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They were both sensible, though one swore and the other sighed. She is pretty. I hope she does not paint.

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I can affirm that her legs are strong, for she walks to Bellingham twice a week to take her Scarlet bath, when, having confessed and been made clean by the Romish unction, she walks back the brisker, of which my Protestant muscular systems is yet aware. It was on the road to Bellingham I engaged her.

She is well in the matter of hair. Madam Godiva might challenge her, it would be a fair match.

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Has it never struck you that Woman is nearer the vegetable than Man? Blaize intends her for his son a junction that every lover of fairy mythology must desire to see consummated. Young Tom is heir to all the agremens of the Beast. The maids of Lobourne say I hear that he is a very Proculus among them. Possibly the envious men say it for the maids. Beauty does not speak bad grammar--and altogether she is better out of the way.

She is indeed very much above her station--pity that it is so! She is almost beautiful--quite beautiful at times, and not in any way what you have been led to fancy. The poor child had no story to tell. I have again seen her, and talked with her for an hour as kindly as I could.

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I could gather nothing more than we know. It is just a woman's history as it invariably commences. Richard is the god of her idolatry. She will renounce him, and sacrifice herself for his sake. Are we so bad? She asked me what she was to do. She would do whatever was imposed upon her--all but pretend to love another, and that she never would, and, I believe, never will. You know I am sentimental, and I confess we dropped a few tears together. Her uncle has sent her for the Winter to the institution where it appears she was educated, and where they are very fond of her and want to keep her, which it would be a good thing if they were to do.

The man is a good sort of man.

She was entrusted to him by her father, and he never interferes with her religion, and is very scrupulous about all that pertains to it, though, as he says, he is a Christian himself. In the Spring but the poor child does not know this she is to come back, and be married to his lout of a son. I am determined to prevent that. May I not reckon on your promise to aid me? When you see her, I am sure you will. It would be sacrilege to look on and permit such a thing. You know, they are cousins. She asked me, where in the world there was one like Richard?

What could I answer? They were your own words, and spoken with a depth of conviction!


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I hope he is really calm. I shudder to think of him when he comes, and discovers what I have been doing. I hope I have been really doing right! A good deed, you say, never dies; but we cannot always know--I must rely on you. Yes, it is; I should think, easy to suffer martyrdom when one is sure of one's cause!

I have done nothing lately but to repeat to myself that saying of yours, No. May not one be admitted to inspect the machinery of wisdom? I feel curious to know how thoughts--real thoughts --are born. Not that I hope to win the secret. Here is the beginning of one but we poor women can never put together even two of the three ideas which you say go to form a thought : 'When a wise man makes a false step, will he not go farther than a fool?

I dislike the sneering essence of his writings. I keep referring to his face, until the dislike seems to become personal. How different is it with Wordsworth! And yet I cannot escape from the thought that he is always solemnly thinking of himself but I do reverence him.

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But this is curious; Byron was a greater egoist, and yet I do not feel the same with him. He reminds me of a beast of the desert, savage and beautiful; and the former is what one would imagine a superior donkey reclaimed from the heathen to be--a very superior donkey, I mean, with great power of speech and great natural complacency, and whose stubbornness you must admire as part of his mission. The worst is that no one will imagine anything sublime in a superior donkey, so my simile is unfair and false. Is it not strange? I love Wordsworth best, and yet Byron has the greater power over me.

How is that? The latter offends me. I suppose we women do not really care for humour. You are right in saying we have none ourselves, and 'cackle' instead of laugh. It is true of me, at least that 'Falstaff is only to us an incorrigible fat man. And Don Quixote--what end can be served in making a noble mind ridiculous? So it is. We are very narrow, I know. But we like wit--practical again! Or in your words when I really think they generally come to my aid-- perhaps it is that it is often all your thought ; we 'prefer the rapier thrust, to the broad embrace, of Intelligence.

