fact that New York believed him to be
    Madame Olenska's lover. He caught the glitter of victory
    in his wife's eyes, and for the first time understood
    that she shared the belief. The discovery roused a laughter
    of inner devils that reverberated through all his
    efforts to discuss the Martha Washington ball with
    Mrs. Reggie Chivers and little Mrs. Newland; and so
    the evening swept on, running and running like a senseless
    river that did not know how to stop.

    At length he saw that Madame Olenska had risen
    and was saying good-bye. He understood that in a
    moment she would be gone, and tried to remember
    what he had said to her at dinner; but he could not
    recall a single word they had exchanged.

    She went up to May, the rest of the company making
    a circle about her as she advanced. The two young
    women clasped hands; then May bent forward and
    kissed her cousin.

    "Certainly our hostess is much the handsomer of the
    two," Archer heard Reggie Chivers say in an undertone
    to young Mrs. Newland; and he remembered Beaufort's
    coarse sneer at May's ineffectual beauty.

    A moment later he was in the hall, putting Madame
    Olenska's cloak about her shoulders.

    Through all his confusion of mind he had held fast
    to the resolve to say nothing that might startle or
    disturb her. Convinced that no power could now turn
    him from his purpose he had found strength to let
    events shape themselves as they would. But as he
    followed Madame Olenska into the hall he thought with a
    sudden hunger of being for a moment alone with her at
    the door of her carriage.

    "Is your carriage here?" he asked; and at that
    moment Mrs. van der Luyden, who was being majestically
    inserted into her sables, said gently: "We are driving
    dear Ellen home."

    Archer's heart gave a jerk, and Madame Olenska,
    clasping her cloak and fan with one hand, held out the
    other to him. "Good-bye," she said.

    "Good-bye--but I shall see you soon in Paris," he
    answered aloud--it seemed to him that he had shouted

    "Oh," she murmured, "if you and May could

    Mr. van der Luyden advanced to give her his arm,
    and Archer turned to Mrs. van der Luyden. For a
    moment, in the billowy darkness inside the big landau,
    he caught the dim oval of a face, eyes shining steadily--
    and she was gone.

    As he went up the steps he crossed Lawrence Lefferts
    coming down with his wife. Lefferts caught his host by
    the sleeve, drawing back to let Gertrude pass.

    "I say, old chap: do you mind just letting it be
    understood that I'm dining with you at the club tomorrow
    night? Thanks so much, you old brick! Good-night."

    "It DID go off beautifully, didn't it?" May questioned
    from the threshold of the library.

    Archer roused himself with a start. As soon as the
    last carriage had driven away, he had come up to the
    library and shut himself in, with the hope that his wife,
    who still lingered below, would go straight to her room.
    But there she stood, pale and drawn, yet radiating the
    factitious energy of one who has passed beyond fatigue.

    "May I come and talk it over?" she asked.

    "Of course, if you like. But you must be awfully

    "No, I'm not sleepy. I should like to sit with you a

    "Very well," he said, pushing her chair near the fire.

    She sat down and he resumed his seat; but neither
    spoke for a long time. At length Archer began abruptly:
    "Since you're not tired, and want to talk, there's something
    I must tell you. I tried to the other night--."

    She looked at him quickly. "Yes, dear. Something
    about yourself?"

    "About myself. You say you're not tired: well, I am.
    Horribly tired . . ."

    In an instant she was all tender anxiety. "Oh, I've
    seen it coming on, Newland! You've been so wickedly

    "Perhaps it's that. Anyhow, I want to make a break--"

    "A break? To give up the law?"

    "To go away, at any rate--at once. On a long trip,
    ever so far off--away from everything--"

    He paused, conscious that he had failed in his attempt
    to speak with the indifference of a man who
    longs for a change, and is yet too weary to welcome it.
    Do what he would, the chord of eagerness vibrated.
    "Away from everything--" he repeated.

    "Ever so far? Where, for instance?" she asked.

    "Oh, I don't know. India--or Japan."

    She stood up, and as he sat with bent head, his chin
    propped on his hands, he felt her warmly and fragrantly
    hovering over him.

    "As far as that? But I'm afraid you can't, dear . . ."
    she said in an unsteady voice. "Not unless you'll take
    me with you." And then, as he was silent, she went on,
    in tones so clear and evenly-pitched that each separate
    syllable tapped like a little hammer on his brain: "That
    is, if the doctors will let me go . . . but I'm afraid they
    won't. For you see, Newland, I've been sure since this
    morning of something I've been so longing and hoping

    He looked up at her with a sick stare, and she sank
    down, all dew and roses, and hid her face against his

    "Oh, my dear," he said, holding her to him while his
    cold hand stroked her hair.

    There was a long pause, which the inner devils filled
    with strident laughter; then May freed herself from his
    arms and stood up.

    "You didn't guess--?"

    "Yes--I; no. That is, of course I hoped--"

    They looked at each other for an instant and again
    fell silent; then, turning his eyes from hers, he asked
    abruptly: "Have you told any one else?"

    "Only Mamma and your mother." She paused, and
    then added hurriedly, the blood flushing up to her
    forehead: "That is--and Ellen. You know I told you
    we'd had a long talk one afternoon--and how dear she
    was to me."

    "Ah--" said Archer, his heart stopping.

    He felt that his wife was watching him intently. "Did
    you MIND my telling her first, Newland?"

    "Mind? Why should I?" He made a last effort to
    collect himself. "But that was a fortnight ago, wasn't
    it? I thought you said you weren't sure till today."

    Her colour burned deeper, but she held his gaze.
    "No; I wasn't sure then--but I told her I was. And you
    see I was right!" she exclaimed, her blue eyes wet with
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