Ethelyn's Mistake (Chapter 5, page 1 of 9)


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Chapter 5

From Mrs. Senator Woodhull's elegant house--where Mrs. Judge Markham had
been petted, and flattered, and caressed, and Mr. Judge Markham had been
adroitly tutored and trained without the least effect--the newly wedded
pair went on to Quebec and Montreal, and thence to the White Mountains,
where Ethelyn's handsome traveling dress was ruined and Richard's linen
coat, so obnoxious to his bride, was torn past repair and laid away in
one of Ethelyn's trunks, with the remark that "Mother could mend it for
Andy, who always took his brother's cast-off clothes." The hair trunk
had been left in Chicopee, and so Ethelyn had not that to vex her.

Noticed everywhere, and admired by all whom she met, the first part of
her wedding trip was not as irksome as she had feared it might be.
Pleased, as a boy, with his young bride, Richard was all attention, and
Ethelyn had only to express a wish to have it gratified, so that casual
lookers-on would have pronounced her supremely happy. And Ethelyn's
heart did not ache one-half so hard as on that terrible day of her
bridal. In the railway car, on the crowded steamboat, or at the large
hotels, where all were entire strangers, she forgot to watch and
criticise her husband, and if any dereliction from etiquette did occur,
he yielded so readily to her suggestion that to him seemed an easy task.
The habits of years, however, are not so easily broken, and by the time
Saratoga was reached, Richard's patience began to give way beneath
Ethelyn's multifarious exactions and the ennui consequent upon his
traveling about so long. Still he did pretty well for him, growing very
red in the face with his efforts to draw on gloves a size too small, and
feeling excessively hot and uncomfortable in his coat, which he wore
even in the retirement of his own room, where he desired so much to
indulge in the cool luxury of shirt-sleeves--a suggestion which Ethelyn
heard with horror, openly exclaiming against the glaring vulgarity, and
asking, a little contemptuously, if that were the way he had been
accustomed to do at home.

"Why, yes," he answered. "Out West upon the prairies we go in for
comfort, and don't mind so small a matter as shirt-sleeves on a
sweltering August day."

"Please do not use such expressions as sweltering and go in--they do not
sound well," Ethelyn rejoined. "And now I think of it, I wish you would
talk more to the ladies in the parlor. You hardly spoke to Mrs. Cameron
last evening, and she directed most of her conversation to you, too. I
was afraid she would either think that you were rude, or else that you
did not know what to say."

"She hit it right, if she came to the latter conclusion," Richard said,
good-humoredly, "for the fact is, Ethie, I don't know what to say to
such women as she. I am not a ladies' man, and it's no use trying to
make me over. You can't teach old dogs new tricks."

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