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      Mme. Le Brun, speaking of Mme. de Genlis, says, Her slightest conversation had a charm of which [465] it is difficult to give an idea.... When she had discoursed for half an hour everybody, friends and enemies, were enchanted with her brilliant conversation."Then you should have a better opinion of her son. If ever I met a thoroughly good fellow in my life, I believe I met one the day I made Captain Hulbert's acquaintance."

      It was dark when the train came into the terminus; and Isola was weary and exhausted after the long hot journey from Pisa, the glare of the sun, and the suffocating clouds of dust, and the beautiful monotony of blue sea and sandy plains, long level wastes, where nothing grew but brushwood and osier, and stretches of marshy ground, with water pools shining here and there, like burnished steel, and distant islets dimly seen athwart a cloud of heat. Then evening closed in, and it was through a grey and formless world[Pg 249] that they approached the city whose very name thrilled her.

      "There is no worst, Allegra. I am out of sorts, that's all. I am going to town to see my lawyer."I know, she said, almost inaudibly.

      "I accept your sentence, though it is severe; but I don't accept my freedom. I am your slave for a year. I shall be your slave when the year is out. I am yours, and yours alone for life. And now give me that cup of tea, Allegra, which you have not poured out yet, and let us fancy ourselves Darby and Joan."

      For some things, yes; for others, no, said Esmeralda. But that is, perhaps, because Im strange, and things are so different.

      Her friendly fancy depicted the village wedding, and those two going forth over the great waters to spend their honeymoon amidst the wonder-world of the Mediterranean, which the banker's daughter knew only in her Atlas.They found a farm, settled themselves in it, and after a time M. de Montagu was added to the household, [250] for he came to see his wife, and their joy at meeting so touched Mme. de Tess, that she said he had better stay altogether.


      Thanks, I will do so reluctantly! said Lord Blankyre. Miss Chetwynde, let me introduce Lord Selvaine to you."A bad setyes, that is it. A man who begins life in a certain circle is like a workman who gets his arm or his leg caught unawares in a machine worked by steam power. In an instant he is entangled past rescue. He is gone. A man takes the wrong road. Ten years afterwards, perhaps, when he is bald and wrinkled, he may pull himself up on the downward track and try to get rid of a bad reputation and make a fresh start; but those fresh starts rarely end in a winning race. I am very sorry for my brother. He is a warm-hearted fellow, with a good deal of talent; and he ought not to have made a bad thing of his life."


      Have as much prudence as I will have courage, but calm your head.


      "I thought you were a staunch Conservative, Mr. Crowther, and an upholder of Church and State," said Mr. Colfox. "Am I to believe my ears when I hear you advocating the Ranters' Chapel?"A long, lonely winter to look forward toa winter like the lastwith her books and drawing-board, and her cottage piano, and the cat and the fox-terrier, and Tabitha for her daily companions. There were a few neighbours within a radius of half a dozen miles, who had been very civil to her; who called upon her, say once in six weeks; who sometimes invited her to a stately dinner-party, and sometimes at a suspiciously short notice, which made her feel she was wanted to fill a gap; who made her free of their tennis lawns; and who talked to her on Sundays after church, and were always very particular in inquiring for news from India. There was not one among them for whom she cared; not one to whom she would have liked to pour out her thoughts about Keats or Shelley, or to whom she would have confided her opinion of Byron. She was more interested in Bulwer's "Audley Egerton" than in any of those flesh and blood neighbours. She was happier sitting by her chimney corner with a novel than in the best society available within a drive of Trelasco.