« PreviousContinue »
6. Nay, not if we are to cut 'one another,” said Georgina.
“ Well, friend or enemy, what did you say, or think, at the meditation of such a note?”
Why I supposed it grew out of some of your conversations; for my father said he had been having a battle, as usual, with you, and he was only more and more convinced that you cared more for the world than you believed; that was all !”
“ And may I ask my friend's daughter what she thinks?"
“Oh! you know I always think with Papa, which is very convenient, for he is generally right, and it saves trouble.”
“ You think, then, that I care for the world -that I wish to return to it?”
“ I do not think you hate it, if only for a reason which I have just been reading here,” said Georgina.
Tremaine did not perceive before that she had book in her hand. It was Marmontel : her finger was on the misanthrope corrigé,' and upon being asked the passage, she read with the prettiest voice and accent in the world, “un misanthrope qui l'est par vertu, ne croit hair les hommes que parcequ'il les aime.”
“ Vous me croyez donc misanthrope ?” said Tremaine, not at all displeased with the application,
66 but I agree
and with more alacrity than he had for a long time shewn.
“ Not exactly,” said Georgina ; with my father in that, too, that you were made for better things than to shut yourself up either at Woodington or Belmont.”
From that moment there was a something which cannot exactly be analyzed, but which played through the heart of Tremaine, and wrapped itself round the idea of Georgina, so as ever afterwards to accompany it. It was not love; it was not confirmed friendship, which is of a much slower growth; it was not altogether vanity, though compounded of it; nor gratitude, though the compliment was felt; but it was that complacency, always so sweet in the beginning of an attachment which never fails to be thought of with delight, whatever becomes of the attachment itself: and from that complacency Tremaine never departed.
*** Well, but,” said Tremaine, 6 following his young hostess as she moved from the hall into the morning room," you do not surely brand a man with misanthropy, because hechooses not to livein a crowd?”
“ Oh no!" she replied, “ for many a misanthrope has fed his hatred in a crowd, and many a benevolent person lives alone.”
“ The justness of your sentiment charms me," exclaimed Tremaine,
" It might,” said Georgina, '“ if I could recommend it in such language as I have lately been reading—for the twentieth time I believe, between my father and myself; for we cannot tire of it.”
Her eye glanced on an open quarto as she spoke.
“I see at once what you mean," observed Tremainé, taking up Childe Harold," and to be sure no poetry, was ever so happy in its subject; _no subject so ennobled by its poetry, as in these golden lines. I envy the man who can thus feel, and thus write."
“For his writing, yes! but as to his feeling," answered Georgina, “ I cannot envy one who seems to take so false a view of mankind.”
“ Your age, and your happiness with your father, and, no doubt, your other friends (for many must you have),” said Tremaine, with a tenderness of look not unremarked by Georgina, “make that a very natural sentiment; but I grieve to think how very little time longer even you will remain in the world, before you find the solitude in a crowd which this writer so feelingly describes; how soon you will observe
• Minions of splendour, shrinking from distress,
None that with kindred consciousness endued,
“ I would rather,” replied Georgina, “think the world what I am sure heaven designed it to be, and not what you would make it. Should we have this sun,” continued she, looking at the open windows, of that gilds every thing with cheerfulness, and this concert of birds, which, while it exhilarates the heart, is offered to us all, if we might not be happy if we pleased ? I never behold such a day without being grateful, and thinking it a féte. Nay, I am disposed to be a votary to Mademoiselle St. Sillery's philosophy, and to believe that it requires almost an effort to be unhappy when the sun shines."'*
“ You prefer, then, the previous lines of this professed lover of solitude," said Tremaine, turning again to the passage.
“I do," said Georgina, “but should like to hear them all again.”
Tremaine willingly obeyed her, and with great pathos recited the passage beginning “ To sit on rocks, &c."
“ My father says,” observed Georgina, when Tremaine had ceased reading, “ that there is not a word of these lovely lines that does not carry poetry to the heart."
* Mademoiselle St. Sillery was a gay and pleasing French girl, mentioned in Pinkney's tour through France. Sir William Temple also says (though more in the spirit of a pbilosopher than a sentimentalist), “ The sun, in our climate at least, has something so reviving, that a fair day is a kind of sensual pleasure.”
" I'm glad there is any thing," said Tremaine, “ in which your father and I can entirely agree; and is not he at least in rapture with the whole thought ?''
“ 'Tis at best a melancholy one,” answered Miss Evelyn, with a sort of sigh, “ and I should pity the author, if I did not feel the force of what my father says (I agree with him there, too), that in one so young it cannot be genuine."
“ Not genuine !” exclaimed Tremaine. “ I should want no other proof than the glowing nature that breathes through every line of the description.”
“ And yet poetry is but fiction," said Georgina, smiling; " and if there are fictitious distressess in real life, what may there not be in poetry?"
She said this with an archness which Tremaine did not exactly relish; and apparently with a view to change the subject, he exclaimed, “ But where is your father all this time ?"
*“ You will find him, I dare say, among his friends there," replied Miss Evelyn, looking out.
“ His friends! I did not know you had visitors."
6 No! they are our fellow-inhabitants, and daily companions.” she added, turning her eyes to the rookery; "they are particularly busy and talkative just now; and though he went to Belford this morning, yet as I know his horses are come back, and