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Chapter 15

  • It had been arranged that the two young ladies should proceed to London unde_alph's escort, though Mrs. Touchett looked with little favour on the plan. I_as just the sort of plan, she said, that Miss Stackpole would be sure t_uggest, and she enquired if the correspondent of the Interviewer was to tak_he party to stay at her favourite boarding-house.
  • "I don't care where she takes us to stay, so long as there's local colour,"
  • said Isabel. "That's what we're going to London for."
  • "I suppose that after a girl has refused an English lord she may do anything,"
  • her aunt rejoined. "After that one needn't stand on trifles."
  • "Should you have liked me to marry Lord Warburton?" Isabel enquired.
  • "Of course I should."
  • "I thought you disliked the English so much."
  • "So I do; but it's all the greater reason for making use of them."
  • "Is that your idea of marriage?" And Isabel ventured to add that her aun_ppeared to her to have made very little use of Mr. Touchett.
  • "Your uncle's not an English nobleman," said Mrs. Touchett, "though even if h_ad been I should still probably have taken up my residence in Florence."
  • "Do you think Lord Warburton could make me any better than I am?" the gir_sked with some animation. "I don't mean I'm too good to improve. I mean tha_ don't love Lord Warburton enough to marry him."
  • "You did right to refuse him then," said Mrs. Touchett in her smallest, sparest voice. "Only, the next great offer you get, I hope you'll manage t_ome up to your standard."
  • "We had better wait till the offer comes before we talk about it. I hope ver_uch I may have no more offers for the present. They upset me completely."
  • "You probably won't be troubled with them if you adopt permanently th_ohemian manner of life. However, I've promised Ralph not to criticise."
  • "I'll do whatever Ralph says is right," Isabel returned. "I've unbounde_onfidence in Ralph."
  • "His mother's much obliged to you!" this lady dryly laughed.
  • "It seems to me indeed she ought to feel it!" Isabel irrepressibly answered.
  • Ralph had assured her that there would be no violation of decency in thei_aying a visit—the little party of three—to the sights of the metropolis; bu_rs. Touchett took a different view. Like many ladies of her country who ha_ived a long time in Europe, she had completely lost her native tact on suc_oints, and in her reaction, not in itself deplorable, against the libert_llowed to young persons beyond the seas, had fallen into gratuitous an_xaggerated scruples. Ralph accompanied their visitors to town and establishe_hem at a quiet inn in a street that ran at right angles to Piccadilly. Hi_irst idea had been to take them to his father's house in Winchester Square, _arge, dull mansion which at this period of the year was shrouded in silenc_nd brown holland; but he bethought himself that, the cook being a_ardencourt, there was no one in the house to get them their meals, an_ratt's Hotel accordingly became their resting-place. Ralph, on his side, found quarters in Winchester Square, having a "den" there of which he was ver_ond and being familiar with deeper fears than that of a cold kitchen. H_vailed himself largely indeed of the resources of Pratt's Hotel, beginnin_is day with an early visit to his fellow travellers, who had Mr. Pratt i_erson, in a large bulging white waistcoat, to remove their dish-covers. Ralp_urned up, as he said, after breakfast, and the little party made out a schem_f entertainment for the day. As London wears in the month of September a fac_lank but for its smears of prior service, the young man, who occasionall_ook an apologetic tone, was obliged to remind his companion, to Mis_tackpole's high derision, that there wasn't a creature in town.
  • "I suppose you mean the aristocracy are absent," Henrietta answered; "but _on't think you could have a better proof that if they were absent altogethe_hey wouldn't be missed. It seems to me the place is about as full as it ca_e. There's no one here, of course, but three or four millions of people. Wha_s it you call them—the lower-middle class? They're only the population o_ondon, and that's of no consequence."
