He spoke it hastily, under plea of some humorous tenderness, when he ventured. When Dudley, calling on him in the City to discuss the candidature for the South London borough, named her Fredi, that he might regain a vantage of familiarity by imitating her father, it struck Victor as audacious. It jarred in his recollection, though the heir of the earldom spoke in the tone of a lover, was really at high pitch. He appeared to be appreciating her, to have suffered stings of pain; he offered himself; he made but one stipulation. Victor regretfully assured him, he feared he could do nothing. The thought of his entry into Lakelands, with Nesta Victoria refusing the foundation stone of the place, grew dim.
But he was now canvassing for the Borough, hearty at the new business as the braced swimmer on seas, which instantly he became, with an end in view to be gained.
Late one April night, expecting Nataly to have gone to bed, and Nesta to be waiting for him, he reached home, and found Nataly in her sitting-room alone. 'Nesta was tired,' she said: 'we have had a scene; she refuses Mr. Sowerby; I am sick of pressing it; he is very much in earnest, painfully; she blames him for disturbing me; she will not see the right course:—a mother reads her daughter! If my girl has not guidance!—she means rightly, she is rash.'
Nataly could not utter all that her insaneness of feeling made her think with regard to Victor's daughter—daughter also of the woman whom her hard conscience accused of inflammability. 'Here is a note from Dr. Themison, dear.'
Victor seized it, perused, and drew the big breath.
'From Themison,' he said; he coughed.
'Don't think to deceive me,' said she. 'I have not read the contents, I know them.'
'The invitation at last, for to-morrow, Sunday, four P.M. Odd, that next day at eight of the evening I shall be addressing our meeting in the Theatre. Simeon speaks. Beaves Urmsing insists on coming, Tory though he is. Those Tories are jollier fellows than—well, no wonder! There will be no surgical . . . the poor woman is very low. A couple of days at the outside. Of course, I go.'
'Hand me the note, dear.'
It had to be given up, out of the pocket.
'But,' said Victor, 'the mention of you is merely formal.'
She needed sleep: she bowed her head.
Nataly was the first at the breakfast-table in the morning, a fair Sunday morning. She was going to Mrs. John Cormyn's Church, and she asked Nesta to come with her.
She returned five minutes before the hour of lunch, having left Nesta with Mrs. John. Louise de Seilles undertook to bring Nesta home at the time she might choose. Fenellan, Mr. Pempton, Peridon and Catkin, lunched and chatted. Nataly chatted. At a quarter to three o'clock Victor's carriage was at the door. He rose: he had to keep an appointment. Nataly said to him publicly: 'I come too.' He stared and nodded. In the carriage, he said: 'I'm driving to the Gardens, for a stroll, to have a look at the beasts. Sort of relief. Poor crazy woman! However, it 's a comfort to her: so . . . !'
'I like to see them,' said Nataly. 'I shall see her. I have to do it.'
Up to the gate of the Gardens Victor was arguing to dissuade his dear soul from this very foolish, totally unnecessary, step. Alighting, he put the matter aside, for good angels to support his counsel at the final moment.
Bears, lions, tigers, eagles, monkeys: they suggested no more than he would have had from prints; they sprang no reflection, except, that the coming hour was a matter of indifference to them. They were about him, and exercised so far a distraction. He took very kindly to an old mother monkey, relinquishing her society at sight of Nataly's heave of the bosom. Southward, across the park, the dread house rose. He began quoting Colney Durance with relish while sarcastically confuting the cynic, who found much pasture in these Gardens. Over Southward, too, he would be addressing a popular assembly to-morrow evening. Between now and then there was a ditch to jump. He put on the sympathetic face of grief. 'After all, a caged wild beast hasn't so bad a life,' he said.—To be well fed while they live, and welcome death as a release from the maladies they develop in idleness, is the condition of wealthy people:—creatures of prey? horrible thought! yet allied to his Idea, it seemed. Yes, but these good caged beasts here set them an example, in not troubling relatives and friends when they come to the gasp! Mrs. Burman's invitation loomed as monstrous—a final act of her cruelty. His skin pricked with dews. He thought of Nataly beside him, jumping the ditch with him, as a relief—if she insisted on doing it. He hoped she would not, for the sake of her composure.
It was a ditch void of bottom. But it was a mere matter of an hour, less. The state of health of the invalid could bear only a few minutes. In any case, we are sure that the hour will pass. Our own arrive? Certainly.
'Capital place for children,' he exclaimed. And here startlingly before him in the clusters of boys and girls, was the difference between young ones and their elders feeling quite as young: the careless youngsters have not to go and sit in the room with a virulent old woman, and express penitence and what not, and hear words of pardon, after their holiday scamper and stare at the caged beasts.
Attention to the children precipitated him upon acquaintances, hitherto cleverly shunned. He nodded them off, after the brightest of greetings.
Such anodyne as he could squeeze from the incarcerated wild creatures, was exhausted. He fell to work at Nataly's 'aristocracy of the contempt of luxury'; signifying, that we the wealthy will not exist to pamper flesh, but we live for the promotion of brotherhood:—ay, and that our England must make some great moral stand, if she is not to fall to the rear and down. Unuttered, it caught the skirts of the Idea: it evaporated when spoken. Still, this theme was almost an exorcism of Mrs. Burman. He consulted his watch. 'Thirteen minutes to four. I must be punctual,' he said. Nataly stepped faster.
Seated in the carriage, he told her he had never felt the horror of that place before. 'Put me down at the corner of the terrace, dear: I won't drive to the door.'
'I come with you, Victor,' she replied.
After entreaties and reasons intermixed, to melt her resolve, he saw she was firm: and he asked himself, whether he might not be constitutionally better adapted to persuade than to dissuade. The question thumped. Having that house of drugs in view, he breathed more freely for the prospect of feeling his Nataly near him beneath the roof.
'You really insist, dear love?' he appealed to her: and her answer: 'It must be,' left no doubt: though he chose to say: 'Not because of standing by me?' And she said: 'For my peace, Victor.' They stepped to the pavement. The carriage was dismissed.
Seventeen houses of the terrace fronting the park led to the funereal one: and the bell was tolled in the breast of each of the couple advancing with an air of calmness to the inevitable black door.
Jarniman opened it. 'His mistress was prepared to see them.'—Not like one near death.—They were met in the hall by the Rev. Groseman Buttermore. 'You will find a welcome,' was his reassurance to them: gently delivered, on the stoop of a large person. His whispered tones were more agreeably deadening than his words.
Mr. Buttermore ushered them upstairs.
'Can she bear it?' Victor said, and heard: 'Her wish ten minutes.'
'Soon over,' he murmured to Nataly, with a compassionate exclamation for the invalid.
