Aurora the magnificent

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TheProjectGutenbergEBookofAuroratheMagnificent,byGertrudeHall ThiseBookisfortheuseofanyoneanywhereatnocostandwith almostnorestrictionswhatsoever Youmaycopyit,giveitawayor re-useitunderthetermsoftheProjectGutenbergLicenseincluded withthiseBookoronlineatwww.gutenberg.net Title:AuroratheMagnificent Author:GertrudeHall ReleaseDate:December10,2009[EBook#30642] Language:English ***STARTOFTHISPROJECTGUTENBERGEBOOKAURORATHEMAGNIFICENT*** ProducedbyRogerFrankandtheOnlineDistributed ProofreadingTeamathttp://www.pgdp.net Aloneinherroomlater shelookedattheotherportrait AURORA THEMAGNIFICENT BY GERTRUDEHALL AUTHOROF“THETRUTHABOUTCAMILLA,” “THEUNKNOWNQUANTITY,”ETC ILLUSTRATEDBY GERALDLEAKE NEWYORK THECENTURYCO 1917 Copyright,1916,1917,by TheCenturyCo Published,March,1917 TO MYSISTERGRACE WITHOUTWHOMTHISBOOK WOULDNOTHAVEBEEN ANDTO MYDEARHELENR─, WITHOUTWHOMITWOULD HAVEBEEN DIFFERENT LISTOFILLUSTRATIONS Aloneinherroomlater shelookedattheotherportrait Frontispiece FACINGPAGE Afteritshestillstoodamoment,lookingtowardthesanctuary “Ithought,”saidMrs Hawthorne,“thatyouweregoingtocome andtakeussight-seeing“ Aurora,claspingherhandsinadelightthatcouldfindnowords toexpressit,madeasoundlikethecooofadove Geraldturned,andbeheldthatlady Aurora’seyes,fixedandstarry,resteduponthelittleflame Aurora,withacomedyofpride,threwupherchin,liftedher arms,andturnedasifonapivot “Come,letusreasontogether,Aurora” 20 82 200 272 290 316 384 AURORATHEMAGNIFICENT AURORA THEMAGNIFICENT CHAPTERI Near sunset, one day in early October, not too long ago for some of us to remember with distinctness, Mr Foss, United States consul at Florence, Italy, tookacab,asonotherdays,tothePortaRomana Here,wheretheout-of-town tariffcomesintoeffect,hepaidhisman,andsetouttowalktherestoftheway, thusmeetingthevariousneedshefelt:thatforeconomy,–hewasafamilyman with daughters to clothe,–that for exercise,–his wife told him he was growing fat,–and the need in general for an opportunity to think He had found that walkingaidedreflection,thatwalkinginbeautifulplacesstartedthespringofapt andgenerousideas Thoughinhismodestwayascholar,hewasnotasyetan author,butFlorencehadinspiredhimwiththedesiretowriteabook Justbeyond theRomanGatebeginsthelongVialedeiColli,–Avenueof the Hills,–which climbs and winds, broad, shady, quiet, between lines of gardens and villas, occupied largely by foreigners, to the Piazzale, whence Michelangelo’s boyish colossus gazes with a slight frown across Florence, outspreadathisfeet Mr Foss,ashemountedtheeasygrade,andnotedwitha likingunabatedafteryearsthepleasantnessofeachhabitationglimpsedthrough iron railings and embowering green, thought how privileged a person should feel,afterall,whoseaffairsinvolvedresidenceinItaly This recognized good fortune had not been properly tasted before another aspectofthethingpresenteditselfforconsideration The consul felt a sigh trying to escape him, and turning from the images whose obtrusion had called it up from the depths, directed his attention to a differentsetofsubjects,unwillingatthemomenttobetroubled Thegloriesandiniquitiesofthatgreatfamilywhosecannon-balls–orpills?