Two on a Tower
From that day forward their life resumed its old channel in general outward
Perhaps the most remarkable feature in their exploit was its comparative
effectiveness as an expedient for the end designed,-- that of restoring calm
assiduity to the study of astronomy. Swithin took up his old position as the lonely
philosopher at the column, and Lady Constantine lapsed back to immured
existence at the house, with apparently not a friend in the parish. The enforced
narrowness of life which her limited resources necessitated was now an
additional safeguard against the discovery of her relations with St. Cleeve. Her
neighbours seldom troubled her; as much, it must be owned, from a tacit
understanding that she was not in a position to return invitations as from any
selfish coldness engendered by her want of wealth.
At the first meeting of the secretly united pair after their short honeymoon they
were compelled to behave as strangers to each other. It occurred in the only part
of Welland which deserved the name of a village street, and all the labourers
were returning to their midday meal, with those of their wives who assisted at
outdoor work. Before the eyes of this innocent though quite untrustworthy group,
Swithin and his Viviette could only shake hands in passing, though she contrived
to say to him in an undertone, 'My brother does not return yet for some time. He
has gone to Paris. I will be on the lawn this evening, if you can come.' It was a
fluttered smile that she bestowed on him, and there was no doubt that every fibre
of her heart vibrated afresh at meeting, with such reserve, one who stood in his
close relation to her.
The shades of night fell early now, and Swithin was at the spot of appointment
about the time that he knew her dinner would be over. It was just where they had
met at the beginning of the year, but many changes had resulted since then. The
flower-beds that had used to be so neatly edged were now jagged and leafy;
black stars appeared on the pale surface of the gravel walks, denoting tufts of
grass that grew unmolested there. Lady Constantine's external affairs wore just
that aspect which suggests that new blood may be advantageously introduced
into the line; and new blood had been introduced, in good sooth,--with what
social result remained to be seen.
She silently entered on the scene from the same window which had given her
passage in months gone by. They met with a concerted embrace, and St. Cleeve
spoke his greeting in whispers.
'We are quite safe, dearest,' said she.
'But the servants?'
'My meagre staff consists of only two women and the boy; and they are away in
the other wing. I thought you would like to see the inside of my house, after
showing me the inside of yours. So we will walk through it instead of staying out
She let him in through the casement, and they strolled forward softly, Swithin with
some curiosity, never before having gone beyond the library and adjoining room.