Pocahontas was ignorant of this change of programme, or it is certain that she would have remained in Virginia. Her feelings toward Thorne had undergone no change, but, after the long struggle, there had come to her a quiescence that was almost peace. So worn and tempest-tossed had been her mind, that she clung to even this semblance of rest, and would hardly yet have risked the re-opening of the battle, which a meeting with Thorne would be sure to inaugurate.
She was glad to see her old friend General Smith again, for between the two existed a hearty affection, and more than glad to see Percival. That young gentleman's joy at being released from the thralldom of school, coupled with the exhilaration of seeing his friends, and the prospect of a speedy reunion with his mother and Blanche, appeared to well-nigh craze him. It certainly required unusual vents for its exuberance—such as standing on his head in the elevator, promenading the halls on his hands, and turning "cart-wheels" down the passages, accomplishments acquired with labor and pain from his colored confreres in the South.
It is an interesting thing to await, on the wharf of a large city, the incoming of a great steamer. The feeling of expectation in the air is exhilarating, the bustle, hurry and excitement are contagious; involuntarily one straightens up, and grows alert, every sense on the qui vive, eyes observant, intelligence active, memory garnering impressions. Note the variety of expression in the faces of the waiting crowd—the eager longing, the restless expectation of some; the listless inactivity, indifference, or idle curiosity of others. Stand aside, if you have no business here, no personal interest in the event about to happen, and watch your fellow-men for your own amusement and profit. Many a glimpse of domestic history, many a peep into complex human nature will be vouchsafed you, and if the gift of fancy be yours, you can piece out many a story. See; the throbbing monster has reached her resting place, her fires may subside, her heart may cease its regular pulsations, her machinery may lapse into well-earned rest, given over to polishing and oil and flannel rags. The bridge is down, the waiting crowds rush together, the wharf crowd merging into the deck crowd, and both pouring landward again in an eager flood. There are embraces, kisses, congratulations, tears, a continuous stream of questions and reply, and a never-ending reference to luggage.
There they stand, a little group apart, close beside the railing, with hands outstretched and eyes alight; and amid the bustle and confusion, the embraces and hand-clasping, the collection of hand-traps, and inquiries about checks, no one had time to notice that, at sight of each other, two faces paled, or that two hands as they met were cold and tremulous.
In a marvelously short time after landing, the party were packed into carriages, and whirled away to their hotel, leaving their heavy luggage in the jaws of the custom-house to be rescued later by the general and Berkeley. As they left the wharf, Pocahontas noticed another steamer forging slowly in, and preparing to occupy the berth next that of the Cunarder.
A couple of hours after the arrival of the European travelers at the St. Andrew's Hotel, a squarely-built young man of medium height, with a handsome, bronzed face, and heavy, brown mustache, sprung lightly up the steps of the hotel and passed into the clerk's office. Here he ordered a room and delivered his valise and umbrella to a porter, explaining that he should probably remain several days. Then he turned to the book, pushed toward him by the clerk, to register his name.
"You are late, sir," remarked that functionary, affably; not that he felt interest in the matter, but because to converse was his nature.
"Late, for what?" inquired the gentleman, without glancing up.
"For nothing, in particular," replied the clerk. "I only made the remark because the other Cunard passengers got in an hour ago."
"I didn't come by the Cunarder. I'm from down South," responded the bronzed man. "I saw her discharging as we came in."
Then he ran his eye over the names above his own on the page of the register. There were only three—Mrs. General Smith, Miss Smith, Nesbit Thorne. No one he knew, so he slapped together the covers of the book, and pushed it from him; procured a light for his cigar, pocketed this key of his room, and sauntered out to have a look at the city, and possibly to drop in at one of the theaters later on.
The clerk, in idle curiosity, pulled the register toward him, opened it, and glanced at the name; it was the fourth from the top, just under Nesbit Thorne's—James Dabney Byrd, Mexico.
No; Blanche was not a clever woman; that could not be claimed for her; but her essential elements were womanly. Pain, grief, distress of any sort woke in her heart a longing to give help and comfort.
Since Norma's marriage, Blanche had drawn much nearer to her cousin. She had always been fond of him in an abstract way, and had felt a surface sorrow, not unmingled with aesthetic interest, in the dramatic incidents of his life. She had lived in the same house with him, had associated with him daily, had taken his hand, had kissed him; but she had never known him. She had never gauged his nature with the understanding born of sympathy, never seen the real man. Now it was otherwise. Association with larger, simpler natures had developed the latent capabilities of her own, and the presence of love had made her more observant, more responsive.