– adornsomanyofthe’scutcheonsonFlorentinestreet-cornersandpalace-fronts arewhatheselectedasthethemeforhismeditations,achoicewhichseemsless oddwhenweknowthathisbook,thelaborandpleasureofhissparehours,was astudyoftheMedici Hehadnotbeenbusymanyminuteswiththeirsupplantedpoliciesandextinct ambitions beforethesedroppedbackintothepastwhencehehaddrawnthem, andhismindgaveitselfovertoanexercisemorecuriousthanreconstructinga deadepoch Ashortish,stoutishman,withabeginningofbaldnessonhiscrown and gray in his mustache, was trying by the whole force of a sympathetic imagination to fit himself into the shoes, occupy the very skin, of a delicate younggirl,tolookattheworldthroughhereyesandfeellifewithherpulses Thus absorbed, he hardly saw the posts of his own carriage gate; he passed unnoticingbetweenhisflower-beds,uphisstonestepsandcametohimselfonly when, rubbing the hands he had just washed, he entered the dining-room and sawhiswife “Wherearethegirls?”heaskedevenbeforekissingher,for themost casual eyemustbeinformedbytheblanklookofthetablethatinsteadofbeinglaidfor halfadozenasusual,itwaspreparedforameagretwo Mrs Fosswasfondofsittinginthedining-room,whichhadaglassdoorinto the garden on the side farthest from the road There she read her book while waiting for dinnertime and her husband The good gentleman did not always come directly home from his office He had the love of dropping into dim churches,ofloiteringonbridges,offingeringthejunkinoldshops,buthewas consideratelyneverlatefordinner Mrs Foss rose to receive her husband’s salutation, and while answering his question settled herself at the table; for she had caught sight of a domestic peepinginatthedoortoseeifthemastersweretheretobeserved “Leslie and Brenda went to call on the Hunts,” she gave her account, “and presentlythe Hunts’man camewith anotefrom Mrs Hunt, asking ifthegirls could stay to dine and go to the theater A box had just been sent them I was verygladtogivemyconsent Charliewillprobablybeoneofthepartyandbring themhome OrperhapsGerald Ortheywillbeputinacab Iwasdelightedof thediversionforBrenda.” “Andwhere’sLily?” “She, too, is off having a good time Fräulein was invited by some German friends who were giving a Kinder-sinfonie Awful things, if you want my opinion SheaskedifshemightgoandtakeLily,andthepoorchildwassoeager about it I thought I would just for once let her sit up late She has so few pleasuresofthekind.” Mrs Fosshadhelpedthesoup,withaladle,outofatureen It was after her husband and she had emptied their soup-plates in companionablesilencethat,leaningbacktowaitforthenextcourse,sheasked herregulardailyquestion “Well,anythingnew?Anythinginterestingattheconsulate?” Mr Foss seemed in good faith to be searching his mind Then he answered vaguely: “No; nothing in particular.” All at once he smiled a smile of remembrance “Yes, I saw some Americans to-day.” He nodded, after an interval, with an appearanceofrelish “Therealthing.” “Inwhatway,Jerome?But,firstofall,whowerethey?” “Waitamoment Istucktheircardsinmypockettoshowyou Theycameto see me at the consulate No, they are in my other coat One of them was Mrs SomethingHawthorne,theotherMissEstelleSomething.” “Whatdidtheywant?” “Everything–quite frankly everything They have grown tired of their hotel; they speak nothing but English and don’t know a soul They came to find out frommehowtogoaboutgettingahouseandservants,horsesandcarriage.” “Didtheythinkthatwaspartofaconsul’sduty?” “They didn’t think They cast themselves on the breast of a fellowcountryman Theycaughtataplank.” “Ahouse,horses Theyarerich,then.” “Soonewouldjudge Oh,yes,they’rerichinajolly,shameless,old-fashioned Americanway.” “Well, it’s a nice way.” Mrs Foss added limitingly: “When they’re also generous Onehasnoticed,however,hasn’tone,”–sheseemedonsecondthought tobetakingbacksomethingofherapproval,–“acertainreticence,asarule,with