  • Ralph declared that for him the aristocracy left no void that Miss Stackpol_erself didn't fill, and that a more contented man was nowhere at that momen_o be found. In this he spoke the truth, for the stale September days, in th_uge half-empty town, had a charm wrapped in them as a coloured gem might b_rapped in a dusty cloth. When he went home at night to the empty house i_inchester Square, after a chain of hours with his comparatively arden_riends, he wandered into the big dusky dining-room, where the candle he too_rom the hall-table, after letting himself in, constituted the onl_llumination. The square was still, the house was still; when he raised one o_he windows of the dining-room to let in the air he heard the slow creak o_he boots of a lone constable. His own step, in the empty place, seemed lou_nd sonorous; some of the carpets had been raised, and whenever he moved h_oused a melancholy echo. He sat down in one of the armchairs; the big dar_ining table twinkled here and there in the small candle-light; the picture_n the wall, all of them very brown, looked vague and incoherent. There was _hostly presence as of dinners long since digested, of table-talk that ha_ost its actuality. This hint of the supernatural perhaps had something to d_ith the fact that his imagination took a flight and that he remained in hi_hair a long time beyond the hour at which he should have been in bed; doin_othing, not even reading the evening paper. I say he did nothing, and _aintain the phrase in the face of the fact that he thought at these moment_f Isabel. To think of Isabel could only be for him an idle pursuit, leadin_o nothing and profiting little to any one. His cousin had not yet seemed t_im so charming as during these days spent in sounding, tourist-fashion, th_eeps and shallows of the metropolitan element. Isabel was full of premises, conclusions, emotions; if she had come in search of local colour she found i_verywhere. She asked more questions than he could answer, and launched brav_heories, as to historic cause and social effect, that he was equally unabl_o accept or to refute. The party went more than once to the British Museu_nd to that brighter palace of art which reclaims for antique variety so larg_n area of a monotonous suburb; they spent a morning in the Abbey and went o_ penny-steamer to the Tower; they looked at pictures both in public an_rivate collections and sat on various occasions beneath the great trees i_ensington Gardens. Henrietta proved an indestructible sight-seer and a mor_enient judge than Ralph had ventured to hope. She had indeed man_isappointments, and London at large suffered from her vivid remembrance o_he strong points of the American civic idea; but she made the best of it_ingy dignities and only heaved an occasional sigh and uttered a desultory
  • "Well!" which led no further and lost itself in retrospect. The truth wa_hat, as she said herself, she was not in her element. "I've not a sympath_ith inanimate objects," she remarked to Isabel at the National Gallery; an_he continued to suffer from the meagreness of the glimpse that had as ye_een vouchsafed to her of the inner life. Landscapes by Turner and Assyria_ulls were a poor substitute for the literary dinner-parties at which she ha_oped to meet the genius and renown of Great Britain.
  • "Where are your public men, where are your men and women of intellect?" sh_nquired of Ralph, standing in the middle of Trafalgar Square as if she ha_upposed this to be a place where she would naturally meet a few. "That's on_f them on the top of the column, you say—Lord Nelson. Was he a lord too?
  • Wasn't he high enough, that they had to stick him a hundred feet in the air?
  • That's the past—I don't care about the past; I want to see some of the leadin_inds of the present. I won't say of the future, because I don't believe muc_n your future." Poor Ralph had few leading minds among his acquaintance an_arely enjoyed the pleasure of buttonholing a celebrity; a state of thing_hich appeared to Miss Stackpole to indicate a deplorable want of enterprise.
  • "If I were on the other side I should call," she said, "and tell th_entleman, whoever he might be, that I had heard a great deal about him an_ad come to see for myself. But I gather from what you say that this is no_he custom here. You seem to have plenty of meaningless customs, but none o_hose that would help along. We are in advance, certainly. I suppose I shal_ave to give up the social side altogether;" and Henrietta, though she wen_bout with her guidebook and pencil and wrote a letter to the Interviewe_bout the Tower (in which she described the execution of Lady Jane Grey), ha_ sad sense of falling below her mission.
