It was amazing how differently he saw the problem, now that he was back again within the enclosure of those protecting walls.
Meantime, the cause of all this commotion and outbreak between these two ladies, Walter Joyce, utterly unconscious of the excitement he was creating, was pursuing the even tenor of his way as calmly as the novel circumstances of his position would admit. Of course, with the chance of an entire change in his life hanging over him--a change involving marriage, residence in a foreign country, and an occupation which was almost entirely strange to him--it was not possible for him to apply his mind unreservedly to the work before him. Marian's face would keep floating before him instead of the lovely countenance of Eleanor de Sackville, erst maid of honour to Queen Elizabeth, who had this in common with Marmion's friend, Lady Heron, that fame "whispered light tales" of her. Instead of Westhope, as it was in the old days, with its fosse, drawbridge, portcullis, ramparts, and all the mediaevalisms which it is in duty bound to have, Walter's fancy was endeavouring to realise to itself the modern city of Berlin, on the river Spree, while his brain was busied in conjecturing the nature of his forthcoming duties, and in wondering whether he possessed the requisite ability for executing them. Yes! he could get through them, and not merely that, but do them well, do anything well with Marian by his side. Brightened in every possible way by the prospect before him, better even in health and certainly in spirits, he looked back with wonder on his past few months' career; he could not understand how he had been so calm, so unexpectant, so unimpassioned. He could not understand how the only real hopes and fears of his life, those with which Marian was connected, had fallen into a kind of quiescent state, which he had borne with and accepted. He could not understand that now, when the hopes had been aroused and sent springing within him, and the fears had been banished, at least for a while. For a while?--for ever! The mere existence of any fear was an injustice to Marian. She had been true and steadfast, and good and loving. She had proved it nobly enough. The one weakness which formed part of her character, an inability to contend with poverty--a venial failing enough, Walter Joyce thought, especially in a girl who must have known, more particularly in one notable instance, the sad results of the want of means--would never now be tried. There would be no need for her to struggle, no necessity for pinching and screwing. Accustomed since his childhood to live on the poorest pittance, Joyce looked at the salary now offered to him as real wealth, position-giving, and commanding all comforts, if not luxuries. The thought of this, and the knowledge that she would be able to take her mother with her to share her new home, would give Marian the greatest pleasure. He pictured her in that new home, bright, sunny, and cheerful; the look of care and anxiety, the two deep brow-lines which her face had worn during the last year of their residence at Helmingham quite obliterated; the old, cheerful, ringing tone restored to her voice, and the earnest, steadfast, loving gaze in her quiet eyes; and the thought almost unmanned him. He pulled out his watch-chain, took from it the locket containing Marian's portrait (but a very poor specimen of photography, taken by an "arteeste" who had visited Helmingham in a green van on wheels, and who both orally and in his printed bills laid immense stress on the fact that not merely the portrait, but a frame and hook to hang it up by, were in certain cases "given in"), and kissed it tenderly. "In a very little time now, my darling!" he murmured--"in a very little time we shall be happy."
Rory, and Brian, and Rose—详情 ➢
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