6. Chapter VI.
That evening, after Mr. Jackson had taken himself
away, and the ladies had retired to their chintz-curtained bedroom, Newland Archer mounted thoughtfully
to his own study. A vigilant hand had, as usual,
kept the fire alive and the lamp trimmed; and the
room, with its rows and rows of books, its bronze and
steel statuettes of "The Fencers" on the mantelpiece
and its many photographs of famous pictures, looked
singularly home-like and welcoming.
As he dropped into his armchair near the fire his eyes
rested on a large photograph of May Welland, which
the young girl had given him in the first days of their
romance, and which had now displaced all the other
portraits on the table. With a new sense of awe he
looked at the frank forehead, serious eyes and gay
innocent mouth of the young creature whose soul's
custodian he was to be. That terrifying product of the
social system he belonged to and believed in, the young
girl who knew nothing and expected everything, looked
back at him like a stranger through May Welland's
familiar features; and once more it was borne in on
him that marriage was not the safe anchorage he had
been taught to think, but a voyage on uncharted seas.