Another great poet always kept in his room a growing plant in a big tub of earth, and another tub full of fresh water. With the fire going, he used to say that he had the four elements within his four walls; and to people unaccustomed to talk with the elements these no doubt seemed dull and even remarkable companions,—like Heine’s Mathilde.
Now Angel, though far more than a goose intellectually, having, indeed, a very keen and subtle mind, was only secondarily intellectual, being primarily something far more important. You no more asked of her to be intellectual, than you expect a spirit to be mathematical. She was just a dream-child, thrilling with wonder and love before the strange world in which she had been mysteriously placed,—a dream-child and an excellent housewife in one, as full of common-sense on the one hand, as she was filled with fairy “nonsense” on the other. She was just, in fact, the wife for a poet.
The interest taken in each other by Angel and the Man in Possession had not been unobserved by Angel’s family. Her sisters had teased her considerably on the subject.
“Why have you changed the way of wearing your hair, Angel?” they would say, “Does Mr. Mesurier like it that way?” or, “My word! we are getting smart and particular, now a certain gentleman has come into the office!” or again, “How small your writing is nowadays, Angel! What have you changed it for? I like your big old writing best; but I suppose—” and then they would retreat to a safe distance to finish—“Mr. Mesurier isn’t of the same opinion!”
Sometimes Esther would start in pursuit, and playful scrimmages would ensue, the hilarious uproar of which would turn poor Mrs. Flower’s brain.
Mrs. Flower had certainly not been unobservant, and one may perhaps suspect that those cakes and other delicacies which she had so often sent up the yard, had not been sent entirely without those ulterior designs which every thoughtful mother may becomingly cherish for her daughters.
After Angel and Henry’s excursion to the country together, Henry felt that some official announcement of the state of his heart was demanded of him, and lost no time in finding Mr. Flower alone for that tremulous purpose. However, it was soon over. There were no questions of dots and marriage settlements to discuss. Genealogically, both sides were about equally distinguished, and, socially, belonged to that large undefined class called “respectable”—though it must not be supposed that, when so minded, families of that “respectable” zone do not occasionally make nice distinctions. “Do you know what you are asking for?” once said a retired tradesman’s wife in Sidon to her daughter’s suitor. “Do you know that both Katie’s grandfathers were mayors?”
But there were no traditional mayoralties to keep these two young hearts asunder. It was understood on both sides that they had nothing to bring but each other, and they asked nothing better. Angel was going to marry a poet, and Henry a fairy; and not only they themselves, but the whole family, was more than satisfied. Mr. Flower was undisguisedly pleased, and the tears stood in his eyes as he gripped Henry’s hand.