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be impeached, and that Burke Marshall had recommended me

source:sluggish netedit:lawtime:2023-12-05 23:11:31

But if he did ask her? Certainly he was not like that Angel of Light whom she had never seen, but of whom the picture in her imagination was as clearly drawn as though she were in his presence daily. No -- there was a wave of hair and a shape of brow, and a peculiarity of the eye, with a nose and mouth cut as sharp as chisel could cut them out of marble, all of which graced the Angel but none of which belonged to the Colonel. Nor were these the chief of the graces which made the Angel so glorious to her. There was a depth of poetry about him, deep and clear, pellucid as a lake among grassy banks, which made all things of the world mean when compared to it. The Angel of Light lived on the essence of all that was beautiful, altogether unalloyed by the grossness of the earth. That such a one should come in her way! Oh, no; she did not look for it! But, having formed such an image of an angel for herself, would it be possible that she should have anything less divine, less beautiful, less angelic?

be impeached, and that Burke Marshall had recommended me

Yes; there was something of the Angel about him; even about him, Colonel Jonathan Stubbs. But he was so clearly an Angel of the earth, whereas the other one, though living upon the earth, would be of the air, and of the sky, of the clouds, and of the heaven, celestial. Such a one she knew she had never seen. She partly dreamed that she was dreaming. But if so had not her dream spoilt her for all else? Oh, yes; indeed he was good, this red-haired ugly Stubbs. How well had he behaved to Tom! How kind he had been to herself! How thoughtful of her he was! If it were not a question of downright love -- of giving herself up to him, body and soul, as it were -- how pleasant would it be to dwell with him! For herself she would confess that she loved earthly things -- such as jumping over the brook with Larry Twentyman before her to show her the way. But for her love, it was necessary that there should be an Angel of Light. Had she not read that angels had come from heaven and taken in marriage the daughters of men?

be impeached, and that Burke Marshall had recommended me

But was it right that she should go to Stalham, seeing that there were two such strong reasons against it? She could not go without costing her uncle money, which he could ill afford; and if she did go would she -- would she not confess that she had abandoned her objection to the Colonel's suit? She, too, understood something of that which had made itself so plain to her aunt. "Your uncle thinks it is right that you should go," her aunt said to her in the drawing-room that evening; "and we will set to work tomorrow and do the best that we can to make you smart."

be impeached, and that Burke Marshall had recommended me

Her uncle was sitting in the room at the time and Ayala felt herself compelled to go to him and kiss him, and thank him for all his kindness. "I am so sorry to cost you so much money, Uncle Reginald," she said.

"It will not be very much, my dear," he answered. "It is hard that young people should not have some amusement. I only hope they will make you happy at Stalham."

"They always make people happy at Stalham," said Ayala, energetically. "And now, Ayala," said her aunt, "you can write your letter to Lady Albury before we go out tomorrow. Give her my compliments, and tell her that as you are writing I need not trouble her." Ayala, when she was alone in her bedroom, felt almost horrified as she reflected that in this manner the question had been settled for her. It had been impossible for her to reject her uncle's liberal offer when it had been made. She could not find the courage at that moment to say that she had thought better of it all, and would decline the visit. Before she was well aware of what she was doing she had assented, and had thus, as it were. thrown over all the creations of her dream. And yet, as she declared herself, not even Lady Albury could make her marry this man, merely because she was at her house. She thought that, if she could only avoid that first journey with Colonel Stubbs in the railway, still she might hold her own. But, were she to travel with him of her own accord, would it not be felt that she would be wilfully throwing herself in his way? Then she made a little plan for herself, which she attempted to carry out when writing her letter to Lady Albury on the following morning. What was the nature of her plan, and how she effected it, will be seen in the letter which she wrote:

It is so very good of you to ask me again, and I shall be so happy to visit Stalham once more! I should have been very sorry not to see dear Nina before her return to Italy. I have written to congratulate her of course, and have told her what a happy girl I think she is. Though I have not seen Lord George I take all that from her description. As she is going to be his wife immediately, I don't at all see why he should not go back with her to Rome. As for being married by the Pope, I don't think he ever does anything so useful as that. I believe he sits all day and has his toe kissed. That is what they told me at Rome. I am very glad of what you tell me about the certain gentleman, because I don't think I could have been happy at Stalham if he had been there. It surprised me so much that I could not think that he meant it in earnest. We never hardly spoke to each other when we were in the house together.

Perhaps, if you don't mind, and I shan't be in the way, [here she began to display the little plan which she had made for her own protection] I will come down by an earlier train than you mention. There is one at 2.15, and then I need not be in the dark all the way. You need not say anything about this to Colonel Stubbs, because I do not at all mind travelling by myself.

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