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THE

PORTRAIT OP A LADY.

BY

HENRY JAMES, JR.

BOSTON AND NEW YORK HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY ®i)c SiDcmHe JJrese, Cambrige

Copyright, 1881 By HENRY JAMES, JR.

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THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY.

I.

Under certain circumstances there are few hours in life more agreeable than the hour dedicated to the ceremony known as afternoon tea. There are circumstances in which, whether you partake of the tea or not some people of course never do the situation is in itself delightful. Those that I have in mind in beginning to unfold this simple history offered an admirable setting to an innocent pastime. The implements of the little feast had been disposed upon the lawn of an old English country- house, in what I should call the perfect middle of a splendid summer afternoon. Part of the afternoon had waned, but much of it was left, and what was left was of the finest and rarest quality. Real dusk would not arrive for many hours ; but the flood of summer light had begun to ebb, the air had grown mellow, the shadows were long upon the smooth, dense turf. They lengthened slowly, however, and the scene expressed that sense of leisure still to come which is perhaps the chief source of one’s enjoyment of such a scene at such an hour. From five o’clock to eight is on certain occasions a little eternity ; but on such an occasion as this the interval could be only an eternity of pleasure. The persons concerned in it were taking their pleasure quietly, and they were not of the sex which is supposed to furnish the regular votaries of the ceremony I have mentioned. The shadows on the perfect lawn were straight and angular; they were the shadows of an old man sitting in a deep wicker- , chair near the low table on which the tea had been served, and of two younger men strolling to and fro, in desultory talk, in front of him. The old man had his cup in his hand ; it was an

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THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY.

unusually large cup, of a different pattern from the rest of the set, and painted in brilliant colours. He disposed of its contents with much circumspection, holding it for a long time close to his chin, with his face turned to the house. His companions had either finished their tea or were indifferent to their privilege ; they smoked cigarettes as they continued to stroll. One of them, from time to time, as he passed, looked with a certain attention at the elder man, who, unconscious of observation, rested his eyes upon the rich red front of his dwelling. The house that rose beyond the lawn was a structure to repay such consideration and was the most characteristic object in the peculiarly English picture I have attempted to sketch.

It stood upon a low hill, above the river the river being the Thames, at some forty miles from London. A long gabled front of red brick, with the complexion of which time and the weather had played all sorts of picturesque tricks, only, however, to improve and refine it, presented itself to the lawn, with its patches of ivy, its clustered chimneys, its windows smothered in creepers. The house had a name and a history ; the old gentle- man taking his tea would have been delighted to tell you these things : how it had been built under Edward the Sixth, had offered a night’s hospitality to the great Elizabeth (whose august person had extended itself upon a huge, magnificent, and terribly angular bed which still formed the principal honour of the sleeping apartments), had been a good deal bruised and defaced in Cromwell’s wars, and then, under the Restoration, repaired and much enlarged; and how, finally, after having been remodelled and disfigured in the eighteenth century, it had passed into the careful keeping of a shrewd American banker, who had bough » it originally because (owing to circumstances too complicated to set forth) it was offered at a great bargain ; bought it with much grumbling at its ugliness, its antiquity, its incommodity, and who now, at the end of twenty years, had become conscious of a mil aesthetic passion for it, so that he knew all its points, and would tell you just where to stand to see them in combination, &nd just the hour when the shadows of its various protuberances which fell so softly upon the warm, weary brickwork wero of the right measure. Besides this, as I have said, he could have counted off most of the successive owners and occupants, several of whom wrere known to general fame ; doing so, howTever, with an undemonstrative conviction that the latest phase of its lestiny was not the least honourable. The front of the house overlooking that portion of the lawn with which we are con- cerned, was not the entrance-front; thie was in quite anothef

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quarter Privacy here reigned supreme, and the wide carpet of turf that covered the level hill-top seemed hut the extension of a luxurious interior. The great still oaks and beeches flung down a snade as dense as that of velvet curtains; and the place was furnished, like a room, with cushioned seats, with rich- coloured rugs, with the hooks and papers that lay upon the grass. The river was at some distance ; where the ground began to elope, the lawn, properly speaking, ceased. But it was none tho less a charming walk down to the water.

