"No," said Elsie, sharply. "I'll quote you a text: 'Eat, drink, and be merry,' and let me alone."
"This ain't fa'r. You promised ter let me go when you got Bute off."
Ackland said farewell to his friend with the fear that he might never see him again, and a few days later found himself at a New England seaside resort, with a relentless purpose lurking in his dark eyes. Mrs. Alston did unconsciously prove a useful ally, for her wealth and elegance gave her unusual prestige in the house, and in joining her party Ackland achieved immediately all the social recognition he desired.
"That your expression has been a very contented one during the last hour. I am coming to believe that you can accept my friendship without effort. You women are all such mysteries! One gets hold of a clew now and then. I have fancied that if you had started out in the spirit of self-sacrifice that I might have a pleasant time, you would be more conscious of your purpose. Even your tact might not have kept me from seeing that you were exerting yourself; but the very genius of the day seems to possess you. Nature is not exerting herself in the least. No breath of air is stirring; all storms are in the past or the future. With a smile on her face, she is just resting in serene content, as you were, I hope. She is softening and obscuring everything distant by an orange haze, so that the sunny present may be all the more real. Days like these will do you good, especially if your face and manner reveal that you can be as truly at rest as Nature."
His face brightened wonderfully as he replied, "I will only be too glad to do so, if you truly wish it."
"You can't blame a feller fer standin' by his mate," was the sullen yet deprecatory reply.