regardtothedisplayofwealthinpeopleofanyrealculture?” “Thesearen’t,mydear It’sasplainasthatthey’rerich And,forachange,let mewhispertoyou,Ifounditpleasant Notonetiresomewordaboutartdidthey utterinconnectionwiththis,theirfirst,visittoItaly.” “Icanseeyoulikedthem,butwhatyouhavesofarsaiddoesn’tentirelyhelp metoseewhy RichandignorantAmericans,unfortunately–Alightbreaksupon me!Theywerepretty!” A twinkle came into the consul’s eyes, looking over at his wife, as one is amusedsometimesbyajokeoldandobvious His pause before answering seemed filled with an effort to visualize the personsinquestion “Uponmyword,Etta,Icouldn’ttellyou.”Helaughedathisinability “Bythattokentheywerenotbeauties,”saidthewife “It seems likely you are right At the same time”–he was still mentally regarding his visitors–“one would never think of wishing them other than they are.” “Describethemifyoucan Whatagewomen?” “Mydear,thereagainyouhaveme Letussaythattheyareintheflowerof life One of them, so much I did remark, was rather more blooming than the other Perhapsshewasyounger.” “Themiss?” your good name, ought to prompt you enter as quickly as you can into an engagementwithme ImetourdearDoctorBatoniinthestreetyesterdayonmy way home from the station, and he amiably asked how was my fidanzata, or betrothed? It was a difficult moment for me, because he told me that you had toldhimyouwerethat.” “Itoldhimnothingofthesort!IsaidIwasyourfriend,inFrench.” “Afriend,inFrench,maymeanagooddeal Saveyourreputation,dear;Igive youthechance.” “Whatnonsense!IexplainedtohimaswellasIcould,inFrench,thatIwas theretakingcareofyoubecauseIwasyourfriend.” “Youarehopelesslycompromised Looktometosetyouright.” “Gerald,Ishalldonothingofthekind.” “Ah,Iseethatyourprejudicesholdfirm IwasafraidofitwhenIcame.”His maskofflippancyslippedforamoment;deepfeelingmadehisvoiceuncertain “I am not that hardy and masterful man, Aurora, who could break them down and clutch you above their ruin But you will find me very faithful to a hope– which, in fact, to relinquish now would be beyond what I can expect of my courage.”Heresumedbluffness “ItoldVincenthemightlookformyreturntomorrow.” “No, sir!” she came out with lively directness “You’re not going back to LeghornifIcanhelpit!I–Ihaveaplan.” “You have a plan? From your face I am afraid not a good one You look so dubious.” “Perhaps it isn’t a good one, but it’s the only way I can see Listen.” She lookeddownatherhands,andkepthimwaiting “Oneeveninglastwinterata party a young Italian naval officer got talking to me in a green bower under a pink paper lantern away from the rest Something in the atmosphere, I guess, madehimwanttotalktosomebodyofhislove-affairs,andhechoseme,though wescarcelykneweachother Hetoldmehehadbeenverymuchinlovewithan Americangirl,buttheyhadn’tthemoneytomarryonorthehopeofeverhaving it–likeBrendaandManlioatfirst Yettheycouldn’tkeepapart,andsotheyjust becameengaged,knowingitcouldn’tendasanengagementissupposedtodo In that way they could see each other all they wanted, and be seen together withoutanybodymakingaremark Andthenwhenshewasobligedtogohome andithadtoend,itlookedmerelylikeabrokenengagement.” “Andyoupropose–” “Wemighttryit,Gerald Thenifitdidn’tworkwell,ifIfoundIwasallthe timeoutragingyoursensibilities,andyouhurtingmyfeelings,we’dcallitoff In any case we’d give ourselves plenty of time to realize our foolishness And you’d promise that when the time came you’d go like a lamb, with a pleasant face,notsavingupanythingagainstme Makeupyourmind,now,thatit’llhave tobealong,longengagement–ifwedon’trepentandbreakitoffinsideaweek