Part 2 out of 9
aspire to be the nests and cradles of heroes, and their eyes flash and
glisten, and their cheeks flush and grow pale by turns; and the four
little papered walls that confined them seemed to fall without noise,
and they were away in thought out of a carpeted temple of wax, small
talk, nonentity, and nonentities, away to sea-breezes that they almost
felt in their hair and round their temples as their hearts rose and
fell upon a broad swell of passion, perils, waves, male men,
realities. The spell was at its height, when the sea-wizard's eye fell
on the mantel-piece. Died in a moment his noble ardor: "Why, it is
eight bells," said he, servilely; then, doggedly, "time to turn in."
"Hang that clock!" shouted Mr. Fountain; "I'll have it turned out of
Said Lucy, with gentle enthusiasm, "It must be beautiful to be a
sailor, and to have seen the real world, and, above all, to be brave
and strong like Mr. ----,. must it not, uncle?" and she looked askant
at David's square shoulders and lion eye, and for the first time in
her life there crossed her an undefined instinct that this gentleman
must be the male of her species.
"As for his courage," said Eve, "that we have only his own word for."
"Not even that," replied Lucy, "for I observed he spoke but little of
"I did not notice that," said Eve, pertly; "but as for his strength,
he certainly is as strong as a great bear, and as rude. What do you
think? my lord carried me all the way from the top of the green lane
to your house, and I am no feather."
"No, a skein of silk," put in David.
"I asked the gentleman politely to put me down, and he wouldn't, so
then I boxed his ears."
"Oh, how could you?"
"Oh, bless you, he never hits me again; he is too great a coward. And
the great mule carried me all the more--carried me to your very door."
"I almost think--I believe I could guess why he carried you, if you
will not be offended at my assuming the interpreter," said Lucy,
looking at Eve and speaking at David. "You have thin shoes on, Miss
Dodd; now I remember the gravel ends at green lane, and the grass
begins; so, from what we know of Mr. Dodd, perhaps he carried you that
you might not have damp feet."
"Nothing of the kind--yes, it was, though, by his coloring up. La!
David, dear boy!"
"What is a man alongside for but to keep a girl out of mischief?" said
"Pray convert all your sex to that view," laughed Lucy.
So now they were going. Then Mr. Fountain thanked David for the
pleasant evening he had given them; then David blushed and stammered.
He had a veneration for old age--another of his superstitions.
Her uncle's lead gave Lucy an opportunity she instantly seized. "Mr.
Dodd, you have taken us into a new world of knowledge; we never were
so interested in our lives." At this pointblank praise David blushed,
and was anything but comfortable, and began to back out of it all with
a curt bow. Then, as the ladies can advance when a man of merit
retreats, Lucy went the length of putting out her hand with a sweet,
grateful smile; so he took it, and, in the ardor of encouraging so
much spirit and modesty, she unconsciously pressed it. On this
delicious pressure, light as it was, he raised his full brown eye, and
gave her such a straightforward look of manly admiration and pleasure
that she blushed faintly and drew back a little in her turn.
"Well, Davy, dear, how do you like the Fountains?"
"Eve, she is a clipper!"
"And the old gentleman?"
"He was very friendly. What do _you_ think of her?"
"She is an out-and-out woman of the world, and very agreeable, as
insincere people generally are. I like her because she was so polite
"Oh, that is your reading of her, is it?"
The rest of the walk passed almost in silence.
"Uncle, I am not sleepy to-night."
"Who is? that young rascal has set me on fire with his yarns. Who
would have thought that awkward cub had so much in him?"
"Awkward, but not a cub; say rather a black swan; and you know, uncle,
a swan is an awkward thing on land, but when it takes the water it is
glorious, and that man was glorious; but--Da--vid Do--dd."
"I don't know whether he was glorious, but I know he amused me, and
I'll have him to tea three times a week while he lasts."
"Uncle, do you believe such an unfortunate combination of sounds is
his real name?" asked Lucy, gravely.
"Why, who would be mad enough to feign such a name?"
"That is true; but now tell me--if he should ever, think of marrying
with such a name?"
"Then there will be two David Dodd's in the world, Mr. and Mrs."
"I don't think so; he will be merciful, and take her name instead of
she his; he is so good-natured."
"Ordinary sponsors would have been content with Samuel or Nathan; but
no, this one's must, call in 'apt alliteration's artful aid,' and have
the two 'd's.'"
Lucy assented with a smile, and so, being no longer under the spell of
the enthusiast and the male, the genealogist and the fine lady took
the rise out of what Miss Fountain was pleased to call his impossible
LUCY was not called on to write any more formal invitations to Mr.
Talboys. Her uncle used merely to say to her: "Talboys dines with us
to-day." She made no remark; she respected her uncle's preference;
besides--the pony! Of these trios Mr. Fountain was the true soul. He
had to blow the coals of conversation right and left. It is very good
of me not to compare him to the Tropic between two frigid zones. At
first he took his nap as usual; for he said to himself: "Now I have
started them they can go on." Besides, he had seen pictures in the
shop windows of an old fellow dozing and then the young ones
Dozing off with this idea uppermost, he used to wake with his eyes
shut and his ears wide open; but it was to hear drowsy monosyllables
dropping out at intervals like minute-guns, or to find Lucy gone and
Talboys reading the coals. Then the schemer sighed, and took to strong
coffee soon after dinner, and gave up his nap, and its loss impaired
his temper the rest of the evening.
He indemnified himself for these sleepless dinners by asking David
Dodd and his sister to tea thrice a week on the off-nights; this
joyous pair amused the old gentleman, and he was not the man to deny
himself a pleasure without a powerful motive.
"What, again so soon?" hazarded Lucy, one day that he bade her invite
them. "I hardly know how to word my invitation; I have exhausted the
"If you say another word, I'll make them come every night. Am I to
have no amusement?" he added, in a deep tone of reproach; "they make
"Ah! I forgot; forgive me."
"Little hypocrite; don't they you too, pray? Why, you are as dull as
ditchwater the other evenings."
"Me, dear, dull with you?"
"Yes, Miss Crocodile, dull with a pattern uncle and his friend--and
your admirer." He watched her to see how she would take this last
word. Catch her taking it at all. "I am never dull with you, dear
uncle," said she; "but a third person, however estimable, is a certain
restraint, and when that person is not very lively--" Here the
explanation came quietly to an untimely end, like those old tunes that
finish in the middle or thereabouts.
"But that is the very thing; what do I ask them for to-night but to
"To thaw Talboys? he! he!"
Lucy seemed so tickled by this expression that the old gentleman was
sorry he had used it.
"I mean, they will make him laugh." Then, to turn it off, he said
hastily, "And don't forget the fiddle, Lucy."
"Oh, yes, dear, please let me forget that, and then perhaps they may
forget to bring it."
"Why, you pressed him to bring it; I heard you."
"Did I?" said Lucy, ruefully.
"I am sure I thought you were mad after a fiddle, you seconded Eve so
warmly; so that. was only your extravagant politeness after all. I am
glad you are caught. I like a fiddle, so there is no harm done."
Yes, reader, you have hit it. Eve, who openly quizzed her brother, but
secretly adored him, and loved to display all his accomplishments, had
egged on Mr. Fountain to ask David to bring his violin next time. Lucy
had shivered internally. "Now, of all the screeching, whining things
that I dislike, a violin!"--and thus thinking, gushed out, "Oh, pray
do, Mr. Dodd," with a gentle warmth that settled the matter and
imposed on all around.
This evening, then, the Dodds came to tea.
They found Lucy alone in the drawing-room, and Eve engaged her
directly in sprightly conversation, into which they soon drew David,
and, interchanging a secret signal, plied him with a few artful
questions, and--launched him. But the one sketch I gave of his manner
and matter must serve again and again. Were I to retail to the reader
all the droll, the spirited, the exciting things he told his hearers,
there would be no room for my own little story; and we are all so
egotistical! Suffice it to say, the living book of travels was
inexhaustible; his observation and memory were really marvelous, and
his enthusiasm, coupled with his accuracy of detail, had still the
power to inthrall his hearers.
"Mr. Dodd," said Lucy, "now I see why Eastern kings have a
story-teller always about them--a live story-teller. Would not you
have one, Miss Dodd, if you were Queen of Persia?"
"Me? I'd have a couple--one to make me laugh; one miserable."
"One would be enough if his resources were equal to your brother's.
Pray go on, Mr. Dodd. It was madness to interrupt you with small
David hung his head for a moment, then lifted it with a smile, and
sailed in the spirit into the China seas, and there told them how the
Chinamen used to slip on board his ship and steal with supernatural
dexterity, and the sailors catch them by the tails, which they
observing, came ever with their tails soaped like pigs at a village
feast; and how some foolhardy sailors would venture into the town at
the risk of their lives; and how one day they had to run for it, and
when they got to the shore their boat was stolen, and they had to
'bout ship and fight it out, and one fellow who knew the natives had
loaded the sailors' guns with currant jelly. Make
ready--present--fire! In a moment the troops of the Celestial Empire
smarted, and were spattered with seeming gore, and fled yelling.
Then he told how a poor comrade of his was nabbed and clapped in
prison, and his hands and feet were to be cut off at sunrise; himself
at noon. It was midnight, and strict orders from the quarterdeck had
been issued that no man should leave the ship: what was to be done? It
was a moonlight night. They met, silent as death, between
decks--daren't speak above a whisper, for fear the officers should
hear them. His messmate was crying like a child. One proposed one
thing, one another; but it was all nonsense, and we knew it was, and
at sunrise poor Tom must die.
