Part 6 out of 6
gives this something in her son's marked character no name; but
when it appears in the grinding of his teeth, in the glittering
of his eye, in the fierce revolt of feeling against
disappointment, mischance, sudden sorrow, or supposed injustice,
she folds him to her breast, or takes him to walk with her alone
in the wood; then she reasons with him like any philosopher, and
to reason Victor is ever accessible; then she looks at him with
eyes of love, and by love Victor can be infallibly subjugated;
but will reason or love be the weapons with which in future the
world will meet his violence? Oh, no! for that flash in his
black eye--for that cloud on his bony brow--for that compression
of his statuesque lips, the lad will some day get blows instead
of blandishments--kicks instead of kisses; then for the fit of
mute fury which will sicken his body and madden his soul; then
for the ordeal of merited and salutary suffering, out of which he
will come (I trust) a wiser and a better man.
I see him now; he stands by Hunsden, who is seated on the lawn
under the beech; Hunsden's hand rests on the boy's collar, and he
is instilling God knows what principles into his ear. Victor
looks well just now, for he listens with a sort of smiling
interest; he never looks so like his mother as when he smiles
--pity the sunshine breaks out so rarely! Victor has a
preference for Hunsden, full as strong as I deem desirable, being
considerably more potent decided, and indiscriminating, than any
I ever entertained for that personage myself. Frances, too,
regards it with a sort of unexpressed anxiety; while her son
leans on Hunsden's knee, or rests against his shoulder, she roves
with restless movement round, like a dove guarding its young from
a hovering hawk; she says she wishes Hunsden had children of his
own, for then he would better know the danger of inciting their
pride end indulging their foibles.
Frances approaches my library window; puts aside the honeysuckle
which half covers it, and tells me tea is ready; seeing that I
continue busy she enters the room, comes near me quietly, and
puts her hand on my shoulder.
"Monsieur est trop applique."
"I shall soon have done."
She draws a chair near, and sits down to wait till I have
finished; her presence is as pleasant to my mind as the perfume
of the fresh hay and spicy flowers, as the glow of the westering
sun, as the repose of the midsummer eve are to my senses.
But Hunsden comes; I hear his step, and there he is, bending
through the lattice, from which he has thrust away the woodbine
with unsparing hand, disturbing two bees and a butterfly.
"Crimsworth! I say, Crimsworth! take that pen out of his hand,
mistress, and make him lift up his head.
"Well, Hunsden ? I hear you--"
"I was at X---- yesterday! your brother Ned is getting richer
than Croesus by railway speculations; they call him in the Piece
Hall a stag of ten; and I have heard from Brown. M. and Madame
Vandenhuten and Jean Baptiste talk of coming to see you next
month. He mentions the Pelets too; he says their domestic
harmony is not the finest in the world, but in business they are
doing 'on ne peut mieux,' which circumstance he concludes will be
a sufficient consolation to both for any little crosses in the
affections. Why don't you invite the Pelets to ----shire,
Crimsworth? I should so like to see your first flame, Zoraide.
Mistress, don't be jealous, but he loved that lady to
distraction; I know it for a fact. Brown says she weighs twelve
stones now; you see what you've lost, Mr. Professor. Now,
Monsieur and Madame, if you don't come to tea, Victor and I will
begin without you."