“You will teach me——No, you know I don’t mean that! But you will take me with you sometimes till I learn better! If you are going to leave me at home in future “——
“My child, can you not trust me to take you for my own pleasure?”
The silvery tone of her low sweet laugh was truly perfectly musical.
“Forgive me,” she said, nestling in the cushions at my knee, and seeking with upturned eyes, like a child better assured of pardon than of full reconciliation, to read my face, “it is very naughty to laugh, and very ungrateful, when you speak to please me; but is it real kindness to say what I should be very silly to believe?”
“You will believe whatever I tell you, child. If you wish to anger a man, even with you, tell him that he is lying.”
“I do nothing but misbehave,” she said, in earnest despondency. “I——” But I sealed her lips effectually for the moment.
“Why did you not speak as we came home?”
“You were tired, and I was thinking over all I had seen. Besides, who talks air?” [makes conversation].
“You always talk when you are pleased. The lip-sting (scolding) and silence frightened me so, you nearly heard me crying.”
“Crying for fear? You did well to break the leveloo!... And so you think I must be tired of my bride, before the colours have gone round on the dial?”
“Not tired of her. You will like a little longer to find her in the cushions when you are vexed or idle; but you don’t want her where her ignorance wearies and her weakness hampers you.”
“Are you an esve, to be caged at home, and played with for lack of better employment? We shall never understand each other, child.”
“What more can I be? But don’t say we shall never understand each other,” she pleaded earnestly. “It took time and trouble to make my pet understand and obey each word and sign. Zevle gave hers more slaps and fewer sweets, and it learned sooner. But, like me, you want your esve to be happy, not only to fly straight and play prettily. She will try hard to learn if you will teach her, and not be so afraid of hurting her, as if she expected sweets from both hands. It is easy for you to see through her empty head: do cot give her up till she has had time to look a little way into your eyes.”
“Eveena,” I answered, almost as much pained as touched by the unaffected humility which had so accepted and carried out my ironical comparison, “one simple magnet-key would unlock the breast whose secrets seem so puzzling; but it has hardly a name in your tongue, and cannot yet be in your hands.”