be. She, when barely more than a child (a girl
of sixteen), had followed him over the then luckless
Italian fields—sacrificing as much for a
cause that she held to be trivial, as he in the ardour
of his half-fanatical worship. Her theory was:
“These Italians are in bondage, and since heaven
permits it, there has been guilt. By endurance
they are strengthened, by suffering chastened; so
let them endure and suffer.” She would cleave
to this view with many variations of pity. Merthyr’s
experience was tolerant to the weaker vessel’s
young delight in power, which makes her sometimes,
though sweet and merciful by nature, enunciate Hebraic
severities oracularly. He smiled, and was never
weary of pointing out practical refutations.
Whereat she said, “Will a thousand instances
change the principle?” When the brain, and especially
the fine brain of a woman, first begins to act for
itself, the work is of heavy labour; she finds herself
plunging abroad on infinite seas, and runs speedily
into the anchorage of dogmas, obfuscatory saws, and
what she calls principles. Here she is safe; but
if her thinking was not originally the mere action
of lively blood upon that battery of intelligence,
she will by-and-by reflect that it is not well for
a live thing to be tied to a dead, and that long clinging
to safety confesses too much. Merthyr waited
for Georgians patiently. On all other points
they were heart-in-heart. It was her pride to
say that she loved him with no sense of jealousy,
and prayed that he might find a woman, in plain words,
worthy of him. This woman had not been found;
she confessed that she had never seen her.
Georgians received Captain Gambier’s communication
in Monmouth. Merthyr had now and then written
of a Miss Belloni; but he had seemed to refer to a
sort of child, and Georgians had looked on her as another
Italian pensioner. She was decisive. The
moment she awoke to feel herself brooding over the
thought of this girl, she started to join Merthyr.
Solitude is pasturage for a suspicion. On her
way she grew persuaded that her object was bad, and
stopped; until the thought came, ’If he is in
a dilemma, who shall help him save his sister?’
And, with spiritually streaming eyes at a vision of
companionship broken (but whether by his taking another
adviser, or by Miss Belloni, she did not ask), Georgiana
continued her journey.
At the door of Lady Gosstre’s town-house she
hesitated, and said in her mind, “What am I
doing? and what earthliness has come into my love for
Or, turning to the cry, “Will he want me?”
stung herself. Conscious that there was some
poison in her love, but clinging to it not less, she
entered the house, and was soon in Merthyr’s
“Why have you come up?” he asked.
“Were you thinking of coming to me quickly?”
she murmured in reply.
He did not say yes, but that he had business in London.
Nor did he say what.
Georgiana let him go.