  • The incident that had preceded Isabel's departure from Gardencourt left _ainful trace in our young woman's mind: when she felt again in her face, a_rom a recurrent wave, the cold breath of her last suitor's surprise, sh_ould only muffle her head till the air cleared. She could not have done les_han what she did; this was certainly true. But her necessity, all the same, had been as graceless as some physical act in a strained attitude, and sh_elt no desire to take credit for her conduct. Mixed with this imperfec_ride, nevertheless, was a feeling of freedom which in itself was sweet an_hich, as she wandered through the great city with her ill-matched companions, occasionally throbbed into odd demonstrations. When she walked in Kensingto_ardens she stopped the children (mainly of the poorer sort) whom she sa_laying on the grass; she asked them their names and gave them sixpence and, when they were pretty, kissed them. Ralph noticed these quaint charities; h_oticed everything she did. One afternoon, that his companions might pass th_ime, he invited them to tea in Winchester Square, and he had the house set i_rder as much as possible for their visit. There was another guest to mee_hem, an amiable bachelor, an old friend of Ralph's who happened to be in tow_nd for whom prompt commerce with Miss Stackpole appeared to have neithe_ifficulty nor dread. Mr. Bantling, a stout, sleek, smiling man of forty, wonderfully dressed, universally informed and incoherently amused, laughe_mmoderately at everything Henrietta said, gave her several cups of tea, examined in her society the bric-a-brac, of which Ralph had a considerabl_ollection, and afterwards, when the host proposed they should go out into th_quare and pretend it was a fete-champetre, walked round the limited enclosur_everal times with her and, at a dozen turns of their talk, bounde_esponsive—as with a positive passion for argument—to her remarks upon th_nner life.
  • "Oh, I see; I dare say you found it very quiet at Gardencourt. Naturall_here's not much going on there when there's such a lot of illness about.
  • Touchett's very bad, you know; the doctors have forbidden his being in Englan_t all, and he has only come back to take care of his father. The old man, _elieve, has half a dozen things the matter with him. They call it gout, bu_o my certain knowledge he has organic disease so developed that you ma_epend upon it he'll go, some day soon, quite quickly. Of course that sort o_hing makes a dreadfully dull house; I wonder they have people when they ca_o so little for them. Then I believe Mr. Touchett's always squabbling wit_is wife; she lives away from her husband, you know, in that extraordinar_merican way of yours. If you want a house where there's always somethin_oing on, I recommend you to go down and stay with my sister, Lady Pensil, i_edfordshire. I'll write to her to-morrow and I'm sure she'll be delighted t_sk you. I know just what you want— you want a house where they go in fo_heatricals and picnics and that sort of thing. My sister's just that sort o_oman; she's always getting up something or other and she's always glad t_ave the sort of people who help her. I'm sure she'll ask you down by retur_f post: she's tremendously fond of distinguished people and writers. Sh_rites herself, you know; but I haven't read everything she has written. It'_sually poetry, and I don't go in much for poetry—unless it's Byron. I suppos_ou think a great deal of Byron in America," Mr. Bantling continued, expandin_n the stimulating air of Miss Stackpole's attention, bringing up hi_equences promptly and changing his topic with an easy turn of hand. Yet h_one the less gracefully kept in sight of the idea, dazzling to Henrietta, o_er going to stay with Lady Pensil in Bedfordshire. "I understand what yo_ant; you want to see some genuine English sport. The Touchetts aren't Englis_t all, you know; they have their own habits, their own language, their ow_ood—some odd religion even, I believe, of their own. The old man thinks it'_icked to hunt, I'm told. You must get down to my sister's in time for th_heatricals, and I'm sure she'll be glad to give you a part. I'm sure you ac_ell; I know you're very clever. My sister's forty years old and has seve_hildren, but she's going to play the principal part. Plain as she is sh_akes up awfully well—I will say for her. Of course you needn't act if yo_on't want to."
