And now they were to break up. But this could not be managed in an ordinary way. They were one day making fun of Charlotte aloud, declaring that they would soon have eaten out her winter stores, when the nobleman who had represented Belisarius, being fortunately a man of some wealth, carried away by Luciana’s charms to which he had been so long devoting himself, cried out unthinkingly, “Why not manage then in the Polish fashion? You come now and eat up me, and then we will go on round the circle.” No sooner said than done. Luciana willed that it should be so. The next day they all packed up and the swarm alighted on a new property. There indeed they found room enough, but few conveniences and no preparations to receive them. Out of this arose many contretemps, which entirely enchanted Luciana; their life became ever wilder and wilder. Huge hunting-parties were set on foot in the deep snow, attended with every sort of disagreeableness; women were not allowed to excuse themselves any more than men, and so they trooped on, hunting and riding, sledging and shouting, from one place to another, till at last they approached the residence, and there the news of the day and the scandals and what else forms the amusement of people at courts and cities gave the imagination another direction, and Luciana with her train of attendants (her aunt had gone on some time before) swept at once into a new sphere of life.
FROM OTTILIE’S DIARY
“We accept every person in the world as that for which he gives himself out, only he must give himself out for something. We can put up with the unpleasant more easily than we can endure the insignificant.
“We venture upon anything in society except only what involves a consequence.
“We never learn to know people when they come to us: we must go to them to find out how things stand with them.
“I find it almost natural that we should see many faults in visitors, and that directly they are gone we should judge them not in the most amiable manner. For we have, so to say, a right to measure them by our own standard. Even cautious, sensible men can scarcely keep themselves in such cases from being sharp censors.