The Law and the Lady
3. Ramsgate Sands
EUSTACE succeeded in quieting my alarm. But I can hardly say that he succeeded in
satisfying my mind as well.
He had been thinking, he told me, of the contrast between his past and his present life.
Bitter remembrance of the years that had gone had risen in his memory, and had filled
him with melancholy misgivings of his capacity to make my life with him a happy one.
He had asked himself if he had not met me too late--if he were not already a man soured
and broken by the disappointments and disenchantments of the past? Doubts such as
these, weighing more and more heavily on his mind, had filled his eyes with the tears
which I had discovered--tears which he now entreated me, by my love for him, to dismiss
from my memory forever.
I forgave him, comforted him, revived him; but there were moments when the
remembrance of what I had seen troubled me in secret, and when I asked myself if I
really possessed my husband's full confidence as he possessed mine.
We left the train at Ramsgate.
The favorite watering-place was empty; the season was just over. Our arrangements for
the wedding tour included a cruise to the Mediterranean in a yacht lent to Eustace by a
friend. We were both fond of the sea, and we were equally desirous, considering the
circumstances under which we had married, of escaping the notice of friends and
acquaintances. With this object in view, having celebrated our marriage privately in
London, we had decided on instructing the sailing-master of the yacht to join us at
Ramsgate. At this port (when the season for visitors was at an end) we could embark far
more privately than at the popular yachting stations situated in the Isle of Wight.
Three days passed--days of delicious solitude, of exquisite happiness, never to be
forgotten, never to be lived over again, to the end of our lives!
Early on the morning of the fourth day, just before sunrise, a trifling incident happened,
which was noticeable, nevertheless, as being strange to me in my experience of myself.
I awoke, suddenly and unaccountably, from a deep and dreamless sleep with an all-
pervading sensation of nervous uneasiness which I had never felt before. In the old days
at the Vicarage my capacity as a sound sleeper had been the subject of many a little
harmless joke. From the moment when my head was on the pillow I had never known
what it was to awake until the maid knocked at my door. At all seasons and times the
long and uninterrupted repose of a child was the repose that I enjoyed.
And now I had awakened, without any assignable cause, hours before my usual time. I
tried to compose myself to sleep again. The effort was useless. Such a restlessness
possessed me that I was not even able to lie still in the bed. My husband was sleeping