  • In this manner Mr. Bantling delivered himself while they strolled over th_rass in Winchester Square, which, although it had been peppered by the Londo_oot, invited the tread to linger. Henrietta thought her blooming, easy-voice_achelor, with his impressibility to feminine merit and his splendid range o_uggestion, a very agreeable man, and she valued the opportunity he offere_er. "I don't know but I would go, if your sister should ask me. I think i_ould be my duty. What do you call her name?"
  • "Pensil. It's an odd name, but it isn't a bad one."
  • "I think one name's as good as another. But what's her rank?".
  • "Oh, she's a baron's wife; a convenient sort of rank. You're fine enough an_ou're not too fine."
  • "I don't know but what she'd be too fine for me. What do you call the plac_he lives in—Bedfordshire?"
  • "She lives away in the northern corner of it. It's a tiresome country, but _are say you won't mind it. I'll try and run down while you're there."
  • All this was very pleasant to Miss Stackpole, and she was sorry to be oblige_o separate from Lady Pensil's obliging brother. But it happened that she ha_et the day before, in Piccadilly, some friends whom she had not seen for _ear: the Miss Climbers, two ladies from Wilmington, Delaware, who had bee_ravelling on the Continent and were now preparing to re-embark. Henrietta ha_ad a long interview with them on the Piccadilly pavement, and though th_hree ladies all talked at once they had not exhausted their store. It ha_een agreed therefore that Henrietta should come and dine with them in thei_odgings in Jermyn Street at six o'clock on the morrow, and she now bethough_erself of this engagement. She prepared to start for Jermyn Street, takin_eave first of Ralph Touchett and Isabel, who, seated on garden chairs i_nother part of the enclosure, were occupied—if the term may be used—with a_xchange of amenities less pointed than the practical colloquy of Mis_tackpole and Mr. Bantling. When it had been settled between Isabel and he_riend that they should be reunited at some reputable hour at Pratt's Hotel, Ralph remarked that the latter must have a cab. She couldn't walk all the wa_o Jermyn Street.
  • "I suppose you mean it's improper for me to walk alone!" Henrietta exclaimed.
  • "Merciful powers, have I come to this?"
  • "There's not the slightest need of your walking alone," Mr. Bantling gail_nterposed. "I should be greatly pleased to go with you."
  • "I simply meant that you'd be late for dinner," Ralph returned. "Those poo_adies may easily believe that we refuse, at the last, to spare you."
  • "You had better have a hansom, Henrietta," said Isabel.
  • "I'll get you a hansom if you'll trust me," Mr. Bantling went on.
  • "We might walk a little till we meet one."
  • "I don't see why I shouldn't trust him, do you?" Henrietta enquired of Isabel.
  • "I don't see what Mr. Bantling could do to you," Isabel obligingly answered;
  • "but, if you like, we'll walk with you till you find your cab."
  • "Never mind; we'll go alone. Come on, Mr. Bantling, and take care you get me _ood one."
  • Mr. Bantling promised to do his best, and the two took their departure, leaving the girl and her cousin together in the square, over which a clea_eptember twilight had now begun to gather. It was perfectly still; the wid_uadrangle of dusky houses showed lights in none of the windows, where th_hutters and blinds were closed; the pavements were a vacant expanse, and, putting aside two small children from a neighbouring slum, who, attracted b_ymptoms of abnormal animation in the interior, poked their faces between th_usty rails of the enclosure, the most vivid object within sight was the bi_ed pillar-post on the southeast corner.
  • "Henrietta will ask him to get into the cab and go with her to Jermyn Street,"
  • Ralph observed. He always spoke of Miss Stackpole as Henrietta.
  • "Very possibly," said his companion.
  • "Or rather, no, she won't," he went on. "But Bantling will ask leave to ge_n."
  • "Very likely again. I'm glad very they're such good friends."
  • "She has made a conquest. He thinks her a brilliant woman. It may go far,"
  • said Ralph.
  • Isabel was briefly silent. "I call Henrietta a very brilliant woman, but _on't think it will go far. They would never really know each other. He ha_ot the least idea what she really is, and she has no just comprehension o_r. Bantling."
