« ZurückWeiter »
66 What ???
“She says that when we love Jesus Christ it is easy to please him.
“And do you love him, Elfie?” Mr. Carleton asked after a minute.
Her answer was a very quiet and sober “yes.”
He doubted still whether she were not unconsciously using a form of speech the spirit of which she did not quite realize. That one might“not see and yet believe,” he could understand; but for affection to go forth towards an unseen object was another matter. His question was grave and
By what do you judge that you do, Elfie ???
Why, Mr. Carleton," said Fleda, with an instant look of appeal, “who else should I love ???
“ If not him”—her eye and her voice made sufficiently plain. Mr. Carleton was obliged to confess to himself that she spoke intelligently, with deeper intelligence than he could follow. He asked no more questions. Yet truth shines by its own light, like the sun. He had not perfectly comprehended her answers, but they struck him as something that deserved to be understood, and he resolved to make the truth of them his own.
The rest of the voyage was perfectly quiet. Following the earnest advice of his friend Capt. Beebee, Thorn had given up trying to push Mr. Carleton to extremity; who on his part did not seem conscious of Thorn's existence.
There the most daintie paradise on ground
The painted flowres, the trees upshooting hye,
MHEY had taken ship for London, as Mr. and Mrs.
Carleton wished to visit home for a day or two before going on to Paris. So leaving Charlton to carry news of them to the French capital, so soon as he could persuade himself to leave the English one, they with little Fleda in company posted down to Carleton, in -shire.
It was a time of great delight to Fleda, that is, as soon as Mr. Carleton had made her feel at home in England; and somehow he had contrived to do that and to scatter some clouds of remembrance that seemed to gather about her, before they had reached the end of their first day's journey. To be out of the ship was itself a comfort, and to be alone with kind friends was much more. joy Fleda put her cousin Charlton and Mr. Thorn at once out of sight and out of mind; and gave herself with even more than her usual happy readiness to everything the way and the end of the way had for her. Those days were to be painted days in Fleda's memory.
She thought Carleton was a very odd place. That is, the house, not the village which went by the same name. If the manner of her two companions had not been such as to put her entirely at her ease she would have felt strange and shy. As it was she felt half afraid of losing herself in the house; to Fleda’s unaccustomed eyes it was a laby
With great rinth of halls and staircases, set with the most unaccountable number and variety of rooms; old and new, quaint and comfortable, gloomy and magnificent; some with stern old-fashioned massiveness of style and garniture; others absolutely bewitching (to Fleda's eyes and understanding) in the rich beauty and luxuriousness of their arrangements. Mr. Carleton's own particular haunts were of these; his private room, the little library as it was called, the library, and the music-room, which was indeed rather a gallery of the fine arts, so many treasures of art were gathered there. To an older and nice-judging person these rooms would have given no slight indications of their owner's mind-it had been at work on every corner of them. No particular fashion had been followed, in anything, nor any model consulted but that which fancy had built to the mind's order. The wealth of years had drawn together an enormous assemblage of matters, great and small, every one of which was fitted either to excite fancy, or suggest thought, or to satisfy the eye by its nice adaptation. And if pride had had the ordering of them, all these might have been but a costly museum, a literary alphabet that its possessor could not put together, an ungainly confession of ignorance on the part of the intellect that could do nothing with this rich heap of material. But pride was not the genius of the place. A most refined taste and curious fastidiousness had arranged and harmonized all the heterogeneous items; the mental hieroglyphics had been ordered by one to whom the reading of them was no mystery. Nothing struck a stranger at first entering, except the very rich effect and faultless air of the whole, and perhaps the delicious facili. ties for every kind of intellectual cultivation which appeared on every hand; facilities which it must be allowed do seem in general not to facilitate the work they are meant to speed. In this case however it was different. The mind that wanted them had brought them together to satisfy its own craving.
These rooms were Guy's peculiar domain. In other parts of the house, where his mother reigned conjointly with him, their joint tastes had struck out another style of adornment which might be called a style of superb elegance. Not superb alone, för taste had not permitted so heavy a characteristic to be predominant; not merely elegant, for the fineness of all the details would warrant an ampler word. A larger part of the house than both these together had been left as generations past had left it, in various stages of refinement, comfort and comeliness. It was a day or two before Fleda found out that it was all one; she thought at first that it was a collection of several houses that had somehow inexplicably sat down there with their backs to each other; it was so straggling and irregular a pile of building, covering so much ground, and looking so very unlike the different parts to each other.
One portion was quite old; the other parts ranged variously between the present and the far past. After she once understood this it was a piece of delicious wonderment and musing and great admiration to Fleda; she never grew weary of wandering round it and thinking about it, for from a child fanciful meditation was one of her delights. Within doors she best liked Mr. Carleton's favourite rooms. Their rich colouring and moderated light and endless stores of beauty and curiosity made them a place of fascination.
Out of doors she found still more to delight her. Morning noon and night she might be seen near the house gazing, taking in pictures of natural beauty which were for ever after to hang in Fleda's memory as standards of excellence in that sort. Nature's hand had been very kind to the place, moulding the ground in beautiful style. Art had made happy use of the advantage thus given her; and now what appeared was neither art nor nature, but a perfection that can only spring from the hands of both. Fleda’s eyes were bewitched. She stood watching the rolling slopes of green turf, so soft and lovely, and the magnificent trees, that had kept their ground for ages and seen generations rise and fall before their growing strength and grandeur. They were scattered here and there on the lawn, and further back stood on the heights and stretched along the ridges of the undulating ground, the outposts of a wood of the same growth still beyond them.
“ How do you like it, Elfie?" Mr. Carleton asked her the evening of the first day, as he saw her for a length of time looking out gravely and intently from before the hall door,
6 I think it is beautiful !” said Fleda.
· The ground is a great deal smoother here than it was at home.”
“I'll take you to ride to-morrow," said he smiling, “and shew you rough ground enough.'
“As you did when we came from Montepoole ?" said Fleda rather eagerly.
“Would you like that ?" “Yes, very much,--if you would like it, Mr. Carleton.”' “Very well,” said he. “So it shall be.”
And not a day passed during their short stay that he did not give her one of those rides. He shewed her rough ground, according to his promise, but Fleda still thought it did not look much like the mountains “at home.”
at home.” And indeed unsightly roughnesses had been skilfully covered or removed; and though a large part of the park, which was a very extensive one, was wildly broken and had apparently been left as nature left it, the hand of taste had been there; and many an unsuspected touch instead of hindering had heightened both the wild and the beautiful character. Landscape gardening had long been a great hobby of its owner.
“ How far does your ground come, Mr. Carleton ?" inquired Fleda on one of these rides, when they had travelled a good distance from home.
“Further than you can see, Elfie.”
“Further than I can see ! -It must be a very large farm !"
“ This is not a farm where we are now,” said he; you mean that ?--this is the park; we are almost at the edge of it on this side."
“What is the difference between a farm and a park ?" said Fleda.
“ The grounds of a farm are tilled for profit; a park is an uncultivated enclosure kept merely for men and women and deer to take pleasure in."
“I have taken a good deal of pleasure in it," said Fleda. “ And have you a farm besides, Mr. Carleton ?"
“A good many, Elfie.”
Fleda looked surprised; and then remarked that it must be very nice to have such a beautiful piece of ground just for pleasure.