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.
to use her faculties for the benefit of any one she liked in a way which excited the desire to do it.  Janet had to reproach herself, when she thought of it, that this sort of liking seldom came by entirely approved channels, and hardly ever found an object in her visiting-list.  Its first and almost its only essential, to speak boldly, was an artistic susceptibility with some sort of relation to her own, which her visiting-list did not often supply, though it might have been said to overflow with more widely recognized virtues.  For that Miss Cardiff was known to be willing to sacrifice the Thirty-nine Articles, respectable antecedents, the possession of a dress-coat.  Her willingness was the more widely known because in the circle which fate had drawn around her—­ironically, she sometimes thought—­it was not usual to sacrifice these things.  As for Janet’s own artistic susceptibility, it was a very private atmosphere of her soul.  She breathed it, one might say, only occasionally, and with a kind of delicious shame.  She was incapable of sharing her caught-up felicity there with any one, but it was indispensable that she should see it sometimes in the eyes of others less contained, less conscious, whose sense of humor might be more slender perhaps.  Her own nature was practical and managing in its ordinary aspect, and she had a degree of tact that was always interfering with her love of honesty.  Having established a friendship by the arbitrary law of sympathy, it must be admitted that she had an instinctive way of trying to strengthen it by voluntary benefits, for affection was a great need with her.

It was only about this time and very gradually that she began to realize how much more she cared for John Kendal than for other people.  Since it seemed to be obvious that Kendal gave her only a share of the affectionate interest he had for humanity at large, the realization was not wholly agreeable, and Janet doubtless found Elfrida, on this account, even a more valuable distraction than she otherwise would.  One of the matters Miss Bell was in the habit of discussing with some vivacity was the sexlessness of artistic sympathy.  Upon this subject Janet found her quite inspired.  She made a valiant effort to illumine her thoughts of Kendal by the light Elfrida threw upon such matters, and although she had to confess that the future was still hid in embarrassed darkness, she did manage to construct a theory by which it was possible to grope along for the present.  She also cherished a hope that this trouble would leave her, as a fever abates in the night, that she would awake some morning, if she only had patience, strong and well.  In other things Miss Cardiff, was sometimes jarred rather than shocked by the American girl’s mental attitudes, which, she began to find, were not so posed as her physical ones.  Elfrida often left her repelled and dissenting.  The dissent she showed vigorously; the repulsion she concealed, sore with herself because of the concealment.  But she could not lose Elfrida, she told herself; and besides, it was only a matter of a little tolerance—­time and life would change her, tone her inner self down into the something altogether exquisite and perfect that she was, to look at, now.

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