The End of Her Honeymoon

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The End of Her Honeymoon


Mrs. Belloc Lowndes

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



“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


“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.

Nancy Tremain had been brought over to tea, one cold, snowy afternoon, at
the house where Dampier was painting. She had been dressed all in grey, and
the graceful velvet gown and furry cap-like toque had made her look, in his
eyes, like an exquisite Eighteenth Century pastel.

One glance—so Dampier had often since assured her and she never grew tired

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