Yes, of course. I meant to say that I shant know which; to wear. She pouted a little. Ive never dined out in London; and I dont want to be ridiculous.
He tried to enter into her perplexity. But dont Englishwomen dress just like everybody else in the evening?
Newland! How can you ask such funny questions? When they go to the theatre in old ball-dresses and bare heads.
Well, perhaps they wear new ball-dresses at home; but at any rate Mrs. Carfry and Miss Harle wont. Theyll wear caps like my mothersand shawls; very soft shawls.
Yes; but how will the other women be dressed?
Not as well as you, dear, he rejoined, wondering what had suddenly developed in her Janeys morbid interest in clothes.
She pushed back her chair with a sigh. Thats dear of you, Newland; but it doesnt help me much.
He had an inspiration. Why not wear your wedding- dress? That cant be wrong, can it?
Oh, dearest! If I only had it here! But its gone to Paris to be made over for next winter, and Worth hasnt sent it back.
Oh, well said Archer, getting up. Look here the fogs lifting. If we made a dash for the National Gallery we might manage to catch a glimpse of the pictures.
The Newland Archers were on their way home, after a three months wedding-tour which May, in writing to her girl friends, vaguely summarised as blissful.
They had not gone to the Italian Lakes: on reflection, Archer had not been able to picture his wife in that particular setting. Her own inclination (after a month with the Paris dressmakers) was for mountaineering in July and swimming in August. This plan they punctually fulfilled, spending July at Interlaken and Grindelwald, and August at a little place called Etretat, on the Normandy coast, which some one had recommended as quaint and quiet. Once or twice, in the mountains, Archer had pointed southward and said: Theres Italy; and May, her feet in a gentian-bed, had smiled cheerfully, and replied: It would be lovely to go there next winter, if only you didnt have to be in New York.
But in reality travelling interested her even less than he had expected. She regarded it (once her clothes were ordered) as merely an enlarged opportunity for walking, riding, swimming, and trying her hand at the fascinating new game of lawn tennis; and when they finally got back to London (where they were to spend a fortnight while he ordered HIS clothes) she no longer concealed the eagerness with which she looked forward to sailing.
In London nothing interested her but the theatres and the shops; and she found the theatres less exciting than the Paris cafés chantants where, under the blossoming horse-chestnuts of the Champs Àlysées, she had had the novel experience of looking down from the restaurant terrace on an audience of cocottes, and having her husband interpret to her as much of the songs as he thought suitable for bridal ears.
Archer had reverted to all his old inherited ideas about marriage. It was less trouble to conform with the tradition and treat May exactly as all his friends treated their wives than to try to put into practice the theories with which his untrammelled bachelorhood had dallied. There was no use in trying to emancipate a wife who had not the dimmest notion that she was not free; and he had long since discovered that Mays only use of the liberty she supposed herself to possess would be to lay it on the altar of her wifely adoration. Her innate dignity would always keep her from making the gift abjectly; and a day might even come (as it once had) when she would find strength to take it altogether back if she thought she were doing it for his own good. But with a conception of marriage so uncomplicated and incurious as hers
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