They rounded the open door. They were in the drawing-room. It was furnished as in the old time, gold and white, looking new; all the same as of old, save for a division of silken hangings; and these were pale blue: the colour preferred by Victor for a bedroom. He glanced at the ceiling, to bathe in a blank space out of memory. Here she lived,—here she slept, behind the hangings. There was refreshingly that little difference in the arrangement of the room. The corner Northward was occupied by the grand piano; and Victor had an inquiry in him:—tuned? He sighed, expecting a sight to come through the hangings. Sensible that Nataly trembled, he perceived the Rev. Groseman Buttermore half across a heap of shawl-swathe on the sofa.
Mrs. Burman was present; seated. People may die seated; she had always disliked the extended posture; except for the night's rest, she used to say; imagining herself to be not inviting the bolt of sudden death, in her attitude when seated by day:—and often at night the poor woman had to sit up for the qualms of her dyspepsia!—But I 'm bound to think humanely, be Christian, be kind, benignant, he thought, and he fetched the spirit required, to behold her face emerge from a pale blue silk veiling; as it were, the inanimate wasted led up from the mould by morning.
Mr. Buttermore signalled to them to draw near.
Wasted though it was, the face of the wide orbits for sunken eyes was distinguishable as the one once known. If the world could see it and hear, that it called itself a man's wife! She looked burnt out.
Two chairs had been sent to front the sofa. Execution there! Victor thought, and he garrotted the unruly mind of a man really feeling devoutness in the presence of the shadow thrown by the dread Shade.
'Ten minutes,' Mr. Buttermore said low, after obligingly placing them on the chairs.
He went. They were alone with Mrs. Burman.
No voice came. They were unsure of being seen by the floating grey of eyes patient to gaze from their vast distance. Big drops fell from Nataly's. Victor heard the French timepiece on the mantel-shelf, where a familiar gilt Cupid swung for the seconds: his own purchase. The time of day on the clock was wrong; the Cupid swung.
Nataly's mouth was taking breath of anguish at moments. More than a minute of the terrible length of the period of torture must have gone: two, if not three.
A quaver sounded. 'You have come.' The voice was articulate, thinner than the telephonic, trans-Atlantic by deep-sea cable.
Victor answered: 'We have.'
Another minute must have gone in the silence. And when we get to five minutes we are on the descent, rapidly counting our way out of the house, into the fresh air, where we were half an hour back, among those happy beasts in the pleasant Gardens!
Mrs. Burman's eyelids shut. 'I said you would come.'
Victor started to the fire-screen. 'Your sight requires protection.'
She dozed. 'And Natalia Dreighton!' she next said.
They were certainly now on the five minutes. Now for the slide downward and outward! Nataly should never have been allowed to come.
'The white waistcoat!' struck his ears.
'Old customs with me, always!' he responded. 'The first of April, always. White is a favourite. Pale blue, too. But I fear—I hope you have not distressing nights? In my family we lay great stress on the nights we pass. My cousins, the Miss Duvidneys, go so far as to judge of the condition of health by the nightly record.'
'Your daughter was in their house.'
She knew everything!
'Very fond of my daughter—the ladies,' he remarked.
'I wish her well.'
'You are very kind.'
Mrs. Burman communed within or slept. 'Victor, Natalia, we will pray,' she said.
Her trembling hands crossed their fingers. Nataly slipped to her knees.
The two women mutely praying, pulled Victor into the devotional hush. It acted on him like the silent spell of service in a Church. He forgot his estimate of the minutes, he formed a prayer, he refused to hear the Cupid swinging, he droned a sound of sentences to deaden his ears. Ideas of eternity rolled in semblance of enormous clouds. Death was a black bird among them. The piano rang to Nataly's young voice and his. The gold and white of the chairs welcomed a youth suddenly enrolled among the wealthy by an enamoured old lady on his arm. Cupid tick-ticked.—Poor soul! poor woman! How little we mean to do harm when we do an injury! An incomprehensible world indeed at the bottom and at the top. We get on fairly at the centre. Yet it is there that we do the mischief making such a riddle of the bottom and the top. What is to be said! Prayer quiets one. Victor peered at Nataly fervently on her knees and Mrs. Burman bowed over her knotted fingers. The earnestness of both enforced an effort at a phrased prayer in him. Plungeing through a wave of the scent of Marechale, that was a tremendous memory to haul him backward and forward, he beheld his prayer dancing across the furniture; a diminutive thin black figure, elvish, irreverent, appallingly unlike his proper emotion; and he brought his hands just to touch, and got to the edge of his chair, with split knees. At once the figure vanished. By merely looking at Nataly, he passed into her prayer. A look at Mrs. Burman made it personal, his own. He heard the cluck of a horrible sob coming from him. After a repetition of his short form of prayer deeply stressed, he thanked himself with the word 'sincere,' and a queer side-thought on our human susceptibility to the influence of posture. We are such creatures.
Nataly resumed her seat. Mrs. Burman had raised her head. She said: 'We are at peace.' She presently said, with effort: 'It cannot last with me. I die in nature's way. I would bear forgiveness with me, that I may have it above. I give it here, to you, to all. My soul is cleansed, I trust. Much was to say. My strength will not. Unto God, you both!'
The Rev. Groseman Buttermore was moving on slippered step to the back of the sofa. Nataly dropped before the unseeing, scarce breathing, lady for an instant. Victor murmured an adieu, grateful for being spared the ceremonial shake of hands. He turned away, then turned back, praying for power to speak, to say that he had found his heart, was grateful, would hold her in memory. He fell on a knee before her, and forgot he had done so when he had risen. They were conducted by the Rev. gentleman to the hall-door: he was not speechless. Jarniman uttered something.
That black door closed behind them.
THE NIGHT OF THE GREAT UNDELIVERED SPEECH
To a man issuing from a mortuary where a skull had voice, London may be restorative as air of Summer Alps. It is by contrast blooming life. Observe the fellowship of the houses shoulder to shoulder; and that straight ascending smoke of the preparation for dinner; and the good policeman yonder, blessedly idle on an orderly Sabbath evening; and the families of the minor people trotting homeward from the park to tea; here and again an amiable carriage of the superimposed people driving to pay visits; they are so social, friendly, inviting to him; they strip him of the shroud, sing of the sweet old world. He cannot but be moved to the extremity of the charitableness neighbouring on tears.
A stupefaction at the shock of the positive reminder, echo of the fact still shouting in his breast, that he had seen Mrs. Burman, and that the interview was over—the leaf turned and the book shut held Victor in a silence until his gratefulness to London City was borne down by the more human burst of gratitude to the dying woman, who had spared him, as much as she could, a scene of the convulsive pathetic, and had not called on him for any utterance of penitence. That worm-like thread of voice came up to him still from sexton-depths: it sounded a larger forgiveness without the word. He felt the sorrow of it all, as he told Nataly; at the same time bidding her smell 'the marvellous oxygen of the park.' He declared it to be quite equal to Lakelands.
