"it's very well for you to thank me now," she replied. "you really had no right to begin."
"the temptation was so great."
"we should resist temptation. and you should have asked my leave."
"i was afraid you would refuse it; and you stood there, just in my line of vision."
"you should have asked me to get out of it."
"i should have been very sorry. besides, it would have been extremely rude."
the young girl looked at him a moment.
"yes, i think it would. but what you have done is ruder."
"it is a hard case!" said longueville. "what could i have done, then, decently?"
"it's a beautiful drawing," murmured the elder lady, handing the thing back to longueville. her daughter, meanwhile, had not even glanced at it.
"you might have waited till i should go away," this argumentative young person continued.
longueville shook his head.
"i never lose opportunities!"
"you might have sketched me afterwards, from memory."
longueville looked at her, smiling.
"judge how much better my memory will be now!"
she also smiled a little, but instantly became serious.
"for myself, it 's an episode i shall try to forget. i don't like the part i have played in it."
"may you never play a less becoming one!" cried longueville. "i hope that your mother, at least, will accept a memento of the occasion." and he turned again with his sketch to her companion, who had been listening to the girl's conversation with this enterprising stranger, and looking from one to the other with an air of earnest confusion.
and had it not been for this service on the part of dr. hopkins, i am afraid i should never have received the promised picture, for he hesitated as to the propriety of him, a court painter, doing pictures of her majesty for his friends.
during the interval he had shifted his position even further from hers than it had originally been, by adopting the reddle trade; though he was really in very good circumstances still. indeed, seeing that his expenditure was only one-fourth of his income, he might have been called a prosperous man.
rejected suitors take to roaming as naturally as unhived bees; and the business to which he had cynically devoted himself was in many ways congenial to venn. but his wanderings, by mere stress of old emotions, had frequently taken an egdon direction, though he never intruded upon her who attracted him thither. to be in thomasin's heath, and near her, yet unseen, was the one ewe-lamb of pleasure left to him.
'this madness has come on us for our sins.'
so to the gate of the three queens we came,
where arthur's wars are rendered mystically,
and thence departed every one his way.
"and i was lifted up in heart, and thought
of all my late-shown prowess in the lists,
how my strong lance had beaten down the knights,
so many and famous names; and never yet
had heaven appeared so blue, nor earth so green,
for all my blood danced in me, and i knew
that i should light upon the holy grail.
"thereafter, the dark warning of our king,
that most of us would follow wandering fires,
came like a driving gloom across my mind.
then every evil word i had spoken once,
and every evil thought i had thought of old,
and every evil deed i ever did,
awoke and cried, 'this quest is not for thee.'
and lifting up mine eyes, i found myself
alone, and in a land of sand and thorns,
and i was thirsty even unto death;
and i, too, cried, 'this quest is not for thee.'
and in summer, by all the countries, fall many tempests and many hideous thunders and leits and slay much people and beasts also full often-time. and suddenly is there passing heat, and suddenly also passing cold; and it is the foulest country and the most cursed and the poorest that men know. and their prince, that governeth that country, that they clepe batho, dwelleth at the city of orda. and truly no good man should dwell in that country, for the land and the country is not worthy for hounds to dwell in. it were a good country to sow in thistle and briars and broom and thorns and briars; and for no other thing is it good.
this lion of egypt slept, curled up like a big dog, the peaceful possessor of a sumptuous niche at the gate of an hotel; its eyes opened for a moment and closed again; its face was turned towards the man. a thousand confused thoughts passed through the frenchman's mind; first he thought of killing it with a bullet from his gun, but he saw there was not enough distance between them for him to take proper aim—the shot would miss the mark. and if it were to wake!—the thought made his limbs rigid. he listened to his own heart beating in the midst of the silence, and cursed the too violent pulsations which the flow of blood brought on, fearing to disturb that sleep which allowed him time to think of some means of escape.