Butasitseemssolikelywewill,let’sdon’ttelltheothersrightoff,Gerald;not, anyhow,foraweekortendays.” “Admired Aurora, it surely is the most immoral proposition that ever came from fair lady so well brought up as you!” cried Gerald, in a proper state of excitement But yet, such were his limitations, nothing in any proportion with thethrobbingfireinsidehim,theimmensityofhisincredulousjoy,appearedon his outside, where merely the mollified lines of his face gave him a look of greater youth, and his cool-colored eyes let through a faint testimony of the inwardlight “Iacceptwithouthesitation Ipromisewhateveryouask Fromthis momentonwardwearefidanzati,then And,myblessedAuroretta,youwhoare suchahandatcallingnames,haveyourservant’spermissiontocallhimallthe namesyoucanthinkofthatsignifyanineffableblundereronthedaywhenyou succeedinfreeingyourselffromhim!” Manymorethingsweresaid,notworthrecording Butatlastdevoutsilence reigned Inthetwilightroom,withallthebadpicturesandtrivialornamentation, toshutouttheoffenseofwhichhehadonceclosedhiseyes,Geraldnowclosed them again to concentrate more perfectly upon the rapture of feeling Aurora’s shoulderbeneathhischeek CHAPTERXXIV 432 TheservantwhoopenedthedoorforLeslieonthissoftlybrilliantJunemorning, being well accustomed to admitting her, obligingly anticipated her question, “Aretheladiesathome?” “Thesignorinaisinthesalottino,”hesaid FromwhichLeslieunderstoodthat thepersonwhomshechieflyhadcometoseewasout Itdidnotreallymatter, forshehadtimetowait Aurorawaslikelytocomebackforlunch She released the man from attendance by a little wave of her hand, “Never mindannouncingme!”anddirectedherfootstepstowardthetallwhite-and-gold doorstandingpartlyopen Onherwaytoitshepickedupoffthefloorasmalllawnhandkerchief Theball-roomimpressedheranewasbeingveryvast,veryempty,furnished almostsolelyasitwasbythesparklingchandeliers,everypendantofwhichtodaywasgaywithreflectionsofthegreenandfloweryandsun-washedoutdoors Sheturnedtowardthesalottino,remotelywonderingbywhatchanceEstelle was preferring it to the favorite red and green sitting-room upstairs The salottinohadutilitywhenapartywasgoingon,buttositandembroiderorstudy Frenchsurroundedbyallthosefountainsoflove 433 Asharpbarkprecededthetumblingoutthroughthesalottinodoorofalittle white mop on feet Upon recognizing Leslie, this performed evolutions expressiveofgreatjoy She had stopped to pat the excited little swirl of silk when Estelle came forwardtoseewhowasthere With delighted good mornings the women exchanged the foreign salute, which Leslie had adopted and Estelle submitted to, a mere touching of cheeks whilethelipskisstheair They sat down on the rococo settee to talk, Leslie, quick of eye, wondering what had happened to give Estelle that unusual air, an air of–no, it was indefinable Excitement had a share in it, and possibly chagrin, and, it almost seemed,exaltation Thechiefthingaboutit,however,wasthatshewastryingto conceal it; doing her best, but it was a poor best, to appear natural Leslie graciouslyallowedhertosupposeshewassucceeding,andenteredatonceupon thereasonforherearlycall “I really think, Estelle, that the villa at Antiniano would suit Aurora As for you,Iampositive,mydear,thatyouwouldadoreit Itisalittleoutofthethick ofthings,buthasaveryfineviewofthesea,alsoaveryprettygarden Certain conveniences, of course, it hasn’t, but, then, you mustn’t expect those of an Italianvilla IsawMadameRossiyesterday,andshesaidshewishedyouwould makeanexcursiontoAntinianotoseeforyourselves