The Actress in High Life eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 297 pages of information about The Actress in High Life.
plants among the rocks and crags, which would have gained him great credit in an escalade.  Occasionally too, while Mrs. Shortridge prudently, or indolently, kept the more level ground he would contrive to lead Lady Mabel to some elevated and perilous spot—­and she boldly putting herself into difficulties, and not always seeing the way out of them, had to rely on his aid, and the supporting arm he delighted to afford her.  And they gave to love for botany the credit of it all.

The zeal with which Colonel L’Isle followed up this new study, did not escape Colonel Bradshawe’s watchful eye.  So his satirical tongue had many a comment to make on the change in L’Isle’s habits.  To his own cronies Bradshawe dubbed him the bushman, not as being neighbor to the Hottentots, but from his often riding into Elvas, equipped like one of Malcolm’s soldiers, marching from Birnam wood to Dunsinane.

“Our would be Achilles, laden with that huge bunch of materials for Lady Mabel’s hortus siccus, thinks himself like Hercules with the distaff.  To me he looks like a florist’s apprentice, selling his flowers at a penny a bunch.  It must be confessed though that the fellow has talents and tact.  How completely has he contrived to shut out rivalry, by availing himself of my lady’s weakness in imagining herself a great botanist, and providing her with a zealous and admiring pupil in his own person.  And then to use so adroitly his accommodating temporary female friend in decoying his lawful love into the trap.  She is certainly the finest girl of her day, and acres are good things, even though they be Scotch acres; for in the same proportion they are broader as well as more barren than English acres.  The whole thing is admirable.  It is a combination of means to a combination of ends, evincing genius of high order.  Were I at the head of the war office, I would promote him on the spot.”

“Poor Shortridge!” sighed Colonel Bradshawe, dropping at once from a tone of the highest admiration to one of deep commiseration, “can he possibly be blind to what is going on?  And what is Lord Strathern dreaming of!  What a pity one cannot interfere in these little matters, and put our friends on their guard!  But Shortridge is so obtuse, and my Lord so self-willed and wrong-headed, that it would only make matters worse.  Indeed, it is too late to help Shortridge, poor fellow! and we must console ourselves with the wise conclusion of the great bard: 

  “He that is robbed, not wanting what is stolen,
   Let him not know it, and he’s not robbed at all.”

CHAPTER VII.

  Whanne that April with his shoures sote
  The droughte of March hath perced to the rote,
  And bathed every veine in swiche licour,
  Of which vertue engendred is the flour;
  Whan Zephirus eke with his sote brethe,
  Enspired hath in every holt and hethe
  The tendre croppes, and the yonge sonne
  Hath in the Ram his half cours yronne,
  And smale foules maken melodie
  That sleepen all night with open eye,
  So pricketh hem nature in hir corages;
  Than longen folk to gon on pilgrimages,
  And palmeres for to seken strange strondes,
  To servo halwes couthe in sondry londes.

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The Actress in High Life from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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