The old gentleman at the tea-table, who had come from America thirty years before, had brought with him, at the top of his baggage, his American physiognomy ; and he had not only brought it with him, hut he had kept it in the best order, so that, if necessary, he might have taken it back to his own country with perfect confidence. But at present, obviously, he was not likely to displace himself; his journeys were over, and he was taking the rest that precedes the great rest. He had a narrow, clean-shaven face, with evenly distributed features, and an expression of placid acuteness. It was evidently a face in which the range of expression was not large ; so that the air of contented shrewdness was all the more of a merit. It seemed to tell that he had been successful in life, hut it seemed to tell also that his success had not been exclusive and invidiouSj hut had had much of the inoffensiveness of failure. He had certainly had a great experience of men ; but there was an almost rustic simplicity in the faint smile that played upon his lean, spacious cheek, and lighted up his humorous eye, as he at last slowly and carefully deposited his big tea-cup upon the table. He was neatly dressed, in well-brushed black ; but a shawl was folded upon his knees, and his feet were encased in thick, embroidered slippers. A beautiful collie dog lay upon the grass near his chair, watching the master’s face almost as tenderly as the master contemplated the still more magisterial physiognomy of the house ; and a little bristling, bustling terrier bestowed a desultory attendance upon the other gentlemen.

One of these was a remarkably well-made man of five-and- thirty, with a face as English as that of the old gentleman I have just sketched was something else ; a noticeably handsome face, fresh-coloured, fair, and frank, with firm, straight features, a lively grey eye, and the rich adornment of a chestnut heard. This person had a certain fortunate, brilliant exceptional look the air of a happ^ temperament fertilised by a high civilisation which would have made almost any observer envy him at a Venture. He was booted and spurred, as if he had dismounted

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THE PORTRAIT OF A La1)Y.

from a long ride ; he wore a white hat, which looked too large for him; he held his two hands behind him, and in one of them a large, white, well-shaped fist was crumpled a pair of soiled dog-skin gloves.

His companion, measuring the length of the lawn beside him, was a person of quite another pattern, who, although he might have excited grave curiosity, would not, like the other, have provoked you to wish yourself, almost blindly, in his place. Tall, lean, loosely and feebly put together, he had an ugly, sickly, witty, charming face furnished, but by no means decorated, with a straggling moustache and whisker. He looked clever and ill a combination by no means felicitous ; and he wore a brown velvet jacket. He carried his hands in his pockets, and there was something in the way he did it that showed the habit was inveterate. His gait had a shambling, wandering quality; he was not very firm on his legs. As I have said, whenever he passed the old man in the chair, he rested his eyes upon him ; and at this moment, with their faces brought into relation, you would easily have seen that they were father and son.

The father caught his son’s eye at last, and gave him a mild, responsive smile.

I am getting on very well,” he said.

Have you drunk your tea ] asked the son.

“Yes, and enjoyed it.”

Shall I give you some more ?

The old man considered, placidly.

Well, I guess I will wait and see.”

He had, in speaking, the American tone.

Are you cold ? his son inquired.

The father slowly rubbed his legs.

Well, I don’t know. I can’t tell till I feel.”

u Perhaps some one might feel for you,” said the younger man, laughing.

Oh, I hope some 0113 will always feel for me ! Don’t you keel for me, Lord Warburton?”

Oh yes, immensely,” said the gentleman addressed as Lord Warburton, promptly. I am bound to say you look wonder- fully comfortable.”

Well, I suppose I am, in most respects.” And the old man looked down at his green shawl, and smoothed it over his knees. The fact is, I have been comfortable so many years that I suppose I have got so used to it I don’t know it.”

THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY

0

“Y*, that’s the bore of comfort,” said Lord Warburton. 14 We only know when we are uncomfortable.”

It strikes me that we are rather particular,” said his companion.

“Oh yes, there is no doubt we’re particular,” Lord Warbur- ton murmured.

And then the three men remained silent a while ; the two younger ones standing looking down at the other, who presently asked for more tea.

“I should think you would be very unhappy with that shawl,” said Lord Warburton, while his companion filled the old man’s cup again.

Oh no, he must have the shawl ! cried the gentleman in the velvet coat. Don’t put such ideas as that into his head.”

“It belongs to my wife,” said the old man, simply.

Oh, if it’s for sentimental reasons And Lord War-

burton made a gesture of apology.

I suppose I must give it to her when she comes,” the old man went on.

You will please to do nothing of the kind. You will keep it to cover your poor old legs.”

Well, you mustn’t abuse my legs,” said the old man. I guess they are as good as yours.”

Oh, you are perfectly free to abuse mine,” his son replied, giving him his tea.