Sheissureyouwouldbe charmed One request she would make: that the peasant family be allowed to continueintheirlittle cornerofthehouse, wherethey wouldn’t be theleastin your way, and then that the little donkey should be allowed to remain in the stable Butinreturnyoucouldusehim,shesaid.” “Ridehim?” “Yes, or harness him For the country, why not, my dear? They are ever so stronglittlebeasts.” Estellebegantolaugh,presumablyatthepictureofAuroraondonkey-back, or,withherself,exhilaratingthecountry-sidebythevisionofthemdrawnina donkey-cart Lesliejoinedinhermerriment,butexpostulatingly,and,warnedby a note in Estelle’s laugh, watched her with suspicion while it developed into a nervous cackle She saw her cover her eyes with one hand, and with the other vainlyfeelinherpocket Shewascrying Leslietenderedthelittlehandkerchief foundonthefloor,andknewthenthatithaddriedtearsbeforeonthatsameday Shewaited,tactfullysilent,merelyplacingacondolinghandoverherfriend’s “Imightaswelltellyou,”Estellegotout,whenhercryingfitpermittedherto speak, “that Aurora isn’t going to take any villa at Antiniano this summer She’sgoneaway.” “Gone away? What you mean?” asked Leslie, surprised into a very completeblanknessofexpression “What I say.” And in her incalculable frame of mind Estelle again was laughing “Oh, I don’t know which to do, whether to laugh or cry!” she explained,witheyesbrightatoncefromlaughterandfromtears “OnemomentI laugh,nextmomentIcry IfeelasifIwerewalkinginmysleep IguesswhatI needisanerve-pill.” “YousaythatAurorahasgoneaway Where?” “WhereGeraldpleases,Iguess She’sgonewithhim.” “WithGerald?Now,mydearfriend,pleaseexplain Youlaugh,youcry You sayAurorahasgoneawaywithGerald Pleasecollectyourselfandtellmewhat itmeans ‘GoneawaywithGerald.’Howdoyoumeangoneawaywithhim?” “Imeantheyhaveeloped,orasgoodas.” “No, no; people don’t elope when there is neither an inconvenient husband, norunamenableparents,noranypossiblereasonwhytheyshouldnothaveeach otheriftheywishto.” “Iwonderwhatyouwouldcallit,then Aslateastwelveo’clocklastnightI didn’t know a thing about it, and this morning early they left together in a carriage,withhertrunkstrappedontheback.” Leslieliftedherhandstohertemplesandpressedthemasiftokeepherhead fromadangerousexpansionwiththesizeofthenewideathatmustfindahome there “Soitwasinearnest!”shesaidaloud,yetasifspeakingtoherself “Mother has won her bet, and I have lost Well,”–she tossed her head and faced Estelle,–“Iamgladofit Weknew,ofcourse,thattherewassomething,andwe felt that nothing nicer could happen than that they should make a match of it Motherprophesiedtheywould ButIdidnotbelieveit IwasafraidofGerald– thatdispositioninhimtoconsidertoofinely,tohaltonthebrink,thatnegative, renunciatory way he has settled into I thought the thing would end in mere philandering Iamglad”–shethrewtheweightofconvictionontheword,–“glad ithasn’t!Idon’tsee,mydearEstelle,whatyoucanfindtocryabout.” “Isthatthewayitstrikesyou?” “Mydear,Icouldn’tsaywhichIthoughttheluckier,GeraldtogetAurora,or AuroratogetGerald.” “You surprise me To me it seems just about the riskiest combination that couldbeimagined Ihavefeltitallalong Thosetwohavenomoreincommon,I havesaid,thanabirdandafish.” “Nonsense,mydeargirl!Nonsense!” “I have heard him get so impatient with her because simply she didn’t pronounceawordright I’veseenhimsoannoyedhenearlytrembledtryingto chokeitdown.” “Butdidshemind?Imean,hisimpatience?” “Ican’tsayshedid;but–” “Thereyouhaveit Theyaremarvelouslysuited Listenandletmetalktoyou for your comfort This, you hear, is exactly the most delightful thing that couldhavehappened Haven’tyounoticedthatcomplexnaturesarerathergiven to uniting with simple ones, and finding happiness with them? An artist–how often!