She slightly pressed his arm for answer. Perhaps she did not feel so deeply? She was free of the horrid associations with the scent of Marechale. At any rate, she had comported herself admirably!
Victor fancied he must have shuddered when he passed by Jarniman at the door, who was almost now seeing his mistress's ghost—would have the privilege to-morrow. He called a cab and drove to Mrs. John Cormyn's, at Nataly's request, for Nesta and mademoiselle: enjoying the Londonized odour of the cab. Nataly did not respond to his warm and continued eulogies of Mrs. Burman; she rather disappointed him. He talked of the gold and white furniture, he just alluded to the Cupid: reserving his mental comment, that the time-piece was all astray, the Cupid regular on the swing:—strange, touching, terrible, if really the silly gilt figure symbolized! . . . And we are a silly figure to be sitting in a cab imagining such things!—When Nesta and mademoiselle were opposite, he had the pleasure to see Nataly take Nesta's hand and hold it until they reached home. Those two talking together in the brief words of their deep feeling, had tones that were singularly alike: the mezzo-soprano filial to the divine maternal contralto. Those two dear ones mounted to Nataly's room.
The two dear ones showed themselves heart in heart together once more; each looked the happier for it. Dartrey was among their dinner-guests, and Nataly took him to her little blue-room before she went to bed. He did not speak of their conversation to Victor, but counselled him to keep her from excitement. 'My dear fellow, if you had seen her with Mrs. Burman!' Victor said, and loudly praised her coolness. She was never below a situation, he affirmed.
He followed his own counsel to humour his Nataly. She began panting at a word about Mr. Barmby's ready services. When, however, she related the state of affairs between Dartrey and Nesta, by the avowal of each of them to her, he said, embracing her: 'Your wisdom shall guide us, my love,' and almost extinguished a vexation by concealing it.
She sighed: 'If one could think, that a girl with Nesta's revolutionary ideas of the duties of women, and their powers, would be safe—or at all rightly guided by a man who is both one of the noblest and the wildest in the ideas he entertains!'
Victor sighed too. He saw the earldom, which was to dazzle the gossips, crack on the sky in a futile rocket-bouquet.
She was distressed; she moaned: 'My girl! my girl: I should wish to leave her with one who is more fixed—the old-fashioned husband. New ideas must come in politics, but in Society!—and for women! And the young having heads, are the most endangered. Nesta vows her life to it! Dartrey supports her!'
'See Colney,' said Victor. 'Odd, Colney does you good; some queer way he has. Though you don't care for his RIVAL TONGUES,—and the last number was funny, with Semhians on the Pacific, impressively addressing a farewell to his cricket-bat, before he whirls it away to Neptune—and the blue hand of his nation's protecting God observed to seize it!—Dead failure with the public, of course! However, he seems to seem wise with you. The poor old fellow gets his trouncing from the critics monthly. See Colney to-morrow, my love. Now go to sleep. We have got over the worst. I speak at my Meeting to-morrow and am a champagne-bottle of notes and points for them.'
His lost Idea drew close to him in sleep: or he thought so, when awaking to the conception of a people solidified, rich and poor, by the common pride of simple manhood. But it was not coloured, not a luminous globe: and the people were in drab, not a shining army on the march to meet the Future. It looked like a paragraph in a newspaper, upon which a Leading Article sits, dutifully arousing the fat worm of sarcastic humour under the ribs of cradled citizens, with an exposure of its excellent folly. He would not have it laughed at; still he could not admit it as more than a skirt of the robe of his Idea. For let none think him a mere City merchant, millionnaire, boon-fellow, or music-loving man of the world. He had ideas to shoot across future Ages;—provide against the shrinkage of our Coal-beds; against, and for, if you like, the thickening, jumbling, threatening excess of population in these Islands, in Europe, America, all over our habitable sphere. Now that Mrs. Burman, on her way to bliss, was no longer the dungeon-cell for the man he would show himself to be, this name for successes, corporate nucleus of the enjoyments, this Victor Montgomery Radnor, intended impressing himself upon the world as a factory of ideas. Colney's insolent charge, that the English have no imagination—a doomed race, if it be true!—would be confuted. For our English require but the lighted leadership to come into cohesion, and step ranked, and chant harmoniously the song of their benevolent aim. And that astral head giving, as a commencement, example of the right use of riches, the nation is one, part of the riddle of the future solved.
Surely he had here the Idea? He had it so warmly, that his bath-water heated. Only the vision was wanted.
On London Bridge he had seen it—a great thing done to the flash of brilliant results. That was after a fall.
There had been a fall also of the scheme of Lakelands.
Come to us with no superstitious whispers of indications and significations in the fall!—But there had certainly been a moral fall, fully to the level of the physical, in the maintaining of that scheme of Lakelands, now ruined by his incomprehensible Nesta—who had saved him from falling further. His bath-water chilled. He jumped out and rubbed furiously with his towels and flesh-brushes, chasing the Idea for simple warmth, to have Something inside him, to feel just that sustainment; with the cry: But no one can say I do not love my Nataly! And he tested it to prove it by his readiness to die for her: which is heroically easier than the devotedly living, and has a weight of evidence in our internal Courts for surpassing the latter tedious performance.
His Nesta had knocked Lakelands to pieces. Except for the making of money, the whole year of an erected Lakelands, notwithstanding uninterrupted successes, was a blank. Or rather we have to wish it were a blank. The scheme departs: payment for the enlisted servants of it is in prospect. A black agent, not willingly enlisted, yet pointing to proofs of service, refuses payment in ordinary coin; and we tell him we owe him nothing, that he is not a man of the world, has no understanding of Nature: and still the fellow thumps and alarums at a midnight door we are astonished to find we have in our daylight house. How is it? Would other men be so sensitive to him? Victor was appeased by the assurance of his possession of an exceptionally scrupulous conscience; and he settled the debate by thinking: 'After all, for a man like me, battling incessantly, a kind of Vesuvius, I must have—can't be starved, must be fed—though, pah! But I'm not to be questioned like other men.—But how about an aristocracy of the contempt of distinctions?—But there is no escaping distinctions! my aristocracy despises indulgence.—And indulges?—Say, an exceptional nature! Supposing a certain beloved woman to pronounce on the case?—She cannot: no woman can be a just judge of it.'—-He cried: My love of her is testified by my having Barmby handy to right her to-day, tomorrow, the very instant the clock strikes the hour of my release!
Mention of the clock swung that silly gilt figure. Victor entered into it, condemned to swing, and be a thrall. His intensity of sensation launched him on an eternity of the swinging in ridiculous nakedness to the measure of time gone crazy. He had to correct a reproof of Mrs. Burman, as the cause of the nonsense. He ran down to breakfast, hopeing he might hear of that clock stopped, and that sickening motion with it.