Well, we are two lame ducks; I don’t think there is much difference.”

I am much obliged to you for calling me a duck. How is your tea 1

“Well, it’s rather hot.”

That’s intended to be a merit.”

Ah, there’s a great deal of merit,” murmured the old man, kindly. He’s a very good nurse, Lord Warburton.”

Isn’t he a bit clumsy] asked his lordship.

Oh no, he’s not clumsy considering that he’s an invalid himself. He’s a very good nurse for a sick-nurse. I call him my sick-nurse because he’s sick himself

Oh, come, daddy ! the ugly young man exclaimed.

“Well, you are; I wish you weren’t. Hut I suppose you ean’t help it.”

I might try : that’s an idaa,” said the young man.

“Were you ever sick, Lord Warburton]” his father asked.

lord Warburton considered a moment.

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ft

Yes, sir, once, in the Persian Gulf.”

He is making light of ’you, daddy,” said the other young man. That's a sort of joke.”

44 Well, there seem to be so many sorts now,” daddy replied, serenely. You don't look as if you had been sick, any way, Lord Warburton.”

44 He is sick of life ; he was just telling me so ; going on feaifully about it,” said Lord Warburton's friend.

44 Is that true, sir ? asked the old man gravely.

If it is, your son gave me no consolation. HVs a wretched fellow to talk to a regular cynic. He doesn't I'eem to believe anything.”

That’s another sort of joke,” said the person accused of cynicism.

44 It's because his health is so poor,” his father explained to Lord Warburton. 44 It affects his mind, and colours his way of looking at things ; he seems to feel as if he had never had a chance. But it's almost entirely theoretical, you know ; it doesn't seem to affect his spirits. I have hardly ever seen him when he wasn't cheerful about as he is at present. He often cheers me up.”

The young man so described looked at Lord Warburton and laughed.

Is it a glowing eulogy or an accusation of levity? Should you like me to carry out my theories, daddy ?

4 ‘By Jove, we should see some queer things!” cried Lord Warburton.

1 hope you haven't taken up that sort of tone,” said the old man.

Warburton's tone is worse than mine ; he pretends to be bored. I am not in the least bored ; I find life only too

interesting.”

“Ah, too interesting; you shouldn't allow it to be that, you know !”

I am never bored when I come here,” said Lord Warburton. u One gets such uncommonly good talk.”

54 Is that another sort of joke?” asked the old man. 44 You have no excuse for being bored anywhere. When I was your age, I had never heard of such a thing.”

You must have developed very late.”

44 No, I developed very quick ; that was just the reason. When I was twenty years old, I was very highly developed indeed. 1 was working, tooth and nail. You wouldn't be bored if you had something to do ; but all you young men aw

THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY,

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too idle. You think too much of your pleasure. You are too fastidious, and too indolent, and too rich.”

Oh, I say,” cried Lord Warburton, you’re hardly tha person to accuse a fellow-creature of being too rich !

Do you mean because I am a banker h asked the old man.

Because of that, if you like; and because you are so ridicul- ously wealthy.”

He isn’t very rich,” said the other young man, indicating his father. “He has given away an immense deal of money.”

Well, I suppose it was his own,” said Lord Warburton ; “and in that case could there be a better proof of wealth? Let not a public benefactor talk of one’s being too fond of pleasure.”

Daddy is very fond of pleasure of other people’s.”

The old man shook his head.

I don’t pretend to have contributed anything to the amuse- ment of my contemporaries.”

My dear father, you are too modest !

That’s a kind of joke, sir,” said Lord Warburton.

“You young men have too many jokes. When there are no jokes, you have nothing left.”

“Fortunately there are always more jokes,” the ugly young man remarked.

I don’t believe it I believe things are getting more serious. You young men will find that out.”

“The increasing seriousness of things that is the great opportunity of jokes.”

They will have to be grim jokes,” said the old man. I am convinced there will be great changes; and not all for the better.”

I quite agree with you, sir,” Lord Warburton declared. I am very sure there will be great changes, and that all sorts of queer things will happen. That’s why I find so much difficulty in applying your advice ; you know you told me the other day that I ought to ‘take hold’ of something. One hesitates to take hold of a thing that may the next moment be knocked sky-high.”

“You ought to take hold of a pretty woman,” said his companion. He is trying hard to fall in love,” he added, by way of explanation, to his father.

The j^retty women themsel\ es may be sent flying ! Lord Warburton exclaimed.

