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List Of Contents | Contents of Their Pilgrimage, by Charles Dudley Warner
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two weeks seemed like a day.  They were going away the next day.  King
said he was going also.

"And," he added, as if with an effort, "when the season is over, Miss
Benson, I am going to settle down to work."

"I'm glad of that," she said, turning upon him a face glowing with
approval.

"Yes, I have arranged to go on with practice in my uncle's office.
I remember what you said about a dilettante life."

"Why, I never said anything of the kind."

"But you looked it.  It is all the same."

They had come to the crown of the hill, and stood looking over the
intervales to the purple mountains.  Irene was deeply occupied in tying
up with grass a bunch of wild flowers.  Suddenly he seized her hand.

"Irene!"

"No, no," she cried, turning away.  The flowers dropped from her hand.

"You must listen, Irene.  I love you--I love you."

She turned her face towards him; her lips trembled; her eyes were full of
tears; there was a great look of wonder and tenderness in her face.

"Is it all true?"

She was in his arms.  He kissed her hair, her eyes--ah me! it is the old
story.  It had always been true.  He loved her from the first, at
Fortress Monroe, every minute since.  And she--well, perhaps she could
learn to love him in time, if he was very good; yes, maybe she had loved
him a little at Fortress Monroe.  How could he? what was there in her to
attract him?  What a wonder it was that she could tolerate him!  What
could she see in him?

So this impossible thing, this miracle, was explained?  No, indeed!
It had to be inquired into and explained over and over again, this
absolutely new experience of two people loving each other.

She could speak now of herself, of her doubt that he could know his own
heart and be stronger than the social traditions, and would not mind, as
she thought he did at Newport--just a little bit--the opinions of other
people.  I do not by any means imply that she said all this bluntly, or
that she took at all the tone of apology; but she contrived, as a woman
can without saying much, to let him see why she had distrusted, not the
sincerity, but the perseverance of his love.  There would never be any
more doubt now.  What a wonder it all is.

The two parted--alas!  alas!  till supper-time!

I don't know why scoffers make so light of these partings--at the foot of
the main stairs of the hotel gallery, just as Mrs. Farquhar was
descending.  Irene's face was radiant as she ran away from Mrs. Farquhar.

"Bless you, my children!  I see my warning was in vain, Mr. King.  It is
a fatal walk.  It always was in our family.  Oh, youth!  youth!  "A shade
of melancholy came over her charming face as she turned alone towards the
spring.




X

LONG BRANCH, OCEAN GROVE

Mrs. Farquhar, Colonel Fane, and a great many of their first and second
cousins were at the station the morning the Bensons and King and Forbes
departed for the North.  The gallant colonel was foremost in his
expressions of regret, and if he had been the proprietor of Virginia, and
of the entire South added thereto, and had been anxious to close out the
whole lot on favorable terms to the purchaser, he would not have
exhibited greater solicitude as to the impression the visitors had
received.  This solicitude was, however, wholly in his manner--and it is
the traditional-manner that has nearly passed away--for underneath all
this humility it was plain to be seen that the South had conferred a
great favor, sir, upon these persons by a recognition of their merits.

"I am not come to give you good-by, but au revoir," said Mrs. Farquhar to
Stanhope and Irene, who were standing apart.  "I hate to go North in the
summer, it is so hot and crowded and snobbish, but I dare say I shall
meet you somewhere, for I confess I don't like to lose sight of so much
happiness.  No, no, Miss Benson, you need not thank me, even with a
blush; I am not responsible for this state of things.  I did all I could
to warn you, and I tell you now that my sympathy is with Mr. Meigs, who
never did either of you any harm, and I think has been very badly
treated."

"I don't know any one, Mrs. Farquhar, who is so capable of repairing his
injuries as yourself," said King.

"Thank you; I'm not used to such delicate elephantine compliments.  It is
just like a man, Miss Benson, to try to kill two birds with one stone--
get rid of a rival by sacrificing a useless friend.  All the same, au
revoir."

"We shall be glad to see you," replied Irene, "you know that, wherever we
are; and we will try to make the North tolerable for you."

"Oh, I shall hide my pride and go.  If you were not all so rich up there!
Not that I object to wealth; I enjoy it.  I think I shall take to that
old prayer: 'May my lot be with the rich in this world, and with the
South in the next!'"

