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The End of Her Honeymoon   By: (1868-1947)

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The End of Her Honeymoon

By

Mrs. Belloc Lowndes

Author of "The Uttermost Farthing," "The Chink in the Armour," etc., etc.

1913

CHAPTER I

"Cocher? l'Hôtel Saint Ange, Rue Saint Ange!"

The voice of John Dampier, Nancy's three weeks bridegroom, rang out strongly, joyously, on this the last evening of their honeymoon. And before the lightly hung open carriage had time to move, Dampier added something quickly, at which both he and the driver laughed in unison.

Nancy crept nearer to her husband. It was tiresome that she knew so little French.

"I'm telling the man we're not in any hurry, and that he can take us round by the Boulevards. I won't have you seeing Paris from an ugly angle the first time darling!"

"But Jack? It's nearly midnight! Surely there'll be nothing to see on the Boulevards now?"

"Won't there? You wait and see Paris never goes to sleep!"

And then Nancy remembered it long, long afterwards something very odd and disconcerting happened in the big station yard of the Gare de Lyon. The horse stopped stopped dead. If it hadn't been that the bridegroom's arm enclosed her slender, rounded waist, the bride might have been thrown out.

The cabman stood up in his seat and gave his horse a vicious blow across the back.

"Oh, Jack!" Nancy shrank and hid her face in her husband's arm. "Don't let him do that! I can't bear it!"

Dampier shouted out something roughly, angrily, and the man jumped off the box, and taking hold of the rein gave it a sharp pull. He led his unwilling horse through the big iron gates, and then the little open carriage rolled on smoothly.

How enchanting to be driving under the stars in the city which hails in every artist Jack Dampier was an artist a beloved son!

In the clear June atmosphere, under the great arc lamps which seemed suspended in the mild lambent air, the branches of the trees lining the Boulevards showed brightly, delicately green; and the tints of the dresses worn by the women walking up and down outside the cafés and still brilliantly lighted shops mingled luminously, as on a magic palette.

Nancy withdrew herself gently from her husband's arm. It seemed to her that every one in that merry, slowly moving crowd on either side must see that he was holding her to him. She was a shy, sensitive little creature, this three weeks old bride, whose honeymoon was now about to merge into happy every day life.

Dampier divined something of what she was feeling. He put out his hand and clasped hers. "Silly sweetheart," he whispered. "All these merry, chattering people are far too full of themselves to be thinking of us!"

As she made no answer, bewildered, a little oppressed by the brilliance, the strangeness of everything about them, he added a little anxiously, "Darling, are you tired? Would you rather go straight to the hotel?"

But pressing closer to him, Nancy shook her head. "No, no, Jack! I'm not a bit tired. It was you who were tired to day, not I!"

"I didn't feel well in the train, 'tis true. But now that I'm in Paris I could stay out all night! I suppose you've never read George Moore's description of this very drive we're taking, little girl?"

And again Nancy shook her head, and smiled in the darkness. In the world where she had lived her short life, in the comfortable, unimaginative world in which Nancy Tremain, the delightfully pretty, fairly well dowered, orphan, had drifted about since she had been "grown up," no one had ever heard of George Moore.

Strange, even in some ways amazing, their marriage hers and Jack Dampier's had been! He, the clever, devil may care artist, unconventional in all his ways, very much a Bohemian, knowing little of his native country, England, for he had lived all his youth and working life in France and she, in everything, save an instinctive love of beauty, which, oddly yet naturally enough, only betrayed itself in her dress, the exact opposite!

A commission from an English country gentleman who had fancied a portrait shown by Dampier in the Salon, had brought the artist, rather reluctantly, across the Channel, and an accident sometimes it made them both shiver to realise how slight an accident had led to their first and decisive meeting... Continue reading book >>




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