Lady Merton, Colonist eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 279 pages of information about Lady Merton, Colonist.
sake and the family’s, have tried to keep the unseemly suitor at a distance.  But here he was, planted somehow in the very midst of their life, and she, making feeble efforts day after day to induce him to root himself there still more firmly.  Sometimes indeed she would try to press alternatives on Philip.  But Philip would not have them.  What with the physical and moral force that seemed to radiate from Anderson, and bring stimulus with them to the weaker life—­and what with the lad’s sick alienation for the moment from his ordinary friends and occupations, Anderson reigned supreme, often clearly to his own trouble and embarrassment.  Had it not been for Philip, Portman Square would have seen him but seldom.  That Elizabeth knew with a sharp certainty, dim though it might be to her mother.  But as it was, the boy’s tragic clinging to his new friend governed all else, simply because at the bottom of each heart, unrecognised and unexpressed, lurked the same foreboding, the same fear of fears.

The tragic clinging was also, alack, a tragic selfishness.  Philip had a substantial share of that quick perception which in Elizabeth became something exquisite and impersonal, the source of all high emotions.  When Delaine had first suggested to him “an attachment” between Anderson and his sister, a hundred impressions of his own had emerged to verify the statement and aggravate his wrath; and when Anderson had said “a man of my history is not going to ask your sister to marry him,” Philip perfectly understood that but for the history the attempt would have been made.  Anderson was therefore—­most unreasonably and presumptuously—­in love with Elizabeth; and as to Elizabeth, the indications here also were not lost upon Philip.  It was all very amazing, and he wished, to use his phrase to his mother, that it would “work off.”  But whether or no, he could not do without Anderson—­if Anderson was to be had.  He threw him and Elizabeth together, recklessly; trusting to Anderson’s word, and unable to resist his own craving for comfort and distraction.

The days passed on, days so charged with feeling for Elizabeth that they could only be met at all by a kind of resolute stillness and self-control.  Philip was very dependent on the gossip his mother and sister brought him from the world outside.  Elizabeth therefore, to please him, went into society as usual, and forgot her heartaches, for her brother and for herself, as best she could.  Outwardly she was much occupied in doing all that could be done—­socially and even politically—­for Anderson and Mariette.  She had power and she used it.  The two friends found themselves the object of one of those sudden cordialities that open all doors, even the most difficult, and run like a warm wave through London society.  Mariette remained throughout the ironic spectator—­friendly on his own terms, but entirely rejecting, often, the terms offered him tacitly or openly, by his English acquaintance.

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Lady Merton, Colonist from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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