Page images
PDF
EPUB

as

find that you had made a great “I shall never make a martyr! mistake."

“ You will never be one, I hope.” Isabel followed her uncle's argu- “I hope not. But you don't pity ment, which he unfolded with his Lord Warburton, then, Ralph mild, reflective, optimistic accent, most does ?' attentively, and though she was un- Her uncle looked at her a while, acquainted with the British aristocracy, with genial acuteness. she found it in harmony with her “ Yes, I do, after all.” general impressions of human nature. But she felt moved to put in a protest

IX. on Lord Warburton's behalf.

“I don't believe Lord Warburton's The two Misses Molyneux, this noblea humbug,” she said; “I don't care man's sisters, came presently to call what the others are. I should like upon her, and Isabel took a fancy to to see Lord Warburton put to the the young ladies, who appeared to her test."

to have a very original stamp. It is “ Heaven deliver

me from

my true that, when she spoke of them to friends !” Mr. Touchett answered. her cousin as original, he declared that “Lord Warburton is a very amiable no epithet could be less applicable than young man—a very fine young man. this to the two Misses Molyneux, for He has a hundred thousand a year. that there were fifty thousand young He owns fifty thousand acres of the women in England who exactly resemsoil of this little island. He has half bled them. Deprived of this advana dozen houses to live in. He has a

tage, however, Isabel's visitors retained seat in Parliament as I have one at that of an extreme sweetness and shymy own dinner-table. He has very ness of demeanour, and of having, as cultivated tastes-cares for literature, she thought, the kindest eyes in the for art, for science, for charming young world. ladies. The most cultivated is his They are not morbid, at any rate, taste for the new views. It affords whatever they are,” our heroine said him a great deal of entertainment, to herself; and she deemed this a more perhaps than anything else, ex- great charm, for two or three of the cept the young ladies. His old house friends of her girlhood had been reover there--what does he call it, grettably open to the charge (they Lockleigh ?—is very attractive; but would have been so nice without it), I don't think it is as pleasant as this. to say nothing of Isabel's having occaThat doesn't matter, however-he has sionally suspected that it might begot so many others. His views don't come a fault of her own. The Misses hurt any one, as far as I can see; they Molyneux were not in their first youth, certainly don't hurt himself. And if but they had bright, fresh complexions, there were to be a revolution, he would and something of the smile of childcome off very easily; they wouldn't hood. Their eyes, which Isabel adtouch him, they would leave him as he mired so much, were quiet and con. is; he is too much liked.

tented, and their figures, of a generous Ah, he couldn't be a martyr even roundness, were encased in sealskin if he wished !” Isabel exclaimed. jackets. Their friendliness was great, That's a very poor position !” so great that they were almost embar

“He will never be a martyr unless rassed to show it; they seemed someyou make him one," said the old what afraid of the young lady from the man.

other side of the world, and rather Isabel shook her head ; there might looked than spoke their good wishes. have been something laughable in the But they made it clear to her that fact that she did it with a touch of they hoped she would come to lunch at sadness.

Lockleigh, where they lived with their

as

brother, and then they might see her such a great radical ? " Isabel asked. very, very often.

They wondered She knew it was true, bụt we have whether she wouldn't come over some seen that her interest in human nature day and sleep; they were expecting was keen, and she had a desire to draw some people on the twenty-ninth, and the Misses Molyneux out. perhaps she would come while the “Oh dear, yes; he's immensely people were there.

advanced,” said Mildred, the younger " I'm afraid it isn't any one very

sister. remarkable,” said the elder sister; “ At the same time, Warburton is “but I daresay you will take us very reasonable,” Miss Molyneux you find us.”

observed. “I shall find you delightful; I Isabel watched him a moment, at think you are enchanting just as you the other side of the room ; he was

" replied Isabel, who was often evidently trying hard to make himvery liberal in her expression of self agreeable to Mrs. Touchett. esteem.

Ralph was playing with one of the Her visitors blushed, and her dogs before the fire which the temcousin told her, after they were gone, perature of an English August, in the that, if she said such things to those ancient, spacious room, had not made poor girls, they would think she was an impertinence.

“Do you suppose quizzing them; he was sure it was your brother is sincere?Isabel the first time they had been called inquired with a smile. enchanting

" Oh, he must be, you

know ! “I can't help it,” Isabel answered. Mildred exclaimed, quickly; whilo “I think it's lovely to be so quiet, the elder sister gazed at our heroine and reasonable, and satisfied. I should in silence. like to be like that."

“Do you think he would stand the “ Heaven forbid !" cried Ralph, test?” with ardour.

" The test ?" “I mean to try and imitate them," "I mean, for instance, having to said Isabel. “I want very much to give up all this !” see them at home."

