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Eleanor   By: (1851-1920)

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ELEANOR

BY

MRS. HUMPHRY WARD

WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY ALBERT STERNER

1900

TO ITALY THE BELOVED AND BEAUTIFUL, INSTRUCTRESS OF OUR PAST, DELIGHT OF OUR PRESENT, COMRADE OF OUR FUTURE: THE HEART OF AN ENGLISHWOMAN OFFERS THIS BOOK.

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

ELEANOR

THE VILLA

LUCY FOSTER

THE BEAUTIFYING OF LUCY

THE LOGGIA

FATHER BENECKE

PART I.

'I would that you were all to me, You that are just so much, no more. Nor yours nor mine, nor slave nor free! Where does the fault lie? What the core O' the wound, since wound must be?'

CHAPTER I

'Let us be quite clear, Aunt Pattie when does this young woman arrive?'

'In about half an hour. But really, Edward, you need take no trouble! she is coming to visit me, and I will see that she doesn't get in your way. Neither you nor Eleanor need trouble your heads about her.'

Miss Manisty a small elderly lady in a cap looked at her nephew with a mild and deprecating air. The slight tremor of the hands, which were crossed over the knitting on her lap, betrayed a certain nervousness; but for all that she had the air of managing a familiar difficulty in familiar ways.

The gentleman addressed shook his head impatiently.

'One never prepares for these catastrophes till they actually arrive,' he muttered, taking up a magazine that lay on the table near him, and restlessly playing with the leaves.

'I warned you yesterday.'

'And I forgot and was happy. Eleanor what are we going to do with Miss Foster?'

A lady, who had been sitting at some little distance, rose and came forward.

'Well, I should have thought the answer was simple. Here we are fifteen miles from Rome. The trains might be better still there are trains. Miss Foster has never been to Europe before. Either Aunt Pattie's maid or mine can take her to all the proper things or there are plenty of people in Rome the Westertons the Borrows? who at a word from Aunt Pattie would fly to look after her and take her about. I really don't see that you need be so miserable!'

Mrs. Burgoyne stood looking down in some amusement at the aunt and nephew. Edward Manisty, however, was not apparently consoled by her remarks. He began to pace up and down the salon in a disturbance out of all proportion to its cause. And as he walked he threw out phrases of ill humour, so that at last Miss Manisty, driven to defend herself, put the irresistible question

'Then why why my dear Edward, did you make me invite her? For it was really his doing wasn't it, Eleanor?'

'Yes I am witness!'

'One of those abominable flashes of conscience that have so much to answer for!' said Manisty, throwing up his hand in annoyance. 'If she had come to us in Rome, one could have provided for her. But here in this solitude just at the most critical moment of one's work and it's all very well but one can't treat a young lady, when she is actually in one's house, as if she were the tongs!'

He stood beside the window, with his hands on his sides, moodily looking out. Thus strongly defined against the sunset light, he would have impressed himself on a stranger as a man no longer in his first youth, extraordinarily handsome so far as the head was concerned, but of a somewhat irregular and stunted figure; stunted, however, only in comparison with what it had to carry; for in fact he was of about middle height. But the head, face and shoulders were all remarkably large and powerful; the colouring curly black hair, grey eyes, dark complexion singularly vivid; and the lines of the brow, the long nose, the energetic mouth, in their mingled force and perfection, had made the stimulus of many an artist before now. For Edward Manisty was one of those men of note whose portraits the world likes to paint: and this 'Olympian head' of his was well known in many a French and English studio, through a fine drawing of it made by Legros when Manisty was still a youth at Oxford. 'Begun by David and finished by Rembrandt': so a young French painter had once described Edward Manisty... Continue reading book >>




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