They blushed and trembled with delight, never before having been thus familiarly addressed by a peer of the realm. He asked Isola for her programme, with well-simulated indifference, yet with that air of profound respect with which he talked to all women."And is this really Rome?" she murmured softly.
"He is not like his brother in character or disposition. If he were, I should be sorry for my sister to marry him."The captain expatiated upon what his three new friends—and his one old friend, Martin Disney—were to do to cheer him in his solitude at the Mount.
Yes, it was true that Mr. Crowther had stood for Lostwithiel on three separate occasions, and with equal unsuccess on each. This may have embittered him. If the anger of slighted beauty is a furious thing, no less bitter is the sting of wounded vanity in the rejected candidate.Not a jot cared Allegra for their aloofness. She disliked their father, and she knew that her brother detested him, without having any clear idea of the cause. She was so thoroughly loyal to Martin that she would have deemed it treason to like any one whom he disliked; so had the daughters of Glenaveril been the most companionable young women in Cornwall she would have considered it her duty to hold them at arm's length. Glenaveril and all its belongings were taboo.
"Oh, but he does not think himself unhappy. He is bursting with self-importance and the pride of riches. He is the typical rich man of the Psalmist. He must be the happiest man in Trelasco, a thick-skinned man whom nothing can hurt."[Pg 95]
"And you were not in London?"Fortune had favoured this last of the Crowthers, and, at forty years of age, he had found himself rich enough to dispose of his business to two younger brothers and a brother-in-law, and to convert himself into a landed proprietor. He bought up all the land that was to be had about Trelasco. Cornish people cling to their land like limpets to a rock; and it was not easy to acquire the ownership of the soil. In the prosperous past, when land was paying nearly four per cent. in other parts of England, Cornishmen were content to hold estates that yielded only two per cent.; but the days of decay had come when Mr. Crowther entered the market, and he was able to buy out more than one gentleman of ancient lineage.[Pg 194]
Tabitha thought it was very hard upon the girl-wife, but affected to make light of it. "Lor, bless you, ma'am," she said, "a year looks a long time, but it isn't much when you come to grapple with it. There'll be such a lot for you to do. There'll be the garden. We ought to make ever so many improvements next spring and summer, against the master comes home. And there's your piano. You want to improve yourself—I've heard you say so—and you can get up all sorts of new tunes, and won't the major be pleased with you; and then—there'll be something else to occupy your mind before next summer comes."He watched her closely as she spoke, watched her with his hand upon hers, which was cold as ice. He had heard such words before from the early doomed, but they had been accompanied by religious exaltation; they had been the outpouring of a faith that saw the gates of heaven opened and the Son of man sitting in glory—of a love that longed to be with God. Here there was no sign of hope or exaltation. There were only the tokens of despair.
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"That would be very short work. We leave in a fortnight. The weather will be growing too hot for you if we linger later."详情
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