CHAPTER XXIV 

 vagaries of passion! What subtleties, what risk, 
what sacrifices are not laid wilfully upon its altar? 
In a little while r this more than average residence to 
which Cowperwood had referred was prepared solely to 
effect a satisfactory method of concealment. Aileen had 
still to be allured. The house was governed by a seem- 
ingly recently bereaved widow, and it was possible for 
Aileen to call without seeming strangely out of place. 
It was a little while after this before this denouement 
was eventually brought about. Yet it was not more 
difficult to persuade Aileen, governed as she was by her 
wild and unreasoning affection and passion, than it would 
have been to lead an innocent maiden to the altar. In a 
way, there was a saving element of love, for truly, above 
all others, she wanted this man. She had no thought 
or feeling toward any other. All her mind ran toward 
visions of the future, when, somehow, she and he might be 
together alone. Mrs. Cowperwood might die, or he might 
run away with her at thirty-five when he had a million. 
Some adjustment would be made, somehow. Nature had 
given her this man. She relied on him implicitly. When 
he told her that he would take care of her so that nothing 
evil should befall, she believed him fully. She was not 
exactly bad at heart, as one may readily see. Such sins 
as these are the commonplaces of the confessional. 
It is a curious fact that, by some subtlety of logic in 
the Christian world, it has come to be believed that there 
can be no love outside of the conventional process of 
courtship and marriage. One life, one love, is the Chris- 
tian idea; and into this sluice, channel, or mold it has been