Her enlarged sympathies made her yearn over Thorne; her happiness made her long earnestly to help him. She cast about in her mind what she should do. She knew the strength of Berkeley's prejudices, and that his influence with his sister had been—and still was—silently but strenuously exerted to hold her back from a course from which, as Blanche suspected, his feelings, more than his conscience, revolted.
Blanche, differently reared, could not see the matter from the Mason standpoint at all. To her, the past was past; to be deplored, of course, but not to be allowed to cast a baleful shadow on the future. That, to Blanche, was morbid; she could see no sense in drawing conscientiousness to a point and impaling her own heart, and, worse, other hearts thereon. Blanche's creed was simple—people committed faults, made blunders, sinned, suffered; atoned the sin by the suffering, and should then be kissed and forgiven.
She talked to Berkeley in her gentle, persuasive way (she had not courage yet to talk to Pocahontas) and exerted all her influence in Thorne's behalf; but she speedily discovered that she made little headway; that while Berkeley listened, he did not assent; that he put down her efforts; mainly, to personal attachment to her cousin, and was therefore inclined to rule out her testimony. She needed help; pressure must be brought to bear which had no connection with Thorne; some one from the old life must speak, some one who shared the prejudices, and was big enough and generous enough to set them aside and judge of the affair from an unbiased, impersonal standpoint.
When this idea presented itself, her mind turned instantly to Jim. Here was a man from the old life, a man reared as they had been reared, a man in no way connected with Thorne. Jim could help her, if he would, and somehow, Blanche felt assured that he would.
Jim had discovered their presence in the hotel very speedily and had joined the party, glad, with an earnest gladness, to see his old friends again, glad also to meet these new friends who had become associated with the old ones. Blanche had been attracted by him, as women, children, and dumb animals always were attracted by him; he was strong, and yet very gentle.
She determined to speak to him, to make him understand the position, and to entreat him to exert his influence with Berkeley, and through Berkeley, with Pocahontas, to set this matter straight. She did not know that she was about to do a cruel thing; was about to stretch a soul on the rack and turn the screws. That fine reserve which infolded the Masons like a veil precluded gossiping about themselves or their affairs. Blanche had never heard of Jim as the lover of Pocahontas—or if she had, it had been in an outside, intangible way that had made no impression on her.
Possessed by her idea, and intent on securing an opportunity for uninterrupted conversation, she asked Jim to take a walk with her. She had some calls to make, she said, and they would walk through the park. At this season the park was very beautiful, and she should like to show it to him; New Yorkers were very proud of it. Blanche knew that she was doing an unconventional thing; but she had observed, rather wonderingly, the frank helpfulness with which Southerners would identify themselves with each others' affairs, and she felt sure that in speaking to Jim she ran little risk of rebuff. Jim had known the Masons always, was of their blood; to put his shoulder to their wheel would seem to him the right, and natural thing to do. Therefore Blanche made her request with confidence, and Jim, who had never in his life questioned a woman's right to his time and attention, went with her willingly.
They sauntered about for a time and Jim admired all the beauties that were pointed out to him, and showed his country training by pointing out in his turn, subtler beauties which escaped her; the delicate shading of bark and leaf-bud, the blending of the colors of the soil, the way the shadows fell, the thousand and one things an artist, or a man reared in the woods and fields, is quick to see, if he has eyes in his head. He pointed out to her a nest a pair of birds were building, and called her attention to a tiny squirrel, with a plume-like tail, jumping about among the branches overhead. He told her stories of the tropics, too, and of the strange picturesque life in the land of the Montezumas, and made himself pleasant in a cheery, companionable way that was very winning. He was pleased with Blanche, and thought that his old friend had done well for himself in securing the love of the sweet-faced maiden at his side. He liked talking to her, and walking beside her in the sunshine; he decided that "Berke was a deuced lucky fellow, and had fallen on his feet," and he was glad of it.