–marrieshismodel,aphilosophermarriesapeasant.” “Goon!”sighedEstelle “Goon!Iloveyouformakingmefeelbetter!”Her eyesmoistenedagaininanalmostluxuriousmelancholy “One of the reasons for mother and me wishing for this consummation was thebroadeningoflifeitwouldaffordGerald Geralddoesn’tthinkaboutmoney Aurora’smoney,allthesame,willdoalotforhiminmakingpossiblehisgetting awayfromhere,wherethetruthishestagnates Then,too,shewillcurehimof hismorbidness Heseesredifonesomuchasbreathesthesuggestionthathisart ismorbid Butofcourseitis.” “AurorasaidtheymightgotoliveinParis,becauseshethoughtitwouldbe goodforhisart.” “Nowthat’swhatIwanttohearabout GoonandtellmewhatAurorasaid andwhathappenedbetweenmidnightandtheirextraordinaryelopement,asyou callit But,firstofall,why,inthenameofcommonsense,didtheyelope?From whatdidtheyelope?” “Fromme,Iguess Idon’tseewhatelse Oh, yes,Ido Fromthe talkthere wouldbe Butprincipally,Isuspect,hehurriedherintoittomakesureofher,for she,too,hadhermomentsofdoubtingthewisdomofwhatshewasdoing That muchIknow Theyhadonlybeenengagedtwoweeks,andallthattimeIdidn’t evenknowtheywereengaged Ihadn’tbeenniceaboutGerald,Ifeelboundto confess,soshethoughtbestnottotellme Shedidn’twanttohearhowIwould takeit,we’vebeensousedtospeakingourmindstoeachother Hecameoftener thaneverandstayedlonger,tillitgotsoImadeapointofgettingupandmaking an excuse to leave the room It was my way of being spiteful But Nell didn’t takeitupwithmeinprivate,asIexpectedshewould Theyweretickledtodeath tohavemeleavetheroom,Icanseenow Shewentaroundthehousesingingan Easter carol and fixing flowers in the vases, with a look of cheerfulness apart frommethatmadeherseemlikeastranger Iwasprettysore,Icantellyou,but Iwouldn’tspeakofit Idon’tknowhowIthoughtitwouldend Funny,Ican’t rememberhoweverythinglookedsoshortatimeagoasyesterday,butIknowI was eaten up with mean thoughts I went to bed last night thinking to myself, ‘Well,NellGoodwin,ifyouthinkI’mgoingtostandmuchmoreofthis,you’re mistaken There’llbesomeplaintalkbeforelong.’AndIfellasleep FirstthingI knew I was awake, looking to see who’d come into my room And there was Nellinhernight-dress,holdingherhandroundthecandlesoitwouldn’tshinein myeyes Isimplycan’ttellyouwhatitwaslike,–thecandlelightingnothingbut hermadeherseemlikeavisioninthemiddleofaglory Nobodycanknowhow fondIamofNell,whatfriendswe’vebeensincelittlebitsofgirls AllIcould think of was that she’d come to make up with me, she couldn’t wait another minute It would have been just like her And while I waited for her to speak first, I thought with my heart just melting what a lovely big thing she is, with thatsortoffairlooktoherneck,andthosewarmcheeks,andsomethingsokind aboutherfromheadtofoot Sheputdownthecandleand,insteadofgoinginto explanations,bentoverandgavemeagoodhug AndIsaid,huggingback:‘You better had, you horrid thing! You better had!’ Then she sat down on the bed ‘Hat,’shesaid,‘Iwasgoingtodoameanthing,butI’mnotgoingtodoit Iwas goingtoslipawaywithoutaword,butI’mgoingtotellyouthewholestory I’m goingtomarryGerald,’shesaid “Thenshewentontotellme,andwhatdoyouthink,Ididn’tsayonewordin objection,notone!BecauseIcouldseeshewasdeadinlove,andwhatwasthe useexcepttospoilherhappiness,andIdidn’twantto Shetoldmehowthey’d decideditwouldbejustaswellnottowait,buttakeashortcut Iftheystayedin Florence, she said, she’d feel they must have a big wedding and ask all their friends,and then sheshouldhavetohaveatrousseau;itwouldalltakelotsof time,andGeraldwouldsohatethefussandthechatter Sothey’dmadeuptheir minds to go off to Leghorn without a word to anybody,–whose business is it anyhowbuttheirown?