“You have more of what people call animal spirits than I have.”
“I’m glad you apologize in a manner for that odious phrase—animal spirits. I would not apply such a phrase to Tim. It suggests nothing but Audrey at a statute fair. Heaven gave me a capacity for happiness, and I thank God every night in my prayers for another happy day. Even at school I contrived to be happy, somehow; and think what it must be after seven years of dull routine to feel that I have done with sitting at a stranger’s table and that I am here in a home, my own home, with my brother and sister.”
Tho two women clasped hands, and kissed each other upon this. Only the night before Isola, of her own free will, had asked her sister-in-law to make her home at the Angler’s Nest always, always, till she should be led out of it as a bride; and Martin had shown himself supremely happy in the knowledge that his sister had won his wife’s love and confidence.
When Isola and he were alone together after the sealing of that family bond, he kissed and thanked her for this boon which she had bestowed upon him.
“I never could have felt quite at ease while Allegra was[Pg 113] living with strangers,” he told her. “And now my cup is full. But are you sure, dearest, that you will never find her in the way, never fancy yourself any the less mistress of your house, and of my life, because she is here?”
“Never, never, never! I am gladder than I can say to have her. She is a delightful companion. She helps me in a hundred ways. But even if she were less charming it would be my duty to have her here since
you like her to be with us.”
“But it must not be done as a duty. I will not have you sacrifice your inclination in the slightest degree.”
“What an obtuse person you are! Don’t I tell you that I am enchanted to have her? She is as much my sister as ever Gwendolen was; indeed, she is much more sympathetic than Gwen ever was.”
“Then I am perfectly content.”
Allegra wrote to Mrs. Meynell next day, announcing the decision that had been arrived at, not without grateful acknowledgments of that lady’s kindness. The rest of her belongings were to be sent to her forthwith, easels, and colour-boxes, books and knickknacks; her brother’s gifts, most of them from the romantic East; things which made her few little Kensingtonian keepsakes look very trivial and Philistine. Allegra’s possessions gave a new individuality to the large, airy bedroom, and the tiny boudoir at the corner of the house, looking seaward, which Isola had arranged for her.
While these things were doing Martin Disney was buying horses and buying land—a farm of over two hundred acres which would make his property better worth holding—and he had further employed a Plymouth architect to plan an enlargement of the old-fashioned cottage—a new and much more spacious drawing-room, two bedrooms over, a verandah below, and a loggia above. In that mild climate the loggia would afford a pleasant lounge even in winter, and myrtle and roses would speedily cover the wooden columns which sustained the tiled roof. It was to be a homely Italian[Pg 114] loggia—unpretentious, and not particularly architectural; but Isola and her sister-in-law were delighted at the idea.
The stables were to be enlarged as well as the house.
“You have no idea how I have hoarded and scraped to lay by money ever since I bought the Nest,” said Disney. “I believe I was the greatest screw in the service all through my last campaign.”
He laughed aloud in amused remembrance of many small sacrifices, while the three heads clustered over the architect’s plan, which had that factitious prettiness of delicate drawing and colour which makes every house so much nearer perfection upon paper than it ever can be in brick and stone.
“LIES NOTHING BURIED LONG AGO?”
Like most small country settlements, little fraternities of well-to-do people who think themselves the beginning and end of the world, Trelasco was slow to rise to any festivity in the way of party-giving. So it was about two months after Colonel Disney’s return before the friendly calls and interchange of small civilities culminated in a dinner-party at Glenaveril. It seemed, indeed, only right and natural that the great house of the district, great by reason of Lord Lostwithiel’s non-residence, should be the first to open its doors in a ceremonial manner to the colonel and his womankind. The invitation to his sister might be taken as an especial compliment, arms outstretched to receive one who was a stranger in the land.
“We want to know that nice, young sister of yours,” Mr. Crowther said to Colonel Disney, in his patronizing way, as they all came out of church the Sunday before the dinner-party. “A remarkably fine girl.”
