“Shall I go with the Army?” she asked Georgiana.
“No, my child; you will simply go to school,” was the cold reply.
“To school!” Emilia throbbed, “while they are fighting!”
“To the Academy. My brother’s first thought is to further your progress in Art. When your artistic education is complete, you will choose your own course.”
“He knows, he knows that I have no voice!” Emilia struck her lap with twisted fingers. “My voice is thick in my throat. If I am not to march with him, I can’t go; I will not go. I want to see the fight. You have. Why should I keep away? Could I run up notes, even if I had any voice, while he is in the cannon-smoke?”
“While he is in the cannon-smoke!” Georgiana revolved the line thoughtfully. “You are aware that my brother looks forward to the recovery of your voice,” she said.
“My voice is like a dead serpent in my throat,” rejoined Emilia. “My voice! I have forgotten music. I lived for that, once; now I live for nothing, only to take my chance everywhere with my friend. I want to smell powder. My father says it is like salt, the taste of blood, and is like wine when you smell it. I have heard him shout for it. I will go to Italy, if I may go where my friend Merthyr goes; but nothing can keep me shut up now. My head’s a wilderness when I’m in houses. I can scarcely bear to hear this London noise, without going out and walking till I drop.”
Coming to a knot in her meditation, Georgiana concluded that Emilia’s heart was warming to Merthyr. She was speedily doubtful again.
These two delicate Welsh natures, as exacting as they were delicate, were little pleased with Emilia’s silence concerning her intercourse with Wilfrid. Merthyr, who had expressed in her defence what could be said for her, was unwittingly cherishing what could be thought in her disfavour. Neither of them hit on the true cause, which lay in Georgiana’s coldness to her. One little pressure of her hand, carelessly given, made Merthyr better aware of the nature he was dealing with. He was telling her that a further delay might keep them in London for a week; and that he had sent for her mother to come to her.
“I must see my mother,” she had said, excitedly. The extension of the period named for quitting England made it more imminent m her imagination than when it was a matter of hours. “I must see her.”
“I have sent for her,” said Merthyr, and then pressed Emilia’s hand. But she who, without having brooded on complaints of its absence, thirsted for demonstrative kindness, clung to the hand, drawing it, doubled, against her chin.
“That is not the reason,” she said, raising her full eyes up at him over the unrelinquished hand. “I love the poor Madre; let her come; but I have no heart for her just now. I have seen Wilfrid.”
She took a tighter hold of his fingers, as fearing he might shrink from her. Merthyr hated mysteries, so he said, “I supposed it must have been so—that night of our return from Penarvon?”