It was almost dark when Jack reached Swayne’s Cottages, and there was no
light in Mrs. Preston’s window to indicate her presence. The only bit of
illumination there was in the dim dewy twilight road, was a gleam from
old Betty’s perennial fire, which shone out as she opened the door to
watch the passage of the dog-cart just then returning from Ridley, where
it ought to have carried Mr. John to dinner. The dog-cart was just
returning home, in an innocent, unconscious way; but how much had
happened in the interval! the thought made Jack’s head whirl a little,
and made him half smile; only half smile–for such a momentous crisis is
not amusing. He had not had time to think whether or not he was
rapturously happy, as a young lover ought to be: on the whole, it was a
very serious business. There were a thousand things to think of, such as
take the laughter out of a man; yet he did smile as it occurred to him
in what an ordinary commonplace sort of way the dog-cart and the mare
and the groom had been jogging back along the dusty roads, while he had
been so weightily engaged; and how all those people had been calmly
dining at Ridley–were dining now, no doubt–and mentally criticising
the dishes, and making feeble dinner table-talk, while he had been
settling his fate; in less time than they could have got half through
their dinner–in less time than even the bay mare could devour the way
between the two houses! Jack felt slightly giddy as he thought of it,
and his face grew serious again under his smile. The cottage door stood
innocently open; there was nobody and nothing between him and his
business; he had not even to knock, to be opened to by a curious
indifferent servant, as would have been the case in another kind of
house. The little passage was quite dark, but there was another gleam of
fire-light from the kitchen, where Mr. Swayne sat patient with his
rheumatism, and even Mrs. Preston’s door was ajar. Out of the soft
darkness without, into the closer darkness within, Jack stepped with a
beating heart. This was not the pleasant part of it; this was not like
the sudden delight of meeting Pamela–the sudden passion of laying hold
on her and claiming her as his own. He stopped in the dark passage,
where he had scarcely room to turn, and drew breath a little. He felt
within himself that if Mrs. Preston in her black cap and her black gown
fell into his arms and saluted him as her son, that he would not be so
deeply gratified as perhaps he ought to have been. Pamela was one thing,
but her mother was quite another. If mothers, and fathers too for that
matter, could but be done away with when their daughters are old enough
to marry, what a great deal of trouble it would spare in this world! But
that was not to be thought of. He had come to do it, and it had to be
done. While he stood taking breath and collecting himself, Mr. Swayne
feeling that the step which had crossed his threshold was not his wife’s
step, called out to the intruder. “Who are you?” cried the master of the
house; “you wait till my missis comes and finds you there; she don’t
hold with no tramp; and I see her a-coming round the corner,” he
continued, in tones in which exultation had triumphed over fright. No
tramp could have been more moved by the words than was Jack. He resisted
the passing impulse he had to stride into the kitchen and strangle Mr.
Swayne in passing; and then, with one knock by way of preface, he went
in without further introduction into the parlor where Mrs. Preston was

It was almost quite dark–dark with that bewildering summer darkness
which is more confusing than positive night. Something got up hastily
from the sofa at the sight of him, and gave a little suppressed shriek
of alarm. “Don’t be alarmed–it is only I, Mrs. Preston,” said Jack. He
made a step forward and looked at her, as probably she too was looking
at him; but they could not see each other, and it was no comfort to
Pamela’s mother to be told by Jack Brownlow, that it was only I.

“Has any thing happened?” she cried; “what is it? what is it? oh my
child!–for God’s sake, whoever you are, tell me what it is.”

“There is nothing the matter with her,” said Jack, steadily. “I am John
Brownlow, and I have come to speak to you; that is what it is.”

“John Brownlow,” said Mrs. Preston, in consternation–and then her tone
changed. “I am sorry I did not know you,” she said; “but if you have any
business with me, sir, I can soon get a light.”

“Indeed I have the most serious business,” said Jack–it was in his mind
to say that he would prefer being without a light; but there would have
been something too familiar and undignified for the occasion in such a
speech as that.