–andbemarriedjustassoonasitcouldbedone,where theywouldn’tgetsomuchastheechoofanyremarksontheirhasteortheway they preferred to She’ll be staying with Mrs Johns till the ceremony She saidsheshouldwriteyourmotherfromthere ThensheshowedmeGerald’sring thatshe’dbeenwearingonachainroundherneckwhereIwouldn’tseeit,and shetalkedaboutGerald’swonderfulness She’sperfectlywrappedupinhim All Ihopeisheappreciatesit.” “Hisinducinghertoelopewithhimwouldseemtoindicatesomewarmthof feelingonhispart Thesuggestioncanhardlyhavecomefromher.” “You’re right I guess it’s as bad with him as with her She talked about the wonderfulness of his love, such as she never could have believed, and never coulddeserve ShesaidshecouldbehappywithGeraldinagarretthatletthe snowleakin Oh,they’rebothcrazy Whatdoyouthinkshegaveasonereason forthishaste?‘Lifeisshort,’shesaid,‘andloveislong!’Geraldmusthavesaid ittoherbeforeshesaidittome,butwhatdoyouthinkofit?‘Lifeisshortand loveislong!’” “Doyoumean”–askedLeslie,withtheleasttouchofseverity,–“thatIoughtto share in a cynical view of that saying? I can’t, my dear Estelle There are my fatherandmother,youknow Intheirquietwaytheybearouttheideathatlove maybeaslongaslife.” “Yes,ofcourse,”saidEstellehurriedly,withafaintairofshame “Myfather andmother,too,makeaunitedcouple.” “Mybeliefisthatwhentwopeoplemarrywhoareinloveastheyoughttobe, andwhoinadditionaregood–BygoodIthinkImeanpeople–”Leslie,withher lookofwisdombeyondheryears,pausedtotakeasurveyoflife,“–peoplewho haveasenseoftheotherperson’srights,and,asamatterofheart,notprinciple, feel the other’s claims just a little more strongly than their own–in the case of suchpeople,whenthepassiontheymarryondiesoutwiththeirgrowingolder, as we generally see it do, something takes its place that deserves the name of loveeverybitasmuch.” “Aurora is good,” said Estelle, from her soul “You would never know how goodunlessyouhadstoodinneedofkindness.” “Geraldisgood,too,”saidLeslie,withaneffectofmoreimpartialitybutno lesspositiveness “Hewoulddisdaintobeanythingelse.” “What is wrong with me is that I’m selfish, I guess,” said Estelle, looking contrite, “and don’t like having to give her up to him, after all the beautiful things we’d planned together What I ought to feel is nothing but thankfulness forherhavingsuchachanceofhappiness,andthenthankfulnessforallshedid, tryingtomakeupforherdesertion.” Withouttransition,Estellewentbacktothestoryofthepastnight “Youcan imaginetherewasn’tanymoresleepforthatspell Igotup,andwewenttoher room,whereshehadallthelightslightedandwasinthemiddleofpackingher trunk She only took one, and about a quarter of her things Gerald’s going to designwonderfulcostumesforher,thestyleheprefers Icouldseeshe’sreadyto dojustanythingtopleasehim I’dalreadynoticedhowshe’dalteredherwayof doingherhair,butwasn’tsmartenoughtorecognizethesigns! Whileshewas at work packing she planned for my summer,–that I’m to invite Mademoiselle Durandtogotravelingwithme,soIcanimprovemyFrenchatthesametimeas givethatpoorhard-workingcreaturearealvacationandtreat Thenwhenthey go to Venice, she wants me to join them, and the three of us have a regular jamboree Thennextwinter,afterI’vegothome,shewantsmetogotoColorado to visit the Grand Cañon and see the great sights of my native country before