and defend myself against a man of my own height and weight?
There was no mother in the house to tremble for her daughter, to be jealous, to watch, to question, to demand a clear explanation--in short, to guard her young as only the mothers of creation do.
The Elysian days rolled on. Zoe was in heaven, and Severne in a fool's paradise, enjoying everything, hoping everything, forgetting everything, and fearing nothing. He had come to this, with all his cunning; he was intoxicated and blinded with passion.
Now it was that the idea of marrying Zoe first entered his head. But he was not mad enough for that. He repelled it with terror, rage, and despair. He passed an hour or two of agony in his own room, and came down, looking pale and exhausted. But, indeed, the little Dumas, though he does not pass for a moralist, says truly and well, "Les amours ille'gitimes portent toujours des fruits amers;" and Ned Severne's turn was come to suffer a few of the pangs he had inflicted gayly on more than one woman and her lover.
One morning at breakfast Vizard made two announcements. "Here's news," said he; "Dr. Gale writes to postpone her visit. She is ill, poor girl!"
"Oh, dear! what is the matter?" inquired Zoe, always kind-hearted.
"What is that?" inquired Fanny.
Mr. Severne, who was much pleased at this opportune illness, could not restrain his humor, and said it was a disorder produced by the fumes of gas.
Zoe, accustomed to believe this gentleman's lies, and not giving herself time to think, said there was a great escape in the passage the night she went there.