“Wait a moment,” said Mrs. Preston, and she hastened out, leaving him in
the dark parlor by himself. Of course he knew it was only a pretext–he
knew as well as if she had told him that she had gone to establish a
watch for Pamela to prevent her from coming in while he was there; and
this time he laughed outright. She might have done it an hour ago, fast
enough; but now to keep Pamela from him was more than all the fathers
and mothers in the world could do. He laughed at the vain precaution. It
was not that he had lost all sense of prudence, or that he was not aware
how foolish a thing in many respects he was doing; but notwithstanding,
he laughed at the idea that any thing, stone walls and iron bars, or
admonitions, or parental orders, could keep her from him. It might be
very idiotic–and no doubt it was; but if any body dreamed for a moment
that he could be made to give her up! or that she could be wrested out
of his grasp now that he had possession of her–any deluded individual
who might entertain such a notion could certainly know nothing of Jack.

Mrs. Preston was absent for some minutes, and before she came back there
had been a soft rustle in the passage, a subdued sound of voices, in one
of which, rapidly suppressed and put a stop to, Jack could discern Mrs.
Swayne’s voluble tones. He smiled to himself in the darkness as he stood
and waited; he knew what was going on as well as if he had been outside
and had seen it all. Pamela was being smuggled into the house, being put
somewhere out of his way. Probably her mother was making an attempt to
conceal from her even the fact that he was there, and at this purely
futile attempt Jack again laughed in his heart; then in his impatience
he strode to the window, and looked out at the gates which were
indistinctly visible opposite, and the gleam of Betty’s fire, which was
now apparent only through her window. That was the way it would have
been natural for him to go, not this–there lay his home, wealthy,
luxurious, pleasant, with freedom in it, and every thing that ministered
most at once to his comfort and his ambition: and yet it was not there
he had gone, but into this shabby little dingy parlor, to put his life
and all his pleasure in life, and his prospects and every thing for
which he most cared, at the disposal, not of Pamela, but of her mother.
He felt that it was hard. As for her, the little darling! to have taken
her in his arms and carried her off and built a nest for her would not
have been hard–but that it should all rest upon the decision of her
mother! Jack felt at the moment that it was a hard thing that there
should be mothers standing thus in the young people’s way. It might be
very unamiable on his part, but that was unquestionably his feeling: and
indeed, for one second, so terrible did the prospect appear to him, that
the idea of taking offense and running away did once cross his mind. If
they chose to leave him alone like this, waiting, what could they
expect? He put his hand upon the handle of the door, and then withdrew
it as if it had burned him. A minute after Mrs. Preston came back. She
carried in her hand a candle, which threw a bright light upon her worn
face, with the black eyes, black hair, black cap and black dress close
round her throat which so much increased the gauntness of her general
appearance. This time her eyes, though they were old, were very
bright–bright with anxiety and alarm–so bright that for the moment
they were like Pamela’s. She came in and set down her candle on the
table, where it shed a strange little pale inquisitive light, as if,
like Jack, it was looking round, half dazzled by the change out of
complete darkness, at the unfamiliar place; and then she drew down the
blind. When she had done this she came to the table near which Jack was
standing. “Mr. Brownlow, you want to speak to me?” she said.

“Yes,” said Jack. Though his forefathers had been Brownlows of Masterton
for generations, which ought to have given him self-possession if any
thing could, and though he had been brought up at a public-school, which
was still more to the purpose, this simple question took away the power
of speech from him as completely as if he had been the merest clown. He
had not felt the least difficulty about what he was going to say, but
all at once to say any thing at all seemed impossible.

“Then tell me what it is,” said Mrs. Preston, sitting down in the black
old-fashioned high-backed easy-chair. Her heart was melting to him more
and more every moment, the sight of his confusion being sweet to her
eyes, but of course he did not know this–neither, it is to be feared,
would Jack have very much cared.

“Yes,” he said again; “the fact was–I–wanted to speak to you–about
your daughter. I suppose this sort of thing is always an awkward
business. I have seen her with–with my sister, you know–we couldn’t
help seeing each other; and the fact is, we’ve–we’ve grown fond of each
other without knowing it: that is about the state of the case.”

“Fond of each other?” said Mrs. Preston, faltering. “Mr. Brownlow, I
don’t think that is how you ought to speak. You mean you have grown fond
of Pamela. I am very, very sorry; but Heaven forbid that my poor girl–”

“I mean what I say,” said Jack, sturdily–“we’ve grown fond of each
other. If you ask her she will tell you the same. We were not thinking
of any thing of the kind–it came upon us unawares. I tell you the whole
truth, that you may not wonder at me coming so unprepared. I don’t come
to you as a fellow might that had planned it all out and turned it over
in his mind, and could tell you how much he had a year, and what he
could settle on his wife, and all that. I tell you frankly the truth,
Mrs. Preston. We were not thinking of any thing of the kind; but now,
you see, we have both of us found it out.”