At last up jumps one fellow, and cries, "Messmates, I've got it; Tom
isn't dead yet."
This was the moment Mr. Fountain and Mr. Talboys chose for coming into
the drawing-room, of course. Mr. Fountain, with a shade of hesitation
and awkwardness, introduced the Dodds to Mr. Talboys: he bowed a
little stiffly, and there was a pause. Eve could not repress a little
movement of nervous impatience. "David is telling us one of his
nonsensical stories, sir," said she to Mr. Fountain, "and it is so
interesting; go on, David."
"Well, but," said David, modestly, "it isn't everybody that likes
these sea-yarns as you do, Eve. No, I'll belay, and let my betters get
a word in now."
"You are more merciful than most story-tellers, sir," said Talboys.
Eve tossed her head and looked at Lucy, who with a word could have the
story go on again. That young lady's face expressed general
complacency, politeness, and _tout m'est egal._ Eve could have
beat her for not taking David's part. "Doubleface!" thought she. She
then devoted herself with the sly determination of her sex to trotting
David out and making him the principal figure in spite of the
But, as fast as she heated him, Talboys cooled him. We are all great
at something or other, small or great. Talboys was a first-rate
freezer. He was one of those men who cannot shine, but can eclipse.
They darken all but a vain man by casting a dark shadow of trite
sentences on each luminary. The vain man insults them directly, and so
gets rid of them.
Talboys kept coming across honest enthusiastic David with little
remarks, each skillfully discordant with the rising sentiment. Was he
droll, Talboys did a bit of polite gravity on him; was he warm in
praise of some gallant action, chill irony trickled on him from T.
His flashes of romance were extinguished by neat little dicta,
embodying sordid and false, but current views of life. The gauze wings
of eloquence, unsteeled by vanity, will not bear this repeated dabbing
with prose glue, so David collapsed and Talboys conquered--"spell"
benumbed "charm." The sea-wizard yielded to the petrifier, and "could
no more," as the poets say. Talboys smiled superior. But, as his art
was a purely destructive one, it ended with its victim; not having an
idea of his own in his skull, the commentator, in silencing his text,
silenced himself and brought the society to a standstill. Eve sat with
flashing eyes; Lucy's twinkled with sly fun: this made Eve angrier.
She tried another tack.
"You asked David to bring his fiddle," said she, sharply, "but I
"Has he brought it?" asked Mr. Fountain, eagerly.
"Yes, he has; I made him" (with a glance of defiance at Talboys).
Mr. Fountain rang the bell directly and sent for the fiddle. It came.
David took it and tuned it, and made it discourse. Lucy leaned a
little back in her chair, wore her "_tout m'est egal_ face," and
Eve watched her like a cat. First her eyes opened with a mild
astonishment, then her lips parted in a smile; after a while a faint
color came and went, and. her eyes deepened and deepened in color, and
glistened with the dewy light of sensibility.
A fiddle wrought this, or rather genius, in whose hand a jews-harp is
the lyre of Orpheus, a fiddle the harp of David, a chisel a hewer of
heroic forms, a brush or a pen the scepter of souls, and, alas! a nail
Inside every fiddle is a soul, but a coy one. The nine hundred and
ninety-nine never win it. They play rapid tunes, but the soul of
beautiful gayety is not there; slow tunes, very slow ones, wherein the
spirit of whining is mighty, but the sweet soul of pathos is absent;
doleful, not nice and tearful. Then comes the Heaven-born fiddler,*
who can make himself cry. with his own fiddle. David had a touch of
this witchcraft. Though a sound musician and reasonably master of his
instrument, he could not fly in a second up and down it, tickling the
fingerboard and scratching the strings without an atom of tone, as the
mechanical monkeys do that boobies call fine players.
* This is a definition of the Heaven-born fiddler by Pate Bailey, a
gypsy tinker and celestial violinist. Being asked for a test of
proficiency on that instrument, he replied that no man is a fiddler
"till he can gar himsel greet wi a feddle."
"Great Orpheus played so well he moved Old Nick,
But these move nothing but their fiddlestick."*
* See how unjust satire is! Don't they move their finger-nails?
But he could make you laugh and crow with his fiddle, and could make
you jump up, aetat. 60, and snap your fingers at old age and
propriety, and propose a jig to two bishops and one master of the
rolls, and, they declining, pity them without a shade of anger, and
substitute three chairs; then sit unabashed and smiling at the past;
and the next minute he could make you cry, or near it. In a word he
could evoke the soul of that wonderful wooden shell, and bid it
discourse with the souls and hearts of his hearers.
Meantime Lucy Fountain's face would have interested a subtle student
of her sex.
Her sensibility to music was great, and the feeling strains stole into
her nature, and stirred the treasures of the deep to the surface. Eve,
a keen if not a profound observer, was struck by the rising beauty of
this countenance, over which so many moods chased one another. She
said to herself: "Well, David is right, after all; she is a lovely
girl. Her features are nothing out of the way. Her nose is neither one
thing nor the other, but her expression is beautiful. None of your
wooden faces for me. And, dear heart, how her neck rises! La! how her
color comes and goes! Well, I do love the fiddle myself dearly; and
now, if her eyes are not brimming; I could kiss her! La! David," cried
she, bursting the bounds of silence, "that is enough of the tune the
old cow died of; take and play something to keep our hearts up--do."
Eve's good-humor and mirth were restored by David's success, and now
nothing would serve her turn but a duet, pianoforte and violin. Miss
Fountain objected, "Why spoil the violin?" David objected too, "I had
hoped to hear the piano-forte, and how can I with a fiddle sounding
under my chin?" Eve overruled both peremptorily.
"Well, Miss Dodd, what shall we select? But it does not matter; I feel
sure Mr. Dodd can play _a livre ouvert."_
"Not he," said Eve, hypocritically, being secretly convinced he could.
"Can you play 'a leevre ouvert,' David?"
"Who is it by, Miss Fountain?" Lucy never moved a muscle.
After a rummage a duet was found that looked promising, and the
performance began. In the middle David stopped.
"Ha! ha! David's broke down," shrieked Eve, concealing her uneasiness
under fictitious gayety. "I thought he would."
"I beg your pardon," explained David to Miss Fountain, "but you are
out of time."
"Am I?" said Lucy, composedly.
"And have been, more or less, all through."
"David, you forget yourself."
"No, no; set me right, by all means, Mr. Dodd. I am not a hardened
"Is it not just possible the violin may be the instrument that is out
of time?" suggested Talboys, insidiously.
"No," said David, simply, "I was right enough."
"Let us try again, Mr. Dodd. Play me a few bars first in exact time.
Thank you. Now."
"All went merry as a marriage bell" for a page and a half; then David,
fiddling away, cried out, "You are getting too fast; 'ri tum tiddy,
iddy ri tum ti;" then, by stamping and accenting very strongly, he
kept the piano from overflowing its bounds. The piece ended. Eve
rubbed her hands. "Now you'll catch it, Mr. David!"
"I am afraid I gave you a great deal of trouble, Mr. Dodd."
_"En revanche,_ you gave us a great deal of pleasure," put in Mr.
Lucy turned her head and smiled graciously. "But piano-forte players
play so much by themselves, they really forget the awful importance of
"I profit by your confession that they do sometimes play by
themselves," said Mr. Talboys. "Be merciful, and let us hear you by
yourself."' Eve turned as red as fire.
David backed the request sincerely.
Lucy played a piece composed expressly for the piano by a pianist of
the day. David sat on her left hand and watched intently how she did
When it was over, Talboys did a bit of rapture; Eve another.
"That is playing."
"I would not have believed it if I had not seen it done," said David.
"Eve, you should have seen her beautiful fingers thread in and out
among the keys; it was like white fire dancing; and as for her hand,
it is not troubled with joints like ours, I should say."
"The music, Mr. Dodd," said Lucy, severely.
"Oh, the music! Well, I could hardly take on me to say. You see I
heard it by the eye, and that was all in its favor; but I should say
the music wasn't worth a button."
"How you run off with one's words, Eve! I mean, played by anybody but
her. Why, what was it, when you come to think? Up and down the gamut,
and then down and up. No more sense in it than _a b c_--a
scramble to the main-masthead for nothing, and back to no good. I'd as
lief see you play on the table, Miss Fountain."
"Poor Moscheles!" said Lucy, dryly.
"Revenge is in your power," said Talboys; "play no more; punish us all
for this one heretic."
Lucy reflected a moment; she then took from the canterbury a thick old
book. "This was my mother's. Her taste was pure in music, as in
everything. I shall be sorry if you do not _all_ like this,"
added she, softly.
It was an old mass; full, magnificent chords in long succession,
strung together on a clear but delicate melody. She played it to
perfection: her lovely hands seemed to grasp the chords. No fumbling
in the base; no gelatinizing in the treble. Her touch, firm and
masterly, yet feminine, evoked the soul of her instrument, as David
had of his, and she thought of her mother as she played. These were
those golden strains from which all mortal dross seems purged. Hearing
them so played, you could not realize that he who writ them had ever
eaten, drunk, smoked, snuffed, and hated the composer next door. She
who played them felt their majesty and purity. She lifted her beaming
eye to heaven as she played, and the color receded from her cheek; and
when her enchantment ended she was silent, and all were silent, and
their ears ached for the departed charm.
Then she looked round a mute inquiry.
Talboys applauded loudly.
But the tear stood in David's eye, and he said nothing.
"Well, David," said Eve, reproachfully, "I'm sure if that does not
"Please me," cried David, a little fretfully; "more shame for me if it
does not. Please is not the word. It is angel music, I call it--ah!"
