Some people say, “There are no fools like old fools.” It might be said with equal truth, there are no follies like the follies of a wise man.
“I cannot possibly play the part of a lover,” said Mr. Mortimer, and his face actually changed its hue slightly when he spoke. “How shall I manage to give it to her!”
He looked at the splendid gem, glittering and sparkling. “And I hate insincerity,” he continued. Then, having taken out the ring, he inspected it as if he wished it could help him, turning it round on the tip of his middle finger. “Trust her? I should think so! Like her? Of course I do. I’ll settle on her anything Giles pleases, but I must act like a gentleman, and not pretend to any romantic feelings.”
“It’s rather an odd thing,” he further reflected, “that so many women as have all but asked me—so many as have actually let other women ask me for them—so many as I know I might now have almost at a week’s notice, I should have taken it into my head that I must have this one, who doesn’t care for me a straw. She’ll laugh at me, very likely—she’ll take me, though!”
“No, I won’t have any one else, I’m determined. I’ll agree to anything she demands.” Here a sunbeam, and the diamonds darted forth to meet one another. The flash made him wink. “If she’ll only undertake to reign and rule, and bring up the children—for she’ll do it well, and love them too—I’m a very domestic fellow, I shall be fond of her. Yes, I know she’ll soon wind me round her little finger.” Here, remembering the sweetness of liberty, he sighed. “I’ll lay the matter before her this morning. I shall not forget the respect due to her and to myself.” He half laughed. “She’ll soon know well enough what I’m come for; and if I stick fast, she will probably help me!” He shut up the ring. “She never has had the least touch of romance in her nature, and she knows that I know she didn’t love her first husband a bit.” He then looked at himself, or rather at his coat, in a long glass—it fitted to perfection. “If this crash had not brought me to the point, I might have waited till somebody else won her. There goes the breakfast bell. Well, I think I am decidedly glad on the whole.”
“If he come not
then the play is marred: it goes not forward,
Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Miss Christie Grant, sitting with Emily at ten o’clock in the morning, heard a ring at the bell, which she thought she knew. She pricked up her head to listen, and as it ceased tinkling she bustled out of the room.
The first virtue of a companion in Miss Christie Grant’s view, was to know how to be judiciously absent.
Emily was writing, when she looked up on hearing these words, and saw John Mortimer advancing. Of course she had been thinking of him, thinking with much more hope than heretofore, but also with much more pride.