"Having to give up Lockleigh ? " She had this pleasure a few days said Miss Molyneux, finding her voice. later, when, with Ralph and his Yes, and the other places; what mother, she drove over to Lockleigh. are they called ?" She found the Misses Molyneux sitting The two sisters exchanged an almost in a vast drawing-room (she perceived frightened glance. “Do you meanafterwards it was one of several), in a do you mean on account of the exwilderness of faded chintz; they pense ?” the younger one asked. were dressed on this occasion in black “I daresay he might let one or two velveteen. Isabel liked them even of his houses,” said the other. better at home than she had done at “Let them for nothing ?” Isabel Gardencourt, and was more than ever inquired. struck with the fact that they were “I can't fancy his giving up his not morbid. It had seemed to her property !” said Miss Molyneux. before that, if they had a fault, it was “Ah, I am afraid he is an ima want of vivacity; but she presently postor !” Isabel exclaimed. “ Don't saw that they were capable of deep you think it's a false position ? " emotion. Before lunch she was alone Her companions, evidently, were with them, for some time, on one side rapidly getting bewildered. “My of the room, while Lord Warburton, brother's position ?” Miss Molyneux at a distance, talked to Mrs. Touchett. inquired.

“Is it true that your brother is “It's thought a very good position," No. 253.-VOL. XLIII.

C

said the youger sister. “It's the first Vicar of Lockleigh were

a big, position in the county."

athletic figure, a

figure, a candid, natural “I am afraid you think me very countenance, a capacious appetite, and irreverent,” Isabel took occasion to a tendency to abundant laughter. observe. “I suppose you revere your Isabel learned afterwards from her brother, and are rather afraid of cousin that, before taking orders, he him.”

had been a mighty wrestler, and thai “Of course one looks up to one's he was still, on occasion in the brother,” said Miss Molyneux, simply. privacy of the family circle as it were

“If you do that, he must be very -quite capable of flooring his man. good-because you, evidently, are very Isabel liked him—she was in the mood good.”

for liking everything; but her ima“He is most kind. It will never gination was a good deal taxed to be known, the good he does."

think of him as a source of spiritual “His ability is known," Mildred aid. The whole party, on leaving added; “every one thinks it's im- lunch, went to walk in the grounds ; mense.

but Lord Warburton exercised some “ Oh, I can see that,” said Isabel. ingenuity in engaging his youngest “But if I were he, I should wish to visitor in a stroll somewhat apart be a conservative. I should wish to from the others. keep everything."

“I wish you to see the place pro"I think one ought to be liberal," perly, seriously,” he said. Mildred argued, gently. “We have can't do so if your attention is disalways been so, even from the earliest tracted by irrelevant gossip." times.”

“ You

own conversation (though he told “Ah well,” said Isabel, "you have Isabel a good deal about the house, made a great success of it; I don't which had a very curious history) wonder you like it. I see you are was not purely archæological ; he revery fond of crewels."

verted at intervals to matters more When Lord Warburtou showed her personal--matters personal to the the house, after lunch, it seemed to young lady as well as to himself. her a matter of course that it should But at last, after a pause of some be a noble picture. Within, it had duration, returning for a moment to been a good deal modernised

their ostensible theme, “Ah, well,” of its best points had lost their he said, “I am very glad indeed you purity; but as they saw it from the like the old house. I wish you could gardens, a stout, grey pile, of the see more of it—that you could stay softest, deepest, most weather-fretted here a while. My sisters have taken hue, rising from a broad, still moat, an immense fancy to you—if that it seemed to Isabel a castle in a fairy would be any inducement." tale. The day was cool and rather “ There is no want of inducements,' lustreless; the first note of autumn Isabel answered ; “but I am afraid I had been struck; and the watery can't make engagements. I am quite sunshine rested on the walls in blurred in my aunt's hands." and desultory gleams, washing them, Ah, excuse me if I say I don't as it were, in places tenderly chosen, exactly believe that. I am pretty where the ache of antiquity was sure you can do whatever you want.” keenest. Her host's brother, the Vicar, “I am sorry if I make that im. had come to lunch, and Isabel had pression on you; I don't think it's a had five minutes' talk with him— nice impression to make.” time enough to institute a search for “It has the merit of permitting theological characteristics and give it me to hope.” And Lord Warburton up as vain. The characteristics of the paused a moment.

some

you?"

say that.'

" To hope what ? ”

" You don't of necessity lose by “ That in future I may see you that.” often.”

“It is very kind of you to say so; “Ah,” said Isabel, “ to enjoy that but even if I gain, stern justice is not pleasure, I needn't be so terribly what I most love. Is Mrs. Touchett emancipated !”

going to take you abroad ? “Doubtless not; and yet at the "I hope so." same time I don't think your uncle “ Is England not good enough for likes me.”

“You are very much mistaken. I “That's a very Machiavellian speech; have heard him speak very highly of it doesn't deserve an answer. I want you."

very much to see foreign lands as “I am glad you have talked about well." me," said Lord Warburton. “But, all “ Then you will go on judging, I the same, I don't think he would like

suppose." me to keep coming to Gardencourt.” "Enjoying, I hope, too."