"Well, you need not break your heart for that: he is going to cry--ha!
"I'm no such thing," cried David, indignantly, and blew his
nose--promptly, with a vague air of explanation and defiance.
But why the male of my species blows its nose to hide its sensibility
a deeper than I must decide.
Mr. Talboys for some time had not been at his ease. He had been
playing too, and an instrument he hated--second fiddle. He rose and
joined Mr. Fountain, who was sitting half awake on a distant sofa.
"Aha!" thought Eve, exulting, "we have driven him away."
Judge her mortification when Lucy, after shutting the piano, joined
her uncle and Mr. Talboys. Eve whispered David: "Gone to smooth him
down: the high and mighty gentleman wasn't made enough of."
"Every one in their turn," said David, calmly; "that is manners. Look!
it is the old gentleman she is being kind to. She could not be unkind
to anyone, however."
Eve put her lips to David's ear: "She will be unkind to you if you are
ever mad enough to let her see what I see," said she, in a cutting
"What do you see? More than there is to see, I'll wager," said David,
"Ah! that is the way with young men, the moment they take a fancy;
their sister is nothing to them, their best friend loses their
"Don't ye say that, Eve--now don't say that!"
"No, no, David, never mind me. I am cross. And if you saw a sore heart
in store for anyone you had a regard for, wouldn't you be cross? Young
men are so stupid, they can't read a girl no more than Hebrew. If she
is civil and affable to them, oh, they are the man directly, when,
instead of that, if it was so, she would more likely be shy and half
afraid to come near them. David, you are in a fool's paradise. In
company, and even in flirtation, all sorts meet and part again; but it
isn't so with marriage. There 'it is beasts of a kind that in one are
joined, and birds of a feather that came together.' Like to like,
David. She is a fine lady and she will marry a fine gentleman, and
nothing else, with a large income. If she knew what has been in your
head this month past, she would open her eyes and ask if the man was
"She has a right to look down on me, I know," murmured David, humbly;
"but" (his eye glowing with sudden rapture) "she doesn't--she
"Look down on you! You are better company than she is, or anyone she
can get in this-out-of-the-way place; it is her interest to be civil
to you. I am too hard upon her. She is a lady--a perfect lady--and
that is why she is above giving herself airs. No, David, she is not
the one to treat us with disrespect, if we don't forget ourselves. But
if ever you let her see that you are in love with her, you will get an
affront that will make your cheek burn and my heart smart--so I tell
"Hush! I never told you I was in love with her."
"Never told me? Never told me? Who asked you to tell me? I have eyes,
if you have none."
"Eve," said David imploringly, "I don't hear of any lover that she
has. Do you?"
"No," said Eve carelessly. "But who knows? She passes half the year a
hundred miles from this, and there are young men everywhere. If she
was a milkmaid, they'd turn to look at her with such a face and figure
as that, much more a young lady with every grace and every charm. She
has more than one after her that we never see, take my word."
Eve had no sooner said this than she regretted it, for David's face
quivered, and he sighed like one trying to recover his breath after a
What made this and the succeeding conversation the more trying and
peculiar was, that the presence of other persons in the room, though
at a considerable distance, compelled both brother and sister, though
anything but calm, to speak _sotto voce._ But in the history of
mankind more strange and incongruous matter has been dealt with in an
undertone, and with artificial and forced calmness.
"My poor David!" said Eve sorrowfully; "you who used to be so proud,
so high-spirited, be a man! Don't throw away such a treasure as your
affection. For my sake, dear David, your sister's sake, who does love
you so very, very dearly!"
"And I love you, Eve. Thank you. It was hard lines. Ah! But it is
wholesome, no doubt, like most bitters. Yes. Thank you, Eve. I do
admire her v-very much," and his voice faltered a little. "But I am a
man for all that, and I'll stand to my own words. I'll never be any
"That is right, David."
"I will not give hot for cold, nor my heart for a smile or two. I
can't help admiring her, and I do hope she will
be--happy--ah!--whoever she fancies. But, if I am never to command
her, I won't carry a willow at my mast-head, and drift away from
reason and manhood, and my duty to you, and mother, and myself."
"Ah! David, if you could see how noble you look now. Is it a promise,
David? for I know you will keep your word if once you pass it."
"There is my hand on it, Eve."
The brother and sister grasped hands, and when David was about to
withdraw his, Eve's soft but vigorous little hand closed tighter and
kept it firmer, and so they sat in silence.
"Now don't you be cross."
"No, dear. Eve is sad, not cross; what is it?
"Well, Eve--dear Eve."
"Don't be afraid to speak your mind to me--why should you?"
"Well, then, Eve, now, if she had not some little kindness for me,
would she be so pleased with these thundering yarns I keep spinning
her, as old as Adam, and as stale as bilge-water? You that are so
keen, how comes it you don't notice her eyes at these times? I feel
them shine on me like a couple of suns. They would make a statue pay
the yarn out. Who ever fancied my chat as she does?"
"David," said Eve, quietly, "I have thought of all this; but I am
convinced now there is nothing in it. You see, David, mother and I are
used to your yarns, and so we take them as a matter of course; but the
real fact is, they are very interesting and very enticing, and you
tell them like a book. You came all fresh to this lady, and, as she is
very quick, she had the wit to see the merit of your descriptions
directly. I can see it myself _now._ All young women like to be
amused, David, and, above all, _excited;_ and your stories are
very exciting; that is the charm; that is what makes her eyes fire;
but if that puppy there, or that book-shelf yonder, could tell her
your stories, she would look at either the puppy or the book-stand
with just the same eyes she looks on you with, my poor David."
"Don't say so, Eve. Let me think there is some little feeling for me
inside those sweet eyes, that look so kind on me--"
"And on me, and on everybody. It is her manner. I tell you she is so
to all the world. She isn't the first I've met. Trust me to read a
woman, David; what can you know?"
"I know nothing; but they tell me you can fathom one another better
than any man ever could," said David, sorrowfully.
"'David, just now you were telling as interesting a story as ever was.
You had just got to the thrilling part."
"Oh, had I? What was I saying?"
"I can't tell you to the very word; I am not your sweetheart any more
than she is; but one of the sailors was in danger of his life, and so
on. You never told me the story before; I was not worth it. Well, just
then does not that affected puppy choose his time to come meandering
"Puppy! I call him a fine gentleman."
"Well, there isn't so much odds. In he comes; your story is broken off
directly. Does she care? No, she has got one of her own set; he is not
a very bright one; he is next door to a fool. No matter; before he
came, to judge by her crocodile eyes, she was hot after your story;
the moment he did come, she didn't care a pin for you _nor_ your
story. I gave her more than one opening to bring it on again; not she.
I tell you, you are nothing but a _pass_ time;* you suit her turn
so long as none of her own set are to be had. If she would leave you
for such a jackanapes as that, what would she do for a real gentleman?
such a man as she is a woman, for instance, and as if there weren't
plenty such in her own set--oh, you goose!"
* I write this word as the lady thought proper to pronounce it.
David interrupted her. "I have been a vain fool, and it is lucky no
one has seen it but you," and he hid his face in his hands a moment;
then, suddenly remembering where he was, and that this was an attitude
to attract attention, he tried to laugh--a piteous effort; then he
ground his teeth and said: "Let us go home. All I want now is to get
out of the house. It would have been better for me if I had never set
foot in it."
"Hush! be calm, David, for Heaven's sake. I am only waiting to catch
her eye, and then we'll bid them good-evening."
"Very well, I'll wait"; and David fixed his eyes sadly and doggedly on
the ground. "I won't look at her if I can help it," said he,
resolutely, but very sadly, and turned his head away.
"Now, David," whispered Eve.
David rose mechanically and moved with his sister toward the other
group. Miss Fountain turned at their approach. Somewhat to David's
surprise, Eve retreated as quickly as she had advanced.
"We are to stay."
"She made me a signal."
"Not that I saw," said David, incredulously.
"What! didn't you see her give me a look?"
"Yes, I did. But what has that to do with it?"
"That look was as much as to say, Please stay a little longer; I have
something to say to you."
"I think it is about a bonnet, David. I asked her to put me in the way
of getting one made like hers. She does wear heavenly bonnets."
"Ay. I did well to listen to you, Eve; you see I can't even read her
face, much less her heart. I saw her look up, but that was all. How is
a poor fellow to make out such craft as these, that can signal one
another a whole page with a flash of the eye? Ah!"
"There, David, he is going. Was I right?"
Mr. Talboys was, in fact, taking leave of Miss Fountain. The old
gentleman convoyed his friend. As the door closed on them Miss
Fountain's face seemed to catch fire. Her sweet complacency gave way
to a half-joyous, half-irritated small energy. She came gliding
swiftly, though not hurriedly, up to Eve. "Thank you for seeing." Then
she settled softly and gradually on an ottoman, saying, "Now, Mr.
David looked puzzled. "What is it?" and he turned to his interpreter,
But it was Lucy who replied: "'His messmate was crying like a child.
At sunrise poor Tom must die. Then up rose one fellow' (we have not
any idea who one fellow means in these narratives--have we, Miss
Dodd?) 'and cried, "I have it, messmates. Tom isn't dead yet."' Now,
Mr. Dodd, between that sentence and the one that is to follow all that
has happened in this room was a hideous dream. On that understanding
we have put up with it. It is now happily dispersed, and we--go ahead
"I see, Eve, she thinks she would like some more of that China yarn."
