Oldalképek
PDF
ePub
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
[ocr errors]

YIR GUY WENTWORTH experienced

a decided feeling of chagrin at leaving Rouen without completing his picture, and bidding adieu to his pretty little friend. Something in her had charmed him-her sweet innocence, perhaps, and the child face that mirrored every thought of the simple heart. He recognised the shallowness of her nature without regretting it, since to him she was only a pretty child who had made a pleasant land-mark in the old city, and whom he should never see again. Still he would have liked to bid her farewell, to go once more up to the Barrière d'Ernemont and see her at the gate watching for his coming, and blushing with rosy gladness when he came. What man is insensible to the charm of being watched and waited for, of being greeted with bright eyes and glad smiles ? But after Marcelline's words to him, he felt bound in honour to leave Rouen without seeing Dolores again, even though he was convinced that the woman's fears had run in advance of the reality. He would be the last to bring tears to those trustful blue eyes.

Guy had his own ideas of the devoir of an English gentleman, and acted very fairly up' to his standard—to do as you would be done by, to hold out a helping hand to friends in need, to be tender and courteous with women, liberal to the poor, and a fair landlord. A man with ten thousand a year holding

such views is pretty sure to be popular, and in spite (perhaps because of) a few frailties the disciples of Mrs. Hannah More would have sat in judgment on, Guy was a very. general favourite both with men and women. Nobody ever accused him of being very clever or a pattern young man, but amongst those who knew him, if any. one had been at a loss to illustrate the meaning of the word gentleman, I think Guy would have been the first to present himself to the mind. He left Rouen with decided regret, but with no hesitation, after Marcelline's appeal. He had gone on staying day after day in the old town, because the society of this little girl had pleased him; furthermore, because the country was pretty, the air fine, and for the present he had nothing in particular to do. Now he was forced to make some fresh plans, he did not care to be in Paris alone; he did

'not want to return to London for a week or two, so he took up his quarters at the Hôtel Westminster, and wrote to his halfbrother, Captain Adrian Charteris, to join him, if he had nothing better to do. · Breakfast over the next morning, he lights a cigar, and strolls out into the Rue de la Paix, thinking a good deal more of the pretty blue-eyed maiden than he would care to own. She was a sweet simple little thing, with her dear child-like ways, transparent to the very soul through those clear eyes of hers.

"If one didn't know," he muses, as he strolls along, “ that those pretty little creatures, with their sweet, winning, kittenlike ways, only keep their charm as long 'as they are quite fresh and new! But how one would weary of the loveliest face in the world that had no mind at the back of it !—that laughed when it was

ne

pleased, and cried when it was sorry, and had only one selfish, unreasoning consciousness of its own pains and pleasures, and none of that tact and sympathy that make a woman such a sweet companion for a man! I'm not a David Copperfield. A Dora would wear my patience out in a month. Poor dear little soul! I wonder if she will really take my going to heart at all ? My letter to her was such a cold, unsatisfactory thing—almost brutal, to a poor little child like that, whom it seems ridiculous to treat with so much formality. I wish I might— There wouldn't be any harm in it—by Jove! I'll get that for her,” he says, stopping before a jeweller's win, dow, where a gold locket, set with pearls, has arrested his wandering eyes. “Poor little girl! I daresay it will make up for the loss of me. How pretty it will look round her dear little white throat !” And

II.

« ElőzőTovább »