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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWhat Will He Do With It - Book 11 - Chapter 3
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What Will He Do With It - Book 11 - Chapter 3 Post by :SwingWinger Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :1920

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What Will He Do With It - Book 11 - Chapter 3

BOOK XI CHAPTER III

NOTHING SO OBSTINATE AS A YOUNG MAN'S HOPE; NOTHING SO ELOQUENT AS A LOVER'S TONGUE.

Hitherto there had been no reference to Sophy. Not Sophy's lover, but Charles Haughton's son had knelt to Waife and received the old man's blessing. But Waife could not be long forgetful of his darling--nor his anxiety on her account. The expression in his varying face changed suddenly. Not half an hour before, Lionel Haughton was the last man in the world to whom willingly he would have consigned his grandchild. Now, of all men in the world Lionel Haughton would have been his choice. He sighed heavily; he comprehended, by his own changed feelings, how tender and profound an affection Lionel Haughton might inspire in a heart so fresh as Sophy's, and so tenacious of the impressions it received. But they were separated forever; she ought not even again to see him. Uneasily Waife glanced towards the open window--rose involuntarily, closed it, and drew down the blind.

"You must go now, young gentleman," said he, almost churlishly.

The quick lover's sense in Lionel divined why the blind Avas drawn, and the dismissal so abruptly given.

"Give me your address," said Waife; "I will write about--that paper. Don't now stay longer--pray--pray."

"Do not fear, sir. I am not lingering here with the wish to see--her!"

Waife looked down.

"Before I asked the servant to announce me I took the precaution to learn that you were alone. But a few words more--hear them patiently. Have you any proof that should satisfy Mr. Darrell's reason that your Sophy is his daughter's child?"

"I have Jasper's assurance that she is; and the copy of the nurse's attestation to the same effect. They satisfied me. I would not have asked Mr. Darrell to be as easily contented; I could but have asked him to inquire, and satisfy himself. But he would not even hear me."

"He will hear you now, and with respect."

"He will!" cried Waife, joyously. "And if he should inquire and if Sophy should prove to be, as I have ever believed, his daughter's child, would he not' own, and receive, and cherish her?"

"Alas, sir, do not let me pain you; but that is not my hope. If, indeed, it should prove that your son deceived you--that Sophy is no way related to him--if she should be the child of peasants, but of honest peasants--why, sir, that is my hope, my last hope--for then I would kneel once more at your feet, and implore your permission to win her affection and ask her hand."

"What! Mr. Darrell would consent to your union with the child of peasants, and not with his own grandchild?"

"Sir, sir, you rack me to the heart; but if you knew all, you would not wonder to hear me say, 'I dare not ask Mr. Darrell to bless my union with the daughter of Jasper Losely.'"

Waife suppressed a groan, and began to pace the room with disordered steps,

"But," resumed Lionel, "go to Fawley yourself. Seek Darrell; compare the reasons for your belief with his for rejecting it. At this moment his pride is more subdued than I have ever known it. He will go calmly into the investigation of facts; the truth will become clear. Sir--dear, dear sir--I am not without a hope."

"A hope that the child I have so cherished should be nothing in the world to me!"

"--Nothing to you! Is memory such a shadow?--is affection such a weathercock? Has the love between you and Sophy been only the instinct of kindred blood? Has it not been hallowed by all that makes Age and Childhood so pure a blessing to each other, rooted in trials borne together? Were you not the first who taught her in wanderings, in privations, to see a Mother in Nature, and pray to a Father which is in Heaven? Would all this be blotted out of your soul, if she were not the child of that son whom it chills you to remember? Sir, if there be no tie to replace the mere bond of kindred, why have you taken such vigilant pains to separate a child from him whom you believe to be her father?"

Waife stood motionless and voiceless. This passionate appeal struck him forcibly.

"And, sir," added Lionel, in a lower, sadder tone--"can I ask you, whose later life has been one sublime self-sacrifice, whether you would rather that you might call Sophy grandchild, and know her wretched, than know her but as the infant angel whom Heaven sent to your side when bereaved and desolate, and know also that she was happy? Oh, William Losely, pray with me that Sophy may not be your grandchild. Her home will not be less your home--her attachment will not less replace to you your lost son--and on your knee her children may learn to lisp the same prayers that you taught to her. Go to Darrell--go--go! and take me with you!"

"I will--I will," exclaimed Waife; and snatching at his hat and staff: "Come--come! But Sophy should not learn that you have been here--that I have gone away with you; it might set her thinking, dreaming, hoping--all to end in greater sorrow." He bustled out of the room to caution the old woman, and to write a few hasty lines to Sophy herself--assuring her, on his most solemn honour, that he was not now flying from her to resume his vagrant life--that, without fail, please Heaven, he would return that night or the next day.

In a few minutes he reopened the room-door, beckoning silently to Lionel, and then stole into the quiet lane with quick steps.

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BOOK XI CHAPTER IVGUY DARRELL'S VIEWS IN THE INVITATION TO WAIFE. Lionel had but inadequately represented, for he could but imperfectly comprehend, the profound impression made upon Guy Darrell by George Morley's disclosures. Himself so capable of self-sacrifice, Darrell was the man above all others to regard with an admiring reverence, which partook of awe, a self-immolation that seemed almost above humanity--to him who set so lofty an estimate on good name and fair repute. He had not only willingly permitted, but even urged Lionel to repair to Waife and persuade the old man to come to Fawley. With Waife he
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BOOK XI CHAPTER IIAN OFFERING TO THE MANES. Three sides of Waife's cottage were within Lady Montfort's grounds; the fourth side, with its more public, entrance, bordered the lane. Now, as he thus sate, he was startled by a low timid ring at the door which opened on the lane. Who could it be?--not Jasper! He began to tremble. The ring was repeated. One woman-servant composed all his establishment. He heard her opening the door--heard a low voice; it seemed a soft, fresh, young voice. His room-door opened, and the woman, who of course knew the visitor by sight and name,
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