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Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/The silver cord - Part 2




When a Frenchman’s wife disappears (if the fact is likely to be known among his friends) he selects his seconds, and practises his thrust in tierce. When the same misfortune happens to an American, he fills his pockets with revolvers, and bides his time. When an Englishman is so unhappy as to find his castle left unto him desolate, he consults his solicitor.

Let it be distinctly understood at the outset of our narrative, that Arthur Lygon, shocked, staggering, bewildered, was loyal and true to the woman whom he loved. For not one moment did the husband of Laura admit to his heart a single thought that accused her honour and his own. The first idea that would occur to most men, surrounded by such circumstances as those described in our opening chapter, would be, not unnaturally, that conjugal relations between the wife and the husband were over for ever and ever. That first idea would have been the very last for Arthur Lygon, or, rather, it never arose to him at all. After a long and wearying night, during which every possibility that his brain could suggest as the cause of the sorrow that had come upon him presented itself with sickening iteration, until the gradually deadening faculty refused to be driven along the dreary paths of conjecture, and the bright dawn found him pale, nervous, and agitated, Lygon’s true heart was still brave and firm enough to resist, unconsciously, the entrance of any base thought. His wife had encountered some fearful misfortune, and to rescue her, and restore her to the home whence she had been lured, or forced, or driven by some agency which it was his to trace and punish—that was Arthur Lygon’s business. And when, after that terrible night-watch, he stood at his opened window, and cooled his forehead in the soft air of the summer morning, he had no angry words to utter, no sighs for his own tribulation, no reproaches against an undeserved destiny to pour out, after the fashion of heroes who are suddenly grieved or wronged. His one thought was for the delivery of Laura from the unknown enemy. A most unpicturesque, ineffective hero, indeed, and one upon whom such a chance of melting pathos and of fiery declamation was Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/570 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/571 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/572 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/573 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/574 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/575