“I don’t understand you,” said the astonished mother; “what have you
found out?”

“We’ve found out just what I’ve been telling you,” said Jack–“that
we’re fond of each other. You may say I should have told you first; but
the truth was, I never had the opportunity–not that I would have been
sure to have taken advantage of it if I had. We went on without knowing
what we were doing, and then it came upon us all at once.”

He sat down abruptly as he said this, in an abstracted way; and he
sighed. _He_ had found it out, there could be no doubt of that; and he
did not hide from himself that this discovery was a very serious one. It
filled his mind with a great many thoughts. He was no longer in a
position to go on amusing himself without any thought of the future.
Jack was but mortal, and it is quite possible he might have done so had
it been in his power. But it was not in his power, and his aspect, when
he dropped into the chair, and looked into the vacant air before him and
sighed, was rather that of a man looking anxiously into the future–a
future that was certain–than of a lover waiting for the sentence which
(metaphorically) is one of life or death; and Mrs. Preston, little
experienced in such matters, and much agitated by the information so
suddenly conveyed to her, did not know what to think. She bent forward
and looked at him with an eagerness which he never perceived. She
clasped her hands tightly together, and gazed as if she would read his
heart; and then what could she say? He was not asking any thing from
her–he was only intimating to her an unquestionable fact.

“But, Mr. Brownlow,” she said at last, tremulously, “I think–I hope you
may be mistaken. My Pamela is very young–and so are you–_very_ young
for a man. I hope you have made a mistake. At your age it doesn’t matter
so much.”

“Don’t it, though?” said Jack, with a flash in his eyes. “I can’t, say
to you that’s our business, for I know, of course, that a girl ought to
consult her mother. But don’t let us discuss _that_, please. A fact
can’t be discussed, you know. It’s either true or it’s false–and _we_
certainly are the only ones who can know.”

Then there was another pause, during which Jack strayed off again into
calculations about the future–that unforeseen future which had leaped
into existence for him only about an hour ago. He had sat down on the
other side of the table, and was gazing into the blank hearth as if some
enlightenment might have been found there. As for Mrs. Preston, her
amazement and agitation were such that it cost her a great effort to
compose herself and not to give way.

“Is this all you have to say to me?” she said at last, with trembling

Then Jack roused himself up. Suddenly it occurred to him that the poor
woman whom he had been so far from admiring was behaving to him with a
generosity and delicacy very different from his conduct to her; and the
blood rushed to his face at the thought.

“I beg your pardon,” he said. “I have already explained to you why it is
that I come in such an unprepared way. I met her to-night. Upon my life
I did not lay any trap for her. I was awfully cut up about not seeing
her; but we met by accident. And the fact was, when we met we couldn’t
help showing that we understood each other. After that it was my first
duty,” said Jack, with a thrill of conscious grandeur, “to come to you.”

“But do you mean to say,” said Mrs. Preston, wringing her hands, “that
my Pamela–? Sir, she is only a child. She could not have understood
you. She may like you in a way–”

“She likes me as I like her,” said Jack, stoutly. “It’s no use
struggling against it. It is no use arguing about it. You may think her
a child, but she is not a child; and I can’t do without her, Mrs.
Preston. I hope you haven’t any dislike to me. If you have,” said Jack,
warming up, “I will do any thing a man can do to please you; but you
couldn’t have the heart to make her unhappy, and come between her and

“I make her unhappy?” said Mrs. Preston, with a gasp. She who had no
hope or desire in the world but Pamela’s happiness! “But I don’t even
see how it came about. I–I don’t understand you. I don’t even know what
you want of me.”

“What I want?” said Jack, turning round upon her with wondering
eyes–“What could I want but one thing? I want Pamela–that’s very
clear. Good heavens, you are not going to be ill, are you? Shall I call
somebody? I know it’s _awfully_ sudden,” said the young fellow ruefully.
Nobody could be more sensible of that than he was. He got up in his
dismay and went to a side-table where there stood a carafe of water and
brought her some. It was the first act of human fellowship, as it were,
that had passed between the two, and somehow it brought them together.
Mrs. Preston took the water with that strange half-sacramental feeling
with which a soul in extremity receives the refreshment which brings it
back to life. Was it her friend, her son, or her enemy that thus
ministered to her? Oh, if she could only have seen into his heart! She
had no interest in the world but Pamela, and now the matter in hand was
the decision for good or for evil of Pamela’s fate.

