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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesWhat Will He Do With It - Book 7 - Chapter 22
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What Will He Do With It - Book 7 - Chapter 22 Post by :dant245 Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :2855

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What Will He Do With It - Book 7 - Chapter 22

BOOK VII CHAPTER XXII

A QUIET SCENE-AN UNQUIET HEART.

Meanwhile, not far from the willow-bank which sheltered Lionel, but far enough to be out of her sight and beyond her hearing, George Morley found Lady Montfort seated alone. It was a spot on which Milton might have placed the lady in "Comus"--a circle of the smoothest sward, ringed everywhere (except at one opening which left the glassy river in full view) with thick bosks of dark evergreens and shrubs of livelier verdure; oak and chest nut backing and overhanging all. Flowers, too, raised on rustic tiers and stages; a tiny fountain, shooting up from a basin starred with the water-lily; a rustic table, on which lay hooks and the implements of woman's graceful work; so that the place had the home-look of a chamber, and spoke that intense love of the out-door life which abounds in our old poets from Chaucer down to the day when minstrels, polished into wits, took to Will's Coffee-house, and the lark came no more to bid bards


"Good morrow
From his watch-tower in the skies."


But long since, thank Heaven we have again got back the English poetry which chimes to the babble of the waters, and the riot of the birds; and just as that poetry is the freshest which the out-door life has the most nourished, so I believe that there is no surer sign of the rich vitality which finds its raciest joys in sources the most innocent, than the childlike taste for that same out-door life. Whether you take from fortune the palace or the cottage, add to your chambers a hall in the courts of Nature. Let the earth but give you room to stand on; well, look up--Is it nothing to have for your roof-tree--Heaven?

Caroline Montfort (be her titles dropped) is changed since we last saw her. The beauty is not less in degree, but it has gained in one attribute, lost in another; it commands less, it touches more. Still in deep mourning, the sombre dress throws a paler shade over the cheek. The eyes, more sunken beneath the brow, appear larger, softer. There is that expression of fatigue which either accompanies impaired health or succeeds to mental struggle and disquietude. But the coldness or pride of mien which was peculiar to Caroline as a wife is gone--as if in widowhood it was no longer needed. A something like humility prevailed over the look and the bearing which had been so tranquilly majestic. As at the approach of her cousin she started from her seat, there was a nervous tremor in her eagerness; a rush of colour to the cheeks; an anxious quivering of the lip; a flutter in the tones of the sweet low voice: "Well, George."

"Mr. Darrell is not in London; he went to Fawley three days ago; at least he is there now. I have this from my uncle, to whom he wrote; and whom his departure has vexed and saddened."

"Three days ago! It must have been he, then! I was not deceived," murmured Caroline, and her eyes wandered mound.

"There is no truth in the report you heard that he was to marry Honoria Vipont. My uncle thinks he will never marry again, and implies that he has resumed his solitary life at Fawley with a resolve to quit it no more."

Lady Montfort listened silently, bending her face over the fountain, and dropping amidst its playful spray the leaves of a rose which she had abstractedly plucked as George was speaking.

"I have, therefore, fulfilled your commission so far," renewed George Morley. "I have ascertained that Mr. Darrell is alive, and doubtless well; so that it could not have been his ghost that startled you amidst yonder thicket. But I have done more: I have forestalled the wish you expressed to become acquainted with young Haughton; and your object in postponing the accomplishment of that wish while Mr. Darrell himself was in town having ceased with Mr. Darrell's departure, I have ventured to bring the young man with me. He is in the boat yonder. Will you receive him? Or--but, my dear cousin, are you not too unwell today? What is the matter? Oh, I can easily make an excuse for you to Haughton. I will run and do so."

"No, George, no. I am as well as usual. I will see Mr. Haughton. All that you have heard of him, and have told me, interests me so much in his favour; and besides--" She did not finish the sentence; but led away by some other thought, asked, "Have you no news of our missing friend?"

"None as yet; but in a few days I shall renew my search. Now, then, I will go for Haughton."

"Do so; and George, when you have presented him to me, will you kindly join that dear anxious child yonder!

"She is in the new arbour, or near it-her favourite spot. You must sustain her spirits, and give her hope. You cannot guess how eagerly she looks forward to your visits, and how gratefully she relies on your exertions."

George shook his head half despondingly, and saying briefly, "My exertions have established no claim to her gratitude as yet," went quickly back for Lionel.

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