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nothing, and she had no idea of asking who leaned dangerously far out of the poor Lily's advice.

But Lily knew window of the carriage and made sepanothing of these rich mysteries, and it ration an occasion of violent hilarity, is no wonder, therefore, that she pro- and then she walked back into the nounced her sister's career in Europe foggy London street. The world lay rather dull-an impression confirmed before her-she could do whatever by the fact that Isabel's silence about she chose. There was something exMr. Osmond, for instance, was in direct citing in the feeling, but for the proportion to the frequency with which present her choice was tolerably dishe occupied her thoughts. As this creet; she chose simply to walk back happened very often, it sometimes from Euston Square to her hotel. The appeared to Mrs. Ludlow that her early dusk of a November afternoon sister was really losing her gaiety. So had already closed in ; the streetvery strange a result of so exhilarat- lamps, in the thick, brown air, looked ing an incident as inheriting a fortune weak and red; our young lady was was of course perplexing to the cheer- unattended, and Euston Square was a ful Lily ; it added to her general sense long way

from Piccadilly. But that Isabel was not at all like other Isabel performed the journey with a people.

positive enjoyment of its dangers, and Isabel's gaiety, however super- lost her way almost on purpose, in ficially speaking at least-exhibited order to get more sensations, so that itself rather more after her sister had she was disappointed when an obliging gone home. She could imagine some- policeman easily set her right again. She thing more poetic than spending the was so fond of the spectacle of human winter in Paris-Paris was like smart, life that she enjoyed even the aspect neat prose—and her frequent cor- of gathering dusk in the London respondence with Madame Merle did streets the moving crowds, the much to stimulate such fancies. She hurrying cabs, the lighted shops, the had never had a keener sense of free- flaring stalls, the dark, shining dampdom, of the absolute boldness and ness of everything. That evening, at wantonness of liberty than when she her hotel, she wrote to Madame Merle turned away from the platform at the that she should start in a day or two Euston Station, on one of the latter for Rome. She made her way down days of November, after the departure to Rome without touching at Florence of the train which was to convey poor —having gone first to Venice and then Lily, her husband, and her children, proceeded south ward by Ancona. She to their ship at Liverpool. It had accomplished this journey without been good for her to have them with other assistance than that of her her; she was very conscious of that; servant, for her natural protectors she was very observant, as we know, were not now on the ground. Ralph of what was good for her, and her Touchett was spending the winter at effort was constantly to find something Algiers, and Miss Stack pole, in the that was good enough. To profit by September previous, bad been recalled the present advantage till the latest to America by a telegram from the moment, she had made the journey from Interviewer. This journal offered its Paris with the unenvied travellers. brilliant correspondent a fresher field She would have accompanied them to for her talents than the mouldering Liverpool as well, only Edmund Lud- cities of Europe, and Henrietta was low bad asked her, as a favour, not to cheered on her way by a promise from do so; it made Lily so fidgety, and Mr. Bantling that he would soon come she asked such impossible questions. over and see her. Isabel wrote to Isabel watched the train move away ; Mrs. Touchett to apologise for not she kissed her hand to the elder of her coming just then to Florence, and her small nephews, a demonstrative child aunt replied characteristically enough.

woman.

Apologies, Mrs. Touchett intimated, improved on acquaintance would miswere of no more use than soap-bubbles, represent the impression she made and she herself never dealt in such upon Isabel, who had thought her articles. One either did the thing or from the first a perfectly enlightone didn't, and what one would have ened

At the end of an done belonged to the sphere of the irre- intimacy of three months Isabel felt levant, like the idea of a future life or that she knew her better; her of the origin of things. Her letter character had revealed itself, and was frank, but (a rare case with Mrs. Madame Merle had also at last reTouchett) it was not so frank as it deemed her promise of relating her seemed. She easily forgave her niece history from her own point of viewfor not stopping at Florence, because a consummation the more desirable as she thought it was a sign that there Isabel had already heard it related was nothing going on with Gilbert from the point of view of others. This Osmond. She watched, of course, to history was so sad a one (in so far as see whether Mr. Osmond would now it concerned the late M. Merle, an go to Rome, and took some comfort in adventurer of the lowest class, who had learning that he was not guilty of an taken advantage, years before, of her absence. Isabel, on her side, had not youth, and of an inexperience in which been a fortnight in Rome before she doubtless those who knew her only now proposed to Madame Merle that they would find it difficult to believe); it should make a little pilgrimage to the abounded so in startling and lamentEast. Madame Merle remarked that able incidents, that Isabel wondered her friend was restless, but she added the poor lady had kept so much of her that she herself had always been con- freshness, her interest in life. Into sumed with the desire to visit Athens this freshness of Madame Merle's she and Constantinople. The two ladies obtained a considerable insight; she accordingly embarked on this expedi- saw that it was, after all, a tolerably tion, and spent three months in artificial bloom. Isabel liked her as Greece, in Turkey, in Egypt. Isabel much as ever, but there was a certain found much to interest her in these corner of the curtain that never was countries, though Madame Merle con- lifted; it was as if Madame Merle had tinued to remark that even among the remained after all a foreigner. She most classic sites, the scenes most cal- had once said that she came from a culated to suggest repose and reflection, distance, that she belonged to the old her restlessness prevailed. Isabel world, and Isabel never lost the imtravelled rapidly, eagerly, audaciously; pression that she was the product of she was like a thirsty person draining à different clime from her own, that cup after cup. Madame Merle, for she had grown up under other stars. the present, was most efficient Isabel believed that at bottom she had duenna. It was on Isabel's invitation a different morality. Of course the she had come, and she imparted all morality of civilised persons has always necessary dignity to the girl's un- much in common; but Isabel suspected countenanced condition. She played that her friend had esoteric views. her part with the sagacity that might She believed, with the presumption of have been expected of her; she effaced youth, that a morality which differed herself, she accepted the position of a from her own must be inferior to it; companion whose expenses were pro

