But I felt it and I wished it, and I could not help it. My own darling, there you are just a living angel, the gentlest, most sensitive, and beautiful living creature that walks the earth, and please God I shall keep you so, and ever higher and higher if such a thing is possible, and if ever I say a word or do a deed that seems to lower you, then remind me of this moment, and send me back to try to live up to our highest ideal again. And I for my part will try to improve myself and to live up to you, and to bridge more and more the gap that is between us, that I may feel myself not altogether unworthy of our love. And so we shall act and re-act upon each other, ever growing better and wiser, and dating what is best and brightest in our minds and souls from the day that we were married. And that’s MY idea of a marriage-service, and here endeth the first lesson, and the windows are blurred with rain, and hang the coachman, and it’s hard lines if a man may not kiss his own wife–you blessing!
A broad-brimmed hat with a curling feather is not a good shape for driving with an ardent young bridegroom in a discreetly rain-blurred carriage. Frank demonstrated the fact, and it took them all the way to the Langham to get those pins driven home again. And then after an abnormal meal, which was either a very late breakfast or a very early lunch, they drove on to Victoria Station, from which they were to start for Brighton. Jack Selby and the two regimental fizzers, who had secured immortality for the young couple, if the deep and constant drinking of healths could have done it, had provided themselves with packages of rice, old slippers, and other time- honoured missiles. On a hint from Maude, however, that she would prefer a quiet departure, Frank coaxed the three back into the luncheon-room with a perfectly guileless face, and then locking the door on the outside, handed the key and a half-sovereign to the head- waiter, with instructions to release the prisoners when the carriage had gone–an incident which in itself would cause the judicious observer to think that, given the opportunity, Mister Frank Crosse had it in him to go pretty far in life. And so, quietly and soberly, they rolled away upon their first journey–the journey which was the opening of that life’s journey, the goal of which no man may see.