"I do not desire wit, but consolation. I believe you are Mephistopheles himself in disguise; for ever since I signed that diabolical compact you made me, I have been in a state of terror, agitation, misgiving, and misery--and I thank and bless you for it; for these thorns and nettles they lacerate me, and make me live. They break the dull, lethargic agony of utter desolation."
Then, as her nerves were female nerves, and her fortitude female fortitude, she gave way, for once, and began to cry patiently.
Ashmead the practical went softly away and left her, as we must leave her for a time, to battle her business with one hand and her sorrow with the other.
IN the Hotel Russie, at Frankfort, there was a grand apartment, lofty, spacious, and richly furnished, with a broad balcony overlooking the Platz, and roofed, so to speak, with colored sun-blinds, which softened the glare of the Rhineland sun to a rosy and mellow light.
In the veranda, a tall English gentleman was leaning over the balcony, smoking a cigar, and being courted by a fair young lady. Her light-gray eyes dwelt on him in a way to magnetize a man, and she purred pretty nothings at his ear, in a soft tone she reserved for males. Her voice was clear, loud, and rather high-pitched whenever she spoke to a person of her own sex; a comely English blonde, with pale eyelashes; a keen, sensible girl, and not a downright wicked one; only born artful. This was Fanny Dover; and the tall gentleman--whose relation she was, and whose wife she resolved to be in one year, three years, or ten, according to his power of resistance--was Harrington Vizard, a Barfordshire squire, with twelve thousand acres and a library.
As for Fanny, she had only two thousand pounds in all the world; so compensating Nature endowed her with a fair complexion, gray, mesmeric eyes, art, and resolution--qualities that often enable a poor girl to conquer landed estates, with their male incumbrances.
Beautiful and delicate--on the surface--as was Miss Dover's courtship of her first cousin once removed, it did not strike fire; it neither pleased nor annoyed him; it fell as dead as a lantern firing on an iceberg. Not that he disliked her by any means. But he was thirty-two, had seen the world, and had been unlucky with women. So he was now a _divorce',_ and a declared woman-hater; railed on them, and kept them at arm's-length, Fanny Dover included. It was really comical to see with what perfect coolness and cynical apathy he parried the stealthy advances of this cat-like girl, a mistress in the art of pleasing--when she chose.
Inside the room, on a couch of crimson velvet, sat a young lady of rare and dazzling beauty. Her face was a long but perfect oval, pure forehead, straight nose, with exquisite nostrils; coral lips, and ivory teeth. But what first struck the beholder were her glorious dark eyes, and magnificent eyebrows as black as jet. Her hair was really like a raven's dark-purple wing.
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- 1tables, and lifting Helen Cumberly, carried her half-way
- 2After all, Venantius sat at table with Chorsoman. Fuming,
- 3magnificence of rare stones, the splendours of royal architecture,
- 4This, once the hall of audience, at present served as a
- 5Korak fast was becoming but a memory. That he was dead
- 6He was interrupted by the arrival of several persons, old
- 7‘It troubles me to hear you say that,’ said Decius,
- 8‘how I had all at once merited such attention. I came
- 9barter. Money was scarcely worth anything, but their eagerness
- 10cut from some old manuscript were written lines which seemed
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- first time that he had been surprised there he apologized
- your inheritance. Forgive me if I first of all ask you
- newer time. Olives in scant patches, a lost vineyard, a
- and courtesy. I knew not,’ proceeded Decius smiling,
- in water. He just managed to get in under the sluice gate
- ‘I fear you must go without lord Basil. I shall have
- out for Rome. To all this Decius listened with wonder and
- Venantius, his eyes fixed on the descending road by which
- in finding any place to pitch our tents, for it was spring-tide,
- When he left the library, Basil found all the members of