There are ideas language is too gross for, and shape too arbitrary, which come to us and have a definite influence upon us, and yet we cannot fasten on the filmy things and make them visible and distinct to ourselves, much less to others. Why did he twice throw a look into the glass in the act of passing it? He stood for a moment with head erect facing it. His eyes for the nonce seemed little to peruse his outer features; the grey gathered brows, and the wrinkles much action of them had traced over the circles half up his high straight forehead; the iron-grey hair that rose over his forehead and fell away in the fashion of Richard's plume.

His general appearance showed the tints of years; but none of their weight, and nothing of the dignity of his youth, was gone. It was so far satisfactory, but his eyes were wide, as one who looks at his essential self through the mask we wear. Perhaps he was speculating as he looked on the sort of aspect he presented to the lady's discriminative regard. Of her feelings he had not a suspicion. But he knew with what extraordinary lucidity women can, when it pleases them, and when their feelings are not quite boiling under the noonday sun, seize all the sides of a character, and put their fingers on its weak point.

He was cognizant of the total absence of the humorous in himself the want that most shut him out from his fellows , and perhaps the clear-thoughted, intensely self-examining gentleman filmily conceived, Me also, in common with the poet, she gazes on as one of the superior--grey beasts! He may have so conceived the case; he was capable of that great- mindedness, and could snatch at times very luminous glances at the broad reflector which the world of fact lying outside our narrow compass holds up for us to see ourselves in when we will.

Unhappily, the faculty of laughter, which is due to this gift, was denied him; and having seen, he, like the companion of friend Balsam, could go no farther. For a good wind of laughter had relieved him of much of the blight of self- deception, and oddness, and extravagance; had given a healthier view of our atmosphere of life; but he had it not.


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Journeying back to Bellingham in the train, with the heated brain and brilliant eye of his son beside him, Sir Austin tried hard to feel infallible, as a man with a System should feel; and because he could not do so, after much mental conflict, he descended to entertain a personal antagonism to the young woman who had stepped in between his experiment and success. He did not think kindly of her. Lady Blandish's encomiums of her behaviour and her beauty annoyed him. Forgetful that he had in a measure forfeited his rights to it, he took the common ground of fathers, and demanded, "Why he was not justified in doing all that lay in his power to prevent his son from casting himself away upon the first creature with a pretty face he encountered?

It appeared to him politic, reasonable, and just, that the uncle of this young woman, who had so long nursed the prudent scheme of marrying her to his son, should not only not be thwarted in his object but encouraged and even assisted. At least, not thwarted. Sir Austin had no glass before him while these ideas hardened in his mind, and he had rather forgotten the letter of Lady Blandish. Father and son were alone in the railway carriage. Both were too preoccupied to speak. As they neared Bellingham the dark was filling the hollows of the country.

Over the pine-hills beyond the station a last rosy streak lingered across a green sky. Richard eyed it while they flew along. It caught him forward: it seemed full of the spirit of his love, and brought tears of mournful longing to his eyelids. The sad beauty of that one spot in the heavens seemed to call out to his soul to swear to his Lucy's truth to him: was like the sorrowful visage of his fleur-de- luce as he called her, appealing to him for faith.

That tremulous tender way she had of half-closing and catching light on the nether-lids, when sometimes she looked up in her lover's face--as look so mystic-sweet that it had grown to be the fountain of his dreams: he saw it yonder, and his blood thrilled. Know you those wand-like touches of I know not what, before which our grosser being melts; and we, much as we hope to be in the Awaking, stand etherealized, trembling with new joy? They come but rarely; rarely even in love, when we fondly think them revelations. Mere sensations they are, doubtless: and we rank for them no higher in the spiritual scale than so many translucent glorious polypi that quiver on the shores, the hues of heaven running through them.

Yet in the harvest of our days it is something for the animal to have had such mere fleshly polypian experiences to look back upon, and they give him an horizon--pale seas of luring splendour. One who has had them when they do not bound him may find the Isles of Bliss sooner than another.