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Looking Backward From 2000 to 1887

Chapter 16
Next morning I rose somewhat before the breakfast hour. As I descended the stairs, Edith
stepped into the hall from the room which had been the scene of the morning interview
between us described some chapters back.
"Ah!" she exclaimed, with a charmingly arch expression, "you thought to slip out
unbeknown for another of those solitary morning rambles which have such nice effects
on you. But you see I am up too early for you this time. You are fairly caught."
"You discredit the efficacy of your own cure," I said, "by supposing that such a ramble
would now be attended with bad consequences."
"I am very glad to hear that," she said. "I was in here arranging some flowers for the
breakfast table when I heard you come down, and fancied I detected something
surreptitious in your step on the stairs."
"You did me injustice," I replied. "I had no idea of going out at all."
Despite her effort to convey an impression that my interception was purely accidental, I
had at the time a dim suspicion of what I afterwards learned to be the fact, namely, that
this sweet creature, in pursuance of her self-assumed guardianship over me, had risen for
the last two or three mornings at an unheard-of hour, to insure against the possibility of
my wandering off alone in case I should be affected as on the former occasion. Receiving
permission to assist her in making up the breakfast bouquet, I followed her into the room
from which she had emerged.
"Are you sure," she asked, "that you are quite done with those terrible sensations you had
that morning?"
"I can't say that I do not have times of feeling decidedly queer," I replied, "moments
when my personal identity seems an open question. It would be too much to expect after
my experience that I should not have such sensations occasionally, but as for being
carried entirely off my feet, as I was on the point of being that morning, I think the
danger is past."
"I shall never forget how you looked that morning," she said.
"If you had merely saved my life," I continued, "I might, perhaps, find words to express
my gratitude, but it was my reason you saved, and there are no words that would not
belittle my debt to you." I spoke with emotion, and her eyes grew suddenly moist.
"It is too much to believe all this," she said, "but it is very delightful to hear you say it.
What I did was very little. I was very much distressed for you, I know. Father never
thinks anything ought to astonish us when it can be explained scientifically, as I suppose
 
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