Ho, no, they will be firm,” the old man rejoined ; “they will not be affected by the social and political changes J just referred to,”

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THE PORTRAIT OP A LADY.

“You mean they won’t be abolished? Veiy well, then, 1 will lay hands on one as soon as possible, and tie her round my neck as a life-preserver.”

The ladies will save us,” said the old man ; that is, the best of them will for I make a difference between them. Make up to a good one and marry her, and your life will become much

more interesting.”

A momentary silence marked perhaps on the part of his auditors a sense of the magnanimity of this speech, for it was a secret neither for his son nor for his visitor that his own experiment in matrimony had not been a happy one. As he said, however, he made a difference ; and these words may have been intended as a confession of personal error; though of course it was not in place for either of his companions to remark that apparently the lady of his choice had not been one of the best.

“If I marry an interesting woman, I shall be interested: is that what you say ? Lord War burton asked. I am not at all keen about marrying your son misrepresented me ; but there is no knowing what an interesting woman might do with me.”

I should like to see your idea of an interesting woman,” said his friend.

My dear fellow, you can’t see ideas especially such ethereal ones as mine. If I could only see it myself that would be a great step in advance.”

Well, you may fall in love with whomsoever you please ; but you must not fall in love with my niece,” said the old man.

His son broke into a laugh. He will think you mean that as a provocation ! My dear father, you have lived with the English for thirty years, and you have picked up a good many i\£ the things they say. Hut you have never learned the things they don’t say !

“I say what I please,” the old man declared, with all his serenity.

I haven’t the honour of knowing your niece,” Lord War-' burton said. I think it is the first time I have heard of her.”

She is a niece of my wife’s ; Mrs. Touchett brings her to England.”

Then young Mr. Touchett explained. My mother, you know, has been spending the winter in America, and we are expecting her back. She writes that she has discovered a niece, and that she has invited her to come with her.”

“I see very kind of her/’ laid Lord Warburton. “Is the , jung lady interesting ?

THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY.

9

“We hardly know more about her than you ; my mother has not gone into details. She chiefly communicates with us by means of telegrams, and her telegrams are rather inscrutable. They say women don’t know how to write them, but my mother has thoroughly mastered the art of condensation. 4 Tired America, hot weather awful, return England with niece, first steamer, decent cabin/ That’s the sort of message we get from her that was the last that came. But there had been another before, which I think contained the first mention of the niece. ‘Changed hotel, very bad, impudent clerk, address here. Taken sister’s girl, died last year, go to Europe, two sisters, quite independent.* Over that my father and I have scarcely stopped puzzling; it seems to admit of so many interpretations.”

“There is one thing very clear in it,” said the old man; “she has given the hotel-clerk a dressing.”

I am not sure even of that, since he has driven her from the field. We thought at first that the sister mentioned might be the sister of the clerk ; but the subsequent mention of a niece seems to prove that the allusion is to one of my aunts. Then there was a question as to whose the two other sisters were ; they are probably two of my late aunt’s daughters. But who is 4 quite independent,* and in what sense is the term used 1 that point is not yet settled. Does the expression apply more particularly to the young lady my mother has adopted, or does it characterise her sisters equally 1 and is it used in a moral or in a financial sense 1 Does it mean that they have been left well off, or that they wish to be under no obligations 'l or does it simply mean that they are fond of their own way 1

Whatever else it means, it is pretty sure to mean that,” Mr. Touchett remarked.

You will see for yourself,” said Lord Warburton. " When does Mrs. Touchett arrive ?

“We are quite in the dark ; as soon as she can find a decent cabin. She may be waiting for it yet ; on the other hand, she may already have disembarked in England.”

44 In that case she would probably have telegraphed to you.**

“She never telegraphs when you would expect it only when you don’t,” said the old man. She likes to drop on me suddenly; she thinks she will find me doing something wrcrg. She has never done so yet, but she is not discouraged.”

It’s her independence,” her son explained, more favourably. u Whatever that of those young ladies may be, her own is a match for it. She likes to do everything for herself, and has no belief in any one’s power to help her. She thinks me of uo

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more use than a postage-stamp without gum, and she would never forgive me if 1 should presume to go to Liverpool to meet her.”

Will you at least let me know when your cousin arrives 1 9 Lord Warburton asked.

Only on the condition I have mentioned that you don:i fall in love with her ! Mr. Touchett declared.