“I am better, thank you,” she said faintly. “I am not very strong, and
it startled me. Sit down, Mr. Brownlow, and let us talk it over. I knew
this was what it would have come to if it had gone on; but I have been
talking a great deal to my child, and keeping her under my eye–”

“Yes,” said Jack, with some indignation, “keeping her out of my way. I
knew you were doing that.”

“It was the only thing I could do,” said Mrs. Preston. “I did try to
find another means, but it did not succeed. When I asked you what you
wanted of me, I was not doubting your honor. But things are not so easy
as you young people think. Your father never will consent.”

“I don’t think things are easy,” said Jack. “I see they are as crooked
and hard as possible. I don’t pretend to think it’s all plain sailing. I
believe he won’t consent. It might have been all very well to consider
that three months ago, but you see we never thought of it then. We must
just do without his consent now.”

“And there is more than that,” said Mrs. Preston. “It would not be right
for him to consent, nor for me either. If you only found it out so
suddenly, how can you be sure of your own mind, Mr. John–and you so
young? I don’t say any thing of my own child. I don’t mean to say in my
heart that I think you too grand for her. I know if ever there was a
lady born it’s–; but that’s not the question,” she continued, nervously
wringing her hands again. “If she was a princess, she’s been brought up
different from you. I did think once there might have been a way of
getting over that; but I know better now; and you’re very young; and
from what you say,” said Pamela’s mother, who, after all, was a woman, a
little romantic and very proud, “I don’t think you’re one that would be
content to give up every thing for love.”

Jack had been listening calmly enough, not making much in his own mind
of her objections; but the last words did strike home. He started, and
he felt in his heart a certain puncture, as if the needle in Mrs.
Preston’s work, which lay on the table, had gone into him. This at least
was true. He looked at her with a certain defiance, and yet with
respect. “For love–no,” said Jack half fiercely, stirred, like a mere
male creature as he was, by the prick of opposition; and then a
softening came over his eyes, and a gleam came into them which, even by
the light of the one pale candle, made itself apparent; “but for
Pamela–yes. I’ll tell you one thing, Mrs. Preston,” he added, quickly,
“I should not call it giving up. I don’t mean to give up. As for my
father, I don’t see what he has to do with it. I can work for my wife as
well as any other fellow could. If I were to say it didn’t matter, you
might mistrust me; but when a man knows it does matter,” said Jack,
again warming with his subject, “when a man sees it’s serious, and not a
thing to be done without thinking, you can surely rely upon him more
than if he went at it blindly? I think so at least.”

So saying, Jack stopped, feeling a little sore and _incompris_. If he
had made a fool of himself, no doubt the woman would have believed in
him; but because he saw the gravity of what he was about to do, and felt
its importance, a kind of doubt was in his hearer’s heart. “They not
only expect a man to be foolish, but they expect him to forget his own
nature,” Jack said to himself, which certainly was hard.

“I don’t mistrust you,” said Mrs. Preston, but her voice faltered, and
did not quite carry out her words; “only, you know, Mr. John, you are
very young. Pamela is very young, but you are even younger than she
is–I mean, you know, because you are a man; and how can you tell that
you know your own mind? It was only to-day that you found it out, and
to-morrow you might find something else out–”

Here she stopped half frightened, for Jack had risen up, and was looking
at her over the light of the candle, looking pale and somewhat
threatening. He was not in a sentimental attitude, neither was there any
thing about him that breathed the tender romance for which in her heart
Mrs. Preston sighed, and without which it cost her an effort to believe
in his sincerity. He was standing with his hands thrust down to the
bottom of his pockets, his brow a little knitted, his face pale, his
expression worried and impatient. “What is the use of beginning over and
over again?” said Jack. “Do you think I could have found out like this a
thing that hadn’t been in existence for months and months? Why, the
first time I saw you in Hobson’s cart–the time I carried her in out of
the snow–” When he had got this length, he walked away to the window
and stood looking out, though the blind was down, with his back turned
upon her–“with her little red cloak, and her pretty hair,” said Jack,
with a curious sound which would not bear classification. It might have
been a laugh, or a sob, or a snort–and it was neither; anyhow, it
expressed the emotion within him better than half a hundred fine
speeches. “And you don’t believe in me after all that!” he said, coming
back again and looking at her once more over the light of the candle.
Perhaps it was something in Jack’s eyes, either light or moisture, it
would be difficult to tell which, that overpowered Mrs. Preston, for the
poor woman faltered and began to cry.

