David Balfour, Second Part eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 374 pages of information about David Balfour, Second Part.
appear to others; and now, after the strong admiration I had just experienced and the immoderacy with which I had continued my vain purchases, I began to think of it myself as very hasarded.  I bethought me, if I had a sister indeed, whether I would so expose her; then, judging the case too problematical, I varied my question into this, whether I would so trust Catriona in the hands of any other Christian being:  the answer to which made my face to burn.  The more cause, since I had been entrapped and had entrapped the girl into an undue situation, that I should behave in it with scrupulous nicety.  She depended on me wholly for her bread and shelter; in case I should alarm her delicacy, she had no retreat.  Besides, I was her host and her protector; and the more irregularly I had fallen in these positions, the less excuse for me if I should profit by the same to forward even the most honest suit; for with the opportunities that I enjoyed, and which no wise parent would have suffered for a moment, even the most honest suit would be unfair.  I saw I must be extremely hold-off in my relations; and yet not too much so neither; for if I had no right to appear at all in the character of a suitor, I must yet appear continually, and if possible agreeably, in that of host.  It was plain I should require a great deal of tact and conduct, perhaps more than my years afforded.  But I had rushed in where angels might have feared to tread, and there was no way out of that position, save by behaving right while I was in it.  I made a set of rules for my guidance; prayed for strength to be enabled to observe them, and as a more human aid to the same end purchased a study book in law.  This being all that I could think of, I relaxed from these grave considerations; whereupon my mind bubbled at once into an effervescency of pleasing spirits, and it was like one treading on air that I turned homeward.  As I thought that name of home, and recalled the image of that figure awaiting me between four walls, my heart beat upon my bosom.

My troubles began with my return.  She ran to greet me with an obvious and affecting pleasure.  She was clad, besides, entirely in the new clothes that I had bought for her; looked in them beyond expression well; and must walk about and drop me curtseys to display them and to be admired.  I am sure I did it with an ill grace, for I thought to have choked upon the words.

“Well,” she said, “if you will not be caring for my pretty clothes, see what I have done with our two chambers.”  And she showed me the place all very finely swept and the fires glowing in the two chimneys.

I was glad of a chance to seem a little more severe than I quite felt.  “Catriona,” said I, “I am very much displeased with you, and you must never again lay a hand upon my room.  One of us two must have the rule while we are here together; it is most fit it should be I who am both the man and the elder; and I give you that for my command.”

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David Balfour, Second Part from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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