settlingdownagaininEastBoston ShemademeapresentofAmi.” “Ami?” “I’ve changed his name from Busteretto Don’t you like it better? Little Tweetums!He’stheonlydarlingI’vegotleft!”Shepressedakissonthewarm topofhishead “Shemademeapresentofalltheclothesandthingsshewasn’t takingwithher Shemademeapresentofeverythinginthishousethatwedidn’t findinitwhenwetookit–turneditallovertometodowhatIpleasewith And I’msureIdon’tknowwhatIshalldowithitallunlessIsetupastore Anything youseeandthinkyou’dliketohave,pleasesayso.” “She gave you all these things? Do you mean it?” asked Leslie, surprised despitewhatshehadalreadyknownofAurora “Yes, and along with the things, of course, the responsibility of settling up everything, dismissing the servants, sending Livvy back to New York Such a job!Luckily,there’snohurry;theleasedoesn’texpireuntilOctober Whenyou cameI’dbeensortoflookinground Iwasjustwonderingwhattodoaboutthis FountainofLove Nellpaidafrightfullotforthesefourpanels I’dbeentrying to see if they could be carefully peeled off and the wall behind restored, and whileIwaslookingthesightofthatwinterscenebrokemeallup Itdoesn’ttell averycheerfultale,youknow,thisseriesofpictures AfterwhatI’djustbeen through,sayinggood-bytothem,itworkedonmelikeabadomen.” “Don’tbefoolish ThenyousawGerald,too,beforetheyleft?” “Yes Icouldhavedonewithout,butshe’dhavebeenhurt SoIshookhands, andmanagedtowishhimjoy Hewasnice,but,then,Geraldalwaysisthat I’ve neverforamomentsaidanythingdifferent HesaidhewantedmetofeelthatI hadn’t lost a sister, but acquired a brother Just as they were driving off I rememberedsomething,andcalledafterNell,‘Whataboutyourportrait?’forI couldn’tthinkshemeanttogivemethatalongwiththerest Geraldsaidbefore she could speak, ‘Take it away!’ And Nell said right off, ‘Oh, yes Keep it, Hattie;keepit!’Thatlovelyportraithepaintedofher!Idon’tseehowshecould bear to part with it But, of course, now she has him she can have as many portraits as she wants Come and tell me what you think, whether it would be safetopackit,frameandall,orbettertounframeit,or,betterstill,totakethe canvasoffthestretcherandrollit.” Accordingly,theylefttheroomofthecupidsandgarlands,traversedthevasty ballroomwherethechandeliers,liketwohugeear-rings,dividedupthelightinto twinkling diamond and rainbow showers, entered the drawing-room of the dignified sixteenth-century chairs, which from the first had suffered an undeserved neglect, and passed thence into the familiar parlor of the multitudinous baubles and the grand piano and the portrait; performing in the contrary direction the pilgrimage on which, at a period which seemed so immemorably far as to have become legendary, Gerald had followed Aurora walkingbeforehimwithalight Theystoodbeneaththeportrait,andwiththeimagepresenttotheirmindsof painterandsitterhastingontheirwaytobewed,sawthisequivocalmasterpiece withadifference NotAuroraalonelookedforthfromthecanvas,–throatoflily, cheek of rose, heaven-blue eyes, smile and ringlets of immitigable sunniness Gerald,self-depictedineverysubtlebrush-stroke,looked,too “It takes sober, solid, careful people to be interesting when they commit a rashness,”thoughtLeslie Then,withalittlesurgeofenvyinherwell-regulated breast,“Tobesweptoffone’sfeet,”shethought,“howeducativeitmustbe,how enlarging.” Butadoubtfell,shadow-like,acrosshervisionoffuturefortunes Ifaperson neverfounditpossibletofallinlovewiththosewhofellinlovewithher,would itnecessarilyfollowthattheSomeOnesheshouldsomedaylovewouldregard herwithcoldness? 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