  • "There's no more usual basis of union than a mutual misunderstanding. But i_ught not to be so difficult to understand Bob Bantling," Ralph added. "He i_ very simple organism."
  • "Yes, but Henrietta's a simpler one still. And, pray, what am I to do?" Isabe_sked, looking about her through the fading light, in which the limite_andscape-gardening of the square took on a large and effective appearance. "_on't imagine that you'll propose that you and I, for our amusement, shal_rive about London in a hansom."
  • "There's no reason we shouldn't stay here—if you don't dislike it. It's ver_arm; there will he half an hour yet before dark; and if you permit it I'l_ight a cigarette."
  • "You may do what you please," said Isabel, "if you'll amuse me till seve_'clock. I propose at that hour to go back and partake of a simple an_olitary repast—two poached eggs and a muffin— at Pratt's Hotel."
  • "Mayn't I dine with you?" Ralph asked.
  • "No, you'll dine at your club."
  • They had wandered back to their chairs in the centre of the square again, an_alph had lighted his cigarette. It would have given him extreme pleasure t_e present in person at the modest little feast she had sketched; but i_efault of this he liked even being forbidden. For the moment, however, h_iked immensely being alone with her, in the thickening dusk, in the centre o_he multitudinous town; it made her seem to depend upon him and to be in hi_ower. This power he could exert but vaguely; the best exercise of it was t_ccept her decisions submissively which indeed there was already an emotion i_oing. "Why won't you let me dine with you?" he demanded after a pause.
  • "Because I don't care for it."
  • "I suppose you're tired of me."
  • "I shall be an hour hence. You see I have the gift of foreknowledge."
  • "Oh, I shall be delightful meanwhile," said Ralph.
  • But he said nothing more, and as she made no rejoinder they sat some time in _tillness which seemed to contradict his promise of entertainment. It seeme_o him she was preoccupied, and he wondered what she was thinking about; ther_ere two or three very possible subjects. At last he spoke again. "Is you_bjection to my society this evening caused by your expectation of anothe_isitor?"
  • She turned her head with a glance of her clear, fair eyes. "Another visitor?
  • What visitor should I have?"
  • He had none to suggest; which made his question seem to himself silly as wel_s brutal. "You've a great many friends that I don't know. You've a whole pas_rom which I was perversely excluded."
  • "You were reserved for my future. You must remember that my past is over ther_cross the water. There's none of it here in London."
  • "Very good, then, since your future is seated beside you. Capital thing t_ave your future so handy." And Ralph lighted another cigarette and reflecte_hat Isabel probably meant she had received news that Mr. Caspar Goodwood ha_rossed to Paris. After he had lighted his cigarette he puffed it a while, an_hen he resumed. "I promised just now to be very amusing; but you see I don'_ome up to the mark, and the fact is there's a good deal of temerity in one'_ndertaking to amuse a person like you. What do you care for my feebl_ttempts? You've grand ideas—you've a high standard in such matters. I ough_t least to bring in a band of music or a company of mountebanks."
  • "One mountebank's enough, and you do very well. Pray go on, and in another te_inutes I shall begin to laugh."
  • "I assure you I'm very serious," said Ralph. "You do really ask a great deal."
  • "I don't know what you mean. I ask nothing."
  • "You accept nothing," said Ralph. She coloured, and now suddenly it seemed t_er that she guessed his meaning. But why should he speak to her of suc_hings? He hesitated a little and then he continued: "There's something _hould like very much to say to you. It's a question I wish to ask. It seem_o me I've a right to ask it, because I've a kind of interest in the answer."
  • "Ask what you will," Isabel replied gently, "and I'll try to satisfy you."
  • "Well then, I hope you won't mind my saying that Warburton has told me o_omething that has passed between you."
  • Isabel suppressed a start; she sat looking at her open fan. "Very good; _uppose it was natural he should tell you."
  • "I have his leave to let you know he has done so. He has some hope still,"
  • said Ralph.
  • "Still?"
  • "He had it a few days ago."
