After a few moments of wretchedness, Sophie proposed to take me to my room. We went up the stairs, which were steep and old-fashioned, with a landing-place almost like a little room. My room was in a wing of the house, over the dining-room, and the windows looked out on the river. It was not large, but was very pretty. The windows were curtained, and the bed was dainty, and the little mantel was draped, and the ornaments and pictures were quaint and delightful to my taste.
Sophie laid the shawls she had been carrying up for me upon the bed, and said she hoped I would find everything I needed, and would try to feel entirely at home, and not hesitate to ask for anything that would make me comfortable.
Nothing could be kinder, but my affection and gratitude were fast dying out, and I was quite sure of one thing, namely, that I never should love Sophie if she spent her life in inviting me to pay her visits. She told me that tea would be ready in half an hour, and then left me. I sat down on the bed when she was gone, and wished myself back in Varick-street; and then cried, to think that I should be homesick for such a dreary home. But the appetites and affections common to humanity had not been left out of my heart, though I had been beggared all my life in regard to most of them. I could have loved a mother so—a sister—I could have had such happy feelings for a place that I could have felt was home. What matter, if I could not even remember the smile on my mother’s lips; what matter, if no brother or sister had ever been born to me; if no house had ever been my rightful home? I was hungry for them all the same. And these first glimpses of the happy lives of others seemed to disaffect me more than ever with my own.
“Vous etes belle: ainsi
donc la moitie
Du genre humain sera votre ennemie.”
“Oh, I think
Of much was, they forgot no crowd
Makes up for parents in their shroud.”