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intend to do so, however, and then I shall hope to profit by your experience, Lady Gregory, if you are so kind as to give me your counsel.”
Thus having made her peace with the latter, she tried to open another source of conversation with the daughter.
“ Have you a good library?” she asked; " are you fond of reading ?”
“ You would not call it a good library, for it consists of the Racing Calendar, and Daniel's Book of Sports, and a few old musty-looking books on divinity; but in my room I have a tolerable collection of all the modern novelists, and also of the poets." “ Are you fond of poetry, then?”
Exceedingly. I love the music of it.” Lady Herbert thought, “This girl cannot be altogether devoid of feeling," and was herself such a passionate lover of poetry, that it made her lean to any one who expressed a similar taste.
“ And you sing, Miss Gregory ?”
“ Yes; but I am afraid not in a way that would please you."
“ Do not be so very diffident of your own VOL. I.
powers, my dear,” said her mother.
“Sing directly, and allow Lady Herbert to judge for herself.”
She obeyed her mother, and pleased Lady Herbert, for she sang without affectation. Her voice was mellifluous, and she pronounced the words distinctly. The song was then new, and not hackneyed as it has since become.
“ When time who steals our years away.” “How these words touch one's heart," said Lady Herbert.“ One feels as if one had written them oneself, so truly do they echo the wishes of the heart. I wish Francis could hear
I am sure he would be delighted. Do you not think your father will come soon to join us ?” Miss Gregory laughed.
Papa never comes from the dining-room till five minutes before we retire for the night, unless there are a party of gentlemen to play at billiards with him; but perhaps for you, Lady Herbert, he may possibly come sooner than usual.”
Lady Herbert made no answer ; but inwardly she thought how very dreadful to have no companion in one's husband; to see him, day after das, preferring the company of foxhunters or boors, to that of his wife. And for a moment she shuddered; then dismissing the horrid supposition, she thought that can never be my case; and again she tried to listen to the music. The clock seemed never to move; and yet she heard ten, eleven, and twelve strike. “Would
like to retire to bed,” said Lady Gregory,“ or will you take some wine-and-water first?”
The answer was prevented by the entrance of the gentlemen.
"Mabel, love,” said Lord Herbert, approaching his wife, and leaning over the back of the sofa on which she sat. “Mabel, I fear it is late," he whispered; but we have had some capital fun with Tom Gregory. Such a cub! His father is an excellent creature, and one of the best judges of horseflesh in the kingdom. But as to him, he is really a vulgar fellow, though devilish amusing; that is to say-you understand, love-not at all in your way.
But sometimes I like a little dash of that sort of thing; nevertheless, you know I have been longing to come to you this hour past. We have not drank any wine (his breath and thick pronunciation belied the assertion); but Lady Herbert made no answer, only pressed his hand, and felt that such society, or any society, could not have detained her from his presence.
The conversation became very flat, and two or three times Sir Gregory started up, shaking his head to prevent himself from falling into a deep sleep. Lady Gregory rang for candles, and so passed that dull evening,
So dear I love him, that with him all deaths
MILTON'S PARADISE LOST, book ix.
The next day Lady Herbert thought, “Well!