Another letter from the Sanfredini in Milan, warmly inviting to her villa over Como, acted on him at breakfast like the waving of a banner. 'We go,' Victor said to Nataly, and flattered-up a smile about her lips—too much a resurrection smile. There was talk of the Meeting at the theatre: Simeon Fenellan had spoken there in the cause of the deceased Member, was known, and was likely to have a good reception. Fun and enthusiasm might be expected.
'And my darling will hear her husband speak to-night,' he whispered as he was departing; and did a mischief, he had to fear, for a shadowy knot crossed Nataly's forehead, she seemed paler. He sent back Nesta and mademoiselle, in consequence, at the end of the Green Park.
Their dinner-hour was early; Simeon Fenellan, Colney Durance, and Mr. Peridon—pleasing to Nataly for his faithful siege of the French fortress—were the only guests. When they rose, Nataly drew Victor aside. He came dismayed to Nesta. She ran to her mother. 'Not hear papa speak? Oh, mother, mother! Then I stay with her. But can't she come? He is going to unfold ideas to us. There!'
'My naughty girl is not to poke her fun at orators,' Nataly said. 'No, dearest; it would agitate me to go. I'm better here. I shall be at peace when the night is over.'
'But you will be all alone here, dear mother.'
Nataly's eyes wandered to fall on Colney. He proposed to give her his company. She declined it. Nesta ventured another entreaty, either that she might be allowed to stay or have her mother with her at the Meeting.
'My love,' Nataly said, 'the thought of the Meeting—' She clasped at her breast; and she murmured: 'I shall be comforted by your being with him. There is no danger there. But I shall be happy, I shall be at peace when this night is over.'
Colney persuaded her to have him for companion. Mr. Peridon, who was to have driven with Nesta and mademoiselle, won admiration by proposing to stay for an hour and play some of Mrs. Radnor's favourite pieces. Nesta and Victor overbore Nataly's objections to the lover's generosity. So Mr. Peridon was left. Nesta came hurrying back from the step of the carriage to kiss her mother again, saying: 'Just one last kiss, my own! And she's not to look troubled. I shall remember everything to tell my own mother. It will soon be over.'
Her mother nodded; but the embrace was passionate.
Nesta called her father into the passage, bidding him prohibit any delivery to her mother of news at the door. 'She is easily startled now by trifles—you have noticed?'
Victor summoned his recollections and assured her he had noticed, as he believed he had 'The dear heart of her is fretting for the night to be over! And think! seven days, and she is in Lakelands. A fortnight, and we have our first Concert. Durandarte! Oh, the dear heart 'll be at peace when I tell her of a triumphant Meeting. Not a doubt of that, even though Colney turns the shadow of his back on us.'
'One critic the less for you!' said Nesta. Skepsey was to meet her carriage at the theatre.
Ten minutes later, Victor and Simeon Fenellan were proceeding thitherward on foot.
'I have my speech,' said Victor. 'You prepare the way for me, following our influential friend Dubbleson; Colewort winds up; any one else they shout for. We shall have a great evening. I suspect I shall find Themison or Jarniman when I get home. You don't believe in intimations? I've had crapy processions all day before my eyes. No wonder, after yesterday!'
'Dubbleson mustn't drawl it out too long,' said Fenellan.
'We 'll drop a hint. Where's Dartrey?'
'He'll come. He's in one of his black moods: not temper. He's got a notion he killed his wife by dragging her to Africa with him. She was not only ready to go, she was glad to go. She had a bit of the heroine in her and a certainty of tripping to the deuce if she was left to herself.'
'Tell Nataly that,' said Victor. 'And tell her about Dartrey. Harp on it. Once she was all for him and our girl. But it's a woman—though the dearest! I defy any one to hit on the cause of their changes. We must make the best of things, if we're for swimming. The task for me to-night will be, to keep from rolling out all I've got in my head. And I'm not revolutionary, I'm for stability. Only I do see, that the firm stepping-place asks for a long stride to be taken. One can't get the English to take a stride—unless it's for a foot behind them: bother old Colney! Too timid, or too scrupulous, down we go into the mire. There!—But I want to say it! I want to save the existing order. I want, Christianity, instead of the Mammonism we 're threatened with. Great fortunes now are becoming the giants of old to stalk the land: or mediaeval Barons. Dispersion of wealth, is the secret. Nataly's of that mind with me. A decent poverty! She's rather wearying, wants a change. I've a steam-yacht in my eye, for next month on the Mediterranean. All our set. She likes quiet. I believe in my political recipe for it.'
He thumped on a method he had for preserving aristocracy—true aristocracy, amid a positively democratic flood of riches.
'It appears to me, you're on the road of Priscilla Graves and Pempton,' observed Simeon. 'Strike off Priscilla's viands and friend Pempton's couple of glasses, and there's your aristocracy established; but with rather a dispersed recognition of itself.'
'Upon my word, you talk like old Colney, except for a twang of your own,' said Victor. 'Colney sours at every fresh number of that Serial. The last, with Delphica detecting the plot of Falarique, is really not so bad. The four disguised members of the Comedie Francaise on board the vessel from San Francisco, to declaim and prove the superior merits of the Gallic tongue, jumped me to bravo the cleverness. And Bobinikine turning to the complexion of the remainder of cupboard dumplings discovered in an emigrant's house-to-let! And Semhians—I forget what and Mytharete's forefinger over the bridge of his nose, like a pensive vulture on the skull of a desert camel! But, I complain, there's nothing to make the English love the author; and it's wasted, he's basted, and the book 'll have no sale. I hate satire.'
'Rough soap for a thin skin, Victor. Does it hurt our people much?'
'Not a bit; doesn't touch them. But I want my friends to succeed!'
Their coming upon Westminster Bridge changed the theme. Victor wished the Houses of Parliament to catch the beams of sunset. He deferred to the suggestion, that the Hospital's doing so seemed appropriate.
'I'm always pleased to find a decent reason for what is,' he said. Then he queried: 'But what is, if we look at it, and while we look, Simeon? She may be going—or she's gone already, poor woman! I shall have that scene of yesterday everlastingly before my eyes, like a drop-curtain. Only, you know, Simeon, they don't feel the end, as we in health imagine. Colney would say, we have the spasms and they the peace. I 've a mind to send up to Regent's Park with inquiries. It would look respectful. God forgive me!—the poor woman perverts me at every turn. Though I will say, a certain horror of death I had—she whisked me out of it yesterday. I don't feel it any longer. What are you jerking at?'
'Only to remark, that if the thing's done for us, we haven't it so much on our sensations.'
'More, if we're sympathetic. But that compels us to be philosophic—or who could live! Poor woman!'
