A sentimental pair likewise, if you please; but these were sentimentalists who served an active deity; and not that arbitrary protection of a subtle selfishness which rules the fairer portion of our fat England.
“My brother tells me it is your wish to see Mr. Wilfrid Pole.”
Emilia’s “Yes” came faintly in answer to Georgiana’s cold accents.
“Have you considered what you are doing in expressing such a desire?”
Another “Yes” was heard from under an uplifted head:—a culprit affirmative, whereat the just take fire.
“Be honest, Emilia. Seek counsel and guidance to-night, as you have done before with me, and profited, I think. If I write to bid him come, what will it mean?”
“Nothing more,” breathed Emilia.
“To him—for in his way he seems to care for you fitfully—it will mean— stop! hear me. The words you speak will have no part of the meaning, even if you restrain your tongue. To him it will imply that his power over you is unaltered. I suppose that the task of making you perceive the effect it really will have on you is hopeless.”
“I have seen him, and I know,” said Emilia, in a corresponding tone.
“You saw him that night of our return from Penarvon? Judge of him by that. He would not spare you. To gratify I know not what wildness in his nature, he did not hesitate to open your old wound. And to what purpose? A freak of passion!”
“He could not help it. I told him he would come, and he came.”
“This, possibly, you call love; do you not?”
Emilia was about to utter a plain affirmative, but it was checked. The novelty of the idea of its not being love arrested her imagination.
“If he comes to you here,” resumed Georgiana—
“He must come!” cried Emilia.
“My brother has sanctioned it, so his coming or not will rest with him. If he comes, let me know the good that you think will result from an interview? Ah! you have not weighed that question. Do so;—or you give no heed to it? In any ease, try to look into your own breast. You were not born to live unworthily. You can be, or will be, if you follow your better star, self-denying and noble. Do you not love your country? Judge of this love by that. Your love, if you have this power over him, is merely a madness to him; and his—what has it done for you? If he comes, and this begins again, there will be a similar if not the same destiny for you.”
Emilia panted in her reply. “No; it will not begin again.” She threw out both arms, shaking her head. “It cannot, I know. What am I now? It is what I was that he loves. He will not know what I am till he sees me. And I know that I have done things that he cannot forgive. You have forgiven it, and Merthyr, because he is my friend; but I am sure Wilfrid will not. He might pardon the poor ‘me,’ but not his Emilia! I shall have to tell him what I did; so” (and she came closer to Georgiana) “there is some pain for me in seeing him.”