young man as the picture of a gracious lady. You see Im very regular, he said. But who should be if Im not?
Yes, Ive known you longer than any one here. But we mustnt indulge in tender reminiscences. I want to introduce you to a young lady.
Ah, please, what young lady? Rosier was immensely obliging; but this was not what he had come for.
She sits there by the fire in pink and has no one to speak to.
Rosier hesitated a moment. Cant Mr Osmond speak to her? Hes within six feet of her.
Mrs Osmond also hesitated. Shes not very lively, and he doesnt like dull people.
But shes good enough for me? Ah now, thats hard!
I only mean that youve ideas for two. And then youre so obliging.
So is your husband.
No, hes notto me. And Mrs Osmond vaguely smiled.
Thats a sign he should be doubly so to other women.
So I tell him, she said, still smiling.
You see I want some tea, Rosier went on, looking wistfully beyond.
Thats perfect. Go and give some to my young lady.
Very good; but after that Ill abandon her to her fate. The simple truth is Im dying to have a little talk with Miss Osmond.
Ah, said Isabel, turning away, I cant help you there!
Five minutes later, while he handed a tea-cup to the damsel in pink, whom he had conducted into the other room, he wondered whether, in making to Mrs Osmond the profession I have just quoted, he had broken the spirit of his promise to Madame Merle. Such a question was capable of occupying this young mans mind for a considerable time. At last, however, he becamecomparatively speakingreckless; he cared little what promises he might break. The fate to which he had threatened to abandon the damsel in pink proved to be none so terrible; for Pansy Osmond, who had given him the tea for his companionPansy was as fond as ever of making teapresently came and talked to her. Into this mild colloquy Edward Rosier entered little; he sat by moodily, watching his small sweetheart. If we look at her now through his eyes we shall at first not see much to remind us of the obedient little girl who, at Florence, three years before, was sent to walk short distances in the Cascine while her father and Miss Archer talked together of matters sacred to elder people. But after a moment we shall perceive that if at nineteen Pansy has become a young lady she doesnt really fill out the part; that if she has grown very pretty she lacks in a deplorable degree the quality known and esteemed in the appearance of females as style; and that if she is dressed with great freshness she wears her smart attire with an undisguised appearance of saving itvery much as if it were lent her for the occasion. Edward Rosier, it would seem, would have been just the man to note these defects; and in point of fact there was not a quality of this young lady, of any sort, that he had not noted. Only he called her qualities by names of his ownsome of which indeed were happy enough. No, shes uniqueshes absolutely unique, he used to say to himself; and you may be sure that not for an instant would he have admitted to you that she was wanting in style. Style? Why, she had the style of a little princess; if you couldnt see it you had no eye. It was not modern, it was not conscious, it would produce no impression in Broadway; the small, serious damsel, in her
|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.|