and this conviction was an aid to defusely paid. The situation, however, tecting an occasional flash of cruelty, had no hardships, and people who met an occasional lapse from candour, in this graceful pair on their travels the conversation of a woman who had would not have been able to tell you raised delicate kindness to an art, and which was the patroness and which the whose nature was too large for the client. To say that Madame Merle narrow ways of deception. Her con

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ception of human motives was different made another stay in Rome. A few from Isabel's, and there were several days after her arrival Gilbert Osin her list of which our heroine had mond.came down from Florence, and not even heard. She had not heard of remained three weeks, during which everything, that was very plain ; and the fact of her being with his old there were evidently things in the world friend Madame Merle, in whose house of which it was not advantageous to she had gone to lodge, made it virtuhear. Once or twice Isabel had a sort ally inevitable that he should see her of fright, but the reader will be

every day. When the last of April amused at the cause of it. Madame came she wrote to Mrs. Touchett that Merle, as we know, comprehended, she should now be very happy to acresponded, sympathised, with wonderful cept an invitation given long before, readiness; yet it had nevertheless hap- and went to pay a visit at the Palazzo pened that her young friend mentally Crescentini, Madame Merle on this ocexclaimed –“ Heaven forgive her, she casion remaining in Rome. Isabel doesn't understand me!” Absurd as found her aunt alone ; her cousin was it may seem, this discovery operated still at Alziers. Ralph, however, was as a shock; it left Isabel with a vague expected in Florence from day to day, horror, in which there was even an ele- and Isabel, who had not seen him for ment of foreboding. The horror of course upwards of a year, was prepared to subsided, in the light of some sudden give him the most affectionate proof of Madame Merle's remarkable welcome. intelligence ; but it left a sort of highwater-mark in the development of this

XXXI. delightful intimacy. Madame Merle had once said that, in her belief, when

It was not of him nevertheless that a friendship ceased to grow, it immedi- she was thinking while she stood at ately began to decline-there was no the window, where we found her a point of equilibrium between liking a while ago, and it was not of any of person more and liking him less. A the matters that I have just rapidly stationary affection, in other words, sketched. She was not thinking of was impossible-it must move the past, but of the future ; of the way or the other. Without estimating immediate, impending hour. She had the value of this doctrine I may say reason to expect a scene, and she was that if Isabel's imagination, which

not fond of scenes. She was not askhad hitherto been so actively engaged ing herself what she should say to on her friend's behalf, began at last to

her visitor ; this question had already languish, she enjoyed her society not a been answered. What he would say particle less than before. If their to her — that was the interesting friendship had declined, it had de speculation. It could be nothing clined to a very comfortable level. The agreeable; Isabel was convinced of truth is that in these days the girl this, and the conviction had somehad other uses for her imagination, thing to do with her being rather which was better occupied than it had paler than usual. For the rest, however been. I do not allude to the im- ever, she wore her natural brightness pulse it received as she gazed at the of aspect ; even deep grief, with this Pyramids in the course of an excursion vivid young lady, would have had a from Cairo, or as she stood among the certain soft effulgence. She had laid broken columns of the Acropolis and aside her mourning, but she was still fixed her eyes upon the point designated very simply dressed, and as she felt to her as the strait of Salamis; deep a good deal older than she had done and memorable as these emotions had a year before, it is probable that to been. She came back by the last of a certain extent she looked so. She March from Egypt and Greece, and was not left indefinitely to her appre

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bensions, for the servant at last came as she thought, to give him his in and presented her a card.

opportunity. “Let the gentleman come in,” said No, I am not at all tired. Did Isabel, who continued to gaze out of you ever know me to be tired ? the window after the footman had “Never; I wish I had. When did retired. It was only when she had you arrive here?heard the door close behind the person “ Last night, very late; in a kind who presently entered that she looked of snail-train they call the express. round.

