Laura beheld him with an eye black and flashing as a storm-cloud; and, rising from the sofa, her tall and symmetrical figure strained to its utmost height, and enlarged by emotion, her expressive features flushed with anger, and eliminating scorn and aversion, stood before him, to trans-sex a Latin appellation like a “Juno Tonans.”
At length Barton took the alarm. Within forty-eight hours the nuptials were to have been celebrated, but there were no ostensible preparations for the important event; neither had he been consulted upon any particular, in reference to the ceremony or the invitations. Laura’s sedateness increased to positive coldness; and it was apparent that he must exert his utmost energy and ingenuity to prevent the postponement of an alliance for which so much had been sacrificed, and which was now a common topic of conversation among the fashionable multitude.
Suspense, ever painful, becomes more so in proportion to exigencies, and men frequently hew their way to a denouement, although the act itself may prove fatal to their desires.
Barton resolved upon an eclaircissement, whatever might be the consequences. Accordingly he entered the drawing-room one evening with that self possession which emanates from preconcerted artifice, and, finding Laura alone, approached the sofa where she was sitting, with the air of one confident of a welcome. Upon her side ,the greeting was rather formal; but seeming not to notice this, he urged conversation with all the address and fluency of which he was so capable. Dexterously approximating the cause of his solicitude, after much circumlocution he ventured to express the hope that “her altered manner proceeded rather from the timidity and hesitation incident to a refined woman about to change her domestic position, than from any doubts of his integrity and esteem;” adding that, “as their union had been long deferred, he trusted that she would no further procrastinate their mutual happiness.”
Laura beheld him with an eye black and flashing as a storm-cloud; and, rising from the sofa, her tall and symmetrical figure strained to its utmost height, and enlarged by emotion, her expressive features flushed with anger, and eliminating scorn and aversion, stood before him to trans-sex a Latin appellation, like a “Juno Tonans.”
“Never, sir,” she exclaimed, “can I yield my hand to a man who persists in shrouding himself with mystery, and has not confidence sufficient in my affection to acknowledge an error.”
“For Heaven’s sake, Laura,” cried Barton, struggling to mask his perturbation, “what mystery? — what error?”
“Miss Selden, if you please sir! I have repeatedly asked you for my handkerchief, and you answer evasively.”
“Saints and angels!” ejaculated the lover, “because,” and he counterfeited laughter, because I lost it, and was to confess my carelessness!”