He wiped his forehead with his handkerchief. "A hard tussle," thought he, "and with my own unnatural, ungrateful flesh and blood, but I have won it: he hasn't told the Dodds; he never will; and, if he did, who would believe him, or them?"
At dinner there was no Alfred; but after dinner a note to Jane informing her he had taken lodgings in the town, and requesting her to send his books and clothes in the evening. Jane handed the note to her father: and sighed deeply. Watching his face as he read it, she saw him turn rather pale, and look more furrowed than ever.
"Papa!" said she, "what _does_ it all mean!"
Then, after a long pause, he ground his teeth and said, "It means--War: War between my own son and me."
LONG before this open rupture Jane Hardie had asked her father sorrowfully, whether she was to discontinue her intimacy with the Dodds: she thought of course he would say "Yes;" and it cost her a hard struggle between inclination and filial duty to raise the question. But Mr. Hardie was anxious her friendship with that family should continue; it furnished a channel of news, and in case of detection might be useful to avert or soften hostilities; so he answered rather sharply, "On no account: the Dodds are an estimable family: pray be as friendly with them as ever you can." Jane coloured with pleasure at this most unexpected reply; but her wakeful conscience reminded her, this answer was given in ignorance of her attachment to Edward Dodd, and urged her to confession. But at that Nature recoiled: Edward had not openly declared his love to her; so modest pride, as well as modest shame, combined with female cowardice to hold back the avowal.
So then Miss Tender Conscience tormented herself; and recorded the struggle in her diary; but briefly, and in terms vague and typical; not a word about "a young man"--or "crossed in love"--but one obscure and hasty slap at the carnal affections, and a good deal about "the saints in prison," and "the battle of Armageddon."
Yet, to do her justice, laxity of expression did not act upon her conduct and warp that as it does most mystical speakers.
To obey her father to the letter, she maintained a friendly correspondence with Julia Dodd, exchanging letters daily; but, not to disobey him in the spirit, she ceased to visit Albion Villa. Thus she avoided Edward, and extracted from the situation the utmost self-denial, and the least possible amount of "carnal pleasure," as she naively denominated an interchange of worldly affection, however distant and respectful.