It was addressed to Mrs Payne, and after a few opening phrases, continued: "I want to come and stay with you for a week or two if you could possibly manage to have me. I can't tell you why till I see you, but I should like to come on Friday, the day after to-morrow. I know it is dreadfully short notice...."
"Well, then, we came to Woolgreaves, and found the heartiest of welcomes, and everything prepared for our comfort. As I don't think you know anything more of the place than could be learned from our summer-evening strolls about the grounds, when we always took such good care to keep well out of sight of the windows, I shall describe the house. You will like to know where and how I live, and to see in your fancy my surroundings. How glad I shall be when you, too, can send me a sketch of anything you can call 'home!' Of course, I don't mean that to apply to myself here; I never let any feeling of enjoyment really take possession of me because of its transitoriness; you know exactly in what sense I mean it, a certain feeling of comfort and quiet, of having to-morrow what you have had to-day, of seeing the same people and the same things around, which makes up the idea of home, though it must all vanish soon. I wonder if men get used to alterations in their modes of life so soon as women do? I fancy not. I know there is mamma, and I am sure a more easily pleased, less consciously selfish human being never existed (if her share in the comforts of home was disproportionate, it was my dear father's doing, not of her claiming), and yet she has been a week here, and all the luxury she lives in seems as natural to her, as indispensable as the easy-chair, the especially good tea, the daily glass of wine, the daintiest food which were allotted to her at home. I saw the girls exchange a look this morning when she said, 'I hope it won't rain, I shall miss my afternoon drive so much!' I wonder what the look meant? Perhaps it meant, 'Listen to that upstart! She never had a carriage of her own in her life, and because she has the use of ours for a few clays, she talks as if it were a necessary of life.' Perhaps--and I think they may be sufficiently genuinely sweet girls to make it possible--the look may have meant that they were glad to think they had it in their power to give her anything she enjoyed so much. I like it very much, too; there is more pleasure in driving about leisurely in a carriage which you have not to pay for than I imagined; but I should be sorry the girls knew I cared very much about it. I have not very much respect for their intellects, and silly heads are apt to take airs at the mere idea of being in a position to patronise. Decidedly the best room in the house is mamma's, and she likes it so much. I often see the thought in her face, 'If we could have given him all these comforts, we might have had him with us now.' And so we might, Walter, so we might. Just think of the great age some of the very rich and grand folks live to; I am sure I have seen it in the papers hundreds of times, seventy, eighty, ninety sometimes, just because they are rich; rank has nothing to do with it beyond implying wealth, and if my father had been even a moderately rich man, if he had been anything but a poor man, he would have been alive to-day. We must try to be rich, my dearest Walter, and if that is impossible (and I fear it, I fear it much since I have been here, and Mr. Creswell has told me a good deal about how he made his money, and from all he says it seems indispensable to have some to begin with, there is truth in the saying that money makes money)--if that is impossible, at least we must not think of marrying while we are poor. I don't think anything can compensate to one's self for being poor, and I am quite sure nothing can compensate for seeing any one whom one loves exposed to the privations and the humiliations of poverty. I have thought so much of this, dearest Walter, I have been so doubtful whether you think of it seriously enough. It seems absurd for a woman to say to a man that she ponders the exigencies of life more wisely, and sees its truths more fully than he does; but I sometimes think women do so, and in our case I think I estimate the trial and the struggle there is before us more according to their real weight and severity than you do, Walter, for you think of me only, whereas I think of you more than of myself, and as one with myself. I have learned, since I came here, that to understand what poverty really means one must see the details of wealth. We have only a general idea of a fine house and grounds, a luxurious table and a lot of servants. The general idea seems very grand and attractive, but when one sees it all in working order, when one can find out the cost of each department, the price of every article, the scale on which it is all kept up, not for show, but for every-day use,then the real meaning of wealth, the awful difficulty of attaining it, realise themselves to one's mind. The Creswell girls know nothing about the mechanism of their splendid home, not much about even their personal expenses. 'Uncle gives us a hundred and fifty pounds a year, and tells us we may send him in any reasonable number of bills besides,' Maude told me. And it is quite true. They keep no accounts. I checked her maid's book for Gertrude, warning her not to let her servant see her ignorance, and she says she does not think she ever had some of the things put down. Just think of that! No dyeing old dresses black for mourning for them, and turning rusty crape! Not that that sort of thing signifies--the calculation is on too large a scale for such small items--they only illustrate the whole story of poverty. The housekeeper and I are quite friendly. She has a notion that ladies ought to understand economy, and she is very civil. She has explained everything to me, and I find the sums which pass through her hands alone would be a fortune to us. There are twenty servants in the house and stables, and their 'hall' is a sight! When I think of the shabby dining-room in which my dear father used to receive his friends--great people, too, sometimes, but not latterly--I do feel that human life is a very unfair thing.