After awhile they turned into an unfrequented walk, and Blanche seized her opportunity. She made Jim sit down on a bench under an old elm tree and seated herself beside him. Then, insensibly and deftly, she turned the talk to Virginia. She spoke of his old home, and praised its beauty, and told him how a love for it had grown up in her heart, although she was a stranger; she spoke of the cordial, friendly people, and of the kindness they had extended to her family; of Warner, his illness, death, and burial beside poor Temple Mason. Then she glided on to Pocahontas, and spoke of her friend with enthusiasm, almost with reverence; then, seeing that his interest was aroused, she told him as simply and concisely as she could the story of her cousin's love for Pocahontas, and the position in which the affair now stood.
"I know that she loves him," Blanche said quietly, "loves him as he loves her, and that she is breaking her own heart, as well as his, by this hesitation. It seems to me so wrong. What is a scruple compared to the happiness of a life? The child is dead, all connection between Nesbit and that heartless woman is severed forever. She is no more to him than she is to you, or to Berkeley. I think that Pocahontas would give way, but for Berkeley, for the influences of her old life. I think some one ought to speak to Berkeley, to make him see how wrong he is, how hard, how almost cruel. I have spoken, but I'm of Nesbit's blood, on Nesbit's side, and my words haven't the weight that words would have coming from a person who is outside of it all, and yet who belongs to them. If YOU would speak, Mr. Byrd, I think it would do good. Berkeley would listen to you, and would come to look at this matter in its true light. Pocahontas is breaking her heart, and Nesbit's heart, and she ought not to be let do it." There were tears in Blanche's eyes and in her voice as she spoke, and she laid one small hand on Jim's arm appealingly.
Jim never moved; he sat like a man carved out of stone and listened. He knew that Pocahontas had never loved him, as he had wanted her to love him; but the knowledge that her love was given to another man, was bitter. He said no word, only listened with a jealous hatred of the man, who had supplanted him, growing in his breast.
Blanche looked at him with tearful eyes and quivering lips; his gaze was on the ground; his face wore, to her, an absent, almost apathetic look. She was disappointed. She had expected, she did not know exactly what, but certainly more sympathy, more response. She thought that his heart must be less noble than his face, and she regretted having given him her confidence and solicited his aid. When they got back to the avenue, she released him from further attendance a trifle coldly. She would make her calls alone, she said, it might be irksome to him, probably he had other engagements. He had been very good to sacrifice so much of his time to her; she would not detain him longer.
Jim went back to the path and sat down again, not noticing her change of manner, and only conscious of the relief of being free from the necessity of talking commonplace, of being left to think this matter out alone. He thought vaguely that she was a kind, considerate woman and then she passed out of his mind.
The first feeling with which he grappled was wonder; a strange thing had happened. A few short months ago these people had been unknown to him; were, as far as his life had been concerned, non-existent. And now! Land, home, friends, love, all things that had been his, were theirs! His place knew him no more; these strangers filled it. It was a strange thing, a cruel thing.
Pocahontas had been glad to see him again, but in her pleasure there had been preoccupation; he had felt it; it was explained now. He knew that she had never loved him, but the possibility of her loving another man had never come home to him before. He tried to steady himself and realize it; it ate into his heart like corroding acid. Perhaps it was not true; there might be some mistake; then his heart told him that it was true; that there was no mistake. She loved this man, this stranger, of whose existence she had been ignorant that evening when she had said farewell to him under the old willows beside the river. She had been tender and pitiful then; she had laid her soft lips against his hand, had given him a flower from her breast. He moved his hand, and, with the fingers of the other hand, touched the spot which her lips had pressed; the flower, faded and scentless, lay, folded with a girlish note or two she had written him, in the inside pocket of his vest.
The shadows shifted as the wind swayed the branches; the sound of women's voices came from behind a clump of evergreens; they were raised in surprise or excitement, and sounded shrill and jarring. In the distance a nurse pushed a basket-carriage carelessly; she was talking to a workman who slouched beside her, and the child was crying. Two sparrows near at hand, quarreled and fought over a bit of string.
His anger burned against Thorne. He could see no good in his rival; no tragedy, no pathos, in the situation. Had his life gone wrong?—Doubtless the fault had been his. Did he suffer? Jim felt a brute joy in the knowledge of his pain.
What was that the young lady had said? Thorne had been divorced—the woman who had been his wife lived—there were prejudices; he knew them all; a barrier existed; his heart leaped. Here was hope, here was vengeance.
A cloud passed over the sun, eclipsing its brightness; a chill was on the face of nature; a dead twig, broken by the squirrel in his gambols, fell at his feet.
