"You must put that down to his roving temper," said Disney, "for although I was away at the time, I can answer for it there was no such thing as snubbing in the case. Your brother is the only peer in these parts, and from the way people talk about him he might be the only peer in Great Britain—the Alpha and Omega of Debrett. Our parvenu neighbour, Mr. Crowther, talked of him one night with a[Pg 157] slavish rapture which made me sick. I am a Tory by association and instinct, but I can't stand the vulgarian's worship of a lord."
"And you forgive me?"
"Thank Heaven! I should have been miserable if you had doubted or disliked him. He is to be my husband some day, Isa, if Martin approve—but not for a year, at least. Tell me, dear, are you glad?"
She had guessed as much. Who else would speak with authority in that place? She dimly recalled a photograph, pale and faded, of a tall man in a yeomanry uniform, seen in somebody's album; and the face of the photograph had been the same elongated oval face—with long thin nose, and dark eyes a shade too near together—which was looking down at her now.
All the decorations were low, so that no pyramid of fruit or flowers intervened to prevent a man watching the face opposite to him. Disney saw that while Allegra, in her place between Mr. Baynham and Alicia Crowther, was full of talk and animation, Isola sat with downcast eyes, and replied with a troubled look to her host's remarks. There was something in that gentleman's manner which was particularly obnoxious to the colonel—a protecting air, a fatherly familiarity, which brought the bald, shining forehead almost in contact with Isola's shoulder, as the man bent to whisper and to titter in the very ear of his neighbour."Come, come, my good soul, don't distress yourself," cried Disney, touched by this emotion. "You loved her; you could not help loving her, could you? And yet you left her."
"I didn't hear him say anything very much out of the common," said Mrs. Crowther, in her matter-of-fact way.Everybody in Trelasco and in the neighbourhood seemed glad to see Colonel Disney again. All the best people within a six-mile drive came bearing down upon the Angler's Nest in the week that followed his return; and there were cosy little afternoon tea-drinkings in the drawing-room, or on the lawn, and Isola had her hands full in receiving visitors. Everybody congratulated her upon having her hero back from the wars.She knew this much—had brooded upon it all the evening—and yet she was going to a place where she must inevitably meet the Tempter.
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She went with him meekly, walking her fastest under the pelting rain, which was at her back now as they made for the house.详情
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