Mrs Almond looked grave.' Should you really like that?'
'Extremely,' said the Doctor.
Mrs Penniman, meanwhile, lost little time in putting herself again in communication with Morris Townsend. She requested him to favor her with another interview, but she did not on this occasion select an oyster saloon as the scene of their meeting. She proposed that he should join her at the door of a certain church after service on Sunday afternoon; and she was careful not to appoint the place of worship which she usually visited, and where, as she said, the congregation would have spied upon her. She picked out a less elegant resort, and on issuing from its portal at the hour she had fixed she saw the young man standing apart. She offered him no recognition until she had crossed the street, and he had followed her to some distance. Here, with a smile,' Excuse my apparent want of cordiality,' she said.' You know what to believe about that. Prudence before everything.' And on his asking her in what direction they should walk,' Where we shall be least observed,' she murmured.
Morris was not in high good-humor, and his response to this speech was not particularly gallant.' I don't flatter myself we shall be much observed anywhere.' Then he turned recklessly toward the centre of the town.' I hope you have come to tell me that he has knocked under,' he went on.
'I am afraid I am not altogether a harbinger of good; and yet, too, I am to a certain extent a messenger of peace. I have been thinking a great deal, Mr Townsend,' said Mrs Penniman.
'You think too much.'
'I suppose I do; but I can't help it, my mind is so terribly active. When I give myself, I give myself. I pay the penalty in my headaches, my famous headaches - a perfect circlet of pain! But I carry it as a queen carries her crown. Would you believe that I have one now? I wouldn't, however, have missed our rendezvous for anything. I have something very important to tell you.'
'Well, let's have it,' said Morris.
'I was perhaps a little headlong the other day in advising you to marry immediately. I have been thinking it over, and now I see it just a little differently.'
'You seem to have a great many different ways of seeing the same object.'
'Their number is infinite!' said Mrs Penniman, in a tone which seemed to suggest that this convenient facility was one of her brightest attributes.
'I recommend you to take one way, and stick to it,' Morris replied.
'Ah, but it isn't easy to choose. My imagination is never quiet, never satisfied. It makes me a bad adviser, perhaps, but it makes me a capital friend.'
'A capital friend who gives bad advice!' said Morris.
'Not intentionally - and who hurries off, at every risk, to make the most humble excuses.'
'Well, what do you advise me now?'
'To be very patient; to watch and wait.' , And is that bad advice or good?'
'That is not for me to say,' Mrs Penniman rejoined, with some dignity.' I only claim it is sincere.'
'And will you come to me next week and recommend something different and equally sincere?'
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|