“That strikes me as hard. Don’t yon think me good enough h

I think you too good because I shouldn’t like her to many you. She hasn’t come here to look for a husband, I hope ; so many young ladies are doing that, as if there were no good one3 at home. Then she is probably engaged ; American girls are usually engaged, I believe. Moreover, I am not sure, after all9 that you would be a good husband.”

Very likely she is engaged ; I have known a good many American girls, and they always were ; but I could never see that it made any difference, upon my word ! As for my being a good husband, I am not sure of that either ; one can but try !

Try as much as you please, but don’t try on my niece,” said the old man, whose opposition to the idea was broadly humorous.

Ah, well,” said Lord Warburton, with a humour broader still, perhaps, after all, she is* not worth trying on l”

II.

While this exchange of pleasantries took place between the two, Ralph Touchett wandered away a little, with his usual slouching gait, his hands in his pockets, and his little rowdyish errier at his heels. His face was turned towards the house, but .is eyes were bent, musingly, upon the lawn ; so that he had been an object of observation to a person who had just made her appearance in the doorway of the dwelling for some moments before he perceived her. His attention was called to her by the conduct of his dog, who had suddenly darted forward, with a little volley of shrill barks, in which the note of welcome, however, was more sensible than that of defiance. The person in question was a young lady, who seemed immedi- ately to interpret the greeting of the little terrier. He advanced with great rapidity, and stood at her feet, looking up and barking

THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY.

11

hard ; whereupon, without hesitation, she stooped and caught him in her hands, holding him face to face while he continued his joyous demonstration. His master now had had time to follow and to see that Bunchie’s new friend was a tall girl in a black dress, who at first sight looked pretty. She was bare-headed, as if she were staying in the house a fact which conveyed per- plexity to the son of its master, conscious of that immunity from visitors which had for some time been rendered necessary by the latter’s ill-health. Meantime the two other gentlemen had also taken note of the new-comer.

“Dear me, who is that strange woman V9 Mr. Touchett had asked. 0

“Perhaps it is Mrs. Touchett’s niece— the independent young lady,” Lord Warburton suggested. I think she must be, from the way she handles the dog.” £|

The collie, too, had now allowed his attention to be diverted, and he trotted toward the young lady in the doorway, slowly setting his tail in motion as he went.

But where is my wife, then 'l murmured the old man.

I suppose the young lady has left her somewhere : that’s a part of the independence.”

The girl spoke to Balph, smiling, while she still held up the terrier. Is this your little dog, sir ]

He was mine a moment ago ; but you have suddenly acquired a remarkable air of property in him.”

Couldn’t we share him i asked the girl. He’s such a little darling.”

Ralph looked at her a moment ; she was unexpectedly pretty. You may have him altogether,” he said.

The young lady seemed to have a great deal of confidence, both in herself and in others ; but this abrupt generosity made her blush. I ought to tell you that I am probably your cousin,” she murmured, putting down the dog. And here’s another ! she added quickly, as the collie came up.

Probably ? the young man exclaimed, laughing. I sup- posed it was quite settled ! Have you come with my mother % |

“Yes, half-an-hour ago.”

And has she deposited you and departed again ?

.No, she went straight tg her room ; and she told me that, if I should see you, I was to say to you that vou must come to her there at a quarter to seven.”

Tiie young man looked at his watch. Thank you very much , I shall be punctual.” And then he looked at his cousm

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u You are very welcome here,” he went on. “I am delighted to see you.”

She was looking at everything, with an eye that denoted quick perception at her companion, at the two dogs, at the two gentlemen under the trees, at the beautiful scene that surrounded her. I have never seen anything so lovely as this place,” she said. I have been all over the house ; it’s too enchanting.”

I am sorry you should have been here so long without our knowing it.”

Your mother told me that in England people arrived very quietly ; so I thought it was all right. Is one of those gentle- men your father h

Yes, the elder one the one sitting down,” said Ealph.

The young girl gave a laugh. I don’t suppose it’s the other. Who is the other 1

He is a friend of ours Lord Warburton.”

Oh, I hoped there would be a lord ; it’s just like a novel ! And then 0 you adorable creature ! she suddenly cried; stooping down and picking up the little terrier again.

She remained standing where they had met, making no offer to advance or to speak to Mr. Touchett, and while she lingered in the doorway, slim and charming, her interlocutor wondered whether she expected the old man to come and pay her his respects. American girls were used to a great deal of deference, and it had been intimated that this one had a high spirit Indeed, Ealph could see that in her face.

