A Daughter of To-Day eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 316 pages of information about A Daughter of To-Day.
that he ought to take life seriously, because his natural tendency was otherwise.  Kendal was an Englishman with a temperament which multiplied his individuality.  If his father, who was once in the Indian Staff Corps, had lived, Kendal would probably have gone into the Indian Staff Corps too.  And if his mother, who was of clerical stock, had not died about the same time, it is more than likely that she would have persuaded him to the bar.  With his parents the obligation to be anything in particular seemed to Kendal to have been removed, however, and he followed his inclination in the matter instead, which made him an artist.  He would have found life too interesting to confine his observation of it within the scope of any profession, but of course he could have chosen none which presents it with greater fascination.  To speak quite baldly about him, his intelligence and his sympathies had a wider range than is represented by any one power of expression, even the catholic brush.  He had the analytical turn of the age, though it had been denied him to demonstrate what he saw except through an art which is synthetic.  With a more comprehensive conception of modern tendencies and a subtler descriptive vocabulary, Kendal might have divided his allegiance between Lucien and the magazines, and ended a light-handed fiction-maker of the more refined order of realists.  As it was, he made his studies for his own pleasure, and if the people he met ministered to him further than they knew, nothing came of it more than that.  What he liked best to achieve was an intimate knowledge of his fellow-beings from an outside point of view.  Where intimate knowledge came of intimate association he found that it usually compromised his independence of criticism, which in the Quartier Latin was a serious matter.  So he rather cold-bloodedly aimed at keeping his own personality independent of his observation of other people’s, and as a rule he succeeded.

That Paris had neither made Kendal nor marred him may be gathered for the first part from his contentment to go back to paint in his native land, for the second from the fact that he had a relation with Elfrida Bell which at no point verged toward the sentimental.  He would have found it difficult to explain in which direction it did verge—­in fact, he would have been very much surprised to know that he sustained any relation at all toward Miss Bell important enough to repay examination.  The red-armed, white-capped proprietress of a cremerie had effected their introduction by regretting to them jointly that she had only one helping of compote de cerises left, and leaving them to arrange its consumption between them.  And it is safer than it would be in most similar cases to say that neither Elfrida’s heavy-lidded beauty nor the smile that gave its instant attraction to Kendal’s delicately eager face had much to do with the establishment of their acquaintance, such as it was.  Kendal, though his virtue was not of the heroic order, would have turned a contemptuous heel upon any imputation of the sort, and Elfrida would have stared it calmly out of countenance.

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A Daughter of To-Day from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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