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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 555 pages of information about The Egoist.
exhortation to Vernon to be off to her at once with his authority to finish her moods and assure him of peace in the morning.  Vernon hesitated.  Dr. Middleton remarked upon being not so sure that it was not he who had done the mischief.  Thereupon Vernon, to prove his honesty, made his own story bare.  “Go to her,” said Dr. Middleton.  Vernon proposed a meeting in Switzerland, to which Dr. Middleton assented, adding:  “Go to her”:  and as he appeared a total stranger to the decorum of the situation, Vernon put his delicacy aside, and taking his heart up, obeyed.  He too had pondered on Clara’s consent to meet him after she knew of Willoughby’s terms, and her grave sweet manner during the ramble over the park.  Her father’s breath had been blown into him; so now, with nothing but the faith lying in sensation to convince him of his happy fortune (and how unconvincing that may be until the mind has grasped and stamped it, we experience even then when we acknowledge that we are most blessed), he held her hand.  And if it was hard for him, for both, but harder for the man, to restrain their particular word from a flight to heaven when the cage stood open and nature beckoned, he was practised in self-mastery, and she loved him the more.

Laetitia was a witness of their union of hands on her coming back to the room.

They promised to visit her very early in the morning, neither of them conceiving that they left her to a night of storm and tears.

She sat meditating on Clara’s present appreciation of Sir Willoughby’s generosity.

CHAPTER XLIX

LAETITIA AND SIR WILLOUGHBY

We cannot be abettors of the tribes of imps whose revelry is in the frailties of our poor human constitution.  They have their place and their service, and so long as we continue to be what we are now, they will hang on to us, restlessly plucking at the garments which cover our nakedness, nor ever ceasing to twitch them and strain at them until they have stripped us for one of their horrible Walpurgis nights:  when the laughter heard is of a character to render laughter frightful to the ears of men throughout the remainder of their days.  But if in these festival hours under the beam of Hecate they are uncontrollable by the Comic Muse, she will not flatter them with her presence during the course of their insane and impious hilarities, whereof a description would out-Brocken Brockens and make Graymalkin and Paddock too intimately our familiars.

It shall suffice to say that from hour to hour of the midnight to the grey-eyed morn, assisted at intervals by the ladies Eleanor and Isabel, and by Mr. Dale awakened and re-awakened—­hearing the vehemence of his petitioning outcry to soften her obduracy—­Sir Willoughby pursued Laetitia with solicitations to espouse him, until the inveteracy of his wooing wore the aspect of the life-long love he raved of aroused to a state of mania.  He appeared, he departed,

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