cleaning up so well (jones_casey) wrote,
cleaning up so well

  • Music:


on the evening of her so-called midnight visit to the kursaal she had suddenly sounded a note of sweet submissiveness which re-appeared again at frequent intervals. she was gentle, accessible, tenderly gracious, expressive, demonstrative, almost flattering. from his own personal point of view bernard had no complaint to make of this maidenly urbanity, but he kept reminding himself that he was not in question and that everything must be looked at in the light of gordon's requirements. there was all this time an absurd logical twist in his view of things. in the first place he was not to judge at all; and in the second he was to judge strictly on gordon's behalf. this latter clause always served as a justification when the former had failed to serve as a deterrent. when bernard reproached himself for thinking too much of the girl, he drew comfort from the reflection that he was not thinking well. to let it gradually filter into one's mind, through a superficial complexity of more reverent preconceptions, that she was an extremely clever coquette--this, surely, was not to think well! bernard had luminous glimpses of another situation, in which angela vivian's coquetry should meet with a different appreciation; but just now it was not an item to be entered on the credit side of wright's account. bernard wiped his pen, mentally speaking, as he made this reflection, and felt like a grizzled old book-keeper, of incorruptible probity. he saw her, as i have said, very often; she continued to break her vow of shutting herself up, and at the end of a fortnight she had reduced it to imperceptible particles. on four different occasions, presenting himself at mrs. vivian's lodgings, bernard found angela there alone. she made him welcome, receiving him as an american girl, in such circumstances, is free to receive the most gallant of visitors. she smiled and talked and gave herself up to charming gayety, so that there was nothing for bernard to say but that now at least she was off her guard with a vengeance. happily he was on his own! he flattered himself that he remained so on occasions that were even more insidiously relaxing--when, in the evening, she strolled away with him to parts of the grounds of the conversation-house, where the music sank to sweeter softness and the murmur of the tree-tops of the black forest, stirred by the warm night-air, became almost audible; or when, in the long afternoons, they wandered in the woods apart from the others-- from mrs. vivian and the amiable object of her more avowed solicitude, the object of the sportive adoration of the irrepressible, the ever-present lovelock. they were constantly having parties in the woods at this time--driving over the hills to points of interest which bernard had looked out in the guide-book. bernard, in such matters, was extremely alert and considerate; he developed an unexpected talent for arranging excursions, and he had taken regularly into his service the red-waistcoated proprietor of a big teutonic landau, which had a courier's seat behind and was always at the service of the ladies. the functionary in the red waistcoat was a capital charioteer; he was constantly proposing new drives, and he introduced our little party to treasures of romantic scenery.

saturday ccxxx
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