"Her sentiments are not so tame. She longs for it, thirsts for it, and
must and will have it--if you will be so very obliging, Mr. Dodd." The
contrast between all this singular vivacity of Miss Fountain and the
sudden return to her native character and manner in the last sentence
struck the sister as very droll--seemed to the brother so winning,
that, scarcely master of himself, he burst out: "You shan't ask me
twice for that, or anything I can give you;" and it was with burning
cheeks and happy eyes he resumed his tale of bold adventure and skill
on one side, of numbers, danger and difficulty on the other. He told
it now like one inspired, and both the young ladies hung panting and
glowing on his words.
David and Eve went home together.
David was in a triumphant state, but waited for Eve to congratulate
him. Eve was silent.
At last David could refrain no longer. "Why, you say nothing."
"No. Common sense is too good to be wasted; don't go so fast."
"No. There--I heave to for convoy to close up. Would it be wasted on
me? ha! ha!"
"To-night. There you go pelting on again."
"Eve, I can't help it. I feel all canvas, with a cargo of angels'
feathers and sunshine for ballast."
"Sun, moon, and stars, and all that is bright by night or day. I'll
tell you what to do; you keep your head free, and come on under easy
sail; I'll stand across your bows with every rag set and drawing, so
then I shall be always within hail."
This sober-minded maneuver was actually carried out. The little
corvette sailed steadily down the middle of the lane; the great
merchantman went pitching and rolling across her bows; thus they kept
together, though their rates of sailing were so different.
Merry Eve never laughed once, but she smiled, and then sighed.
David did not heed her. All of a moment his heart vented itself in a
sea-ditty so loud, and clear, and mellow, that windows opened, and out
came nightcapped heads to hear him carol the lusty stave, making night
Meantime, the weather being balmy, Mr. Fountain had walked slowly with
Mr. Talboys in another direction. Mr. Talboys inquired, "Who were
Oh, only two humble neighbors," was the reply.
"I never met them anywhere. They are received in the neighborhood?"
"Not in society, of course."
"I don't understand you. Have not I just met them here?"
"That is not the way to put it," said the old gentleman, a little
confused. "You did not meet them; you did me and my niece the honor to
dine with us, and the Dodds dropped in to tea--quite another matter."
"Oh, is it?"
"Is it not? I see you have been so long out of England you have
forgotten these little distinctions; society would go to the deuce
without them. We ask our friends, and persons of our own class, to
dinner, but we ask who we like to tea in this county. Don't you like
her? She is the prettiest girl in the village."
"Pretty and pert."
"Ha! ha! that is true. She is saucy enough, and amusing in
"It is the man I alluded to."
"What, David? ay, a very worthy lad. He is a downright modest,
well-informed young man."
"I don't doubt his general merits, but let me ask you a serious
question: his evident admiration of Miss Fountain?"
"His ad-mi-ration of Miss Fountain?"
"Is it agreeable to you?"
"It is a matter of consummate indifference to me."
"But not, I think, to her. She showed a submission to the cub's
impertinence, and a desire to please instead of putting him down, that
made me suspect. Do you often ask Mr. Dodd--what a name!--to tea?"
"My dear friend, I see that, with all your accomplishments, you have
something to learn. You want insight into female character. Now I, who
must go to school to you on most points, can be of use to you here."
Then, seeing that Talboys was mortified at being told thus gently
there was a department of learning he had not fathomed, he added: "At
all events, I can interpret my own niece to you. I have known her much
longer than you have."
Mr. Talboys requested the interpreter to explain the pleasure his
niece took in Mr. Dodd's fiddle.
"Part politeness, part sham. Why, she wanted not to ask them this
evening, the fiddle especially. I'll give you the clue to Lucy; she is
a female Chesterfield, and the droll thing is she is polite at heart
as well. Takes it from her mother: she was something between an angel
and a duchess."
"Politeness does not account for the sort of partiality she showed for
these Dodds while I was in the room."
"Pure imagination, my dear friend. I was there; and had so monstrous a
phenomenon occurred I must have seen it. If you think she could really
prefer their society to yours, you are as unjust to her as yourself.
She may have concealed her real preference out of _finesse,_ or
perhaps she has observed that our inferiors are touchy, and ready to
fancy we slight them for those of our own rank."
Talboys shrugged his shoulders; he was but half convinced. "Her
enthusiasm when the cub scraped the fiddle went beyond mere
"Beyond other people's, you mean. Nothing on earth ever went beyond
hers--ha! ha! ha! To-morrow night, if you like, we will have my
gardener, Jack Absolom, in to tea."
"No, I thank you. I have no wish to go beyond Mr. and Miss Dodd."
"Oh, only for an experiment. The first minute Jack will be wretched,
and want to sink through the floor; but in five minutes you will fancy
Lucy will have made Jack Absolom at home in my drawing-room. He will
be laying down the law about Jonquilles, and she all sweetness,
curiosity, and enthusiasm outside--_ennui_ in."
"Can her eyes glisten out of politeness?" inquired Talboys, with a
"They could shed tears, perhaps, for the same motive?" said Talboys,
with crushing irony.
"Well! Hum! I'd back them at four to seven."
Mr. Talboys was silent, and his manner showed that he was a little
mortified at a subject turning to joke which he had commenced
seriously. He must stop this annoyance. He said severely, "It is time
to come to an understanding with you."
At these words, and, above all, at their solemn tone, the senior
pricked his ears and prepared his social diplomacy.
"I have visited very frequently at your house, Mr. Fountain."
"Never without being welcome, my dear sir."
"You have, I think, divined one reason of my very frequent visits
"I have not been vain enough to attribute them entirely to my own
"You approve the homage I render to that other attraction?"
"Am I so fortunate as to have her suffrage, too?"
"I have no better means of knowing than you have."
"Indeed! I was in hopes you might have sounded her inclinations."
"I have scrupulously avoided it," replied the veteran. "I had no right
to compromise you upon mere conjecture, however reasonable. I awaited
your authority to take any move in so delicate a matter. Can you blame
me? On one side my friend's dignity, on the other a young lady's peace
of mind, and that young lady my brother's daughter."
"You were right, my dear sir; I see and appreciate your reserve, your
delicacy, though I am about to remove its cause. I declare myself to
you your niece's admirer; have I your permission to address her?"
"You have, and my warmest wishes for your success."
"Thank you. I think I may hope to succeed, provided I have a fair
chance afforded me."
"I will take care you shall have that."
"I should prefer not to have others buzzing about the lady whose
affection I am just beginning to gain."
"You pay this poor sailor an amazing compliment," said Mr. Fountain, a
little testily; "if he admires Lucy it can only be as a puppy is
struck with the moon above. The moon does not respond to all this
wonder by descending into the whelp's jaws--no more will my niece. But
that is neither here nor there; you are now her declared suitor, and
you have a right to stipulate; in short, you have only to say the
word, and 'exeunt Dodds,' as the play-books say."
"Dodds? I have no objection to the lady. Would it not be possible to
invite her to tea alone?"
"Quite possible, but useless. She would not stir out without her
"She seems a little person likely to give herself airs. Well, then, in
that case, though as you say I am no doubt raising Mr. Dodd to a false
"Say no more; we should indulge the whims of our friends, not attack
them with reasons. You will see the Dodds no more in my house."
"Oh, as to that, just as you please. Perhaps they would be as well out
of it," said Talboys, with a sudden affectation of carelessness. I
must not take you too far. Good-night."
Poor David. He was to learn how little real hold upon society has the
man who can only instruct and delight it.
Mr. Fountain bustled home, rubbing his hands with delight. "Aha!"
thought he; "jealous! actually jealous! absurdly jealous! That is a
good sign. Who would have thought so proud a man could be jealous of a
sailor? I have found out your vulnerable point, my friend. I'll tell
Lucy; how she will laugh. David Dodd! Now we know how to manage him,
Lucy and I. If he freezes back again, we have but to send for David
Dodd and his fiddle." He bustled home, and up into the drawing-room to
tell Lucy Mr. Talboys had at last declared himself. His heart felt
warm. He would settle six thousand pounds on Mrs. Talboys during his
life and his whole fortune after his death.
He found the drawing-room empty. He rang the bell. "Where is Miss
Fountain?" John didn't know, but supposed she had gone to her room.
"You don't know? You never know anything. Send her maid to me."
The maid came and courtesied demurely at the door.
"Tell your mistress I want to speak to her directly--before she
The maid went out, and soon returned to say that her mistress had
retired to rest; but that, if he pleased, she would rise, and just
make a demi-toilet, and come to him. This smooth and fair-sounding
proposal was not, I grieve to say, so graciously received as offered.
"Much obliged," snapped old Fountain. "Her _demi-toilette_ will
keep me another hour out of my bed, and I get no sleep after dinner
now _among you._ Tell her to-morrow at breakfast time will do."
DAVID DODD was so radiant and happy for a day or two that Eve had not
the heart to throw cold water on him again.
Three days elapsed, and no invitation to Font Abbey; on this his
happiness cooled of itself. But when day after day rolled by, and no
Font Abbey, he was dashed, uneasy, and, above all, perplexed. What
could be the reason? Had he, with his rough ways, offended her? Had
she been too dignified to resent it at the time? Was he never to go to
Font Abbey again? Eve's first feeling was unmixed satisfaction. We
have seen already that she expected no good from this rash attachment.
For a single moment her influence and reasons had seemed to wean David
from it; but his violent agitation and joy at two words of kindly
curiosity from Miss Fountain, and the instant unreasonable revival of
love and hope, showed the strange power she had acquired over him. It
made Eve tremble.
