Presently Mrs. Munro said: "What could I do, except refuse my consent until Trixie was of age? Of course, I had to consent. I felt I had no right to raise objections that could only be indefinite. As you know, we have nothing but our pensions, and it is a galling life to a girl of Trixie's temperament. Colonel Coventry has
Harris should write a book on cookery. Perhaps he will. Harris should run a hotel. But he has already done so. Harris should be induced to print all the indiscreet things he says over coffee and liqueurs....
They went to the drawing-room soon afterwards. There was some instrumental music of the most approved firework style, and then Captain Frampton growled away at "Il Balen" with great success, and Joyce was just making up his mind to slip away, when Lady Caroline Mansergh sat down to the piano, and began to sing one of Moore's melodies to her own accompaniment. Ah, surely it is not laying one's self open to the charge of fogeyism to grieve over the relegation to the "Canterbury" of those charming ballads, wherein the brightest fancies were wedded to the sweetest sounds? If the "makers of the people's ballads" possess the power ascribed to them, there is, indeed, but little cause to wonder at the want of tone prevalent in a society, which for its drawing-room music alternates between mawkish sentimentality and pot-house slang. When the first note of Lady Caroline's rich contralto voice rippled round the room, the guests standing about in small knots, coffee-cup in hand, gradually sidled towards the piano, and ere she had sung the first stanza even Colonel Tapp's ventriloquial grumbling--he was discussing army estimates, and the infernal attempts at cheeseparing of the Manchester School--was hushed. No one in the room was uninfluenced by the singer's spell, on no one had it so much effect as on Walter Joyce, who sat far away in the shadow of a curtain, an open photograph-book unheeded on his knee, drinking in the melody and surrendering himself entirely to its potent charms. His eyes were fixed on the singer, now on her expressive face, now on her delicate little hands as they went softly wandering over the keys, but his thoughts were very, very far away. Far away in the old school garden, with its broad grass-plots, its ruddy wall, its high elm trees, frame-like bordering the sweet domestic picture. Far away with Marian, the one love which his soul had ever known. Ah, how visibly he saw her then, the trim figure noiselessly moving about on its domestic errands, the bright beryl eyes upturned in eager questioning towards his own, the delicate hand with its long thin fingers laid in such trusting confidence on his arm! What ages it seemed since he had seen her! what a tremendous gulf seemed ever to separate them! And what prospect was there of that union for which they had so fervently prayed? The position he was to gain--where was that? What progress had he made in--"friends once linked together I've seen around me fall, like leaves in wintry weather!" Ay, ay, the poor old dominie, at rest--better there than anywhere else, better to be out of the strife and the worry, and--good heavens was this what he had promised her? was this the courage on which he had prided himself, and which was to carry him through the world? "Brava! brava! Oh, thank you so very much, Lady Caroline. Mayn't we hope for another? Thanks, so much!" The song was over; the singer had left the piano. He caught one glance as he bowed and murmured his thanks. He could not stand it any longer, his thoughts had completely unmanned him, and he longed for solitude. If it were rude to leave the party he must brave even Lady Hetherington's wrath, but he would try and get away unobserved. Now, while the hum of admiration was still going on, and while people were gathering round Lady Caroline, was the opportunity. He availed himself of it, slipped away unperceived, and hurried to his own room.
In the virtual seclusion imposed by his presence I was one of the few friends the Delanes still saw. I knew Leila was grateful to me for coming; but I did not need that incentive. It was enough that I could give even a negative support to Delane. The first months were horrible; but he was evidently saying to himself: “Things will settle down gradually,” and just squaring his great shoulders to the storm.
state of tension. I believe that a modest but complete statement of the Socialist criticism of the family and the proposed Socialist substitute for the conventional relationships might awaken extraordinary responses at the present time. The great terror of the eighties and early nineties that crushed all reasonable discussion of sexual relationship is, I believe, altogether over.
And where the Spartan sword flashed high,详情 ➢
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