As if the likeness, however, had been dimly identified by the unconscious part of his being, he sat in one corner of the library sofa, with his eyes fixed on the face of Euphra, as she sat in the other. Presently he was made aware of his unintentional rudeness, by seeing her turn pale as death, and sink back in the sofa. In a moment she started up, and began pacing about the room, rubbing her eyes and temples. He was bewildered and alarmed.
“Miss Cameron, are you ill?” he exclaimed.
She gave a kind of half-hysterical laugh, and said:
“No — nothing worth speaking of. I felt a little faint, that was all. I am better now.”
She turned full towards him, and seemed to try to look all right; but there was a kind of film over the clearness of her black eyes.
“I fear you have headache.”
“A little, but it is nothing. I will go and lie down.”
“Do, pray; else you will not be well enough to appear at dinner.”
She retired, and Hugh joined Harry.
Euphra had another glass of claret with her uncle that evening, in order to give her report of the morning’s ride.
“Really, there is not much to be afraid of, uncle. He takes very good care of Harry. To be sure, I had occasion several times to check him a little; but he has this good quality in addition to a considerable aptitude for teaching, that he perceives a hint, and takes it at once.”
Knowing her uncle’s formality, and preference for precise and judicial modes of expression, Euphra modelled her phrase to his mind.
“I am glad he has your good opinion so far, Euphra; for I confess there is something about the youth that pleases me. I was afraid at first that I might be annoyed by his overstepping the true boundaries of his position in my family: he seems to have been in good society, too. But your assurance that he can take a hint, lessens my apprehension considerably. To-morrow, I will ask him to resume his seat after dessert.”
This was not exactly the object of Euphra’s qualified commendation of Hugh. But she could not help it now.
“I think, however, if you approve, uncle, that it will be more prudent to keep a little watch over the riding for a while. I confess, too, I should be glad of a little more of that exercise than I have had for some time: I found my seat not very secure to-day.”
“Very desirable on both considerations, my love.”
And so the conference ended.
If you will have a tree bear more fruit than it hath used to do, it is not anything you can do to the boughs, but it is the stirring of the earth, and putting new mould about the roots, that must work it.
Lord BACON’S Advancement of Learning, b. ii.