These Italian trains go at about the Caspar Goodwood stood there-stood rate of an American funeral.” and received a moment, from head to “ That is in keeping-you must foot, the bright, dry gaze with which have felt as if you were coming to a she rather withheld than offered a funeral,” Isabel said, forcing a smile, greeting Whether on his side Mr. in order to offer such encouragement Goodwood felt himself older than on as she might to an easy treatment of the first occasion of our meeting him, their situation. She had reasoned out is a point which we shall perhaps the matter elaborately; she had made presently ascertain ; let me say mean- it perfectly clear that she broke no while that to Isabel's critical glance faith, that she falsified no contract; he showed nothing of the encroach- but for all this she was afraid of him. ments of time. Straight, strong, and She was ashamed of her fear; but she fresh, there was nothing in his appear: was devoutly thankful there was noance that spoke positively either of thing else to be ashamed of. He youth or of age; he looked too delibe- looked at her with his stiff perrato, too serious to be young, and too sistency-a persistency in which there eager, too active to be old. Old he was almost a want of tact; especially would never be, and this would serve as there was a dull dark beam in his as a compensation for his never having eye which rested on her almost like known the age of chubbiness. Isabel a physical weight. perceived that his jaw had quite the “No, I didn't feel that; because I same voluntary look th it it had worn couldn't think of you as dead. I in earlier days; but she was prepared wish I could !” said Caspar Goodwood, to admit that such a moment as the plainly. present was not a time for relaxation. “I thank you immensely.” He had the air of a man who had “I would rather think of you as travelled hard; he said nothing at dead than as married to another first, as if he had been out of breath.

man." This gave Isabel time to make a That is

very selfish of you!" Isabel reflection. “Poor fellow," she men- cried, with the ardour of a real contally murmured, “what great things viction. “ If you are not happy yourhe is capable of, and what a pity that self, others have a right to be.” he should waste his splendid force ! “Very likely it is selfish ; but I What a pity, too, that

one can't

don't in the least mind your saying satisfy everybody!” It

gave

ber I don't mind anything you can time to do more-to say at the end of say now-I don't feel it. The cruellest a minute,

things you could think of would be "I can't tell you how I hoped that mere pin-pricks.

After what you you wouldn't come.”

have done I shall never feel any“I have no doubt of that." And thing.

I mean anything but that. Caspar Goodwood looked about him That I shall feel all my life.” for a seat. Not only had he come,

Mr. Good wood made these detached but he meant to stay a little.

assertions with a sort of dry delibe* You must be very tired,” said rateness, in his hard, slow American Isabel, seating herself, generously, tone, which Alung no atmospheric

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colour over propositions intrinsically “ I don't know. She seemed to think displeasing. The tone made Isabel she had not seen Europe thoroughly." angry rather than touched her; but “I am glad you tell me that," her anger perhaps was fortunate, in- Isabe! said. “I must prepare for asmuch as it gave her a further reason her." for controlling herself. It was under Mr. Goodwood fixed his eyes for the pressure

of this control that she a moment on the floor ; then at last, said, after a little, irrelevantly, by raising them—“Does she know Mr. way of answer to Mr. Goodwood's Osmond ?” he asked. speech—“When did you leave New “A little. And she doesn't like York ?"

him. But of course I don't marry He threw up his head a moment, as to please Henrietta,” Isabel added. if he were calculating. “ Seventeen It would have been better for poor days ago."

Caspar if she had tried a little more “You must have travelled fast, in to gratify Miss Stackpole; but he spite of your slow trains."

did not say so; he only asked, preI came as fast as I could. I

sently, when her marriage would take would have come five days ago if I placo. had been able."

“I don't know yet. I can only say “ It wouldn't have made

any
differ- it will be soon.

I have told no one ence, Mr. Goodwood,” said Isabel,

but yourself and other

person smiling

old friend of Mr. Osmond's.” “Not to you—no. But to me."

“ Is it a marriage your friends won't You gain nothing that I see.” like?” Caspar Goodwood asked. “ That is for me to judge !”

“I really haven't an idea. As I say, • Of course. To me it seems that

I don't marry for my friends." you only torment yourself.” And He went on, making no exclamation, then, to change the subject, Isabel no comment, only asking questions. asked him if he had seen Henrietta “ What is Mr. Osmond " Stackpole.

“What is he? Nothing at all but He looked as if he had not come

very good man. He is not in busifrom Boston to Florence to talk about

ness,

said Isabel. “He is not rich; Henrietta Stack pole ; but he answered, he is not known for anything in pardistinctly enough, that this young ticular." lady had come to see him just before She disliked Mr. Goodwood's queshe left America.

tions, but she said to herself that she “She came to see you u?

owed it to him to satisfy him as far as “Yes, she was in Boston, and she possible. called at my office. It was the day I The satisfaction poor Caspar exhihad got your letter.”

bited was certainly small; he sat very “Did you tell her ? ” Isabel asked, upright, gazing at her. with a certain anxiety.

“ Where does he come from?he “Oh no,” said Caspar Goodwood, went on. simply; “I didn't want to. She will " From nowhere. He has spent hear it soon enough; she hears every- most of his life in Italy.” thing.”

“You said in your letter that he “I shall write to her; and then was an American. Hasn't hea native she will write to me and scold place ?" me," Isabel declared, trying to smile “Yes, but he has forgotten it. again.

left it as a small boy." Caspar, however, remained sternly “Has he never gone back?” grave

“I guess she'll come out,” he Why should he go back ?” Isabel said.

asked, flushing a little, and defensively. “On purpose to scold me ?”

"He has no profession."

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