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is an ugly lover's quarrel, certainly, my love; and Archer Clifton is as proud as you are. But it must be made up
-it must be made up. A very ugly quarrel, indeed; and on the eve of your marriage, too. But it must be made up-it must be made up. Ah! doubtless he will be over to-morrow night. He feels as bad as you do, I'll warrant he does! I'll warrant he does! I should, I know, if I were
Ah, father! no, he does not. He was in the right; I was in the wrong!"
"Yes, you were wrong, Carry; and I hope it will be a lesson to you. But that makes no difference in his feelings, not a whit. He suffers as much as you do. Why, when I have a difficulty with my poor little pet, Georgia, if she is ever so wrong, and I ever so right, I am nevertheless the most miserable man alive!"
"Ah, father! but there is a great difference-I am not Archer's pet, but was to be his consort. We, Archer and myself, are nearly equal in station-ay, education, disposition-and so are more responsible for our conduct towards each other," sighed Carolyn, dropping her head dejectedly upon his bosom.
"Oh, well, now, if you are so full of doubts and fears, it is but ten o'clock, I will mount my horse, and ride up to Hardbargain, and knock the young gentleman up-I doubt if he is asleep and bring him back here to-night!"
"Not for the world! not for ten thousand worlds!" exclaimed the proud girl vehemently.
Ah, then I don't know what to do with you. Go to bed, and try to sleep; and if you can't do that, ring for the housekeeper, and make her give you some of her nostrums to put you to sleep, and go into a state of non-existence, that shall obliterate the time between this and to-morrow morning. And to-morrow, I'll warrant, Archer will be here to breakfast with us, and to beg your pardon for the sins that you committed; for that's the end of all lovers' quarrels. No matter who's right and who's wrong, who's sinned against and who's sinning, the gentleman has to do the penance. There, kiss me, and be off with you! And hark ye, Carolyn! don't forget to kneel down and pray Heaven to give you the grace of a meeker temper!"
Carolyn Clifton went to her room and retired to bed, to
heat her pillow with her feverish head, to wet it with her hot tears-to sigh, and groan, and toss, and sob all night. This bitter, bitter quarrel was the first trouble the girl had ever had in all her favoured life. And she was impatient with it, indignant at it. She was angry with herself for her injustice and indelicacy; angry with Clifton for not forcing upon her the explanation she would not consent to receive, but which, had she been forced to hear, would have arrested the quarrel, and saved this cruel suffering; angry at the tedious night, that lingered so long, keeping her in agonising suspense; angry at the morning, that delayed its coming, and bringing her the peace and joy of a reconciliation; and so she tossed, and groaned, and suffered, like one in high fever, while the long, long night was slowly, slowly passing away.
In the meantime Captain Clifton had ridden away, not so angry as shocked, repulsed, and alienated by the unprecedented behaviour of his lady-love. He disliked all demonstrations of emotion, and detested all exhibitions of evil passion in a Woman, It was the high-bred delicacy and refinement, the queenly placidity, the cool reserve and stately dignity of Carolyn Clifton that had attracted his first admiration; and though he sometimes gallantly complained of her cruelty, he would not have had her manner one degree warmer. But now this fair, cool, peerless queen o'er herself and her emotions had yielded to passions that might govern a serving-maid-to suspicion, jealousy, and fierce anger-had descended to virulent, vituperative abuse! And henceforth she was discrowned and degraded from her pride of place.
He arrived at Hardbargain, gave his horse in charge of a servant, and entered the house.
The candles were just lighted in the parlour, and Mrs. Clifton and her favourite Kate sat sewing by the work-stand.! As he entered, Kate arose, as usual, with the intention of withdrawing; but he signed to her with his hand, and said in a tone of command, "No; stay, Catherine, and once for all give up that habit of retiring as soon as myself or any other visitor enters."
The young girl returned to her seat and resumed her work Then, with a sort of spirit of persecution upon him, as ou would think, he went to the maiden and inquired impatiently
She glanced up at him with those large, shy eyes, and instantly veiled them again, while the blush deepened on her cheek. Her heart-her disobedient, rebellious heart, that would not be calm when she bade it--was beating fast against her bosom, as it ever beat when he looked at her or spoke to her. To have saved her soul alive, she could not have put her motive into words, and told him that she ever feared her society, or even her presence, might not be as acceptable to Mrs. Clifton's visitors as it was to that kind lady herself. She only bowed her head and blushed the deeper that she could not answer, and yet deeper still that she felt him gazing on her. He was gazing on her!-gazing down on that beautiful dark auburn hair, rippling and glittering under the light of the lamp - on that broad royal forehead, on those even eyebrows and long eyelashes, dropping fine shadows on the glowing cheek-yes! gazing and thinking of Major Cabell's enthusiastic admiration, and wondering why all the world did not agree with him in thinking that countenance grandly beautiful! Yet, even while admiring her so Imuch, he spoke angrily and said, "Catherine, you have a second habit even worse than the first! Lately, you have taken up the practice of not replying to me when I ask you a question; and when you are obliged to raise your eyes to mine, you drop them instantly, as if mine burnt them. Now, I have always disliked and suspected eyes that cannot look 4freely into other eyes!"