The colonel did not thank him for this compliment, which was pronounced in a loud voice, amidst the little knot of acquaintances taking leave of each other on the dip of the[Pg 115] hill, where there was a sign-post on a patch of waste grass, and where road and lanes divided, one up the hill to Tywardreath, another to Fowey, and a narrow-wooded lane leading down to Glenaveril and the Angler’s Nest. Short as the distance was, there were carriages waiting for the 佛山桑拿按摩论坛07 Crowthers, who never walked to church, however fine the weather. Mrs. Crowther came to the morning service resplendent in a brocade gown and a Parisian bonnet, on pain of being condemned as dowdy by her husband, who liked to put the stamp of his wealth upon every detail. His wife obeyed him with wifely meekness, but the daughters were not so easily ruled. Both were keen-witted enough to feel the vulgarity of Sunday morning splendour. So Belinda worshipped in the exaggerated simplicity of an unstarched jaconet muslin, a yellow Liberty sash, a flopping Gainsborough hat, and a necklace of Indian beads, an attire which attracted every eye, and was a source of wonder to the whole congregation, while Alicia’s neat grey cashmere frock, and smart little toque to match, grey gloves, grey Prayer-book and sunshade, challenged criticism as a 佛山桑拿夜生活 study in monochrome.
Mr. Crowther would have lingered for farther conversation before getting into the family landau, but Colonel Disney bade a rather abrupt good morning to the whole group, and hurried his wife and sister down the hill.
“I’m rather sorry we accepted the Glenaveril invitation,” he said to Isola. “The man is such an unmitigated cad.”
“Mrs. Crowther is very kind and good,” replied his wife; “but I have never cared much about going to Glenaveril. I don’t feel that I get on particularly well with the girls. They are both too fine for me. But I should be sorry to offend Mrs. Crowther.”
“Yes, she seems a kindly creature. It was thoughtful of her sending you a ticket for the ball. A woman with daughters is seldom over-kind to outsiders.”
“Oh, I believe Mrs. Crowther’s heart is big enough to be kind to a whole 佛山桑拿按摩论坛井空 parish.”
“Well, on her account, perhaps it was best to accept the invitation.”
“Don’t be so grand about it, Martin,” said Allegra. “You forget that I am pining to see what a dinner-party in a very rich house is like. I have seen nothing in London but literary and artistic dinners, third-rate literary and third-rate artistic, I’m afraid—but they were very nice, all the same. Glenaveril is a place that takes my breath away; and I am curious to see what a dinner-party can be like there.”
“Then for your sake, Allegra, I’m glad we said yes. Only I couldn’t stand that fellow patronizing you. Calling you a fine girl, forsooth!”
“Yes, it is an odious phrase, is it not? I’m afraid I shall have to live through it, because, like Rosalind, ‘I am more than common tall.'”
She drew herself up to her full height, straight as a reed, 佛山桑拿会所酒店 but with fully developed bust and shoulders which showed to advantage in her pale tussore gown—silk that her brother had sent her from India. She looked the incarnation of girlish innocence and girlish happiness—a brow without a cloud, a step light as a fawn’s—a fearless, joyous nature. Her more commonplace features and finer figure were in curious contrast with Isola’s pensive beauty and too fragile form. Disney glanced from one to the other as he walked along the rustic lane between them; and, though he thought his wife the lovelier, he regretted that she was not more like his sister.
A man who is very fond of home and who has no professional cares and occupations is apt to degenerate into a molly-coddle. Martin Disney gave an indication of this weakness on the day before the dinner at Glenaveril.
“What are you two girls 佛山夜生活兼职mm going to wear?” he asked. “At least, I don’t think I need ask Isola that question. You’ll wear your wedding-gown, of course, love?” he added, turning to his wife.
“No, Martin, I am going to wear my grey silk.”
“Grey! A dowager’s colour, a soured spinster’s colour—a Quaker’s no colour. I detest grey.”
“Oh, but this is a very pretty gown—the palest shade of pearl colour—and I wear pink roses with it. It was made in Paris. I feel sure you will like me in it, Martin,” Isola said hurriedly, as if even this small matter fluttered her nerves.
“Not as well as I like you in your wedding-gown. That was made in Paris, and it fitted you like a glove. I never saw such a pretty gown—so simple, yet so elegant.”
“I have been married much too long to dress as a bride.”
“You shall not seem as a bride—except to me. For my eyes only shall you shine in bridal loveliness. Bride or no bride, what can be prettier for a young woman than a white satin gown with a long train? You can wear some touch of colour to show you have not got yourself up as a bride. What do you say, Allegra? Give us your opinion. Of course you are an authority upon dress.”
“Oh, the white satin, by all means. Isola looks ethereal in white. She ought hardly ever to wear anything else.”
“You hear, Isa. Two to one against you.”