  • "I don't believe he has any now," said the girl.
  • "I'm very sorry for him then; he's such an honest man."
  • "Pray, did he ask you to talk to me?"
  • "No, not that. But he told me because he couldn't help it. We're old friends, and he was greatly disappointed. He sent me a line asking me to come and se_im, and I drove over to Lockleigh the day before he and his sister lunche_ith us. He was very heavy-hearted; he had just got a letter from you."
  • "Did he show you the letter?" asked Isabel with momentary loftiness.
  • "By no means. But he told me it was a neat refusal. I was very sorry for him,"
  • Ralph repeated.
  • For some moments Isabel said nothing; then at last, "Do you know how often h_ad seen me?" she enquired. "Five or six times."
  • "That's to your glory."
  • "It's not for that I say it."
  • "What then do you say it for. Not to prove that poor Warburton's state o_ind's superficial, because I'm pretty sure you don't think that."
  • Isabel certainly was unable to say she thought it; but presently she sai_omething else. "If you've not been requested by Lord Warburton to argue wit_e, then you're doing it disinterestedly —or for the love of argument."
  • "I've no wish to argue with you at all. I only wish to leave you alone. I'_imply greatly interested in your own sentiments."
  • "I'm greatly obliged to you!" cried Isabel with a slightly nervous laugh.
  • "Of course you mean that I'm meddling in what doesn't concern me. But wh_houldn't I speak to you of this matter without annoying you or embarrassin_yself? What's the use of being your cousin if I can't have a few privileges?
  • What's the use of adoring you without hope of a reward if I can't have a fe_ompensations? What's the use of being ill and disabled and restricted to mer_pectatorship at the game of life if I really can't see the show when I'v_aid so much for my ticket? Tell me this," Ralph went on while she listened t_im with quickened attention. "What had you in mind when you refused Lor_arburton?"
  • "What had I in mind?"
  • "What was the logic—the view of your situation—that dictated so remarkable a_ct?"
  • "I didn't wish to marry him—if that's logic."
  • "No, that's not logic—and I knew that before. It's really nothing, you know.
  • What was it you said to yourself? You certainly said more than that."
  • Isabel reflected a moment, then answered with a question of her own. "Why d_ou call it a remarkable act? That's what your mother thinks too."
  • "Warburton's such a thorough good sort; as a man, I consider he has hardly _ault. And then he's what they call here no end of a swell. He has immens_ossessions, and his wife would be thought a superior being. He unites th_ntrinsic and the extrinsic advantages."
  • Isabel watched her cousin as to see how far he would go. "I refused hi_ecause he was too perfect then. I'm not perfect myself, and he's too good fo_e. Besides, his perfection would irritate me."
  • "That's ingenious rather than candid," said Ralph. "As a fact you thin_othing in the world too perfect for you."
  • "Do you think I'm so good?"
  • "No, but you're exacting, all the same, without the excuse of thinkin_ourself good. Nineteen women out of twenty, however, even of the mos_xacting sort, would have managed to do with Warburton. Perhaps you don't kno_ow he has been stalked."
  • "I don't wish to know. But it seems to me," said Isabel, "that one day when w_alked of him you mentioned odd things in him." Ralph smokingly considered. "_ope that what I said then had no weight with you; for they were not faults, the things I spoke of: they were simply peculiarities of his position. If _ad known he wished to marry you I'd never have alluded to them. I think _aid that as regards that position he was rather a sceptic. It would have bee_n your power to make him a believer."
  • "I think not. I don't understand the matter, and I'm not conscious of an_ission of that sort. You're evidently disappointed," Isabel added, looking a_er cousin with rueful gentleness. "You'd have liked me to make such _arriage."
  • "Not in the least. I'm absolutely without a wish on the subject. I don'_retend to advise you, and I content myself with watching you—with the deepes_nterest."
  • She gave rather a conscious sigh. "I wish I could be as interesting to mysel_s I am to you!"
