"No, it was the truth; and girls are artful creatures, especially when they put their heads together. But hear the end of all our cunning. One day, after dinner, Harrington asked us to sit opposite him; so we did, and felt guilty. He surveyed us in silence a little while, and then he said, 'My young friends, you have played your little game pretty well, especially you, Zoe, that are a novice in the fine arts compared with Miss Dover.' Histrionic talent ought to be rewarded; he would relent, and take us abroad, on one condition: there must be a chaperone. 'All the better,' said we hypocrites, eagerly; 'and who?'"
"'Oh, a person equal to the occasion--an old maid as bitter against men as ever grapes were sour. She would follow us upstairs, downstairs, and into my lady's chamber. She would have an eye at the key-hole by day, and an ear by night, when we went up to bed and talked over the events of our frivolous day.' In short, he enumerated our duenna's perfections till our blood ran cold; and it was ever so long before he would tell us who it was-- Aunt Maitland. We screamed with surprise. They are like cat and dog, and never agree, except to differ. We sought an explanation of this strange choice. He obliged us. It was not for his gratification he took the old cat; it was for us. She would relieve him of a vast responsibility. The vices of her character would prove too strong for the little faults of ours, which were only volatility, frivolity, flirtation-- I will _not_ tell you what he said."
"I seem to hear Harrington talking," said Severne. "What on earth makes him so hard upon women? Would you mind telling me that?"
"Never ask me that question again," said Zoe, with sudden gravity.
"Well, I won't; I'll get it out of him."
"If you say a word to him about it, I shall be shocked and offended."
She was pale and red by turns; but Severne bowed his head with a respectful submission that disarmed her directly. She turned her head away, and Severne, watching her, saw her eyes fill.
"How is it," said she thoughtfully, and looking away from him, "that men leave out their sisters when they sum up womankind? Are not we women too? My poor brother quite forgets he has one woman who will never, never desert nor deceive him; dear, darling fellow!" and with these three last words she rose and kissed the tips of her fingers, and waved the kiss to Vizard with that free magnitude of gesture which belonged to antiquity: it struck the Anglo-Saxon flirt at her feet with amazement. Not having good enough under his skin to sympathize with that pious impulse, he first stagnated a little while; and then, not to be silent altogether, made his little, stale, commonplace comment on what she had told him. "Why, it is like a novel."
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- 1lamp was incapable of penetrating the fog. He groped with
- 2about a moment confusedly, for she called to mind that
- 3of God proclaimed at the blast of the war-horn, came we
- 4hall, and the castellan’s eyes were following them till
- 5man more common interests than the cultured guests of Bwana
- 6into a long passage, which led to a wide stair winding
- 7It was fifteen days thereafter that Birdalone awoke lying
- 8of battle may they have had on the way, for ill neighbours
- 9of an ancient tertiary epoch) of which these islands are
- 10ransacking her raiment. But she plucked up heart, and came
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- The wide heavens about her seemed to promise a greater
- yea, it might be even the skin-changing. Forsooth the witch
- waves with a word! What! am I wrought somewhat after his
- she knew what manner of paint was that which had made the
- the sailors bought with a stick of tobacco, of the value
- the portcullis was up, and the great door cast wide open.
- I have told thee hereof, Birdalone, because I deem that
- that had there been aught to see she would not have seen
- Max gaining upon her, now, at every stride. There was a
- long for us and for whom we long, and we would be together.