But now the Fountains were aiding her to cure this folly. She had read
them right, had described them to David aright. A wind of caprice had
carried him and her into Font Abbey; another such wind was carrying
them out. No event had happened. Mr. and Miss Fountain had been seen
more than once in the village of late. "They have dropped us, and
thank Heaven!" said Eve, in her idiomatic way.
She pitied David deeply, and was kinder and kinder to him now, to show
him she felt for him; but she never mentioned the Font Abbey people to
him either to praise or blame them, though it was all she could do to
suppress her satisfaction at the turn their insolent caprice had
That satisfaction was soon clouded. This time, instead of rousing
himself and his pride, David sank into a moody despondency; varied by
occasional fretfulness. His appetite went, and his bright color, and
his elastic step. This silent sadness was so new in him, such a
contrast to his natural temperature, large, genial, and ever cheerful,
that Eve could not bear it. "I must shake him out of this, at all
hazards," thought she: yet she put off the experiment, and put it off,
partly in hopes that David would speak first, partly because she saw
the wound she would probe was deep, and she winced beforehand for her
Meantime, prolonged doubt and suspense now goaded with their
intolerable stings the active spirit that chill misgivings had at
first benumbed. Spurred into action by these torments, David had
already watched several days in the neighborhood of Font Abbey,
determined to speak to Miss Fountain, and find out whether he had
given her offense; for this was still his uppermost idea. Having
failed in this attempt at an interview with her, he was now meditating
a more resolute course, and he paced the little gravel-walk at home
debating in himself the pros and cons. Raising his head suddenly, he
saw his sister walking slowly at the other end of the path. She was
coming toward him, but her eyes were bent thoughtfully on the ground.
David slipped behind some bushes, not to have his unhappiness and his
meditations interrupted. The lover and the lunatic have points in
He had been there some time when a grave little voice spoke quietly to
him from the lawn. "David, I want to speak to you." David came out.
"Here am I."
"Oh, I knew where you were. Don't do that again, sir, please, or
you'll catch it."
"Oh, I didn't think you saw me," said David, somewhat confusedly.
"What has that to do with it, stupid? David," continued she, assuming
a benevolent, cheerful, and somewhat magnificent nonchalance, "I
sometimes wonder you don't come to me with your troubles. I might
advise you as well as here and there one. But perhaps you think now,
because I am naturally gay, I am not sensible. You mustn't go by that
altogether. Manner is very deceiving. The most foolishly conducted men
and women ever I met were as grave as judges, and as demure as cats
after cream. Bless you, there is folly in every heart. Your slow ones
bottle it up for use against the day wisdom shall be most needed. My
sort let it fizz out at their mouths in their daily talk, and keep
their good sense for great occasions, like the present."
"Have we drifted among the proverbs of Solomon?" inquired David,
dryly. "No need to make so many tacks, Eve. Haven't I seen your sense
and profited by it--I and one or two more? Who but you has steered the
house this ten years, and commanded the lubberly crew?"*
* The reader must not be misled by the familiar phraseology of these
two speakers to suppose that anything the least droll or humorous was
intended by either of them at any part of this singular dialogue.
Their hearts were sad and their faces grave.
"And then again, David, where the heart is concerned, young women are
naturally in advance of young men."
"God knows. He made them both. I don't."
"Why, all the world knows it. And then, besides, I am five years older
"So mother says; but I don't know how to believe it. No one would say
so to look at you."
"I'll tell you, David. Folk that have small features look a deal
younger than their years; and you know poor father used to say my face
was the pattern of a flat-iron. So nobody gives me my age; but I am
five good years older than you, only you needn't go and tell the town
"Well, then, put all these together, and now, why not come to me for
friendly advice and the voice of reason?"
"Reason! reason! there are other lights besides reason."
"Jack-o'-lantern, eh? and Will-o'-the-wisp."
"Eve, nobody can advise me that can't feel for me. Nobody can feel for
me that doesn't know my pain; and you don't know that, because you
were never in love."
"Oh, then, if I had ever been in love, you would listen."
"As I would to an angel from Heaven."
"And be advised by me."
"Why not? for then you'd be competent to advise; but now you haven't
an idea what you are talking about."
"What a pity! Don't you think it would be as well if you were not to
speak to me so sulky?"
"I ask your pardon; Eve. I did not mean to offend you."
"Davy, dear--for God's sake what is this chill that has come between
you and me? You are a man. Speak out like a man."
David turned his great calm, sorrowful eye full upon her.
"Well, then, Eve, if the truth must be told, I am disappointed in
"A little. You are not the girl I took you for. You know which way my
fancy lies, yet you keep steering me in the teeth of it; then you see
how down-hearted I am this while, but not a word of comfort or hope
comes from you, and me almost dried up for want of one."
"Make one word of it, David--I am not a sister to you."
"I don't say that, but you might be kinder; you are against me just
when I want you with me the most."
"Now this is what I like," said Eve, cheerfully; "this is plain
speaking. So now it is my turn, my lad. Do you remember Balaam and his
"Sure," said David; but, used as he was to Eve's transitions, he
couldn't help staring a little at being carried eastward ho so
"Then what did the ass say when she broke silence at last?"
"Well, you know, Eve; I take shame to say I don't remember her very
words, but the tune of them I do. Why, she sang out, 'Avast there! it
is first fault, so you needn't be so hasty with your thundering rope's
"There! You'd make a nice commentator. You haven't taken it up one
bit; you are as much in the dark as our parson. He preached on her the
very Sunday you came home, and it was all I could do to help whipping
up into the pulpit, and snatching away his book, and letting daylight
in on them."
David was scandalized at the very idea of such a breach of discipline.
"That is ridiculous," said he; "one can't have two skippers in a
church any more than in a ship, brig, or bark. But you can let
daylight in on me."
"I mean. To begin: the ass was in the right and Balaam in the wrong;
so what becomes of your 'first fault?' She was frugal of her words,
but every syllable was a needle; the worst is, some skins are so thick
our needles won't enter 'em. Says she, 'This seven years you have
known me; always true to the bridle and true to you. Did ever I
disobey you before? Then why go and fancy I do it without some great
cause that you can't see?' Then the man's eyes were open, and he saw
it was destruction his old friend had run back from, and galled his
foot to save his life; so of course he thanked her, and blessed her
then. Not he. He was too much of a man."
"Ay, ay, I see; but what is the moral? for I have no heart to expound
"Oh, I'll tell you the moral sooner than you'll like, perhaps. The ass
is a type, David. In Holy Writ you know almost everything is a type.
When a thing means one thing and stands for another, that's a type."
"Ducks can swim--at least I've heard so. Now if you could tell me what
she is a type of?"
"What, the ass? Don't you know? Why, of women, to be sure--of us poor
creatures of burden, underrated and misunderstood all the world over.
And Balaam he stands for men, and for you at the head of them," cried
she, turning round with flashing eyes on David; "you have known me and
my true affection more than seven years, or seventeen. I carried you
in my arms when you were a year old and I was six. You were my little
curly-headed darling, and have been from that day to this. Did ever I
cross you, or be cold or unkind to you, till the other day?"
"No, Eve, no, no, no! Come sit beside me.
"Then shouldn't you have said, 'Don't slobber _me;_ I won't have
it; you and I are bad friends.' Oughtn't you to have said, 'Eve could
never give herself the pain of crossing me' (no, there isn't a man in
the world with gumption enough to say that--that is a woman's
thought); but at least you might have said, 'She sees rocks ahead that
I can't.' (Balaam couldn't see the drawn sword ahead, but there it
was.) it was for you to say, 'My sister Eve would not change from gay
to grave all at once, and from indulging me in everything to thwarting
me and vexing me, unless she saw some great danger threatening your
peace of mind, your career in life, your very reason, perhaps.'"
"I have been to blame, Eve; but speak out and let me know the worst.
You have heard something against her character? Speak plain out, for
"It is all very well of you to say speak plain out, but there are
things girls don't like to speak about to any man. But after what you
said, that you would listen to me if I--so it is my duty. You will see
my face red enough in about a minute. Two years ago I couldn't have
done this even for you. It is hard I must expose my own folly--my own
"Why, Eve, lass, how you tremble! Drop it now! drop it!"
"Hold your tongue!" said Eve, sharply, but in considerable agitation.
"It is too late now, after something you have said to me. If I didn't
speak out now, I should be like that bad man you told us of, who let
out the beacon light when the wind was blowing hard on shore. Listen,
David, and take my words to heart. The road you are on now I have been
upon, only I went much farther on it than you shall go." She resumed
after a short pause: "You remember Henry Dyke?"
"What, the young clergyman, who used to be always alongside you at our
"Yes. He was just such a man as Miss Fountain is a woman. He was but a
dish of skim-milk, yet he could poison my life."
Then Eve told the story of her heart. She described her lover as he
appeared to her in the early days of courtship, young, handsome, good,
noble in sentiment, and warm and tender in manner. Halcyon days--not a
speck to be seen on love's horizon.
Then she delineated the fine gradations by which the illusion faded,
too slowly and too late for her to withdraw the love she had conceived
for his person at that time when person and mind seemed alike
superior. She painted with the delicate touch of her sex the portrait
of a man and a scholar born to please all the world, and incapable of
condensing his affections; a pious flirt, no longer stimulated to
genuine ardor by doubts of success, but too kind-hearted to pain her
beyond measure when a little factitious warmth from time to time would
give her hours of happiness, keep her, on the whole, content, and,
above all, retain her his. Then she shifted the mirror to herself, the
fiery and faithful one, and showed David what centuries of torture a
good little creature like this Dyke, with its charming exterior, could
make a quick, and ardent, and devoted nature suffer in a year or two.