“I do believe in you,” she said. “I do–and I love you for saying it;
but oh, Mr. John, what am I to do? I can’t let you ruin yourself with
your father. I can’t encourage you when I know what it will cost you;
and then, my own child–”

“That’s it,” said Jack, drawing his chair over to her side of the table,
with his first attempt at diplomacy–“that’s what we’ve got to think of.
It doesn’t matter for a fellow like me. If I got disappointed and cut up
I should have to bear it; but as for Pamela, you know–dear little soul!
You may think it strange, but,” said Jack, with a little affected laugh,
full of that supreme vanity and self-satisfaction with which a man
recognizes such a fact, “she is fond of me; and if she were disappointed
and put out, you know–why, it might make her ill–it might do her no
end of harm–it might–Seriously, you know,” said Jack, looking in Mrs.
Preston’s face, and giving another and another hitch to his chair.
Though her sense of humor was not lively, she dried her eyes and looked
at him with a little bewilderment, wondering was he really in earnest?
did he mean it? or what did he mean?

“She is very young,” said Mrs. Preston; “no doubt it would do her harm;
but I should be there to nurse her–and–and–she is so young.”

“It might kill her,” said Jack, impressively; “and then whom would you
have to blame? Not my father, for he has nothing to do with it; but
yourself, Mrs. Preston–that’s how it would be. Just look at what a
little delicate darling she is–a little bit of a thing that one could
carry away in one’s arms,” he went on, growing more and more
animated–“a little face like a flower; and after the bad illness she
had. I would not take such a responsibility for any thing in the world,”
he added, with severe and indignant virtue. As for poor Mrs. Preston,
she did not know what to do. She wrung her hands; she looked at him
beseechingly, begging him with her eyes to cease. Every feature of the
picture came home to her with a much deeper force than it did to her
mentor. Jack no more believed in any danger to Pamela than he did in his
own ultimate rejection; but the poor mother beheld her daughter pining,
dying, breaking her heart, and trembled to her very soul.

“Oh, Mr. John,” she cried, with tears, “don’t break my heart! What am I
to do? If I must either ruin you with your father–”

“Or kill your child,” said Jack, looking at her solemnly till his victim
shuddered. “Your child is more to you than my father: besides,” said the
young man, unbending a little, “it would not ruin me with my father. He
might be angry. He might make himself disagreeable; but he’s not a muff
to bear malice. My father,” continued Jack, with emphasis, feeling that
he owed his parent some reparation, and doing it magnificently when he
was about it, “is as true a gentleman as I know. He’s not the man to
ruin a fellow. You think of Pamela, and never mind me.”

But it took a long time and much reiteration to convince Mrs. Preston.
“If I could but see Mr. Brownlow, I could tell him something that would
perhaps soften his heart,” she said; but this was far from being a
pleasant suggestion to Jack. He put it down summarily, not even asking
in his youthful impatience what the something was. He had no desire to
know. He did not want his father’s heart to be softened. In short, being
as yet unaccustomed to the idea, he did not feel any particular delight
in the thought of presenting Pamela’s mother to the world as belonging
to himself. And yet this same talk had made a wonderful difference in
his feeling toward Pamela’s mother. The thought of the explanation he
had to make to her was repugnant to him when he came in. He had all but
run away from it when he was left to wait alone. And now, in less than
an hour, it seemed so natural to enter into every thing. Even if she had
bestowed a maternal embrace upon him, Jack did not feel as if he would
have resisted; but she gave him no motherly kiss. She was still half
frightened at him, half disposed to believe that to get rid of him would
be the best thing; and Jack had no mind to be got rid of. Neither of
them could have told very exactly what was the understanding upon which
they parted. There was an understanding, that was certain–an
arrangement, tacit, inexpressible, which, however, was not hostile. He
was not permitted in so many words to come again; but neither was he
sent away. When he had the assurance to ask to see Pamela before he
left, Mrs. Preston went nervously through the passage before him and
opened the door, opening up the house and their discussion as she did
so, to the big outside world and wakeful sky, with all its stars, which
seemed to stoop and look in. Poor little Pamela was in the room up
stairs, speechless, motionless, holding her breath, fixed as it were to
the window from which she must see him go out; hearing the indistinct
hum of voices underneath, and wondering what her mother was saying to
him. When the parlor door opened, her heart leaped up in her breast. She
could hear his voice, and distinguish, as she thought, every tone of it,
but she could not hear what he said. For an instant it occurred to her
too that she might be called down stairs. But then the next moment the
outer door opened, a breath of fresh air stole into the house, and she
knew he was dismissed. How had he been dismissed? For the moment? for
the night? or forever? The window was open to which Pamela clung in the
darkness, and she could hear his step going out. And as he went he spoke
out loud enough to be heard up stairs, to be heard by any body on the
road, and almost for that matter to be heard at Betty’s cottage. “If I
must not see her,” he said, “give her my dear love.” What did it mean.
Was his dear love his last message of farewell? or was it only the first
public indication that she belonged to him? Pamela sank down on her
knees by the window, noiseless, with her heart beating so in her ears
that she felt as if he must hear it outside. The whole room, the whole
house, the whole air, seemed to her full of that throbbing. His dear
love! It seemed to come in to her with the fresh air–to drop down upon
her from the big stars as they leaned out of heaven and looked down; and
yet she could not tell if it meant death or life. And Mrs. Preston was
not young, and could not fly, but came so slowly, so slowly, up the
creaking wooden stair!

