‘I wish you could have seen him without knowing him!’
’In vain, dear Miss King! I can’t bear handsome men. I see his frivolity and shallowness; and for amiability, what do you think of keeping his cousin all the morning from shooting for such a mere nothing, and then sending him off for a ten miles’ walk?
’For my part, I confess that I was struck with the good sense and kindness he showed in our tete-a-tete—I thought it justified Mr. Dynevor’s description.’
’Yes, I have no doubt that there is some good in him. He might have done very well, if he had not always been an idol.’
Isabel was the more provoked with Lord Fitzjocelyn, when, by-and-by, he appeared in the drawing-room, and related the result of his cousin’s mission. Jem, who would know better than himself where to find his property, had not chosen to believe his description of the spot where he had left the lotion, and, in the twilight, Louis had found his foot coiled about by the feelers and claws of a formidable monster—no other than a bottled scorpion, a recent present from Captain Hannaford. He did not say how emblematic the scorpion lotion was of that which Jem had been administering to his wounded spirit all the morning, but he put the story in so ludicrous a light that Isabel decided that Mr. Dynevor was ungenerously and ungratefully treated as a butt; and she turned away in displeasure from the group whom the recital was amusing, to offer her sympathy to the tutor, and renew the morning’s conversation.
FROSTY, BUT KINDLY.
Go not eastward, go not westward,
For a stranger whom we know not.
Like a fire upon the hearthstone,
Is a neighbour’s homely daughter;
Like the moonlight or the starlight,
Is the handsomest of strangers.
Legend of Hiawatha.
’What a laboured production had the letter been! How many copies had the statesman written! how late had he sat over it at night! how much more consideration had he spent on it than on papers involving the success of his life! A word too much or too little might precipitate the catastrophe, and the bare notion of his son’s marriage with a pupil of Lady Conway renewed and gave fresh poignancy to the past.
At first his anxieties were past mention; but he grew restless under them, and the instinct of going to Mrs. Ponsonby prevailed. At least, she would know what had transpired from James, or from Fitzjocelyn to Mrs. Frost.