I have never denied that the Negro in the South frequently meets with wrong and injustice; but he does not starve. I do not think a single case was ever heard of, in the South, where a Negro died from want of food. In fact, unless because of sickness or some other reason he has been unable to work, it is comparatively rare to find a Negro in an almshouse.
A few weeks previous to this encounter I had heard Mr Henderson give an “address” in a Nonconformist chapel. An “address,” I am given to understand, is a kind of homely sermon in which the speaker talks to his audience in a friendly and distinctly unbending manner. He seeks to improve them, to lead them to higher and better things: in a word, to make them more like himself.... I have not the faintest recollection of what drove me inside this Nonconformist chapel, but I cannot conceive I went there of my own free will. I suppose that someone paid me to go there. But my mind retains a very clear picture of a pulpit containing a man with a face so like other faces that, sometimes, when I examine it, it seems to belong to Mr Jackson of Messrs Jackson & Lemon, the famous auctioneers of Boodlestown, and at other times it is owned by Mr Brownjonesrobinson who, I need scarcely point out, is known everywhere.... Really, I have no intention of being violently rude. This question of faces is important. A face should express a soul. No great man whose portrait I have seen possessed a commonplace face.
She set up stiff. Then she got up and putrified me wid a horty stare. Then she swipt over to Miss Flimflam, her silk pitticoat swishing behind her wid anger. Miss Flimflam cum over to me and grabbed me by the arm. She pushed me tord the stair.
"Mary," cried the sergeant, coming forward and taking her hand, "I didn't know it no more than you did. Don't look at me that way. Before God, I never would have deceived you. You know I ain't written you a line since I found this out less'n a week ago."
"True, though, in a way, isn't it?" Arthur said. "Truer than you guess, because I had known that it might kill him if he had a great shock. I'd even said so to Hubert, a few days ago—Sunday, I think it was. But I'd forgotten it. When I was telling him that I meant to go and take Eleanor with me whatever he did, I never once considered that it might be too much for him. And that was criminal carelessness in a medical man. I've been thinking about it more or less ever since."
"What the heck, it can't be," Bill asserted.
The descriptions were at first extremely inartistic and unmethodical; but the effort to make them as exact and clear as was possible led from time to time to perceptions of truth, that came unsought and lay far removed from the object originally in view. It was remarked that many of the plants which Dioscorides had described in his Materia Medica do not grow wild in Germany, France, Spain, and England, and that conversely very many plants grow in these countries, which were evidently unknown to the ancient writers; it became apparent at the same time that many plants have points of resemblance to one another, which have nothing to do with their medicinal powers or with their importance to agriculture and the arts. In the effort to promote the knowledge of plants for practical purposes by careful description of individual forms, the impression forced itself on the mind of the observer, that there are various natural groups of plants which have a distinct resemblance to one another in form and in other characteristics. It was seen that there were other natural alliances in the vegetable world, beside the three great divisions of trees, shrubs, and herbs adopted by Aristotle and Theophrastus. The first perception of natural groups is to be found in Bock, and later herbals show that the natural connection between such plants as occur together in the groups of Fungi, Mosses, Ferns, Coniferae, Umbelliferae, Compositae, Labiatae, Papilionaceae was distinctly felt, though it was by no means clearly understood how this connection was actually expressed; the fact of natural affinity presented itself unsought as an incidental and indefinite impression, to which no great value was at first attached. The recognition of these groups required no antecedent philosophic reflection or conscious attempt to classify the objects in the vegetable world; they present themselves to the unprejudiced eye as naturally as do the groups of mammals, birds, reptiles,
“I am at your service, Lady Willard. You wished to consult me?”
Amos began to chuckle. Evidently the humorous side of the thing struck him fully.
"On this day," intoned the high official, "on this day did Ganti, the Never-Mistaken, as have been his predecessors through the ages;—on this day did the Never-Mistaken Ganti speak and say and observe a truth in the presence of the governors and the rulers of the universe."
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