Came out in her narrative, link by link, the gentle delicious
complacency of the first period, the chill airs that soon ruffled it,
the glowing hopes, the misgivings that dashed them; then the
diminution of confidence, more complexing and exasperating than its
utter loss; the alternations of joy and doubt, the fever and the ague
of the wounded spirit; then the gusts of hatred followed by deeper
love; later still, the periodical irritation at hopes long deferred,
and still gleams of bliss between the paroxysms, so that now, as the
vulgar say in their tremendous Saxon, she "spent her time between
heaven and hell"; last of all, the sickness and recklessness of the
wornout and wearied heart over which melancholy or fury impended.
It was at this crisis when, as she could now see on a calm retrospect,
her mind was distempered, a new and terrible passion stepped upon the
scene--jealousy. A friend came and whispered her, "Mr. Dyke was
courting another woman at the same time, and that other woman was
"David, at that word a flash of lightning seemed to go through me, and
show me the man as he really was."
"The mean scoundrel, to sell himself for money!!"
"No, David, he would not have sold himself, with his eyes open, any
more than perhaps your Miss Fountain would; but what little heart he
had he could give to any girl that was not a fright. He was a
self-deceiver and a general lover, and such characters and their
affections sink by nature to where their interest lies. Iron is not
conscious, yet it creeps toward the loadstone. Well, while she was
with me I held up and managed to question her as coldly as I speak to
you now, but as soon as she left me I went off in violent hysterics."
"She had not been gone an hour when doesn't the Devil put it into
_his_ head to send me a long, affectionate letter, and in the
postscript he invited himself to supper the same afternoon. Then I got
up and dried my eyes, and I seemed to turn into stone with resolution.
'Come!' I said, 'but don't think you shall ever go back to her. Your
troubles and mine shall end to-night.'"
"Why, Eve, you turn pale with thinking of it. I fear you have had
worse thoughts pass through your mind than any man is worth."
"David, your blood was in my veins, and mine is in yours.
"If I didn't think so! The Lord deliver us from temptation! We don't
know ourselves nor those we love."
"He had driven me mad."
"Mad, indeed. What! had you the heart to see the man bleed to
death--the man you had loved--you, my little gentle Eve?"
"Oh no, no; no blood!" said Eve, with a shudder. "Laudanum!"
"Oh, I see your thought. No, I was not like the men in the newspapers,
that kill the poor woman with a sure hand, and then give themselves a
scratch. It was to be one spoonful for him, but two for me. I can't
dwell on it" (and she hid her face in her hands); "it is too terrible
to remember how far I was misled. Who, think you, saved us both?"
David could not guess.
"A little angel--my good angel, that came home from sea that very
afternoon. When I saw your curly head, and your sweet, sunburned face
come in at the door, guess if I thought of putting death in the pot
after that? Ah! the love of our own flesh and blood, that is the
love--God and good angels can smile on it."
"Yes; but go on," said David, impatiently.
"It is ended, David. They say a woman's heart is a riddle, and perhaps
you will think so when I tell you that when he had brought me down to
this, and hadn't died for it, I turned as cold as ice to him that
minute, once and forever. I looked back at the precipice, and I hated
him. Ay, from that evening he was like the black dog to my eye. I used
to slip anywhere to hide out of his way--just as you did out of mine
"Can't you forget that? Well, to be sure. Well?"
"So then (now you may learn what these skim-milk cheeses are made of),
when he found he was my aversion, he fell in love with me again as hot
as ever; tried all he could think of to win me back; wrote a letter
every day; came to me every other day; and when he saw it was all over
for good between us he cried and bellowed till my hate all went, and
scorn came in its place. Next time we met he played quite another
part--the calm, heart-broken Christian; gave me his blessing; went
down on his knees, and prayed a beautiful prayer, that took me off my
guard and made me almost respect him; then went away, and quietly
married the girl with money; and six months after wrote to me he was
miserable, dated from the vicarage her parents had got him."
"Now, you know, if he wasn't a parson, d--n me if I'd turn in to-night
till I'd rope's-ended that lubber!"
"As if I'd let you dirty your hands with such rubbish! I sent the note
back to him with just one line, 'Such a fool as you are has no right
to be a villain.' There, David, there is your poor sister's life. Oh,
what I went through for that man! Often I said, is Heaven just, to let
a poor, faithful, loving girl, who has done no harm, be played with on
the hook, and tortured hot and cold, day after day, month after month,
year after year, as I was? But now I see why it was permitted; it was
for your sake, that you might profit by my sharp experience, and not
fling your heart away on frozen mud, as I did;" and, happy in this
feminine theory of Divine justice, Eve rested on her brother a look
that would have adorned a seraph, then took him gently round the neck
and laid her little cheek flat to his.
She felt as if she had just saved a beloved life.
Who can estimate the value of a happiness so momentary, yet so holy?
Presently looking up, she saw David's face illuminated. "What is it?"
she asked joyously; "you look pleased."
David was "pleased because now he was sure she could feel for him, and
would side with him."
"That I do; but, David, as it is all over between you and her--"
"All over? Am I dead then?"
Eve gasped with astonishment: "Why, what have I been telling you all
"Who should you tell your trouble to but your own brother? Why,
Eve--ha! ha!--you don't really see any likeness between your case and
mine, do you? You are not so blind as to compare her with that
"They are brother and sister, as we are," was the reply. "Ever since I
saw you looked her way, my eye has hardly been off her, and she is
Henry Dyke in petticoats."
"I don't thank you for saying that. Well, and if she is, what has that
to do with it? I am not a woman. I am not forced to lie to waiting for
a wind, as the girls are. I am a man. I can work for the wish of my
heart, and, if it does not come to meet me, I can overhaul it." Eve
was a little staggered by this thrust, but she was not one to show an
antagonist any advantage he had obtained. "David," said she, coldly,
"it must come to one of two things; either she will send you about
your business in form, which is a needless affront for you and me
both, or she will hold you in hand, and play with you and drive you
_mad._ Take warning; remember what is in our blood. Father was as
well as you are, but agitation and vexation robbed him of his reason
for a while; and you and I are his children. Milk of roses creeps
along in that young lady's veins, but fire gallops in ours. Give her
up, David, as she has you. She has let you escape; don't fly back like
a moth to the candle! You shan't, however; I won't let you."
"Eve," said David, quietly, "you argue well, but you can't argue light
into dark, nor night into day. She is the sun to me. I have seen her
light; and now I can't live without it."
He added, more calmly: "It is her or none. I never saw a girl but this
that I wanted to see twice, and I never shall."
"But it is that which frightens me for you, David. Often I have wished
I could see you flirt a bit and harden your heart."
"And break some poor girl's."
"Oh, hang them! they always contrive to pass it on. What do I care for
girls! they are not my brother. But no, David, I can't believe you
will go against me and my judgment after the insult she has put on
you. No more about it, but just you choose between my respect and this
"I choose both," said David, quietly. "Both you shan't have"; and,
with this, up bounced Eve, and stood before him bristling like a
cat-o'mountain. David tried to soothe her--to coax her--in vain; her
cheek was on fire, and her eyes like basilisks'. It was a picture to
see the pretty little fury stand so erect and threatening, great David
so humble and deprecating, yet so dogged. At last he took out his
knife; it was not one of your stabbing-knives, but the sort of
pruning-knife that no sailor went without in those days. "Now," said
he, sadly, "take and cut my head off--cut me to pieces, if you will--I
won't wince or complain; and then you will get your way; but while I
do live I shall love her, and I can't afford to lose her by sitting
twiddling my thumbs, waiting for luck. I'll try all I know to win her,
and if I lose her I won't blame her, but myself for not finding out
how to please her; and with that I'll live a bachelor all my days for
her, or else die, just as God wills--I shan't much care which."
"Oh, I know you, you obstinate toad," said Eve, clinching her teeth
and her little hand. Then she burst out furiously: "Are you quite
"Quite, dear Eve," said David, sadly--but somehow it was like a rock
"Then there is my hand," said Eve, with an instant transition to
amiable cheerfulness that dazzled a body like a dark lantern flying
open. Used as David was to her, it stupefied him; he stared at her,
and was all abroad. "Well, what is the wonder now?" inquired Eve;
"there are but two of us. We must be together somehow or another must
we not? You won't be wise with me; well, then, I'll be a fool with
you. I'll help you with this girl."
"Oh, my dear Eve!"
"You won't gain much. Without me you hadn't the shadow of a chance,
and with me you haven't a chance, that is all the odds."
"I have! I have! you have taken away my breath with joy;" and David
was quite overcome with the turn Eve had taken in his favor.
"Oh, you need not thank me," said Eve, tossing her head with a
hypocrisy all her own. "It is not out of affection for you I do it,
you may be very sure of that; but it looks so ridiculous to see my
brother slipping out of my way behind a tree as soon as he sees me
coming--oh! oh! oh! oh!" And a violent burst of sobs and tears
revealed how that incident had rankled in this stoical little heart.
David, with the tear in his own eye, clasped her in his arms, and
kissed her and coaxed her and begged her again and again to forgive
him. This she did internally at the first word; but externally no;
pouted and sobbed till she had exacted her full tribute, then cleared
up with sudden alacrity and inquired his plans.
"I am going to call at Font Abbey, and find out whether I have
Eve demurred, "That would never do. You would betray yourself and
there would be an end of you. How good I am not to let you go. No,
I'll call there. I shall quietly find out whether it is her doing that
we have not been invited so long, or whose it is. You stay where you
are. I won't be a minute."