He had been asked to speak, to exert his influence, to smooth the path for his rival. He would not speak; why should he speak? Was it any business of his? Nay; was it not rather his duty to be silent, or to throw such influence as he possessed into the other scale? Should he aid to bring about a thing which he had been taught to regard with aversion? Was it not his duty as a man, as a Christian, to increase the prejudice, to build higher the barrier? Was it not better that Thorne should suffer, that Pocahontas should suffer, as he himself was suffering, than that wrong should be done?
The devil is never subtler than when he assumes the garb of priest.
And if he did not speak—more, if he should solidify, by every means in his power, this barrier of prejudice into a wall of principle, which should separate these two forever, what might not be the result? Jim's strong frame shook like a leaf. His abnormally-excited imagination leaped forward and constructed possibilities that thrilled him. The spot on his hand that her lips had touched, burned.
A little girl came down the walk, trundling a hoop; it struck against Jim's foot and fell over. The helpful instinct that was in him made him stoop and lift it for her; the child, a tiny thing, pushed back her curls and looked up at him with grave, wide-open eyes; suddenly her face dimpled; a smile like sunshine broke over it, and she raised her sweet lips to his, to kiss her thanks.
What had happened? A child's look, a child's kiss; it was a strange thing. He raised his head and glanced around, passing his hand over his brow like a man aroused from a delirium of dreams. Forces foreign to his nature had been at work. He could not understand it—or himself.
Words came back to him out of his past—his own words—"a man must hold up his own weight," and other words, "a man must help with his strength a woman's weakness." He thought of his love with pity, with remorse. He had never failed her, never put himself first, till now. What was this thing he had thought of doing?
Jim stood erect and pulled himself together, lifting his head and squaring his shoulders as a man does who is about to face an issue fairly.
Pocahontas was alone. The party had dispersed, one here, one there, about their own concerns, filled with their own interests. They had invited her to accompany them, even urged it; but she would not; she was tired, she said, and would rest; but there was no rest for her.
The crisis of her life had come, and she was trying to face it. Heretofore the fight had been unequal; the past had had the advantage of sun and wind and field, the old influences had been potent because they were present, had never been broken. Now she was in a measure removed from them; the forces faced each other on neutral ground, the final conflict was at hand.
What should she do? How should she decide? She was torn and swayed by the conflict of emotions within her; the old fight was renewed with added fierceness. Her heart yearned over Thorne, her love rose up and upbraided her for hardness. He was so changed, he had suffered so, his hair was growing gray, hard lines were deepening about his mouth, and to his eyes had come an expression that wrung her heart—a cynical hopelessness, a sullen gloom. Was this her work? Was she shutting out hope from a life, thus making a screen of a scruple to keep sunlight from a soul?
Unconsciously she was assuming the responsibility which he had thrust upon her—was fitting the burden to her shoulders. She did not analyze the position; did not see that he had been ruthless; that he had no right to use such a weapon against her. She only saw that he suffered, that he needed her, that she loved him.
What did it matter about herself? Her scruple might die—and if it should not, she was strong enough to hold it down, to keep her foot on its breast. Was her love so weak that it should shrink from pain?
If only the scruple would die! If only the old influences would lose their hold; if only she could see this thing as the world saw it. Was she made different from others, that her life should be molded on other lines than their lives? God, above! Why should she suffer, and make Thorne suffer?
Her mother, Berkeley, the dead brother whom she had exalted into a hero, the memory of the brave men and noble women from whom she had sprung, the old traditions, the old associations rose, in her excited fancy, and arrayed themselves on one side. Against them in serried ranks came compassion, all the impulses of true womanhood toward self-sacrifice and love.
The loneliness of the crowded hotel oppressed her; the consciousness of the life that environed but did not touch her, gave birth to a yearning to get away from it all—out into the sunshine and the sweet air, and the warmth and comfort of nature. If she could get away into some still, leafy place, she could think.
Hastily arraying herself, she left her chamber and descended the broad stairway. She passed through the hall, and out into the sunshine of the busy street; and Jim, who, unseen by her, was standing in the clerk's office, turned and looked after her. A troubled expression, like the shadow of a cloud, passed over his face, and he followed her silently.
In the street it was better. There were people, little children, a sense of life, a sense of humanity, and over all, around all, the warm sunlight. Comfort and help abounded. A woman, weighed down with a heavy burden, paused, bewildered, in the middle of a crossing—a man helped her; a child stood crying on a doorstep—a larger child soothed it; an ownerless dog looked pitifully into a woman's face—she stooped and stroked its head with her ungloved hand. The longing for the isolation of nature slowly gave place to a recognition of the community of nature.
