“That is your decision.”
“After what I have told you?”
“Oh, yes; yes! Write the letter.”
Georgiana chid at an internal wrath that struggled to win her lips. “Promise me simply that what I have told you of my brother, you will consider yourself bound to keep secret. You will not speak of it to others, nor to him.”
Emilia gave the promise, but with the thought; “To him?—will not he speak of it?”
“So, then, I am to write this letter?” said Georgiana.
“Do, do; at once!” Emilia put on her sweetest look to plead for it.
“Decidedly the wisest of men are fools in this matter,” Georgiana’s reflection swam upon her anger.
“And dearest! my Georgey!” Emilia insisted on being blunt to the outward indications to which she was commonly so sensitive and reflective; “my Georgey! let me be alone this evening in my bedroom. The little Madre comes, and—and I haven’t the habit of being respectful to her. And, I must be alone! Do not send up for me, whoever wishes it.”
Georgiana could not stop her tongue: “Not if Mr. Wilfrid Pole—?”
“Oh, he! I will see him,” said Emilia; and Georgiana went from her straightway.
Emilia remained locked up with her mother all that evening. The good little shrill woman, tender-eyed and slatternly, had to help try on dresses, and run about for pins, and express her critical taste in undertones, believing all the while that her daughter had given up music to go mad with vanity. The reflection struck her, notwithstanding, that it was a wiser thing for one of her sex to make friends among rich people than to marry a foreign husband.
The girl looked a brilliant woman in a superb Venetian dress of purple velvet, which she called ‘the Branciani dress,’ and once attired in it, and the rich purges and swelling creases over the shoulders puffed out to her satisfaction, and the run of yellow braid about it properly inspected and flattened, she would not return to her more homely wear, though very soon her mother began to whimper and say that she had lost her so long, and now that she had found her it hardly seemed the same child. Emilia would listen to no entreaties to put away her sumptuous robe. She silenced her mother with a stamp of her foot, and then sighed: “Ah! Why do I always feel such a tyrant with you?” kissing her.
“This dress,” she said, and held up her mother’s chin fondlingly between her two hands, “this dress was designed by my friend Merthyr—that is, Mr. Powys—from what he remembered of a dress worn by Countess Branciani, of Venice. He had it made to give to me. It came from Paris. Countess Branciani was one of his dearest friends. I feel that I am twice as much his friend with this on me. Mother, it seems like a deep blush all over me. I feel as if I looked out of a rose.”