Strongly illustrative of the position, that the course of true love is not a railway
THE quiet seclusion of Dingley Dell, the presence of so many of the gentler sex, and the solicitude and anxiety they evinced in his behalf were all favourable to the growth and development of those softer feelings which nature had implanted deep in the bosom of Mr. Tracy Tupman, and which now appeared destined to centre in one lovely object. The young ladies were pretty, their manners winning, their dispositions unexceptionable; but there was a dignity in the air, a touch-me-not-ishness in the walk, a majesty in the eye of the spinster aunt, to which, at their time of life, they could lay no claim, which distinguished her from any female on whom Mr. Tupman had ever gazed. That there was something kindred in their nature, something congenial in their souls, something mysteriously sympathetic in their bosoms, was evident. Her name was the first that rose to Mr. Tupman's lips as he lay wounded on the grass; and her hysteric laughter was the first sound that fell upon his ear when he was supported to the house. But had her agitation arisen from an amiable and feminine sensibility which would have been equally irrepressible in any case; or had it been called forth by a more ardent and passionate feeling, which he, of all men living, could alone awaken? These were the doubts which racked his brain as he lay extended on the sofa: these were the doubts which he determined should be at once and for ever resolved.
It was evening. Isabella and Emily had strolled out with Mr. Trundle; the deaf old lady had fallen asleep in her chair; the snoring of the fat boy, penetrated in a low and monotonous sound from the distant kitchen; the buxom servants were lounging at the side-door, enjoying the pleasantness of the hour, and the delights of a flirtation, on first principles, with certain unwieldy animals attached to the farm; and there sat the interesting pair, uncared for by all, caring for none, and dreaming only of themselves; there they sat, in short, like a pair of carefully-folded kid-gloves--bound up in each other.
"I have forgotten my flowers," said the spinster aunt.
"Water them now," said Mr. Tupman in accents of persuasion.
"You will take cold in the evening air," urged the spinster aunt, affectionately.
"No, no," said Mr. Tupman rising; "it will do me good. Let me accompany you."
The lady paused to adjust the sling in which the left arm of the youth was placed, and taking his right arm led him to the garden.
There was a bower at the further end, with honeysuckle, jessamine, and creeping plants--one of those sweet retreats which humane men erect for the accommodation of spiders.
The spinster aunt took up a large watering-pot which lay in one corner, and was about to leave the arbour. Mr. Tupman detained her, and drew her to a seat beside him.
"Miss Wardle!" said he.
The spinster aunt trembled, till some pebbles which had accidentally found their way into the large watering- pot shook like an infant's rattle.
"Mr. Wardle," said Mr. Tupman, "you are an angel."
"Mr. Tupman!" exclaimed Rachael, blushing as red as the watering-pot itself.
"Nay," said the eloquent Pickwickian--"I know it but too well."
"All women are angels they say," murmured the lady, playfully.
"Then what can you be; or to what, without presumption, can I compare you?" replied Mr. Tupman. "Where was the woman ever seen who resembled you? Where else could I hope to find so rare a combination of excellence and beauty? Where else could I seek to--Oh!" Here Mr. Tupman paused, and pressed the hand which clasped the handle of the happy watering-pot.
|Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.|