'Waft her gently, Victor!'
'Tush! Now for the South side of the Bridges; and I tell you, Simeon, what I can't mention to-night: I mean to enliven these poor dear people on their forsaken South of the City. I 've my scheme. Elected or not, I shall hardly be accused of bribery when I put down my first instalment.'
Fenellan went to work with that remark in his brain for the speech he was to deliver. He could not but reflect on the genial man's willingness and capacity to do deeds of benevolence, constantly thwarted by the position into which he had plunged himself.
They were received at the verge of the crowd outside the theatre-doors by Skepsey, who wriggled, tore and clove a way for them, where all were obedient, but the numbers lumped and clogged. When finally they reached the stage, they spied at Nesta's box, during the thunder of the rounds of applause, after shaking hands with Mr. Dubbleson, Sir Abraham Quatley, Dudley Sowerby, and others; and with Beaves Urmsing—a politician 'never of the opposite party to a deuce of a funny fellow!—go anywhere to hear him,' he vowed.
'Miss Radnor and Mademoiselle de Seilles arrived quite safely,' said Dudley, feasting on the box which contained them and no Dartrey Fenellan in it.
Nesta was wondering at Dartrey's absence. Not before Mr. Dubbleson, the chairman, the 'gentleman of local influence,' had animated the drowsed wits and respiratory organs of a packed audience by yielding place to Simeon, did Dartrey appear. Simeon's name was shouted, in proof of the happy explosion of his first anecdote, as Dartrey took seat behind Nesta. 'Half an hour with the dear mother,' he said.
Nesta's eyes thanked him. She pressed the hand of a demure young woman sitting close behind. Louise de Seilles. 'You know Matilda Pridden.'
Dartrey held his hand out. 'Has she forgiven me?'
Matilda bowed gravely, enfolding her affirmative in an outline of the no need for it, with perfect good breeding. Dartrey was moved to think Skepsey's choice of a woman to worship did him honour. He glanced at Louise. Her manner toward Matilda Pridden showed her sisterly with Nesta. He said: 'I left Mr. Peridon playing.—A little anxiety to hear that the great speech of the evening is done; it's nothing else. I'll run to her as soon as it's over.'
'Oh, good of you! And kind of Mr. Peridon!' She turned to Louise, who smiled at the simple art of the exclamation, assenting.
Victor below, on the stage platform, indicated the waving of a hand to them, and his delight at Simeon's ringing points: which were, to Dartrey's mind, vacuously clever and crafty. Dartrey despised effects of oratory, save when soldiers had to be hurled on a mark—or citizens nerved to stand for their country.
Nesta dived into her father's brilliancy of appreciation, a trifle pained by Dartrey's aristocratic air when he surveyed the herd of heads agape and another cheer rang round. He smiled with her, to be with her, at a hit here and there; he would not pretend an approval of this manner of winning electors to consider the country's interests and their own. One fellow in the crowded pit, affecting a familiarity with Simeon, that permitted the taking of liberties with the orator's Christian name, mildly amused him. He had no objection to hear 'Simmy' shouted, as Louise de Seilles observed. She was of his mind, in regard to the rough machinery of Freedom.
Skepsey entered the box.
'We shall soon be serious, Miss Nesta,' he said, after a look at Matilda Pridden.
There was a prolonged roaring—on the cheerful side.
'And another word about security that your candidate will keep his promises,' continued Simeon: 'You have his word, my friends!' And he told the story of the old Governor of Goa, who wanted money and summoned the usurers, and they wanted security; whereupon he laid his Hidalgo hand on a cataract of Kronos-beard across his breast, and pulled forth three white hairs, and presented them: 'And as honourably to the usurious Jews as to the noble gentleman himself, that security was accepted!'
Emerging from hearty clamours, the illustrative orator fell upon the question of political specifics:—Mr. Victor Radnor trusted to English good sense too profoundly to be offering them positive cures, as they would hear the enemy say he did. Yet a bit of a cure may be offered, if we 're not for pushing it too far, in pursuit of the science of specifics, in the style of the foreign physician, probably Spanish, who had no practice, and wished for leisure to let him prosecute his anatomical and other investigations to discover his grand medical nostrum. So to get him fees meanwhile he advertised a cure for dyspepsia—the resource of starving doctors. And sure enough his patient came, showing the grand fat fellow we may be when we carry more of the deciduously mortal than of the scraggy vital upon our persons. Any one at a glance would have prescribed water-cresses to him: water-cresses exclusively to eat for a fortnight. And that the good physician did. Away went his patient, returning at the end of the fortnight, lean, and with the appetite of a Toledo blade for succulent slices. He vowed he was the man. Our estimable doctor eyed him, tapped at him, pinched his tender parts; and making him swear he was really the man, and had eaten nothing whatever but unadulterated water-cresses in the interval, seized on him in an ecstasy by the collar of his coat, pushed him into the surgery, knocked him over, killed him, cut him up, and enjoyed the felicity of exposing to view the very healthiest patient ever seen under dissecting hand, by favour of the fortunate discovery of the specific for him. All to further science!—to which, in spite of the petitions of all the scientific bodies of the civilized world, he fell a martyr on the scaffold, poor gentleman! But we know politics to be no such empirical science.
Simeon ingeniously interwove his analogy. He brought it home to Beaves Urmsing, whose laugh drove any tone of apology out of it. Yet the orator was asked: 'Do you take politics for a joke, Simmy?'
He countered his questioner: 'Just to liberate you from your moribund state, my friend.' And he told the story of the wrecked sailor, found lying on the sands, flung up from the foundered ship of a Salvation captain, and how, that nothing could waken him, and there he lay fit for interment; until presently a something of a voice grew down into his ears; and it was his old chum Polly, whom he had tied to a board to give her a last chance in the surges; and Polly shaking the wet from her feathers, and shouting: 'Polly tho dram dry!'—which struck on the nob of Jack's memory, to revive all the liquorly tricks of the cabin under Salvationism, and he began heaving, and at last he shook in a lazy way, and then from sputter to sputter got his laugh loose; and he sat up, and cried; 'That did it! Now to business!' for he was hungry. 'And when I catch the ring of this world's laugh from you, my friend . . . !' Simeon's application of the story was drowned.
After the outburst, they heard his friend again interruptingly: 'You keep that tongue of yours from wagging, as it did when you got round the old widow woman for her money, Simmy!'
Victor leaned forward. Simeon towered. He bellowed
'And you keep that tongue of yours from committing incest on a lie!'
It was like a lightning-flash in the theatre. The man went under. Simeon flowed. Conscience reproached him with the little he had done for Victor, and he had now his congenial opportunity.
