2. CHAPTER II
She put the question with a sudden flash in her eyes,
and a sudden look up into Mr. Godfrey's face. On his side,
he looked down at her with an indulgence so injudicious and so
ill-deserved, that I really felt called on to interfere.
"Rachel, darling!" I remonstrated gently, "true greatness and true courage
are ever modest."
"You are a very good fellow in your way, Godfrey," she said--
not taking the smallest notice, observe, of me, and still speaking
to her cousin as if she was one young man addressing another.
"But I am quite sure you are not great; I don't believe you
possess any extraordinary courage; and I am firmly persuaded--
if you ever had any modesty--that your lady-worshippers relieved
you of that virtue a good many years since. You have some private
reason for not talking of your adventure in Northumberland Street;
and I mean to know it."
"My reason is the simplest imaginable, and the most easily acknowledged,"
he answered, still bearing with her. "I am tired of the subject."
"You are tired of the subject? My dear Godfrey, I am going to make a remark."
"What is it?"
"You live a great deal too much in the society of women.
And you have contracted two very bad habits in consequence.
You have learnt to talk nonsense seriously, and you have got
into a way of telling fibs for the pleasure of telling them.
You can't go straight with your lady-worshippers. I mean to make
you go straight with me. Come, and sit down. I am brimful
of downright questions; and I expect you to be brimful of
She actually dragged him across the room to a chair by the window,
where the light would fall on his face. I deeply feel being obliged
to report such language, and to describe such conduct. But, hemmed in,
as I am, between Mr. Franklin Blake's cheque on one side and my own sacred
regard for truth on the other, what am I to do? I looked at my aunt.
She sat unmoved; apparently in no way disposed to interfere.
I had never noticed this kind of torpor in her before. It was, perhaps,
the reaction after the trying time she had had in the country.
Not a pleasant symptom to remark, be it what it might, at dear Lady
Verinder's age, and with dear Lady Verinder's autumnal exuberance