How To Cook Husbands (Chapter 8, page 1 of 4)


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Chapter 8

Mr. Gregory's attentions had become an accepted fact in my life. They were dignified and steadfast, and I received them with a certain calm pleasure. They had not, as yet, reached the point of declaration, but it was clear to me, and to everyone else, who knew anything about the matter, that they were tending thither, and my own thought had reached the point of acceptance. I had the greatest respect for him as a man; we were congenial in our tastes, and personally agreeable to one another. The position he had to offer me was a most dignified, desirable one, as he was not only a man of sterling integrity, but also a man of wealth; there was, in short, everything in favor of the alliance, and I looked upon it quietly, but with a sense of substantial, and steadfast comfort.

Such an event as a marriage cannot even in prospect, face a thoughtful woman without making a great change in her life. Mr. Gregory was that type of man who ought not to be allowed to offer himself in a direction where there was no intention of acceptance, for his character and age--he was fifty or more--forbade all thought of lightness or trifling, and gave one the assurance that any marked attention he might show, was significant. My acquaintance with him had extended over several years, and during this period there had been abundant opportunity, on both sides, for study of character.

In a quiet way, I had been arranging my affairs, preparatory to my expected change in manner of life. I had, as a matter of course, done considerable thinking during this time. I had experienced none of the rapture always associated with a romantic attachment, but I was quietly happy, and this condition was a far more natural one for me, with my cool, matter-of-fact temperament--a far more promising one, in respect to future enjoyment, I felt, than something more ecstatic.

I had seen but little of Mr. Chance for some weeks. He had called several times, but on each of these occasions, we had passed a somewhat constrained, and I thought, a rather dull evening. Just why this constraint should have crept into our intercourse when we seemed to be coming to a better understanding than heretofore, and were beginning to enjoy a warmer degree of friendship than we had known, I could not understand; but its presence was undeniable, and it spoiled everything for me, as far as he was concerned, causing me to look upon his calls in the light of a bore, rather than as a pleasure, as I once had done. Occasionally a memory of that evening when he came to my rescue, as the hungry, cruel waves gathered like wolves about me, would flit across my mind, as a shadow may flit across a sunlit hill. Once in a long while I found myself dwelling upon the look he gave me that night, and this, and the memory of his touch, as he lifted me off the pier, would dim the sunshine of my cheerfulness. I could not have explained this to myself, and I never dwelt upon the thought; whether from disinclination, or from fear, I could not tell. I only knew that I always turned from it abruptly, and passed on to my plans affecting my life with Mr. Gregory. It was quite easy to plan in this direction, for there was nothing uncertain, as there might have been in the case of a younger man. Mr. Gregory was fixed in his tastes, and way of life; I, too, at my age, had formed settled habits, and this he knew; but, fortunately, in most directions, we were in harmony, and where we were not, we had fallen into a way of making certain concessions.

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