Bertie Stanhope had been so much knocked about the world from his earliest years that he had not retained much respect for the gravity of English customs, but even to his mind an idea presented itself that, perhaps in a wife, true British prejudice would not in the long run be less nike high heels uk agreeable than Anglo-Italian freedom from restraint. He did not exactly say so, but he expressed the idea in another wayI fancy,said he, “that if I were to die, and then walk, I should think that my widow looked better in one of those caps than any other kind of head-dressYes and you’d fancy also that she could do nothing better than shut herself up and cry for you, or else burn herself. But she would think differently. She’d probably wear one of those horrid she-helmets, because she’d want the courage not to do so; but she’d wear it with a heart longing for the time when she might be allowed to throw it off. I hate such shallow false pretences. For my part I would let the world say what it pleased and show no grief if I felt none and perhaps not, if I didBut wearing a widow’s cap won’t lessen her fortune,said CharlotteOr increase it,said Madeline. “Then why on earth does she do itBut Lotte’s object is to make her put it off,said BertieIf it be true that she has got twelve hundred a year quite at her own disposal, and she be not utterly vulgar in her manners, I would advise you to marry her. I dare say she’s to be had for the asking: and as you are not going to marry her for love, it doesn’t much matter whether she is good-looking or not. As to your really marrying a woman for love, I don’t believe you are fool enough for thatOh, Madeline!exclaimed her sisterAnd oh, Charlotte!said the otherYou don’t mean to say that no man can love a woman unless he be a foolI mean very much the same thing that any nike dunk heels high man who is willing to sacrifice his interest to get possession of a pretty face is a fool. Pretty faces are to be had cheaper than that. I hate your mawkish sentimentality, Lotte. You know as well as I do in what way husbands and wives generally live together; you know how far the warmth of conjugal affection can withstand the trial of a bad dinner, of a rainy day, or of the least privation which poverty brings with it; you know what freedom a man claims for himself, what slavery he would exact from his wife if he could! And you know also how wives generally obey. Marriage means tyranny on one side and deceit on the other. I say that a man is a fool to sacrifice his interests for such a bargain. A woman, too generally, has no other way of livingBut Bertie has no other way of living,said CharlotteThen, in God’s name, let him marry Mrs. Bold,said Madeline. And so it was settled between them. But let the gentle-hearted reader be under no apprehension whatsoever. It is not destined that Eleanor shall marry Mr. Slope or Bertie Stanhope. And here perhaps it may be allowed to the novelist to explain his views on a very important point in the art of telling tales. He ventures to reprobate that system which goes so far to violate all proper confidence between the author and his readers by maintaining nearly to the end of the third volume a mystery as to the fate of their favourite personage. Nay, more, and worse than this is too frequently done. Have not often the profoundest efforts of genius been used to baffle the aspirations of the reader, to raise false hopes and false fears, and to give rise to expectations which are never to be realized? Are not promises all but made of delightful horrors, in lieu of which the writer produces nothing but most commonplace realities in his final chapter? And is there not a species of deceit in this to which the honesty of the present age should lend no countenance? And what can be the worth of that solicitude which a peep into the third volume can utterly dissipate? What the value of those literary charms which are absolutely destroyed by their enjoyment? When we have once learnt what was that picture before which was hung Mrs. Ratcliffe’s solemn curtain, we feel no further interest about either the frame or the veil. They are to us merely a receptacle for old bones, an inappropriate coffin, which cheap nike heels we would wish to have decently buried out of our sight. And then how grievous a thing it is to have the pleasure of your novel destroyed by the ill-considered triumph of a previous reader. “Oh, you needn’t be alarmed for Augusta, of course she accepts Gustavus in the end.“How very ill-natured you are, Susan,says Kitty with tears in her eyes: “I don’t care a bit about it now.Dear Kitty, if you will read my book, you may defy the ill-nature of your sister. There shall be no secret that she can tell you. Nay, take the third volume if you please learn from the last pages all the results of our troubled story, and the story shall have lost none of its interest, if indeed there be any interest in it to lose. Our doctrine is that the author and the reader should move along together in full confidence with each other. Let the personages of the drama undergo ever so complete a comedy of errors among themselves, but let the spectator never mistake the Syracusan for the Ephesian; otherwise he is one of the dupes, and the part of a dupe is never dignified. I would not for the value of this chapter have it believed by a single reader that my Eleanor could bring herself to marry Mr. Slope, or that she should be sacrificed to a Bertie Stanhope. But among the good folk of Barchester many believed both the one and the other. Chapter 16 Baby Worship “Diddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, dum, dum, dum,said or sung Eleanor BoldDiddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, dum, dum, dum,continued Mary Bold, taking up the second part in this concerted piece. The only audience at the concert was the baby, who however gave such vociferous applause that the performers, presuming it to amount to an encore, commenced againDiddle, diddle, diddle, diddle, dum, dum, dum: hasn’t he got lovely legs?said the rapturous motherH’m ‘m ‘m ‘m ‘m,simmered Mary, burying her lips in the little fellow’s fat neck, by way of kissing himH’m ‘m ‘m ‘m ‘m,simmered the mamma, burying her lips also in his fat, round, short legs. “He’s a dawty little bold darling, so he is; and he has the nicest little pink legs in all the world, so he has;and the simmering and the kissing went on over again, as though the ladies were very hungry and determined to eat himWell, then, he’s his own mother’s own darling: well, he shall oh, oh Mary, Mary did you ever see? What am I to do? My naughty, naughty, naughty, naughty little Johnny.All these energetic exclamations were elicited by the delight of the mother in finding that her son was strong enough and mischievous enough to pull all her hair out from under her cap. “He’s been and pulled down all Mamma’s hair, and he’s the naughtiest, naughtiest, naughtiest little man that ever, ever, ever, ever, ever —” A regular service of baby worship was going on. Mary Bold was sitting on a low easy chair, with the boy in her lap, and Eleanor was kneeling before the object of her idolatry. As she tried to cover up the little fellow’s face with her long, glossy, dark brown locks, and permitted him to pull them hither and thither as he would, she looked very beautiful in spite of the widow’s cap which she still wore. There was a quiet, nike heels uk enduring, grateful sweetness about her face which grew so strongly upon those who knew her, as to make the great praise of her beauty which came from her old friends appear marvellously exaggerated to those who were only slightly acquainted with her. Her loveliness was like that of many landscapes, which require to be often seen to be fully enjoyed. There was a depth of dark clear brightness in her eyes which was lost upon a quick observer, a character about her mouth which only showed itself to those with whom she familiarly conversed, a glorious form of head the perfect symmetry of which required the eye of an artist for its appreciation. She had none of that dazzling brilliancy, of that voluptuous Rubens beauty, of that pearly whiteness, and those vermilion tints which immediately entranced with the power of a basilisk men who came within reach of Madeline Neroni. It was all but impossible to resist the signora, but no one was called upon for any resistance towards Eleanor. You might begin to talk to her as though she were your sister, and it would not be till your head was on your pillow that the truth and intensity of her beauty would flash upon you, that the sweetness of her voice would come upon your ear. A sudden half-hour with the Neroni was like falling into a pit, an evening spent with Eleanor like an unexpected ramble in some quiet fields of asphodelWe’ll cover him up till there shan’t be a morsel of his little ‘ittle ‘ittle ‘ittle nose to be seen,said the mother, stretching her streaming locks over the infant’s face. The child screamed with delight and kicked till Mary Bold was hardly able to hold him  
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