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good advice. Murray, who had growlingly earmarked Tullibardine’s

time:2023-12-07 06:06:07 source:check net author:news read:477次

It had been necessary that Sylvia should discontinue her visits, for some weeks ago Lady Ashbridge had suddenly taken a dislike to her, and, when she came, would sit in silent and lofty displeasure, speaking to her as little as possible, and treating her with a chilling and awful politeness. Michael had enough influence with his mother to prevent her telling the girl what her crime had been, which was her refusal to marry him; but, when he was alone with his mother, he had to listen to torrents of these complaints. Lady Ashbridge, with a wealth of language that had lain dormant in her all her life, sarcastically supposed that Miss Falbe was a princess in disguise ("very impenetrable disguise, for I'm sure she reminds me of a barmaid more than a princess"), and thought that such a marriage would be beneath her. Or, another time, she hinted that Miss Falbe might be already married; indeed, this seemed a very plausible explanation of her attitude. She desired, in fact, that Sylvia should not come to see her any more, and now, when she did not, there was scarcely a day in which Lady Ashbridge would not talk in a pointed manner about pretended friends who leave you alone, and won't even take the trouble to take a two-penny 'bus (if they are so poor as all that) to come from Chelsea to Curzon Street.

good advice. Murray, who had growlingly earmarked Tullibardine’s

Michael knew that his mother's steps were getting nearer and nearer to that border line which separates the sane from the insane, and with all the wearing strain of the days as they passed, had but the one desire in his heart, namely, to keep her on the right side for as long as was humanly possible. But something might happen, some new symptom develop which would make it impossible for her to go on living with him as she did now, and the dread of that moment haunted his waking hours and his dreams. Two months ago her doctor had told him that, for the sake of everyone concerned, it was to be hoped that the progress of her disease would be swift; but, for his part, Michael passionately disclaimed such a wish. In spite of her constant complaints and strictures, she was still possessed of her love for him, and, wearing though every day was, he grudged the passing of the hours that brought her nearer to the awful boundary line. Had a deed been presented to him for his signature, which bound him indefinitely to his mother's service, on the condition that she got no worse, his pen would have spluttered with his eagerness to sign.

good advice. Murray, who had growlingly earmarked Tullibardine’s

In consequence of his mother's dislike to Sylvia, Michael had hardly seen her during this last month. Once, when owing to some small physical disturbance, Lady Ashbridge had gone to bed early on a Sunday evening, he had gone to one of the Falbes' weekly parties, and had tried to fling himself with enjoyment into the friendly welcoming atmosphere. But for the present, he felt himself detached from it all, for this life with his mother was close round him with a sort of nightmare obsession, through which outside influence and desire could only faintly trickle. He knew that the other life was there, he knew that in his heart he longed for Sylvia as much as ever; but, in his present detachment, his desire for her was a drowsy ache, a remote emptiness, and the veil that lay over his mother seemed to lie over him also. Once, indeed, during the evening, when he had played for her, the veil had lifted and for the drowsy ache he had the sunlit, stabbing pang; but, as he left, the veil dropped again, and he let himself into the big, mute house, sorry that he had left it. In the same way, too, his music was in abeyance: he could not concentrate himself or find it worth while to make the effort to absorb himself in it, and he knew that short of that, there was neither profit nor pleasure for him in his piano. Everything seemed remote compared with the immediate foreground: there was a gap, a gulf between it and all the rest of the world.

good advice. Murray, who had growlingly earmarked Tullibardine’s

His father wrote to him from time to time, laying stress on the extreme importance of all he was doing in the country, and giving no hint of his coming up to town at present. But he faintly adumbrated the time when in the natural course of events he would have to attend to his national duties in the House of Lords, and wondered whether it would not (about then) be good for his wife to have a change, and enjoy the country when the weather became more propitious. Michael, with an excusable unfilialness, did not answer these amazing epistles; but, having basked in their unconscious humour, sent them on to Aunt Barbara. Weekly reports were sent by Lady Ashbridge's nurse to his father, and Michael had nothing whatever to add to these. His fear of him had given place to a quiet contempt, which he did not care to think about, and certainly did not care to express.

Every now and then Lady Ashbridge had what Michael thought of as a good hour or two, when she went back to her content and childlike joy in his presence, and it was clear, when presently she came downstairs as he still lingered in the garden, reading the daily paper in the sun, that one of these better intervals had visited her. She, too, it appeared, felt the waving of the magic wand of spring, and she noted the signs of it with a joy that was infinitely pathetic.

"My dear," she said, "what a beautiful morning! Is it wise to sit out of doors without your hat, Michael? Shall not I go and fetch it for you? No? Then let us sit here and talk. It is spring, is it not? Look how the birds are collecting twigs for their nests! I wonder how they know that the time has come round again. Sweet little birds! How bold and merry they are."

She edged her way a little nearer him, so that her shoulder leaned on his arm.

"My dear, I wish you were going to nest, too," she said. "I wonder--do you think I have been ill-natured and unkind to your Sylvia, and that makes her not come to see me now? I do remember being vexed at her for not wanting to marry you, and perhaps I talked unkindly about her. I am sorry, for my being cross to her will do no good; it will only make her more unwilling than ever to marry a man who has such an unpleasant mamma. Will she come to see me again, do you think, if I ask her?"


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