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  • 下载酷我听歌
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To her they were all in all; and on them she lavished that great hoard of mother-love which, till now, she had spent on the world at large. Had they been born shortly after her marriage, she, who was then little more than a child herself, would have been a child along with them; and the four would have grown up together in a delightful intimacy. Of this there was now no question. Coming when they did, the children stood to her only for possessions her most precious possessions but still, something absolutely her own, to do with just as she thought good. Through them, too, she believed she would some day gratify those ambitions which, where Richard was concerned, had proved so stark a failure. He had had no desire to walk the high paths she had mapped out for him. Her children would and should. In the meantime, however, ambition lay fallow in love; and it was to their mother the babies ran with their pains and pleasures, their discoveries and attainments. She alone gave them that sense of warmth and security in which very young things thrive.

These things flitted through Mahonys mind as he stood, chin in hand, elbow on gunwale, gazing over the last stretch of dividing sea. Before him lay an aquarelle of softest colouring, all pale light and misty shadow; and these lyric tints, these shades and half shades, gripped his heart as the vivid hues of the south never had. Their very fleetingness charmed. But a little ago and the day had been blue and sunny, with just a spice of crispness in the air to remind one that it was autumn. A couple of white bales of cloud, motionless overhead, had flung gigantic purple shadows, which lay like painted maps of continents on the glittering sea. But, the breeze freshening, the clouds had been set in motion; and simultaneously the shadow-continents, losing their form, had begun to travel the surface of the water. A rain-shower was coming up from the west: it drew a curtain over the sky, and robbed the sea of its colour. Only in the east did a band of light persist, above which the fringes of the storm cloud hung, sending down straight black rays. And now the squall was upon them; wind and rain hunted each other over the waves; the deck slanted, masts and spars whistled, sails smacked and shrilled.

Malibran? . . . ah, now there was a voice for you! Pasta could not hold a candle to her. As a young man I never missed an opera when she sang. Great nights, great nights! The Kings Theatre packed to suffocation. All of us young music-lovers burning with enthusiasm . . . our palms tingling from applause. Here however, at some private sign, the speaker abruptly switched off his reminiscences, which threatened to carry him away, and got to the matter in hand. My dear, give us, if you please, CASTA DIVA. Though I say so myself, there is something in my daughters rendering of that divine air that recalls Malibran in her prime.

Tilly said:

That afternoon it was December, and night now soon after three oclock he had and not for the first time stepped over the low railing that separated the garden-plots to say: Come, Lisby, let us go a-gallivanting! Nothing loath, Lisby, also not for the first time, laid aside her needle, tied on bonnet and tippet, and off they went arm-in-arm, to prowl round the lighted shops of the town.

There he sat, with the last numbers of the medical journals, new books on medicine before him, and was too unsettled to read, or, if he did, to make sense of what he read. The mischief was not only that the practice didnt move properly: what came was of entirely the wrong sort. He had not had half a dozen calls to good houses since starting. The patients who had thus far consulted him were the servant-girls and petty tradesmen of the neighbourhood.

My dear! the minute I set eyes on er, I knew she was a fraud. And I thinks to myself: Just you wait, milady, till the lights go out, and Ill cook your goose for you! Well, sure enough, there we all sat and-in-hand in the dark, like a party of kids playing unt-the-slipper. And by-and-by one and another squeals: Im touched! What do I do, Mary? Why, I gradually work the hand Im olding in me right, closer to me left, till Id got THEM joined and me right and free. (Its as easy as Punch if you know ow to do it.) And when the man next me oh, e WAS a solemn old josser! when e said in a voice that seemed to come from is boots: The spirits ave deigned to touch me as if ed said: God Almighty as arrived and is present! I made one grab, and got old of now what do you think? Im danged if it wasnt er false chignon I found in my hand. I thought she was going to give me the slip then, after all: she wriggled like an eel. But I held on like grim death and, luckily for me, shed a few airs left still clinging to her cranium. She squeals like a pig. Up with the lights, says I; Ive got er! Turn up the lights if you dare, cries she: itll kill me. Over goes a chair in the scrimmage, and then they did turn em up, and there was she squirming on the floor, bald like an egg, with I dont know how many false gloves and feathers and things pinned on to er body!

Richard! Dont speak to me of such horrors. But were talking about Zara. I must say, after seeing Hempel I agree with John, its a ridiculous match. He really doesnt seem to care THAT much for her . . .

Why, yes, of course, as far as thats concerned, said Mary, who had not interrupted by a word.

And so she was. No sooner had John, on Marys recommendation, made definite arrangements with Miss Julia than tangles seemed to straighten of themselves. Hers was a master mind. In less than no time the house was cleaned, renovated, repaired; efficient servants were engaged; John was transferred from his uncomfortable Club quarters to a comfortable domesticity. And Miss Julia proved herself of an exquisite tact in running the establishment, in meeting Johns wishes, in agreeing with him without yielding a jot of her own convictions. And thereafter John He couldnt, of course, let the credit for the changed state of affairs go out of the family! John went about singing Marys praises, and congratulating himself on being the possessor of so capable a sister.