At this the very forehead of the girl burned with a crimson 1 flush. Clifton took hold of her hand, which fluttered in his own like a frightened bird, and said in a kinder tone, “Come, my child! see, now, if you can look me honestly in the face, and tell me why you will not talk to me?"
But Kate's distress became so great that Mrs. Clifton inter posed, and said, "Do, Archer, leave her alone! It does seem to me, son, that you take a malicious pleasure in tormenting that poor girl because she is so shy. Don't mind him, Kate! He has been a tease ever since he was a boy, when he used to pull the ears of kittens and puppy-dogs. Take K up your work, child, and hurry on with it. And you, Archer, I am as much surprised as pleased to see you back here tonight. To what am I indebted for the pleasure ?"
"Why do you always do that? Why do you always rise and leave as soon as anyone enters the room ?"
"My dear mother, I will tell you after a while; let me be quiet now a little time."
And Mrs. Clifton looked up in surprise, and noticed, for the first time, how deeply troubled was Archer Clifton's face. After watching him a few minutes as he sat and watched Kate, she said suddenly, "Oh, I have a letter for you, arrived by the afternoon mail. Henry brought it from the post-office this evening, after you left. Perhaps it was in quest of that you came, and its contents may dispel your uneasiness," and, rising, the lady went to the card-rack hanging above the mantelpiece and brought him a letter, which he tore open and read hastily. Then starting up, he exclaimed, "Good! good! most excellent, most opportune!"
"What is it, my dear Archer? I am very glad it gives you such satisfaction, at any rate! What is it ?"
"An order from head-quarters to join my regiment immediately, to take command of a detachment to march within ten days for the Indian frontier, to put down an insurrection there!"
"No!" exclaimed the lady in amazement.
Yes, indeed, my good mother!" replied Archer Clifton exultingly.
"No! you astonish me ! Ordered upon active duty, upon distant and dangerous service, at the very time you are about to be married! Call you that opportune, fortunate? I call it most inopportune, unfortunate !"
"Ah! madam, you do not know! What and if my marriage were already broken off! Is it not lucky, I mean providential, that I can join my regiment immediately, and depart for a distant scene and active service, in which I may forget the sorrow and the humiliation !"
"Your marriage broken off? What! now, at the last moment? A marriage that has been looked forward to for so many years to be broken off when everything is ready? Impossible! it cannot be.”
I assure you, upon my word, madam, it is but too true!" Why-what-do you tell me?" exclaimed the lady in increasing astonishment. "When did it happen? What caused it? Had Mr. Clifton anything to do with it?"
It happened this evening, after my return to Clifton. Mr. Clifton had nothing whatever to do with it, not having reached home at the time it occurred.
It was occasioned
by a most humiliating quarrel between myself and Miss Clifton !"
"Oh, a quarrel! a lovers' quarrel! that is nothing! though, in truth, it surprises me that the calm, proud Carolyn should descend to such a thing, as it does that my own son should deign to take a part in it. But it is really nothing! Such things occur in almost every courtship!"
And those who quarrel in courtship should never venture upon matrimony."
"Ah! that is an inhuman, unfaithful sentiment, my son! Young people are like other young natures-petulant, vain, irascible, exacting; but life trains them into modesty, sobriety, forbearance. For this quarrel, Archer, it must be adjusted! It shall be to-morrow morning!"
"No, madam, it shall not! This quarrel is irreconcileable, believe me!"
Pooh, pooh! What! with Carolyn? Nonsense!"
Mother, you shall judge! She has descended from her high place of maidenly pride and delicacy, and, betraying the most revolting phases of suspicion, jealousy, and fierce anger, she has charged me with infidelity, base treachery, and vice!"
"Dreadful! dreadful! as all angry words and acts ever are! But not unpardonable! Spoken in the frenzy of passion, they will be retracted to-morrow; and then you must be reconciled. Things must go on as they have been planned; there must be no discreditable exposure of this affray. The marriage must take place, as proposed, tomorrow evening; then, if you must join your regiment, why, it will be easily understood that you must; and there will be no reproach, under those circumstances, in leaving your newly-wedded bride under her father's protection!"
Impossible, madam! Miss Clifton has to-night exhibited her character and disposition in such revolting colours, that I can never, never take her to my bosom!"
"You are angry now, Archer! You will think better of it. I trust in Heaven you may do so before there is an exposure. Think what will be the astonishment of the welding-company who will assemble to-morrow evening, the mortification of the family at Clifton, and, worse than all, the scandal! the nine days' wonder!"
"I thought my dear mother had too strong a mind to fear