Desire has trimmed the sails, and Circumstance
Brings but the breeze to fill them.
While Grandcourt on his beautiful black Yarico, the groom behind him on
Criterion, was taking the pleasant ride from Diplow to Offendene, Gwendolen
was seated before the mirror while her mother gathered up the lengthy mass of
light-brown hair which she had been carefully brushing.
"Only gather it up easily and make a coil, mamma," said Gwendolen.
"Let me bring you some ear-rings, Gwen," said Mrs. Davilow, when the hair was
adjusted, and they were both looking at the reflection in the glass. It was
impossible for them not to notice that the eyes looked brighter than they had
done of late, that there seemed to be a shadow lifted from the face, leaving all
the lines once more in their placid youthfulness. The mother drew some
inference that made her voice rather cheerful. "You do want your earrings?"
"No, mamma; I shall not wear any ornaments, and I shall put on my black silk.
Black is the only wear when one is going to refuse an offer," said Gwendolen,
with one of her old smiles at her mother, while she rose to throw off her dressing-
"Suppose the offer is not made after all," said Mrs. Davilow, not without a sly
"Then that will be because I refuse it beforehand," said Gwendolen. "It comes to
the same thing."
There was a proud little toss of the head as she said this; and when she walked
down-stairs in her long black robes, there was just that firm poise of head and
elasticity of form which had lately been missing, as in a parched plant. Her
mother thought, "She is quite herself again. It must be pleasure in his coming.
Can her mind be really made up against him?"
Gwendolen would have been rather angry if that thought had been uttered;
perhaps all the more because through the last twenty hours, with a brief
interruption of sleep, she had been so occupied with perpetually alternating
images and arguments for and against the possibility of her marrying Grandcourt,
that the conclusion which she had determined on beforehand ceased to have any
hold on her consciousness: the alternate dip of counterbalancing thoughts
begotten of counterbalancing desires had brought her into a state in which no
conclusion could look fixed to her. She would have expressed her resolve as