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HOME > Classical Novels > The House Behind the Cedars33 > X THE DREAM
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 The marriage was fixed1 for the thirtieth of the month, immediately after which Tryon and his bride were to set out for North Carolina. Warwick would have liked it much if Tryon had lived in South Carolina; but the location of his North Carolina home was at some distance from Patesville, with which it had no connection by steam or rail, and indeed lay altogether out of the line of travel to Patesville. Rena had no acquaintance with people of social standing2 in North Carolina; and with the added maturity3 and charm due to her improved opportunities, it was unlikely that any former resident of Patesville who might casually4 meet her would see in the elegant young matron from South Carolina more than a passing resemblance to a poor girl who had once lived in an obscure part of the old town. It would of course be necessary for Rena to keep away from Patesville; save for her mother's sake, she would hardly be tempted5 to go back.  
On the twentieth of the month, Warwick set out with Tryon for the county seat of the adjoining county, to try one of the lawsuits6 which had required Tryon's presence in South Carolina for so long a time. Their destination was a day's drive from Clarence, behind a good horse, and the trial was expected to last a week.
"This week will seem like a year," said Tryon ruefully, the evening before their departure, "but I'll write every day, and shall expect a letter as often."
"The mail goes only twice a week, George," replied Rena.
"Then I shall have three letters in each mail."
Warwick and Tryon were to set out in the cool of the morning, after an early breakfast. Rena was up at daybreak that she might preside at the breakfast-table and bid the travelers good-by.
"John," said Rena to her brother in the morning, "I dreamed last night that mother was ill."
"Dreams, you know, Rena," answered Warwick lightly, "go by contraries. Yours undoubtedly7 signifies that our mother, God bless her simple soul! is at the present moment enjoying her usual perfect health. She was never sick in her life."
For a few months after leaving Patesville with her brother, Rena had suffered tortures of homesickness; those who have felt it know the pang8. The severance9 of old ties had been abrupt10 and complete. At the school where her brother had taken her, there had been nothing to relieve the strangeness of her surroundings—no schoolmate from her own town, no relative or friend of the family near by. Even the compensation of human sympathy was in a measure denied her, for Rena was too fresh from her prison-house to doubt that sympathy would fail before the revelation of the secret the consciousness of which oppressed her at that time like a nightmare. It was not strange that Rena, thus isolated11, should have been prostrated12 by homesickness for several weeks after leaving Patesville. When the paroxysm had passed, there followed a dull pain, which gradually subsided13 into a resignation as profound, in its way, as had been her longing14 for home. She loved, she suffered, with a quiet intensity15 of which her outward demeanor16 gave no adequate expression. From some ancestral source she had derived17 a strain of the passive fatalism by which alone one can submit uncomplainingly to the inevitable18. By the same token, when once a thing had been decided19, it became with her a finality, which only some extraordinary stress of emotion could disturb. She had acquiesced20 in her brother's plan; for her there was no withdrawing; her homesickness was an incidental thing which must be endured, as patiently as might be, until time should have brought a measure of relief.
Warwick had made provision for an occasional letter from Patesville, by leaving with his mother a number of envelopes directed to his address. She could have her letters written, inclose them in these envelopes, and deposit them in the post-office with her own hand. Thus the place of Warwick's residence would remain within her own knowledge, and his secret would not be placed at the mercy of any wandering Patesvillian who might perchance go to that part of South Carolina. By this simple means Rena had kept as closely in touch with her mother as Warwick had considered prudent21; any closer intercourse22 was not consistent with their present station in life.
The night after Warwick and Tryon had ridden away, Rena dreamed again that her mother was ill. Better taught people than she, in regions more enlightened than the South Carolina of that epoch23, are disturbed at times by dreams. Mis' Molly had a profound faith in them. If God, in ancient times, had spoken to men in visions of the night, what easier way could there be for Him to convey his meaning to people of all ages? Science, which has shattered many an idol24 and destroyed many a delusion25, has made but slight inroads upon the shadowy realm of dreams. For Mis' Molly, to whom science would have meant nothing and psychology26 would have been a meaningless term, the land of dreams was carefully mapped and bounded. Each dream had some special............
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