  • "There you're not candid again; you're extremely interesting to yourself. D_ou know, however," said Ralph, "that if you've really given Warburton hi_inal answer I'm rather glad it has been what it was. I don't mean I'm gla_or you, and still less of course for him. I'm glad for myself."
  • "Are you thinking of proposing to me?"
  • "By no means. From the point of view I speak of that would be fatal; I shoul_ill the goose that supplies me with the material of my inimitable omelettes.
  • I use that animal as the symbol of my insane illusions. What I mean is that _hall have the thrill of seeing what a young lady does who won't marry Lor_arburton."
  • "That's what your mother counts upon too," said Isabel.
  • "Ah, there will be plenty of spectators! We shall hang on the rest of you_areer. I shall not see all of it, but I shall probably see the mos_nteresting years. Of course if you were to marry our friend you'd still hav_ career—a very decent, in fact a very brilliant one. But relatively speakin_t would be a little prosaic. It would be definitely marked out in advance; i_ould be wanting in the unexpected. You know I'm extremely fond of th_nexpected, and now that you've kept the game in your hands I depend on you_iving us some grand example of it."
  • "I don't understand you very well," said Isabel, "but I do so well enough t_e able to say that if you look for grand examples of anything from me I shal_isappoint you."
  • "You'll do so only by disappointing yourself and that will go hard with you!"
  • To this she made no direct reply; there was an amount of truth in it tha_ould bear consideration. At last she said abruptly: "I don't see what har_here is in my wishing not to tie myself. I don't want to begin life b_arrying. There are other things a woman can do."
  • "There's nothing she can do so well. But you're of course so many-sided."
  • "If one's two-sided it's enough," said Isabel.
  • "You're the most charming of polygons!" her companion broke out. At a glanc_rom his companion, however, he became grave, and to prove it went on: "Yo_ant to see life—you'll be hanged if you don't, as the young men say."
  • "I don't think I want to see it as the young men want to see it. But I do wan_o look about me."
  • "You want to drain the cup of experience."
  • "No, I don't wish to touch the cup of experience. It's a poisoned drink! _nly want to see for myself."
  • "You want to see, but not to feel," Ralph remarked.
  • "I don't think that if one's a sentient being one can make the distinction.
  • I'm a good deal like Henrietta. The other day when I asked her if she wishe_o marry she said: 'Not till I've seen Europe!' I too don't wish to marry til_'ve seen Europe."
  • "You evidently expect a crowned head will be struck with you."
  • "No, that would be worse than marrying Lord Warburton. But it's getting ver_ark," Isabel continued, "and I must go home." She rose from her place, bu_alph only sat still and looked at her. As he remained there she stopped, an_hey exchanged a gaze that was full on either side, but especially on Ralph's, of utterances too vague for words.
  • "You've answered my question," he said at last. "You've told me what I wanted.
  • I'm greatly obliged to you."
  • "It seems to me I've told you very little."
  • "You've told me the great thing: that the world interests you and that yo_ant to throw yourself into it."
  • Her silvery eyes shone a moment in the dusk. "I never said that." "I think yo_eant it. Don't repudiate it. It's so fine!"
  • "I don't know what you're trying to fasten upon me, for I'm not in the leas_n adventurous spirit. Women are not like men."
  • Ralph slowly rose from his seat and they walked together to the gate of th_quare. "No," he said; "women rarely boast of their courage. Men do so with _ertain frequency."
  • "Men have it to boast of!"
  • "Women have it too. You've a great deal."
  • "Enough to go home in a cab to Pratt's Hotel, but not more."
  • Ralph unlocked the gate, and after they had passed out he fastened it. "We'l_ind your cab," he said; and as they turned toward a neighbouring street i_hich this quest might avail he asked her again if he mightn't see her safel_o the inn.
  • "By no means," she answered; "you're very tired; you must go home and go t_ed."
  • The cab was found, and he helped her into it, standing a moment at the door.
  • "When people forget I'm a poor creature I'm often incommoded," he said. "Bu_t's worse when they remember it!"