Poor Mrs. Preston went slowly, not only because of her age, but because
of her burden of thoughts. She could not have told any one whether she
was very happy or deadly sad. Her heart was not fluttering in her ears
like Pamela, but beating out hard throbs of excitement. He was good, he
was true; her heart accepted him. Perhaps he was the friend she had so
much longed for, who would guard Pamela when she was gone. At present,
however, she was not gone; and yet her sceptre was passing away out of
her hands, and her crown from her head. Anyhow, for good or for evil,
this meant change; the sweet sceptre of love, the crown of natural
authority and duty, such as are the glory of a woman who is a mother,
were passing away from her. She did not grudge it. She would not have
grudged life, nor any thing dearer than life, for Pamela; but she felt
that there was change coming: and it made her sick–sick and cold and
shivering, as if she was going to have a fever. She would have been glad
to have had wings and flown to carry joy to her child; but she could not
go fast for the burden and heaviness of her thoughts.

Meanwhile Jack crossed the road briskly, and went up the avenue under
the big soft lambent stars. If it was at him in his character of lover
that they were looking, they might have saved themselves the trouble,
for he took no notice whatever of these sentimental spectators. He went
home, not in a lingering meditative way, but like a man who has made up
his mind. He had no sort of doubt or disquietude for his part about the
acceptance of his love. He knew that Pamela was his, though her mother
would not let him see her. He knew he should see her, and that she
belonged to him, and nobody on earth could come between them. He had
known all this from the first moment when the simple little girl had
told him that life was hard; and as for her mother or his father, Jack
did not in his mind make much account of the opposition of these
venerable personages–such being his nature. What remained now was to
clear a way into the future, to dig out a passage, and make it as smooth
as possible for these tremulous little feet. Such were the thoughts he
was busy with as he went home–not even musing about his little love. He
had mused about her often enough before. Now his practical nature
resumed the sway. How a household could be kept up, when it should be
established, by what means it was to be provided, was the subject of
Jack’s thoughts. He went straight to the point without any
circumlocution. As it was to be done, it would be best to be done
quickly. And he did not disguise from himself the change it would make.
He knew well enough that he could not live as he had lived in his
father’s house. He would have to go into lodgings, or to a little house;
to have one or two indifferent servants–perhaps a “child-wife”–perhaps
a resident mother-in-law. All this Jack calmly faced and foresaw. It
could not come on him unawares, for he considered the chances, and saw
that all these things were possible. There are people who will think the
worse of him for this; but it was not Jack’s fault–it was his
constitution. He might be foolish like his neighbors on one point, but
on all other points he was sane. He did not expect that Pamela, if he
translated her at once into a house of her own, should be able to govern
him and it on the spot by natural intuition. He knew there would be, as
he himself expressed it, many “hitches” in the establishment, and he
knew that he would have to give up a great many indulgences. This was
why he took no notice of the stars, and even knitted his brows as he
walked on. The romantic part of the matter was over. It was now pure
reality, and that of the most serious kind, that he had in hand.