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    matter of course by the true conception of that which had been hitherto figuratively called affinity; the degrees of affinity expressed in the natural system indicated the different degrees of derivation of the varying progeny of common parents; out of affinity taken in a figurative sense arose a real blood-relationship, and the natural system became a table of the pedigree of the vegetable kingdom. Here was the solution of the ancient problem.


    But Marian was too adroit for her. With an indescribably quick and graceful motion she too made for the door. The elevator-boy, with a delighted grin, gave way for the two ladies. He hoped to witness one of those feminine wrangles which sometimes vary the monotony of hotel life. The two ladies stood up boldly facing each other. Marian spoke first.

    It was a pouch with steel snaps, and well stuffed. The stranger colored again, and held his hand for it, and the snap burst, and great gold pieces, English coin and very old French ones, rolled about the table, and father shut his eyes tight; and just then Faith came back and slipped into her chair. I saw her eyes sparkle as we all reached, laughing and joking, to gather them; and Mr. Gabriel——we got into the way of calling him so,——he liked it best——hurried to get them out of sight as if he’d committed some act of ostentation. And then, to make amends, he threw off what constraint he had worn in this new atmosphere of ours, and was so gay, so full of questions and quips and conceits, all spoken in his[134] strange way, his voice was so sweet, and he laughed so much and so like a boy, and his words had so much point and brightness, that I could think of nothing but the showers of colored stars in fireworks. Dan felt it like a play, sat quiet, but enjoying, and I saw he liked it;——the fellow had a way of attaching every one. Father was uproarious, and kept calling out, “Mother, do you hear?——d’you hear that, mother?” And Faith, she was near, taking it all in as a flower does sunshine, only smiling a little, and looking utterly happy. Then I hurried to clear up, and Faith sat in the great arm-chair, and father got out the pipes, and you could hardly see across the room for the wide tobacco-wreaths; and then it was father’s turn, and he told story after story of the hardships and the dangers and the charms of our way of living. And I could see Mr. Gabriel’s cheek blanch, and he would bend forward, forgetting to smoke, and his breath coming short, and then right himself like a boat after lurching,——he had such natural ways, and except that he’d maybe been a spoiled child, he would have had a good heart, as hearts go. And nothing would do at last but he must stay and live the same scenes for a little; and father told him ’t wouldn’t pay,——they weren’t so much to go through with as to tell of,——there was too much prose in the daily life, and too much dirt, and ’t wa’n’t fit for gentlemen. O, he said, he’d been used to roughing it,——woodsing, camping and gunning and yachting, ever since he’d been a free man. He was a Canadian, and had been cruising from the St. Lawrence to Florida; and now, as his companions would go on without him, he had a mind to[135] try a bit of coast-life. And could he board here? or was there any handy place? And father said, there was Dan,——Dan Devereux, a man that hadn’t his match at oar or helm. And Mr. Gabriel turned his keen eye and bowed again,——and couldn’t Dan take Mr. Gabriel? And before Dan could answer, for he’d referred it to Faith, Mr. Gabriel had forgotten all about it, and was humming a little French song and stirring the coals with the tongs. And that put father off in a fresh remembrance; and as the hours lengthened, the stories grew fearful, and he told them deep into the midnight, till at last Mr. Gabriel stood up.

    [Pg 67]



    The wedding-day arrived, to Marian's intense relief. She had been haunted by an odd feeling that Walter Joyce might even come to see her, or at all events might write to her, either to induce her to change her resolution or to upbraid her with her perfidy. But he had made no sign, and there was no chance of his doing so now. She was perfectly calm and composed, and steadily contemplated her future, and had made up her mind as to her intended disposal of various persons so soon as she commenced her new path in life. That would not be just yet; they were going away for a fortnight to the seaside, Mrs. Ashurst being left to the care of the girls, who were delighted at the charge. Maude and Gertrude were to be bridesmaids, and no one else was to be officially present at the ceremony save Dr. Osborne, who, as Marian's oldest friend, was to give her away. The little doctor was in the greatest delight at the match, which he looked upon as being somewhat of his own making, though he thought it the best joke in the world to rally Marian by telling her that "her housekeeper project was a much better one than his. He had only thought Mrs. Ashurst might succeed Mrs. Caddy for a little time; but, by George, little Marian all the time intended to make herself head of the house for life!" The villagers, however, were not to be balked of their ceremonial, The bells were rung, general holiday was made, and Marian Creswell, leaning on her husband's arm, walked from the church on flowers strewn on the path by the girls who a few years before had been her schoolfellows.

    They said no more. When they got in they found Miss Jepson sitting by the fire, and she had got them some cocoa and biscuits. The headache that had kept her from the Sheldrick festival had lifted, and Joan plunged at once into a gay account of the various people she had seen that evening??saving and excepting Gavan Huntley. But Peter stood by the fireplace, silent, looking down into the fire, sulking or grieving. All the while that Joan rattled on to Miss Jepson she was watching him with almost imperceptible glances and wondering whether he sulked or grieved. Did he feel as she felt? If he sulked??well, confound him! But what if this perplexing dissension hurt him as much as it was hurting her!




      郭  飞,男,汉族,中共党员,1976年2月生,党校大学,现任内江市住房和城乡建设局公用事业管理科科长、一级主任科员,2020年3月任现职,2013年3月任现级。拟任副县级领导职务。



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