"Now," said Theodora, letting him go and transferring the key to her pocket, "I don't want to see in the closet—no doubt it is a horrid place—but I shall keep hold of this and see that you don't get it again."
"And while on that subject, Walter, let me drop my old cynical fun, and talk to you for a minute honestly and with all the affection of which my hard, warped, crabbed nature is capable. I can write to you what I couldn't say to you, my boy, and you won't think me gushing when I tell you that my heart had been tight locked and barred for years before I saw you, and that I don't think I've been any the worse since you found a key somehow--God knows how--to unlock it. Now, then, after that little bit of maudlin nonsense, to what I was going to say. The first time we were ever in my old room together talking over your future, I proposed to start you for Australia. You declined, saying that you couldn't possibly leave England; and when I pressed you about the ties that bound you here, and learned that you had no father or mother, you boggled, and hesitated, and broke down, and I was obliged to help you out of your sentence by changing the subject. Do you remember all that? And do you think I didn't know what it all meant? That marvellous stupidity of young men, which prevents them from thinking that any one has ever been young but themselves! I knew that it meant that you were in love, Walter, and that's what I want to ask you about. From that hour until the day we pressed hands in farewell at Euston Square, you never alluded to her again! In the long letter which you sent me, and which now lies before me, a letter treating fully of your present and your future life, there is no word of her Don't think I am surprised at a fine, generous, hearty, hopeful young fellow not giving his love-confidence to a withered, dried-up old skittle like myself; I never expected it; I should not mention it now, save that I fear that the state of affairs can be scarcely satisfactory between you, or you, who have placed your whole story unreservedly before me, would not have hidden this most important part of it. Nor do I want to ask you for a confidence which you have not volunteered. I only wish you to examine the matter calmly, quietly, and under the exercise of your common sense, of which you have plenty. And if it is unsatisfactory in any way---give it up! Yes, Walter, give it up! It sounds harshly, ridiculously, I know, but it is honest advice, and if I had had any one to say it to me years and years ago, and to enforce my adoption of it, I should have been a very different man. Believe in no woman's love, Walter; trust no woman's looks, or words, or vows. 'First of all would I fly from the cruel madness of love,' says Mr. Tennyson, and he is right. Cruel madness, indeed we laugh at the wretched lunatic who dons a paper crown, and holds a straw for a sceptre, while all the time we are hugging our own tinsel vanities, and exulting in our own sham state! That's where the swells have the pull, my boy! They have no nonsense about mutual love, and fitness, and congeniality, and all that stuff, which is fitted for nothing but valentine-mongers and penny-romancists; they are not very wise, but they know that the dominant passion in a man's heart is admiration of beauty, the dominant passion in a woman's is ambition, and they go quietly into the mart and arrange the affair, on the excellent principle of barter. When I was your age I could not believe in this, had high hopes and aspirations, and scouted the idea of woman's inconstancy--went on loving and hoping and trusting, from month to month, and from year to year, wore out my youth and my freshness and my hope, and was then flung aside and discarded, the victim of 'better opportunities' and 'improved position.' Oh, Lord! I never intended to open my mouth about this, but if you ever want to hear the whole story, I'll tell you some day. Meanwhile, think over these hints, my boy Life's too short and too hard as it is, and--verbum sap.
“There now; Ed may say what he likes, but I believe in luck, I do. It was fated I should meet you the way I did this evening, and I’ve a feeling that if you can’t get my pearls back for me nobody can.”
There was one person, however, to whom the knowledge that the election had gone off flatly was delightful--Marian Creswell. As she had stood that night in her dressing-gown, with her dishevelled hair hanging over her shoulders, listening to Dr. Osborne's verdict on her husband's state, she had seen in his strongly pronounced opinion a safe, plausible, and immediate chance of escape from that most dreaded defeat by Walter Joyce at the election; and though she had apparently received the decision with deepest regret, she was inwardly delighted. At all events, there would be no absolute victory. Walter Joyce could not go away and tell his friends in the great world in London that he had defeated his adversary. No one could say what might have been the issue of the contest had Mr. Creswell's health not given way; and Marian was perfectly confident that Walter's chivalrous nature would prevent his ever mentioning to any one the interview which had taken place between him and her, or what passed thereat. On the whole, it was the best thing that could have happened for her. She had for some time foreseen that there was no chance of establishing herself in society through the election as she had once hoped; and anything would be better than that she should suffer defeat--absolute defeat--in a matter which she had so nearly at heart.
Miss Marvell nodded.
“Then come with me to the shore,” said the first man, “and I’ll show you how to get across; but as only one can go, you must go alone.”
“My couriers have brought me good tidings!” said the queen; “my army is strong, my warriors are well prepared. But speak the truth, O prophetess; for my soul knows no fear.”
"Don’t send him back!" she pleaded. “He’ll grow up, soon, and—”
Of course all this teaching did not go on with the unqualified approbation of the Misses Mildmay. Priscilla showed a phenomenal determination about it, and being upheld by Dr. Sunbury, who in some way always encouraged her vagaries, the Misses Mildmay, although they might look coldly on it, could not forbid it.
"And now," said Marian, as if entirely satisfied with the proposed arrangement, "let us see what victual mine host can provide. Beshrew me if I have tasted aught since we dined, at an hour before noon."
him through the town. Lin-coln did not seem to think of fear, and no one raised a hand a-gainst him or spoke an un-kind word.
The wind was dead east, and now we flew before it, and now we tacked in it, up and up the winding stream, and always a little pointed sail came skimming on in suit.
Now, while Ellen Munro wept, Marion Greaves
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