In the meantime, Dorothea was cosily resting on the sofa in her dressing-room, her husband was with her, and St. George Mortimer Brandon,—the latter as quiet as possible in his cot, now nobody cared whether his behaviour did him credit or not.
“Love,” she said, “do you know I shouldn’t be at all surprised if John Mortimer has made Justina an offer, and she has refused him.”
“I should be very much surprised, indeed,” said Brandon, laughing; “I think highly of his good sense—and of hers, for both which reasons I feel sure, my darling, that he has not made her an offer, and she has not refused him.”
“But I am almost sure he has,” proceeded Dorothea, “otherwise I should be obliged to think that the kind of things she said to-day were not quite fair.”
“What did she say?”
Dorothea told him.
“I do not think that amounts to much,” said Brandon.
“Oh then you think he never did ask her? I hope and trust you are right.”
“Why do you hope and trust, Mrs. Brandon? What can it signify to you?” Then, when she made no answer, he went on. “To be sure that would make it highly natural that he should be glad at the prospect of her absenting herself.”
“I was just thinking so. Did not he speak well, St. George.”
“He did; you were wishing all the time that I could speak as well!”
“Just as if you did not speak twice as well! Besides, you have a much finer voice. I like so much to hear you when you get excited.”
“Ah! that is the thing. I have taken great pains to learn the art of speaking, and when to art excitement is added, I get on well enough. But John, without being excited, says, and cares nothing about them, the very things I should like to have said, but that will not perfectly reveal themselves to me till my speech is over.”
“But he is not eloquent.”
“No; he does not on particular occasions rise above the ordinary level of his thoughts. His everyday self suffices for what he has to do and say. But sometimes, if we two have spoken at the same meeting, and I see the speeches reported—though mine may have been most cheered—I find little in it, while he has often said perfectly things of real use to our party.”
THE PLEASURES OF MEMORY.
memory! O supremely blest
And justly proud beyond a poet’s praise,
If the pure confines of thy tranquil breast
Contain indeed the subject of thy lays.”
(Said to be by Rogers.)