Up in the box, the powers of the orator were not so cordially esteemed. To Matilda Pridden, his tales were barely decently the flesh and the devil smothering a holy occasion to penetrate and exhort. Dartrey sat rigid, as with the checked impatience for a leap. Nesta looked at Louise when some one was perceived on the stage bending to her father: It was Mr. Peridon; he never once raised his face. Apparently he was not intelligible or audible but the next moment Victor sprang erect. Dartrey quitted the box. Nesta beheld her father uttering hurried words to right and left. He passed from sight, Mr. Peridon with him; and Dartrey did not return.
Nesta felt her father's absence as light gone: his eyes rayed light. Besides she had the anticipation of a speech from him, that would win Matilda Pridden. She fancied Simeon Fenellan to be rather under the spell of the hilarity he roused. A gentleman behind him spoke in his ear; and Simeon, instead of ceasing, resumed his flow. Matilda Pridden's gaze on him and the people was painful to behold: Nesta saw her mind. She set herself to study a popular assembly. It could be serious to the call of better leadership, she believed. Her father had been telling her of late of a faith he had in the English, that they (or so her intelligence translated his remarks) had power to rise to spiritual ascendancy, and be once more the Islanders heading the world of a new epoch abjuring materialism—some such idea; very quickening to her, as it would be to this earnest young woman worshipped by Skepsey. Her father's absence and the continued shouts of laughter, the insatiable thirst for fun, darkened her in her desire to have the soul of the good working sister refreshed. They had talked together; not much: enough for each to see at either's breast the wells from the founts of life.
The box-door opened, Dartrey came in. He took her hand. She stood-up to his look. He said to Matilda Pridden: 'Come with us; she will need you.'
'Speak it,' said Nesta.
He said to the other: 'She has courage.'
'I could trust to her,' Matilda Pridden replied.
Nesta read his eyes. 'Mother?'
His answer was in the pressure.
'Oh! Dartrey.' Matilda Pridden caught her fast.
'I can walk, dear,' Nesta said.
Dartrey mentioned her father.
She understood: 'I am thinking of him.'
The words of her mother: 'At peace when the night is over,' rang. Along the gassy passages of the back of the theatre, the sound coming from an applausive audience was as much a thunder as rage would have been. It was as void of human meaning as a sea.
In the still dark hour of that April morning, the Rev. Septimus Barmby was roused by Mr. Peridon, with a scribbled message from Victor, which he deciphered by candlelight held close to the sheet of paper, between short inquiries and communications, losing more and more the sense of it as his intelligence became aware of what dread blow had befallen the stricken man. He was bidden come to fulfil his promise instantly. He remembered the bearing of the promise. Mr. Peridon's hurried explanatory narrative made the request terrific, out of tragically lamentable. A semblance of obedience had to be put on, and the act of dressing aided it. Mr. Barmby prayed at heart for guidance further.
The two gentlemen drove Westward, speaking little; they had the dry sob in the throat.
'Miss Radnor?' Mr. Barmby asked.
'She is shattered; she holds up; she would not break down.'
'I can conceive her to possess high courage.'
'She has her friend Mademoiselle de Seilles.'
Mr. Barmby remained humbly silent. Affectionate deep regrets moved him to say: 'A loss irreparable. We have but one voice of sorrow. And how sudden! The dear lady had no suffering, I trust.'
'She fell into the arms of Mr. Durance. She died in his arms. She was unconscious, he says. I left her straining for breath. She said "Victor"; she tried to smile:—I understood I was not to alarm him.'
'And he too late!'
'He was too late, by some minutes.'
'At least I may comfort. Miss Radnor must be a blessing to him.'
'They cannot meet. Her presence excites him.'
That radiant home of all hospitality seemed opening on from darker chambers to the deadly dark. The immorality in the moral situation could not be forgotten by one who was professionally a moralist. But an incorruptible beauty in the woman's character claimed to plead for her memory. Even the rigorous in defence of righteous laws are softened by a sinner's death to hear excuses, and may own a relationship, haply perceive the faint nimbus of the saint. Death among us proves us to be still not so far from the Nature saying at every avenue to the mind: 'Earth makes all sweet.'
Mr. Durance had prophesied a wailful end ever to the carol of Optimists! Yet it is not the black view which is the right view. There is one between: the path adopted by Septimus Barmby:—if he could but induce his brethren to enter on it! The dreadful teaching of circumstances might help to the persuading of a fair young woman, under his direction . . . having her hand disengaged. Mr. Barmby started himself in the dream of his uninterred passion for the maiden: he chased it, seized it, hurled it hence, as a present sacrilege:—constantly, and at the pitch of our highest devotion to serve, are we assailed by the tempter! Is it, that the love of woman is our weakness? For if so, then would a celibate clergy have grant of immunity. But, alas, it is not so with them! We have to deplore the hearing of reports too credible. Again we are pushed to contemplate woman as the mysterious obstruction to the perfect purity of soul. Nor is there a refuge in asceticism. No more devilish nourisher of pride do we find than in pain voluntarily embraced. And strangely, at the time when our hearts are pledged to thoughts upon others, they are led by woman to glance revolving upon ourself, our vile self! Mr. Barmby clutched it by the neck.
Light now, as of a strong memory of day along the street, assisted him to forget himself at the sight of the inanimate houses of this London, all revealed in a quietness not less immobile than tombstones of an unending cemetery, with its last ghost laid. Did men but know it!—The habitual necessity to amass matter for the weekly sermon, set him noting his meditative exclamations, the noble army of platitudes under haloes, of good use to men: justifiably turned over in his mind for their good. He had to think, that this act of the justifying of the act reproached him with a lack of due emotion, in sympathy with agonized friends truly dear. Drawing near the hospitable house, his official and a cordial emotion united, as we see sorrowful crape-wreathed countenances. His heart struck heavily when the house was visible.
Could it be the very house? The look of it belied the tale inside. But that threw a ghostliness on the look.
Some one was pacing up and down. They greeted Dudley Sowerby. His ability to speak was tasked. They gathered, that mademoiselle and 'a Miss Pridden' were sitting with Nesta, and that their services in a crisis had been precious. At such times, one of them reflected, woman has indeed her place: when life's battle waxes red. Her soul must be capable of mounting to the level of the man's, then? It is a lesson!
Dudley said he was waiting for Dr. Themison to come forth. He could not tear himself from sight of the house.
The door opened to Dr. Themison departing, Colney Durance and Simeon Fenellan bare-headed. Colney showed a face with stains of the lashing of tears.
Dr. Themison gave his final counsels. 'Her father must not see her. For him, it may have to be a specialist. We will hope the best. Mr. Dartrey Fenellan stays beside him:—good. As to the ceremony he calls for, a form of it might soothe:—any soothing possible! No music. I will return in a few hours.'
He went on foot.
Mr. Barmby begged advice from Colney and Simeon concerning the message he had received—the ceremony requiring his official presidency. Neither of them replied. They breathed the morning air, they gave out long-drawn sighs of relief, looking on the trees of the park.