When the minute was thirty-five, David came under her window and
called her. She popped her head out: "Well?"
"What are you doing?"
"Putting on my bonnet."
"Why, you have been an hour."
"You wouldn't have me go there a fright, would you?"
At last she came down and started for Font Abbey, and David was left
to count the minutes till her return. He paced the gravel sailor-wise,
taking six steps and then turning, instead of going in each direction
as far as he could. He longed and feared his sister's return. One
hour--two hours elapsed; still he walked a supposed deck on the little
lawn--six steps and then turn. At last he saw her coming in the
distance; he ran to meet her; but when he came up with her he did not
speak, but looked wistfully in her face, and tried hard to read it and
"Now, David, don't make a fool of yourself, or I won't tell you."
"No, no. I'll be calm, I will--be--calm."
"Well, then, for one thing, she is to drink tea with us this evening."
"She? Who? What? Where? Oh!"
MR. FOUNTAIN sat at breakfast opposite his niece with a twinkle set in
his eye like a cherry-clack in a tree, relishing beforehand her
smiles, and blushes, and gratitude to him for having hooked and played
his friend, so that now she had but to land him. "I'll just finish
this delicious cup of coffee," thought he, "and then I'll tell you, my
lady." While he was slowly sipping said cup, Lucy looked up and said
graciously to him, "How silly Mr. Talboys was last night--was he not,
"Talboys? silly? what? do you know? Why, what on earth do you mean?"
"Silly is a harsh word--injudicious, then--praising me _a tort et a
travers,_ and was downright ill-bred--was discourteous to another
of our guests, Mr. Dodd."
"Confound Mr. Dodd! I wish I had never invited him."
"So do I. If you remember, I dissuaded you."
"I do remember now. What! you don't like him, either?"
"There you are mistaken, dear. I esteem Mr. Dodd highly, and Miss
Dodd, too, in spite of her manifest defects; but in making up parties,
however small, we should choose our guests with reference to each
other, not merely to ourselves. Now, forgive me, it was clear
beforehand that Mr. Talboys and the Dodds, especially Miss Dodd, would
never coalesce; hence my objection in inviting them; but you overruled
me--with a rod of iron, dear."
"Yes; but why? Because you gave me such a bad reason; you never said a
word about this incongruity."
"But it was in my mind all the time."
"Then why didn't it come out?"
"Because--because something else would come out instead. As if one
gave one's real reasons for things!! Now, uncle dear, you allow me
great liberties, but would it have been quite the thing for me to
lecture you upon the selection of your own _convives?"_
"Why, you have ended by doing it."
Lucy colored. "Not till the event proves--not till--"
"Not till your advice is no longer any use."
Lucy, driven into a corner, replied by an imploring look, which had
just the opposite effect of argument. It instantly disarmed the old
boy; he grinned superior, and spared his supple antagonist three
sarcasms that were all on the tip of his tongue. He was rewarded for
his clemency by a little piece of advice, delivered by his niece with
a sort of hesitating and penitent air he did not understand one bit,
eyes down upon the cloth all the time.
It came to this. He was to listen to her suggestions with a prejudice
in their favor if he could, and give them credit for being backed by
good reasons; at all events, he was never to do them the injustice to
suppose they rested on those puny considerations she might put forward
in connection with them.
"Silly" is a term carrying with it a certain promptness and decision;
above all, it was a very remarkable word for Lucy to use. "The girl is
a martinet in these things," thought he; "she can't forgive the least
bit of impoliteness. I suppose he snubbed Jack Tar. What a crime! But
I had better let this blow over before I go any farther." So he
postponed his disclosure till to-morrow.
But, before to-morrow came, he had thought it over again, and
convinced himself it would be the wiser course not to interfere at all
for the present, except by throwing the young people constantly
together. He had lived long enough to see that, in nine cases out of
ten, husband and wife might be defined "a man and a woman that were
thrown a good deal together--generally in the country." A marries B,
and C D; but, under similar circumstances, i.e., thrown
together, A would have married D, and C B. This applies to puppy dogs,
male and female, as well as to boys and girls.
Perhaps a personal feeling had some little share, too, in bringing him
to the above conclusion. He was a bit of a schemer--liked to play
puppets. At present, his niece and friend were the largest and finest
puppets he had on hand; the day he should bring them to a mutual,
rational understanding, the puppet-strings would fall from his hands
and the puppets turn independent agents. He represented to Talboys
that Lucy was young and very innocent in some respects; that marriage
did not seem to run in her head as in most girls'; that a precipitate
avowal might startle her, and raise unnecessary difficulties by
putting her on her guard too early in their acquaintance. "You have no
rival," he concluded; "best win her quietly by degrees. Undermine the
coy jade! she is worth it." Cool Talboys acquiesced. David had spurred
him out of his pace one night; but David was put out of the way; the
course was clear; and, as he could walk over it now, why gallop?
Childish as his friend's jealousy of this poor sailor had seemed to
Mr. Fountain, still, the idea once started, he could not help
inspecting Lucy to see how she would take his sudden exclusion from
these parties. Now Lucy missed the Dodds very much, and was surprised
to see them invited no more. But it was not in her character to
satisfy a curiosity of this sort by putting a point-blank question to
the person who could tell her in two words. She was one of those
thorough women whose instinct it is to find out little things, not to
ask about them. When day after day passed by, and the Dodds were not
invited, it flashed through her mind, first, that there must be some
reason for this; secondly, that she had only to take no notice, and
the reason, if any, would be sure to pop out. She half suspected
Talboys, but gave him no sign of suspicion. With unruffled demeanor
and tranquil patience, she watched demurely for disclosures from her
uncle or from him like the prettiest little velvet panther conceivable
lying flat in a blind path, deranging nobody, but waiting with amiable
tranquillity for her friends to come her way.
Thus, under the smooth surface of the little society at Font Abbey
_finesse_ was cannily at work. But the surface of every society
is like the skin of a man--hides a deal of secret machinery.
Here were two undermining a "coy jade" (perhaps, on the whole, Uncle
Fountain, it might be more prudent in you not to call her that name
again; you see she is my heroine, and I am a man that could cut you
out of this story, and nobody miss you), and the coy jade watching for
the miners like a sweet little velvet panther, and, to fling away
metaphor, an honest heart set aching sore, hard by, for having come
among such a lot.
A FABLE tells us a fowler one day saw sitting in tree a wood-pigeon.
This is a very shy bird, so he had to creep and maneuver to get within
gunshot unseen, unheard. He stole from tree to tree, and muffled his
footsteps in the long grass so adroitly that, just as he was going to
pull the trigger, he stepped light as a feather on a venomous snake.
It bit; he died.
This is instructive and pointed, but a trifle severe.
What befell Uncle Fountain, busy enmeshing his cock and hen pheasant,
netting a niece and a friend, went to the same tune, but in a lower
key, as befitted a domestic tale.*
* "Domestic," you are aware, is Latin for "tame." Ex., "domestic
fowl," "domestic drama," "story of domestic intereet," "or chronicle
of small beer,"
Among his letters at breakfast-time came one which he had no sooner
read than he flung on the table and went into a fury. Lucy sat aghast;
then inquired in tender anxiety what was the matter.
Angry explanations are apt to be dark ones. "It is a confounded
shame--it is a trick, child--it is a do."
"Ah! what is that, uncle? 'a do'?--'a do'?"
"Yes, 'a do.' He knew I hated figures; can't bear the sight of them,
and the cursed responsibility of adding them up right."
"But who knew all this?"
"He came over here bursting with health, and asked me to be one of his
executors--mind, one. I consented on a distinct understanding I was
never to be called upon to act. He was twenty years my junior, and
like so much mahogany. It was just a form; I did it to soothe a man
who called himself my friend, and set his mind at rest."
"But, uncle dear, I don't understand even now. Can it be possible that
a friend has abused your good nature?"
"A little," with an angry sneer.
"Has he betrayed your confidence?"
"Oh dear! What has he done?"
"Died, that is all," snarled the victim.
"Oh, uncle! Poor man!"
"Poor man, no doubt. But how about poor me? Why, it turns out I am
"But, dear uncle, how could the poor soul help dying?"
"That is not candid, Lucy," said Mr. Fountain, severely. "Did ever I
say he could help dying? But he could help coming here under false
colors, a mahogany face, and trapping his friend."
"Uncle, what is the use--your trying to play the misanthrope with me,
who know how good you are, in spite of your pretenses to the contrary?
To hide your emotion from your poor niece, you go into a feigned fury,
and all the time you know how sorry you are your poor friend is gone."
"Of course I am. He has secured one mourner. He might have died to all
eternity if he hadn't nailed me first. See how selfish men are, and
bad-hearted into the bargain. I believe that young fellow had been to
a doctor, and found out he was booked in spite of his mahogany cheeks;
so then he rides out here and wheedles an unguarded friend--I'm
wired--I'm trapped--I'm snared."
Lucy set herself to soothe her injured relative. "You must say to
yourself, _'C'est un petit matheur.'"_
"Tell myself a falsehood? What shall I gain by that? Let me tell you,
it is these minor troubles that send a man to Bedlam. One breeds
another, till they swarm and buzz you distracted, and sting you dead.
_'Petit maiheur!'_ it is a greater one than you have ever
encountered since you have been under _my_ wing."
"It is, dear, it is; but I hope to encounter much greater ones before
I am your age."
"The deuce you do!"
"Or else I shall die without ever having lived--a vegetable, not a
"Bombast! a 'flower' your lovers will call you."