“I can't answer for my uncle's “Yes, that's what you enjoy most ; tastes,” the girl rejoined, “ though I I can't make out what you are up to," ought, as far as possible, to take them said Lord Warburton. " You strike into account. But, for myself, I shall me as having mysterious purposesbe very glad to see you."

vast designs ! ” “ Now that's what I like to hear “You are so good as to have a theory you say! I am charmed when you about me which I don't at all fill out.

Is there anything mysterious in a purYou are easily charmed, my lord,” pose entertained and executed every said Isabel.

year, in the most public manner, by “No, I am not easily charmed !” fifty thousand of my fellow-countryAnd then he stopped a moment. men—the purpose of improving one's “But you have charmed me, Miss mind by foreign travel ?"* Archer,” he added.

“You can't improve your mind, Miss These words were uttered with an Archer,” her companion declared. indefinable sound which startled the “It's already a most formidable ingirl ; it struck her as the prelude to strument. It looks down on us all ; something grave; she had heard the it despises us." sound before and she recognised it. “Despises you? You are making She had no wish, however, that for the fun of me," said Isabel, seriously. moment such a prelude should have a “Well, you think us picturesque sequel, and she said, as gaily as possible that's the same thing. I won't be and as quickly as an appreciable degree thought picturesque, to begin with; of agitation would allow her,

I am not so in the least. I protest." afraid there is no prospect of my being “That protest is one of the most able to come here again.”

picturesque things I have ever heard," “Never?" said Lord Warburton. Isabel answered, with a smile.

“I won't say 'never'; I should feel Lord Warburton was silent a movery melodramatic."

ment. “You judge only from the “May I come and see you then outside--you don't care l” he said some day next week ?”

presently. “You only care to amuse “Most assuredly. What is there yourself !” The note she had heard to prevent it?”

in his voice a moment before re* Nothing tangible. But with you appeared, and mixed with it now was I never feel safe. I have a sort of an audible strain of bitterness-a sense that you are always judging bitterness so abrupt and inconsequent people."

that the girl felt a painful alarm.

I am

car.

She had often heard that the English envelope, exhibiting in conjunction the were a highly eccentric people; and postmark of Liverpool and the neat she had even read in some ingenious calligraphy of the quick-fingered Henauthor that they were, at bottom, the rietta, caused her some liveliness of most romantic of races. Was Lord emotion. “Here I am, my lovely Warburton suddenly turning roman- friend,” Miss Stackpole wrote; “I tic-was he going to make a scene, in managed to get off at last. I decided his own house, only the third time only the night before I left New York they had met? She was reassured, - the Interviewer having come round quickly enough, by her sense of his to my figure. I put a few things into great good manners, which was not a bag, like a veteran journalist, and impaired by the fact that he had came down to the steamer in a streetalready touched the furthest limit of Where are you, and where can good taste in expressing his admiration we meet? I suppose you are visiting of a young lady who had confided in at some castle or other, and have his hospitality She was right in already acquired the correct accent. trusting to his good manners, for he Perhaps, even, you have married a presently went on, laughing a little, lord; I almost hope you have, for I and without a trace of the accent that want some introductions to the first had discomposed her—“I don't mean, people, and shall count on you for a of course, that you amuse yourself few. The Interviewer wants some with trifles. You select great nate- light on the nobility. My first impresrials; the foibles, the afflictions of sions (of the people at large) are not human nature, the peculiarities of rose-coloured, but I wish to talk nations!”

them over with you, and you know As regards that,” said Isabel, “I that whatever I am, at least I am not should find in my own nation enter- superficial. I have also something tainment for a lifetime. But we have very particular to tell you. Do apa long drive, and my aunt will soon point a meeting as quickly as you can; wish to start.” She turned back to

come to London (I should like so much ward the others, and Lord Warburton to visit the sights with you), or else walked beside her in silence. But let me come to you, wherever you are. before they reached the others—“I I will do so with pleasure ; for you shall come and see you next week,” he know everything interests me, and I said.

wish to see as much as possible of the She had received an appreciable inner life.” shock, but as it died away, she felt Isabel did not show this letter to that she could not pretend to her- her uncle; but she acquainted him self that it was altogether a painful with its purport, and, as she expected, one. Nevertheless, she made answer he begged her instantly to assure to this declaration, coldly enough, Miss Stackpole, in his name, that he “Just as you please.” And her cold- should be delighted to receive her at

was not coquetry - a quality Gardencourt. “ Though she is a which she possessed in a much smaller literary lady," he said, “I suppose degree than would have seemed pro- that, being an American, she won't bable to many critics; it came from a reproduce me, as that other one did. certain fear.

She has seen others like me."

“She has seen no other so delight

ful I” Isabel answered ; but she was X.

not altogether at ease about HenriThe day after her visit to Lockleigh etta's reproductive instincts, which she received a note from her friend, belonged to that side of her friend's Miss Stackpole—a note of which the character which she viewed with least

ness

« PreviousContinue »