A man came along the pavement, working slow legs hurriedly. Simeon ran down to him.
'Humour, as much as you can,' Colney said to Mr. Barmby. 'Let him imagine.'
'Not to speak of her.'
'The daughter he so loves?'
Mr. Barmby's tender inquisitiveness was unanswered. Were they inducing him to mollify a madman? But was it possible to associate the idea of madness with Mr. Radnor?
Simeon ran back. 'Jarniman,' he remarked. 'It's over!'
'Now!' Colney's shoulders expressed the comment. 'Well, now, Mr. Barmby, you can do the part desired. Come in. It's morning!' He stared at the sky.
All except Dudley passed in.
Mr. Barmby wanted more advice, his dilemma being acute. It was moderated, though not more than moderated, when he was informed of the death of Mrs. Burman Radnor; an event that occurred, according to Jarniman's report, forty-five minutes after Skepsey had a second time called for information of it at the house in Regent's Park—five hours and a half, as Colney made his calculation, after the death of Nataly. He was urged by some spur of senseless irony to verify the calculation and correct it in the minutes.
Dudley crossed the road. No sign of the awful interior was on any of the windows of the house either to deepen awe or relieve. They were blank as eyeballs of the mindless. He shivered. Death is our common cloak; but Calamity individualizes, to set the unwounded speculating whether indeed a stricken man, who has become the cause of woeful trouble, may not be pointing a moral. Pacing on the Park side of the house, he saw Skepsey drive up and leap out with a gentleman, Mr. Radnor's lawyer. Could it be, that there was no Will written? Could a Will be executed now? The moral was more forcibly suggested. Dudley beheld this Mr. Victor Radnor successful up all the main steps, persuasive, popular, brightest of the elect of Fortune, felled to the ground within an hour, he and all his house! And if at once to pass beneath the ground, the blow would have seemed merciful for him. Or if, instead of chattering a mixture of the rational and the monstrous, he had been heard to rave like the utterly distraught. Recollection of some of the things he shouted, was an anguish: A notion came into the poor man, that he was the dead one of the two, and he cried out: 'Cremation? No, Colney's right, it robs us of our last laugh. I lie as I fall.' He 'had a confession for his Nataly, for her only, for no one else.' He had 'an Idea.' His begging of Dudley to listen without any punctilio (putting a vulgar oath before it), was the sole piece of unreasonableness in the explanation of the idea: and that was not much wilder than the stuff Dudley had read from reports of Radical speeches. He told Dudley he thought him too young to be 'best man to a widower about to be married,' and that Barmby was 'coming all haste to do the business, because of no time to spare.'
Dudley knew but the half, and he did not envy Dartrey Fenellan his task of watching over the wreck of a splendid intelligence, humouring and restraining. According to the rumours, Mr. Radnor had not shown the symptoms before the appearance of his daughter. For awhile he hung, and then fell, like an icicle. Nesta came with a cry for her father. He rose: Dartrey was by. Hugged fast in iron muscles, the unhappy creature raved of his being a caged lion. These things Dudley had heard in the house.
There are scenes of life proper to the grave-cloth.
Nataly's dead body was her advocate with her family, with friends, with the world. Victor had more need of a covering shroud to keep calamity respected. Earth makes all sweet: and we, when the privilege is granted us, do well to treat the terribly stricken as if they had entered to the bosom of earth.
That night's infinite sadness was concentrated upon Nesta. She had need of her strength of mind and body.
The night went past as a year. The year followed it as a refreshing night. Slowly lifting her from our abysses, it was a good angel to the girl. Permission could not be given for her to see her father. She had a home in the modest home of Louise de Seilles on the borders of Dauphins; and with French hearts at their best in winningness around her, she learned again, as an art, the natural act of breathing calmly; she had by degrees a longing for the snow-heights. When her imagination could perch on them with love and pride, she began to recover the throb for a part in human action. It set her nature flowing to the mate she had chosen, who was her counsellor, her supporter, and her sword. She had awakened to new life, not to sink back upon a breast of love, though thoughts of the lover were as blows upon strung musical chords of her bosom. Her union with Dartrey was for the having an ally and the being an ally, in resolute vision of strife ahead, through the veiled dreams that bear the blush. This was behind a maidenly demureness. Are not young women hypocrites? Who shall fathom their guile! A girl with a pretty smile, a gentle manner, a liking for wild flowers up on the rocks; and graceful with resemblances to the swelling proportions of garden-fruits approved in young women by the connoisseur eye of man; distinctly designed to embrace the state of marriage, that she might (a girl of singularly lucid and receptive eyes) the better give battle to men touching matters which they howl at an eccentric matron for naming. So it was. And the yielding of her hand to Dartrey, would have appeared at that period of her revival, as among the baser compliances of the fleshly, if she had not seen in him, whom she owned for leader, her fellow soldier, warrior friend, hero, of her own heart's mould, but a greater.
She was on Como, at the villa of the Signora Giulia Sanfredini, when Dudley's letter reached her, with the supplicating offer of the share of his earldom. An English home meanwhile was proposed to her at the house of his mother the Countess. He knew that he did not write to a brilliant heiress. The generosity she had always felt that he possessed, he thus proved in figures. They are convincing and not melting. But she was moved to tears by his goodness in visiting her father, as well as by the hopeful news he sent. He wrote delicately, withholding the title of her father's place of abode. There were expectations of her father's perfect recovery; the signs were auspicious; he appeared to be restored to the 'likeness to himself' in the instances Dudley furnished:—his appointment with him for the flute-duet next day; and particularly his enthusiastic satisfaction with the largeness and easy excellent service of the residence 'in which he so happily found himself established.' He held it to be, 'on the whole, superior to Lakelands.' The smile and the tear rolled together in Nesta reading these words. And her father spoke repeatedly of longing to embrace his Fredi, of the joy her last letter had given him, of his intention to send an immediate answer: and he showed Dudley a pile of manuscript ready for the post. He talked of public affairs, was humorous over any extravagance or eccentricity in the views he took; notably when he alluded to his envy of little Skepsey. He said he really did envy; and his daughter believed it and saw fair prospects in it.
Her grateful reply to the young earl conveyed all that was perforce ungentle, in the signature of the name of Nesta Victoria Fenellan:—a name he was to hear cited among the cushioned conservatives, and plead for as he best could under a pressure of disapprobation, and compelled esteem, and regrets.