"And men of sense a 'weed.' But don't let us discuss me. What I wish
to know is the nature of your annoyance, dear." He explained to her
with a groan that he should have to wind up all the affairs of an
estate of 8,000 pounds a year, pay the annual and other encumbrances,
"Well, but, dear, you will be quite at home in this, you have such a
turn for business."
"For my own," shrieked the old bachelor, angrily, "not for other
people's. Why, Lucy, there will be half a dozen separate accounts, all
of four figures. It is not as if executors were paid. And why are they
not paid? There ought to be a law compelling the estates they
administer to pay them, and handsomely. It never occurred to me
before, but now I see the monstrous iniquity of amateur executors,
amateur trustees, amateur guardians. They take business out of the
hands of those who live by business. I sincerely regret my share in
this injustice. If a snob works, he always expects to be paid! how
much more a gentleman. He ought to be paid double--once for the work,
and once for giving up his natural ease. Here am I, guardian gratis to
a cub of sixteen--the worst age--done school, and not begun Oxford and
"Tutors, you mean."
"Do I? Is it the tutors the whelps fall in love with, little goose?
Stop; I'll describe my 'interesting charge,' as the books call it. He
has hair you could not tell from tow. He has no eyebrows--a little
unfledged slippery horror. He used to come in to dessert, and turn all
our stomachs except his silly father's."
"When you speak to him he never answers--blushes instead."
"He has read of eloquent blushes, and thinks there is no need to reply
in words--blushing must be such an interesting and effective
"Poor boy, he wants a little judicious kindness. We will have him
"Here!" cried the old gentleman, with horror. "What! make Font Abbey a
kennel!!! No, Lucy, no, this house is sacred; no nuisances admitted
here. Here, on this single spot of earth, reigns comfort, and shall
reign unruffled while I live. This is the temple of peace. If I must
be worried, I must, but not beneath this hallowed roof."
This eloquence, delivered as it was with a sudden solemnity, told upon
"Dear Font Abbey," murmured Lucy, half closing her eyes, "how well you
describe it! Societies of the cosey; the walls seem padded, the
carpets velvet, and the whole structure care-proof; all is quiet
gayety and sweet punctuality. Here comfort and good humor move by
clock-work; that is Font Abbey. Yet you are right; if you were to be
seen in it no more, it would lose the life of its charm, dear Uncle
"Thank you, my dear--thank you. I do like to see my friends about me
comfortable, and, above all, to be comfortable myself. The place is
well enough, and I am bitterly sorry I must leave it, and sorry to
leave you, my dear."
"Leave us? not immediately?"
"This very day. Why, the funeral is to be this week--a grand
funeral--and I have to order it all. Then there are relatives to be
invited--thirty letters--others to be asked to the reading of the
will. It will be one hurry-scurry till we get the house clear of the
corpse and the vultures; then at it I must go, head-foremost, into
fathomless addition--subtraction--multiplication, and vexation. 'Oh,
now forever farewell, something or other--farewell content!' You talk
of misanthropy. I shall end there. Lucy."
"Yes, dear uncle."
"I never--do--a good-natured thing--but--I--bitterly--repent it. By
Jupiter! the coffee is cold; the first time that has befallen me since
I turned off seven servants that battled that point of comfort with
Lucy suggested that the coffee might have cooled a little while he was
being so kind as to answer her question at unusual length. Then she
came round to him bringing a fresh supply of fragrant slow poison, and
sat beside him and soothed him till his ire went down, and came the
calm depression of a man who, accustomed for many years to do just
what he liked, found himself suddenly obliged to do something he did
not like--a thing out of the groove of his habits too.
Sure enough, he left Font Abbey the same day, with a promise, exacted
by Lucy, that he should make her the partner of all his vexations by
writing to her every day.
"And, Lucy," said the old Parthian, as he stepped into his
traveling-carriage, "my friend Talboys will miss me; pray be kind to
him while I am away. He is a particular friend of mine. I may be
wrong, but I do like men of known origin--of old family."
"And you are right. I will be kind to him for your sake, dear."
A slight cold confined Lucy to the house for three or four days after
her uncle's departure (by the by, I think this must have been the
reason of David's ill success in his endeavors to get an interview
with her out of doors).
Thus circumstanced, ladies rummage.
Lucy found in a garret a chest containing a quantity of papers and
parchments, and the beautifulest dust. No such dust is made in these
degenerate days. Some of these MSS. bore recent dates, and were easily
legible, though not so easily intelligible, being written as Gratiano
spake.* The writers had omitted to put the idea'd words into red ink,
so they had to be picked out with infinite difficulty from the
multitude of unidea'd ones.
* "Gratiano speaks an infinite deal of nothing . . . . his reasons are
as three grains of wheat in two bushels of chaff."
Other of the MSS., more ancient, wore a double veil. They hid their
sense in verbiage, and also in narrow Germanifled letters, farther
deformed by contractions and ornamental flourishes, whose joint effect
made a word look like a black daddy-long-legs, all sprawling fantastic
limbs and the body a dot.
The perusal of these pieces was slow and painful; it was like walking
or slipping about among broken ruins overgrown with nettles. But then
Uncle Fountain was so anxious to hook on to the Flunkeys--oh, Ciel!
what am I saying?--the Funteyns, and his direct genealogical evidence
had so completely broken down. She said to herself, "Oh dear! if I
could find something among these old writings, and show it him on his
return." She had them all dusted and brought down, and a table-cloth
laid on a long table in the drawing-room, and spelled them with a
good-humored patience that belonged partly to her character, partly to
her sex. A female who undertakes this sort of work does not skip as we
should; the habit of needle-work in all its branches reconciles that
portion of mankind to invisible progress in other matters.
Besides this, they are naturally careful, and, above all, born to
endure, they carry patience into nearly all they do.*
* At about the third rehearsal of a new play our actresses bring the
author's words into their heads, our actors are still all abroad, and
at the first performance the breaks-down are sure to be among the
males; the female jumenta carry their burden (be it of pig-lead) safe
from wing to wing.
Lucy made her way manfully through all the well-written
circumlocution, and in a very short time considering; but the antique
[Greek] tried her eyes too much at night, so she gave nearly her whole
day to it, for she was anxious to finish all before her uncle's
return. It was a curious picture--Venus immersed in musty records.
One day she had studied and spelled four mortal hours, when a visitor
was suddenly announced--Miss Dodd. That young lady came briskly in at
the heels of the servant and caught Lucy at her work. After the first
greeting, her eye rested with such undisguised curiosity on the
"mouldy records" that Lucy told her in general terms what she was
trying to do for her uncle. "La!" said Eve, "you will ruin your
eye-sight; why not send them over to us? I will make David read them."
"And his eyesight?"
"Oh, bless you, he has a knack at reading old writing. He has made a
study of it."
"If I thought I was not presuming too far on Mr. Dodd's good nature, I
would send one or two of them."
"Do; and I will make him draw up a paper of the contents; I have seen
him at this sort of work before now. But there, la! I suppose you know
it is all vanity."
"I do it to please my poor uncle."
"And very good you are. But what the better will the poor old
gentleman be? We are here to act our own part well; we can't ride up
to heaven on our great-grandfather."
These maxims were somewhat coldly received, so Eve shifted her ground.
"After all, I don't know why I should be the one to say that, for my
own name is older than your uncle's a pretty deal."
Lucy looked puzzled; then suddenly fancying she had caught Eve's
meaning, she said: "That is true. Hail mother of mankind!!" and bowed
her head with graceful reverence.
Eve stared and colored, not knowing what on earth her companion meant.
I am afraid it must be owned that Eve steadily eschewed books and
always had. What little book-learning she had came to her filtered
through David, and by this channel she accepted it willingly, even
sought it at odd times, when there was no bread, pudding, dress,
theology, scandal, or fun going on. She turned it off by a sudden
inquiry where Mr. Fountain was; "they told me in the village he was
away." Now several circumstances combined to make Lucy more
communicative than usual. First, she had been studying hard; and,
after long study, when a lively person comes to us, it is a great
incitement to talk. Pitiful by nature, I spare you the "bent bow."
Secondly, she was a little anxious lest her uncle's sudden neglect
should have mortified Miss Dodd, and a neutral topic handled at length
tends to replace friendly feeling without direct and unpleasant
explanations. She therefore answered every question in full; told her
that her uncle had lost a dear friend; that he was executor and
guardian to the poor boy, now entirely an orphan. Her uncle, with his
usual zeal on behalf of his friends; had gone off at once, and
doubtless would not return till he had fulfilled in every respect the
wishes of the deceased.
To this general sketch she added many details, suppressing the
misanthropy Mr. Fountain had exhibited or affected at the first
receipt of the intelligence.
In short, angelic gossip. Earthly gossip always backbites, you know.
Eve missed something somehow, no doubt the human or backbiting
element; still, it was gossip, sacred gossip, far dearer than
Shakespeare to the female heart, and Eve's eyes glowed with pleasure
and her tongue plied eager questions.
With all this, such instinctive artists are these delicate creatures,
both these ladies were secretly in ambush, Lucy to learn whether Eve
and David were hurt or surprised at not being invited of late, and why
she and he had not called since; Eve to find out what was the cause
David and she had been so suddenly dropped: was it Lucy's doing or
Each lady being bent on receiving, not on making revelations, nothing
transpired on either side. Seeing this, Eve became impatient and made
a bold move.
"Miss Fountain," said she, "you are all alone. I wish you would come
over to us this evening and have tea."
Lucy did not immediately reply. Eve saw her hesitation. "It is but a
poor place," said she, "to ask you to."
"I will come," said the lady, directly. "I will come with great
"Will seven be too early for you?"