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The Adventures Harry Richmond — Complete eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 638 pages of information about The Adventures Harry Richmond Complete.

I led her away, rather depressed by the automaton performance assigned to me; from which condition I awoke with a touch of horror to find myself paying her very warm compliments; for she had been coquettish and charming to cheer me, and her voice was sweet.  We reached a point in our conversation I know not where, but I must have spoken with some warmth.  ‘Then guess,’ said she, ’what William is suffering for your sake now, Harry’; that is, ‘suffering in remaining away from me on your account’; and thus, in an instant, with a skill so intuitive as to be almost unconscious, she twirled me round to a right sense of my position, and set me reflecting, whether a love that clad me in such imperfect armour as to leave me penetrable to these feminine graces—­a plump figure, swinging skirts, dewy dark eyelids, laughing red lips—­could indeed be absolute love.  And if it was not love of the immortal kind, what was I?  I looked back on the thought like the ship on its furrow through the waters, and saw every mortal perplexity, and death under.  My love of Ottilia delusion?  Then life was delusion!  I contemplated Julia in alarm, somewhat in the light fair witches were looked on when the faggots were piled for them.  The sense of her unholy attractions abased and mortified me:  and it set me thinking on the strangeness of my disregard of Mdlle.  Jenny Chassediane when in Germany, who was far sprightlier, if not prettier, and, as I remembered, had done me the favour to make discreet play with her eyelids in our encounters, and long eyes in passing.  I caught myself regretting my coldness of that period; for which regrets I could have swung the scourge upon my miserable flesh.  Ottilia’s features seemed dying out of my mind.  ‘Poor darling Harry!’ Julia sighed.  ‘And d’ ye know, the sight of a young man far gone in love gives me the trembles?’ I rallied her concerning the ladder scene in my old schooldays, and the tender things she had uttered to Heriot.  She answered, ’Oh, I think I got them out of poets and chapters about lovemaking, or I felt it very much.  And that’s what I miss in William; he can’t talk soft nice nonsense.  I believe him, he would if he could, but he ’s like a lion of the desert—­it ‘s a roar!’

I rejoiced when we heard the roar.  Captain Bulsted returned to take command of his ship, not sooner than I wanted him, and told us of a fierce tussle with the squire.  He had stuck to him all day, and up to 11 P.M.  ’By George!  Harry, he had to make humble excuses to dodge out of eyeshot a minute.  Conquered him over the fourth bottle!  And now all’s right.  He’ll see your dad.  “In a barn?” says the squire.  “Here ’s to your better health, sir,” I bowed to him; “gentlemen don’t meet in barns; none but mice and traps make appointments there.”  To shorten my story, my lad, I have arranged for the squire and your excellent progenitor to meet at Bulsted:  we may end by bringing them over a bottle of old Greg’s best.  “See the boy’s father,”

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