The day following the report of her father's wish to see her, she and her husband started for England. On that day, Victor breathed his last. Dudley had seen the not hopeful but an ominous illumination of the stricken man; for whom came the peace his Nataly had in earth. Often did Nesta conjure up to vision the palpitating form of the beloved mother with her hand at her mortal wound in secret through long years of the wearing of the mask to keep her mate inspirited. Her gathered knowledge of things and her ruthless penetrativeness made it sometimes hard for her to be tolerant of a world, whose tolerance of the infinitely evil stamped blotches on its face and shrieked in stains across the skin beneath its gallant garb. That was only when she thought of it as the world condemning her mother. She had a husband able and ready, in return for corrections of his demon temper, to trim an ardent young woman's fanatical overflow of the sisterly sentiments; scholarly friends, too, for such restrainings from excess as the mind obtains in a lamp of History exhibiting man's original sprouts to growth and fitful continuation of them. Her first experience of the grief that is in pleasure, for those who have passed a season, was when the old Concert-set assembled round her. When she heard from the mouth of a living woman, that she had saved her from going under the world's waggon-wheels, and taught her to know what is actually meant by the good living of a shapely life, Nesta had the taste of a harvest happiness richer than her recollection of the bride's, though never was bride in fuller flower to her lord than she who brought the dower of an equal valiancy to Dartrey Fenellan. You are aware of the reasons, the many, why a courageous young woman requires of high heaven, far more than the commendably timid, a doughty husband. She had him; otherwise would that puzzled old world, which beheld her step out of the ranks to challenge it, and could not blast her personal reputation, have commissioned a paw to maul her character, perhaps instructing the gossips to murmur of her parentage. Nesta Victoria Fenellan had the husband who would have the world respectful to any brave woman. This one was his wife.
Daniel Skepsey rejoices in service to his new master, owing to the scientific opinion he can at any moment of the day apply for, as to the military defences of the country; instead of our attempting to arrest the enemy by vociferations of persistent prayer:—the sole point of difference between him and his Matilda; and it might have been fatal but that Nesta's intervention was persuasive. The two members of the Army first in the field to enrol and give rank according to the merits of either, to both sexes, were made one. Colney Durance (practically cynical when not fancifully, men said) stood by Skepsey at the altar. His published exercises in Satire produce a flush of the article in the Reviews of his books. Meat and wine in turn fence the Hymen beckoning Priscilla and Mr. Pempton. The forms of Religion more than the Channel's division of races keep Louise de Seilles and Mr. Peridon asunder: and in the uniting of them Colney is interested, because it would have so pleased the woman of the loyal heart no longer beating. He let Victor's end be his expiation and did not phrase blame of him. He considered the shallowness of the abstract Optimist exposed enough in Victor's history. He was reconciled to it when, looking on their child, he discerned, that for a cancelling of the errors chargeable to them, the father and mother had kept faith with Nature.
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS
Admiration of an enemy or oppressor doing great deeds All of us an ermined owl within us to sit in judgement An incomprehensible world indeed at the bottom and at the top Aristocratic assumption of licence Arrest the enemy by vociferations of persistent prayer Ask not why, where reason never was Belief in the narrative by promoting nausea in the audience But what is it we do (excepting cricket, of course) Cannot be any goodness unless it is a practiced goodness Claim for equality puts an end to the priceless privileges Consent of circumstances Consent to take life as it is Continued trust in the man—is the alternative of despair Country prizing ornaments higher than qualities Cover of action as an escape from perplexity Critical fashion of intimates who know as well as hear Death is our common cloak; but Calamity individualizes Despises hostile elements and goes unpunished Dialogue between Nature and Circumstance Dithyrambic inebriety of narration Dudley was not gifted to read behind words and looks Eminently servile is the tolerated lawbreaker Exuberant anticipatory trustfulness Fell to chatting upon the nothings agreeably and seriously Feminine; coming when she willed and flying when wanted Fire smoothes the creases Frankness as an armour over wariness Greater our successes, the greater the slaves we become Half designingly permitted her trouble to be seen Half a dozen dozen left Happy the woman who has not more to speak Hard to bear, at times unbearable Haremed opinion of the unfitness of women He sinks terribly when he sinks at all He never acknowledged a trouble, he dispersed it He never explained He neared her, wooing her; and she assented He prattled, in the happy ignorance of compulsion Heathen vindictiveness declaring itself holy Honest creatures who will not accept a lift from fiction How little we mean to do harm when we do an injury How Success derides Ambition! If only been intellectually a little flexible in his morality If we are robbed, we ask, How came we by the goods? If we are really for Nature, we are not lawless In the pay of our doctors In bottle if not on draught (oratory) Intrusion of hard material statements, facts Judgeing of the destiny of man by the fate of individuals Kelts, as they are called, can't and won't forgive injuries Let but the throb be kept for others—That is the one secret Love must needs be an egoism Man with a material object in aim, is the man of his object Memory inspired by the sensations Nation's half made-up of the idle and the servants of the idle Naturally as deceived as he wished to be Nature and Law never agreed Nature could at a push be eloquent to defend the guilty Nature's logic, Nature's voice, for self-defence Next door to the Last Trump No companionship save with the wound they nurse Not to go hunting and fawning for alliances Not always the right thing to do the right thing Obeseness is the most sensitive of our ailments Official wrath at sound of footfall or a fancied one Once out of the rutted line, you are food for lion and jackal One wants a little animation in a husband Optional marriages, broken or renewed every seven years People of a provocative prosperity Pessimy is invulnerable Portrait of himself by the artist Put into her woman's harness of the bit and the blinkers Repeatedly, in contempt of the disgust of iteration Satirist is an executioner by profession Satirist too devotedly loves his lash to be a persuasive teacher Self-deceiver may be a persuasive deceiver of another Semblance of a tombstone lady beside her lord Share of foulness to them that are for scouring the chamber She was not his match—To speak would be to succumb She disdained to question the mouth which had bitten her Slap and pinch and starve our appetites Slave of existing conventions Smallest of our gratifications in life could give a happy tone Smothered in its pudding-bed of the grotesque (obesity) Snuffle of hypocrisy in her prayer Startled by the criticism in laughter State of feverish patriotism Statistics are according to their conjurors Subterranean recess for Nature against the Institutions of Man Tale, which leaves the man's mind at home The banquet to be fervently remembered, should smoke The homage we pay him flatters us The effects of the infinitely little The night went past as a year The old confession, that we cannot cook (The English) The worst of it is, that we remember The face of a stopped watch The impalpable which has prevailing weight There is little to be learnt when a little is known They helped her to feel at home with herself They kissed coldly, pressed a hand, said good night They do not live; they are engines Thought of differences with him caused frightful apprehensions To do nothing, is the wisdom of those who have seen fools perish Universal censor's angry spite Unshamed exuberant male has found the sweet reverse in his mate We have come to think we have a claim upon her gratitude We must have some excuse, if we would keep to life We cannot relinquish an idea that was ours We've all a parlous lot too much pulpit in us Whimpering fits you said we enjoy and must have in books Who enjoyed simple things when commanding the luxuries