A quiet street branched off from the crowded thoroughfare. Pocahontas turned into it and walked on. The roar of traffic deadened as she left it further and further behind; the passers became fewer. It was the forenoon and the people were at work; the houses rose tall on either hand; the street was still and almost deserted.
A man passed with a barrow of flowers—roses, geraniums, jasmin; their breath made the air fragrant. In a stately old church near by some one was playing; a solemn, measured movement. Pocahontas turned aside and entered. The place was still and hushed; the light dim and beautiful with color; on the altar, tapers burned before the mother and child; everywhere there was a faint odor of incense.
Pocahontas wandered softly here and there, soothed by the peace, comforted by the music. On one side there was a small chapel, built by piety in memory of death. Pocahontas entered it. Here, too, lights burned upon the altar, shedding a soft, golden radiance that was caught and reflected by the silver candlesticks and the gold and crystal of the vases. On the steps of the altar was a great basket of roses; and through a memorial window streamed the sunlight, casting on the tesselated pavement a royal wealth of color, blue and gold and crimson; against the dark walls marble tablets gleamed whitely. Near one of them, a tiny shield, a man stood with his head bent and his shoulder resting against a carved oak column—Nesbit Thorne, and the tablet bore the inscription: "Allen Thorne, obiit Jan. 14th, 18—, aetat 4 years."
Pocahontas drew back, her breath coming in short gasps; the movement of the music quickened, grew stronger, fiercer, with a crash of cords. Thorne did not move; his head was bent, his profile toward her; about his pose, his whole form, was a look of desolation. His face was stern, its outlines sharp, its expression that of a man who had had hard measure meted out to him, and who knew it, and mutinied against the decree. He did not see her, he was not conscious of her presence, and the knowledge that it was so, sent a pang through her heart. A wave of pity swept over her; an impulse struggled into life, to go to him, to take his hand in hers, to press close to his side, to fill the void of his future with her love. What held her back? Was it pride? Why could not she go to him? His unconsciousness of her presence held her aloof—made her afraid with a strange, new fear.
Footsteps neared, echoing strangely; the music had sunk to a minor cadence which seemed to beat the measure of their advance. The eyes of the woman were filled with a strained expectancy. Into the waiting place, framed by the central arch, came the figure of a man—strongly built, of noble air, of familiar presence. Eyes brave and true and faithful met hers gravely, a hand was outstretched toward her.
Pocahontas shivered, and her heart beat with heavy, muffled strokes. The counter influences of her life were drawing to the death struggle. Thorne turned; his eyes were upon her; he advanced slowly.
Jim came straight to where she stood and took her hands in his; his face was pale and drawn, as the face of a man who has passed through the white heat of suffering. His hands were cold, and trembled a little as they closed on hers; he tried to speak, but his lips were dry and his voice inaudible.
"Sweetheart," he said at length, using the tender old word unconsciously, and speaking brokenly, "I asked you once to let the thought of me come—sometimes—when life should be hard upon you; to let the influence, of my love stir sometimes in your memory. That would be wrong now—worse; it would be selfish and unmanly. A man has no right to cast his shadow on a woman's life when it has passed into the keeping of another man." His voice grew husky, his lips quivered, but he went bravely on. "I know your story—Berkeley has told me—the young lady has spoken—I take back the request. I'd rather all thought of me should be banished from you in this world and in the next, than that it should make a breach, even in the outworks of your life, to let in trouble to you."
He paused abruptly; through the strong frame ran a shudder, like the recoil from pain; but the man's will was firm, his purpose steadfast. All of her life he had cared for her, been tender with her; shielding her from trouble, or grief, or blame, as far as in him lay, and, though his heart should break, he would not fail her now. Slowly he spoke again.
"Child," he said, gently, "if I've ever said a word that hurts you, forget it, put it from you. I did not understand then; I do now—and I'd give my right hand to recall it. What you do has always been right in my eyes—must always be right. I can never——" his voice failed him; something rose in his throat and choked utterance; he bent his head until his lips touched the hands he held, and then turned quietly away.
