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Before them were Peter of Blentz and Von Coblich standing

time: 2023-12-04 00:54:20laiyuan:toutiaovits: 34618

"Yes," she answered; "but I shall be pleased-er to see them come back."

Before them were Peter of Blentz and Von Coblich standing

Life to her was no alternation between joy and grief, but only between joy and delight.

Before them were Peter of Blentz and Von Coblich standing

Twilight brought us to an improvised concert. Climbing the piano-stool, she went over the notes with her little taper fingers, touching the keys in a light, knowing way, that proved her a musician's child. Then I must play for her, and let the dance begin. This was a wondrous performance on her part, and consisted at first in hopping up and down on one spot, with no change of motion, but in her hands. She resembled a minute and irrepressible Shaker, or a live and beautiful marionnette. Then she placed Janet in the middle of the floor, And performed the dance round her, after the manner of Vivien and Merlin. Then came her supper, which, like its predecessors, was a solid and absorbing meal; then one more fairy story, to magnetize her off, and she danced and sang herself up stairs. And if she first came to me in the morning with a halo round her head, she seemed still to retain it when I at last watched her kneeling in the little bed--perfectly motionless, with her hands placed together, and her long lashes sweeping her cheeks--to repeat two verses of a hymn which Janet had taught her. My nerves quivered a little when I saw that Susan Halliday had also been duly prepared for the night, and had been put in the same attitude, so far as her jointless anatomy permitted. This being ended, the doll and her mistress reposed together, and only an occasional toss of the vigorous limbs, or a stifled baby murmur, would thenceforth prove, through the darkened hours, that the one figure had in it more of life than the other.

Before them were Peter of Blentz and Von Coblich standing

On the next morning Kenmure and Laura came back to us, and I walked down to receive them at the boat. I had forgotten how striking was their appearance, as they stood together. His broad, strong, Saxon look, his manly bearing and clear blue eyes, enhanced the fascination of her darker beauty.

America is full of the short-lived bloom and freshness of girlhood; but it is a rare thing in one's life to see a beauty that really controls with a permanent charm. One must remember such personal loveliness, as one recalls some particular moonlight or sunset, with a special and concentrated joy, which the multiplicity of fainter impressions cannot disturb. When in those days we used to read, in Petrarch's one hundred and twenty-third sonnet, that he had once beheld on earth angelic manners and celestial charms, whose very remembrance was a delight and an affliction, since it made all else appear but dream and shadow, we could easily fancy that nature had certain permanent attributes which accompanied the name of Laura.

Our Laura had that rich brunette beauty before which the mere snow and roses of the blonde must always seem wan and unimpassioned. In the superb suffusions of her cheek there seemed to flow a tide of passions and powers that might have been tumultuous in a meaner woman, but over which, in her, the clear and brilliant eyes and the sweet, proud mouth presided in unbroken calm. These superb tints implied resources only, not a struggle. With this torrent from the tropics in her veins, she was the most equable person I ever saw, and had a supreme and delicate good-sense, which, if not supplying the place of genius, at least comprehended its work. Not intellectually gifted herself, perhaps, she seemed the cause of gifts in others, and furnished the atmosphere in which all showed their best. With the steady and thoughtful enthusiasm of her Puritan ancestors, she combined that charm which is so rare among their descendants,--a grace which fascinated the humblest,while it would have been just the same in the society of kings. Her person had the equipoise and symmetry of her mind. While it had its separate points of beauty, each a source of distinct and peculiar pleasure,--as, the outline of her temples, the white line that parted her nightblack hair, the bend of her wrists, the moulding of her finger-tips,--yet these details were lost in the overwhelming sweetness of her presence, and the serene atmosphere that she diffused over all human life.

A few days passed rapidly by us. We walked and rode and boated and read. Little Marian came and went, a living sunbeam, a self-sufficing thing. It was soon obvious that she was far less demonstrative toward her parents than toward me; while her mother, gracious to her as to all, yet rarely caressed her, and Kenmure, though habitually kind, was inclined to ignore her existence, and could scarcely tolerate that she should for one instant preoccupy his wife. For Laura he lived, and she must live for him. He had a studio, which I rarely entered and Marian never, though Laura was almost constantly there; and after the first cordiality was past, I observed that their daily expeditions were always arranged for only two. The weather was beautiful, and they led the wildest outdoor life, cruising all day or all night among the islands, regardless of hours, and almost of health. No matter: Kenmure liked it, and what he liked she loved. When at home, they were chiefly in the studio, he painting, modelling, poetizing perhaps, and she inseparably united with him in all. It was very beautiful, this unworldly and passionate love, and I could have borne to be omitted in their daily plans,--since little Marian was left to me,--save that it seemed so strange to omit her also. Besides, there grew to be something a little oppressive in this peculiar atmosphere; it was like living in a greenhouse.

Yet they always spoke in the simplest way of this absorbing passion, as of something about which no reticence was needed; it was too sacred not to be mentioned; it would be wrong not to utter freely to all the world what was doubtless the best thing the world possessed. Thus Kenmure made Laura his model in all his art; not to coin her into wealth or fame,--he would have scorned it; he would have valued fame and wealth only as instruments for proclaiming her. Looking simply at these two lovers, then, it was plain that no human union could be more noble or stainless. Yet so far as others were concerned, it sometimes seemed to me a kind of duplex selfishness, so profound and so undisguised as to make one shudder. "Is it," I asked myself at such moments, "a great consecration, or a great crime?" But something must be allowed, perhaps, for my own private dis-satisfactions in Marian's behalf.

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