Atwood met the Chesters They were both young and enthusiastic, but neither of them ever contemplated any very vigorous flight in the faces of the conventional. They saw each other constantly during term time, and often read Swinburne together. In the vacations they wrote long letters, and Sidney went about feeling very superior to the common herd of undergraduates who merely fell in love with people's unmarried sisters during May week Conventions in Hong Kong .

The Atwoods left Cambridge during Sidney's fourth year there, which may have accounted for his exceedingly good degree. After he was called to the Bar he saw very little of Mrs. Atwood. As she put it, "they drifted apart." She did occasionally come to London, where they would meet, and he listened sympathetically to her complaints as to the "hebetude" of the inhabitants of Carlisle, but their letters were brief and few; in fact, the whole affair would have died a natural death but for his sudden and unexpected inheritance of his uncle's property. In his case all feeling for Mrs. Atwood, except a mildly reminiscent sort of affectation, was dead, and being sincerely desirous of doing his duty in the new station of life to which he had been called, he laid aside many youthful follies and affections; in fact, he set himself seriously to become the ideal landed proprietor Conventions in Hong Kong .

On Mrs. Atwood, Sidney's sudden accession to a considerable fortune had quite another effect. Vistas of a hitherto undreamt-of possibility stretched before her; she beheld in imagination the world well lost and herself and Sidney fleeing to sunnier climes in a yacht she would help him to choose. She was a good sailor. He was not, but this she did not know.

Everything would arrange itself. Her "unloving, unloved" husband would doubtless soon get over it and she-- But it is fruitless to pursue Mrs. Atwood's reflections. She wrote many letters to Sidney. To some he replied with matter-of-fact civility, but he left a great many unanswered, especially of late.

Time had precisely opposite effects upon their respective temperaments. The flame of Mrs. Atwood's desire for Sidney burned stronger and fiercer; while in him there remained but a few grey ashes upon the altar of his love. Naturally tidy, he objected even to these frail reminders of the past, and did his best to sweep them away. Then he met Lallie and fell honestly and hopelessly in love. Mrs. Atwood's very existence became a rather annoying trifle--a pin-prick that only occasionally smarted dermes .

When Mrs. Atwood met the Chesters she was beginning to feel desperate. Her last three letters to Sidney were unanswered. When she happened to hear Mrs. Chester say he was to be their guest so shortly, she felt that the hand of destiny was outstretched on her behalf. She promptly set to work to extract an invitation from Mr. Chester, and having succeeded, felt that all would happen as she had pictured. She was convinced that they only needed to meet once more when their relations would be as they had been in the past--only more so.

"Take ship, for happiness is somewhere to be had," she quoted to herself. She was sure that her happiness lay at Pinnels End, and embarked upon her enterprise with a high heart.