I suppose there never was such a journey as that from the White Sulphur
to New York.  If the Virginia scenery had seemed to King beautiful when
he came down, it was now transcendently lovely.  He raved about it, when
I saw him afterwards--the Blue Ridge, the wheat valleys, the commercial
advantages, the mineral resources of the State, the grand old traditional
Heaven knows what of the Old Dominion; as to details he was obscure, and
when I pinned him down, he was not certain which route they took.  It is
my opinion that the most costly scenery in the world is thrown away upon
a pair of newly plighted lovers.

The rest of the party were in good spirits.  Even Mrs. Benson, who was at
first a little bewildered at the failure of her admirably planned
campaign, accepted the situation with serenity.

"So you are engaged!" she said, when Irene went to her with the story of
the little affair in Lovers' Walk.  "I suppose he'll like it.  He always
took a fancy to Mr. King.  No, I haven't any objections, Irene, and I
hope you'll be happy.  Mr. King was always very polite to me--only he
didn't never seem exactly like our folks.  We only want you to be happy."
And the old lady declared with a shaky voice, and tears streaming down
her cheeks, that she was perfectly happy if Irene was.

Mr. Meigs, the refined, the fastidious, the man of the world, who had
known how to adapt himself perfectly to Mrs. Benson, might nevertheless
have been surprised at her implication that he was "like our folks."

At the station in Jersey City--a place suggestive of love and romance and
full of tender associations--the party separated for a few days, the
Bensons going to Saratoga, and King accompanying Forbes to Long Branch,
in pursuance of an agreement which, not being in writing, he was unable
to break.  As the two friends went in the early morning down to the coast
over the level salt meadows, cut by bayous and intersected by canals,
they were curiously reminded both of the Venice lagoons and the plains of
the Teche; and the artist went into raptures over the colors of the
landscape, which he declared was Oriental in softness and blending.
Patriotic as we are, we still turn to foreign lands for our comparisons.

Long Branch and its adjuncts were planned for New York excursionists who
are content with the ocean and the salt air, and do not care much for the
picturesque.  It can be described in a phrase: a straight line of sandy
coast with a high bank, parallel to it a driveway, and an endless row of
hotels and cottages.  Knowing what the American seaside cottage and hotel
are, it is unnecessary to go to Long Branch to have an accurate picture
of it in the mind.  Seen from the end of the pier, the coast appears to
be all built up--a thin, straggling city by the sea.  The line of
buildings is continuous for two miles, from Long Branch to Elberon;
midway is the West End, where our tourists were advised to go as the best
post of observation, a medium point of respectability between the
excursion medley of one extremity and the cottage refinement of the
other, and equally convenient to the races, which attract crowds of
metropolitan betting men and betting women.  The fine toilets of these
children of fortune are not less admired than their fashionable race-
course manners.  The satirist who said that Atlantic City is typical of
Philadelphia, said also that Long Branch is typical of New York.  What
Mr. King said was that the satirist was not acquainted with the good
society of either place.

All the summer resorts get somehow a certain character, but it is not
easy always to say how it is produced.  The Long Branch region was the
resort of politicians, and of persons of some fortune who connect
politics with speculation.  Society, which in America does not identify
itself with politics as it does in England, was not specially attracted
by the newspaper notoriety of the place, although, fashion to some extent
declared in favor of Elberon.

In the morning the artist went up to the pier at the bathing hour.
Thousands of men, women, and children were tossing about in the lively
surf promiscuously, revealing to the spectators such forms as Nature had
given them, with a modest confidence in her handiwork.  It seemed to the
artist, who was a student of the human figure, that many of these people
would not have bathed in public if Nature had made them self-conscious.
All down the shore were pavilions and bath-houses, and the scene at a
distance was not unlike that when the water is occupied by schools of
leaping mackerel.  An excursion steamer from New York landed at the pier.
The passengers were not of any recognized American type, but mixed
foreign races a crowd of respectable people who take their rare holidays
rather seriously, and offer little of interest to an artist.  The boats
that arrive at night are said to bring a less respectable cargo.

It is a pleasant walk or drive down to Elberon when there is a sea-
breeze, especially if there happen to be a dozen yachts in the offing.
Such elegance as this watering-place has lies in this direction; the
Elberon is a refined sort of hotel, and has near it a group of pretty
cottages, not too fantastic for holiday residences, and even the "greeny-
yellowy" ones do not much offend, for eccentricities of color are toned

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