“I am to be consoled because apples are cheap.”
“You are to be consoled for a hundred reasons. Doesn’t it console you to feel under your very feet the forces that are working to the immense amelioration of a not altogether undeserving people?”
“No,” said Advena, rebelliously; and indeed he had been a trifle didactic to her grievance. They laughed together, and then with a look at her in which observation seemed suddenly to awake, Finlay said—
“And those things aren’t all, or nearly all. I sometimes think that the human spirit, as it is set free in these wide unblemished spaces, may be something more pure and sensitive, more sincerely curious about what is good and beautiful—”
He broke off, still gazing at her, as if she had been an idea and no more. How much more she was she showed him by a vivid and beautiful blush.
“I am glad you are so well satisfied,” she said, and then, as if her words had carried beyond their intention, she blushed again.
Upon which Hugh Finlay saw his idea incarnate.
If it were fair or adequate to so quote, I should be very much tempted to draw the history of Lorne Murchison’s sojourn in England from his letters home. He put his whole heart into these, his discoveries and his recognitions and his young enthusiasm, all his claimed inheritance, all that he found to criticize and to love. His mother said, half-jealously when she read them, that he seemed tremendously taken up with the old country; and of course she expressed the thing exactly, as she always did: he was tremendously taken up with it. The old country fell into the lines of his imagination, from the towers of Westminster to the shops in the Strand; from the Right Hon. Fawcett Wallingham, who laid great issues before the public, to the man who sang melancholy hymns to the same public up and down the benevolent streets. It was naturally London that filled his view; his business was in London and his time was short; the country he saw from the train, whence it made a low cloudy frame for London, with decorations of hedges and sheep. How he saw London, how he carried away all he did in the time and under the circumstances, may be thought a mystery; there are doubtless people who would consider his opportunities too limited to gather anything essential. Cruickshank was the only one of the deputation who had been “over” before; and they all followed him unquestioningly to the temperance hotel of his preference in Bloomsbury, where bedrooms were three and six and tea was understood as a solid meal and the last in the day. Bates would have voted for the Metropole, and McGill had been advised that you saw a good deal of life at the Cecil, but they bowed to Cruickshank’s experience. None of them were total abstainers, but neither had any of them the wine habit; they were not inconvenienced, therefore, in taking advantage of the cheapness with