him. I do not suppose he believed in the actual objective
She did not come down-stairs next day. Mr. Carden went up to her. He stayed with her an hour, and came down looking much dejected; he asked Mr. Coventry to take a turn in the garden with him. When they were alone, he said, gravely, "Mr. Coventry, that unfortunate conversation of ours has quite upset my poor girl. She tells me now she will not believe he is dead until months and months have passed without his writing to Jael Dence."
"Well, but, sir," said Coventry, "could you not convince her?"
"How can I, when I am myself convinced he is alive, and will give us a great deal of trouble yet? for it is clear to me the poor girl loves him more than she knows. Look here, Coventry, there's no man I so desire for a son-in-law as yourself; you have shown a patience, a fidelity!--but as a just man, and a man of honor, I must now advise you to give up all thoughts of her. You are not doing yourself justice; she will never marry you while that man is alive and unmarried. I am provoked with her: she will not leave her room while you are in the house. Shall I tell you what she said? 'I respect him, I admire him, but I can't bear the sight of him now.' That is all because I let out last night that I thought Little was alive. I told her, alive or not, he was dead to her."
"And what did she say to that?"
"Not a word. She wrung her hands, and burst out crying terribly. Ah! my friend, may you never know what it is to be a father, and see your child wring her hands, and cry her heart out, as I have seen mine."
His own tears flowed, and his voice was choked. He faltered out, "We are two miserable creatures; forgive us, and leave us to our fate."
Coventry rose, sick at heart, and said, "Tell her I will not intrude upon her."
He telegraphed to Lally, and went back to Hillsborough as miserable as those he left behind; but with this difference, he deserved his misery, deserved it richly.