Pocahontas did not move; she scarcely breathed. The spell of Jim's magnanimity held her, made her realize, at last, the grandeur, the immensity of love. Her soul was awed. Thought followed thought through her brain; love in its sublimity was bared to her gaze; self fell away—burned as dross in the fire of suffering; to guide herself was not enough; she must aid and comfort others. If hands were outstretched in anguish, she must clasp them; if a heart cried to her in desolation, she had no right to turn aside. Was she so pure, so clean, so righteous, that contact with another soul—one that had known passions and sorrows of which she was, of which she must be, ignorant—should soil her? If so, her righteousness was a poor thing, her cleanness, that of the outside of the cup and platter, her purity, that of unquarried marble.
Thorne drew nearer; she raised her head; their eyes met; he extended his hands with a gesture not to be denied.
With a smile of indescribable graciousness, a tenderness, a royalty of giving, she made a movement forward and laid her hands in his.
Thorne did not accompany the party to Virginia, although it was tacitly understood that he should follow in time for Blanche's wedding, which would take place in June. Pocahontas wished it so arranged, and Thorne, feeling that his love had come to him, as through fire, was anxious to order all things according to her wishes. He was very quiet, grave, and self-contained; his old buoyancy, his old lightness had passed away forever. The whirl and lash of a hurricane leave traces which not even time can efface. A man does not come through fire unscathed—he is marred, or purified; he is never the same. In Thorne, already, faintly stirred nature's grand impulse of growth, of pressing upward toward the light. He strove to be patient, tender, considerate, to take his happiness, not as reward for what he was, but as earnest of what he might become.
Jim remained in New York also. He would go back to his work, he said, it would be better so. He had come north on business for his company, and when that should be completed he would return to Mexico. He would not go to Virginia; he did not want to see strangers in the old home; he would write to his sisters and explain; no one need trouble about him; he would manage well enough.
Before they separated, Jim had a long talk with Berkeley, and in the course of it the poor fellow completed his victory over self. He spoke generously of Thorne.
"It's a big subject, Berkeley," he said, in conclusion, "and I don't see that you or I have any call to pass judgment on it, or to lay down arbitrary lines, saying this is righteous, that is unrighteous. We may have our own thoughts about the matter—we must have, but we've no right to lop or stretch other people to fit them. Princess is a pure woman, a noble woman, better, a thousand-fold, than you or me or any other man that breathes. From her standpoint, what she does is right, and, whether we differ with her or not, we are bound to believe that she has weighed the matter and made her choke in all honor and truth. And, Berke, listen to me! You are powerless to alter any thing, and it's a man's part to face the inevitable and make the best of it. You can't better things, but you can make them worse. Don't alienate your sister. You are the nearest man of her blood, and, as such, you have influence with her; don't throw it away. If you are cold, hard, and unloving to her now, you'll set up a barrier between you that you'll find it hard to level. Never let her turn from you, Berke. Stand by her always, old friend."
Poor Jim! He could not as yet disassociate the old from the new. To him it still seemed as though Berkeley, and, in a measure, he himself were responsible for her life; must take care and thought for her future. Love and habit form bonds that thought does not readily burst asunder.
Berkeley was good to his sister—influenced partly by Blanche, partly by Jim, but most of all by his strong affection for Pocahontas herself. He drew her to his breast and rested his cheek against her hair a moment, and kissed her tenderly, and the brother and sister understood each other without a spoken word.
He could not bring himself to be cordial to Thorne all at once, but he loyally tried to do his best, and Thorne was big enough to see and appreciate the effort. There might come a time when the men would be friends.
Poor Mrs. Mason! Her daughter's engagement was a shock, almost a blow to her, and she could not reconcile herself to it at first. The foundations seemed to be slipping from under her feet, the supports in which she trusted, to be falling away. She was a just as well as a loving woman, and she knew that the presence of a new and powerful love brings new responsibilities and a new outlook on life. She faithfully tried to put herself in her daughter's place and to judge of the affair from Pocahontas's standpoint; but the effort was painful to her, and the result not always what she could wish. She recognized, the love being admitted, that Thorne had claims which must be allowed; but she felt it hard that such claims should exist, and her recognition of them was not sufficiently full and generous to make her feel at one with herself. Old minds adapt themselves to new conditions slowly.
However, mother-love is limitless, and, through all, her impulse was to hold to her child, to do nothing, to say nothing which would wound or alienate her. And for the rest—there was no need of haste; she could keep these things and "ponder them in her heart."