“Won’t you come and make acquaintance with my father'!” he nevertheless ventured to ask. He is old and infirm he doesn’t leave his chair.”

Ah, poor man, I am very sorry ! the girl exclaimed, immediately moving forward. I got the impression from your mother that he was rather rather strong.”

Ealph Touchett was silent a moment.

She has not seen him for a year.”

a Well, he has got a lovely place to sit. Come along, little dog*

It’s a dear old place,” said the young man, looking sidewise at his neighbour.

" What’s his name 1 she asked, her attention having reverted to the terrier again.

My father’s name 1

u Yes,” said the young lady, humorously ; but don’t tell him l asked you.”

They had come by this time to where old Mr. Touchett was

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sitting, and he slowly got up from his chair to introduce himself.

My mother has arrived,” said Ealph, and this is Miss Archer.”

The old man placed his two hands on her shoulders, looked at her a moment with extreme benevolence, and then gallantly kissed her.

6 It is a great pleasure to me to see you here ; but I wish yon had given us a chance to receive you.”

Oh, we were received,” said the girl. There were about a dozen servants in the hall. And there was an old woman curtseying at the gate.”

“We can do better than that if we have notice ! And the old man stood there, smiling, rubbing his hands, and slowly shaking his head at her. “But Mrs. Touchett doesn’t like receptions.”

She went straight to her room.”

“Yes -and locked herself in. She always does that. Well, I suppose I shall see her next week.” And Mrs. Touchett’a husband slowly resumed his former posture.

Before that,” said Miss Archer. She is coming down to dinner at eight o’clock. Don’t you forget a quarter to seven,” she added, turning with a smile to Balph.

What is to happen at a quarter to seven ]

I am to see my mother,” said Balph.

" Ah, happy boy ! the old man murmured. You must sit down you must have some tea,” he went on, addressing his wife’s niece.

They gave me some tea in my room the moment I arrived,” this young lady answered. I am sorry you are out of health,” she added, resting her eyes upon her venerable host.

Oh, I’m an old man, my dear; it’s time for me to be old. But I shall be the better for having you here.”

She had been looking all round her again at the lawn, the great trees, the reedy, silvery Thames, the beautiful old house ; and while engaged in this survey, she had also narrowly scruti- nized her companions ; a comprehensiveness of observation easily conceivable on the part of a young woman who was evidently both intelligent and excited. She had seated herself, and had put away the little dog ; her white hands, in her lap, were folded upon her black dress ; her head was erect, her eye brilliant, her flexible figure turned itself lightly this way and that, in sym- pathy with the alertness with which she evidently caught im- pressions. Her impressions were numerous, and they were all

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THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY.

reflected in a clear, still smile. I have never seen anything so beautiful as this,” she declared.

IPs looking very well/ 7 said Mr. Touchett. I know the way it strikes you. I have been through all that. But you are very beautiful yourself,” he added with a politeness by no means crudely jocular, and with the happy consciousness that his advanced age gave him the privilege of saying such things even to young girls who might possibly take alarm at them.

What degree of alarm this young girl took need not be exactly measured ; she instantly rose, however, with a blush which was not a refutation.

Oh yes, of course, Pm lovely ! she exclaimed quickly, with & little laughf How old is your house ? Is it Elizabethan ?

IPs early Tudor,” said Balph Touchett.

She turned toward him, watching his face a little. Early Tudor? How very delightful ! And I suppose there are a great many others.”

There are many much better ones.”

Don't say that, my son ! the old man protested. There is nothing better than this.”

I have got a very good one ; I think in some respects it's rather better,” said Lord Warburton, who as yet had not spoken, but who had kept an attentive eye upon Miss Archer. He bent towards her a little smiling ; he had an excellent manner with women. The girl appreciated it in an instant ; she had not for- gotten that this was Lord Warburton. I should like very much to show it to you,” he added.

Don't believe him,” cried the old man ; don't look at it ! It’s a wretched old barrack not to be compared with this.”

I don’t know I can't judge,” said the girl, smiling at Lord Warburton.

In this discussion, Balph Touchett took no interest whatever ; he stood with his hands in his pockets, looking greatly as if he should like to renew his conversation with his new-found cousin.

Are you very fond of dogs ? he inquired, by way of begin- ning ; and it was an awkward beginning for a clever man.

Very fond of them indeed.”

You must keep the terrier, you know,” he went on, still awkwardly.

I will keep him while I am here, with pleasure.”

“That will be for a long time, I hope.”

•* You are very kind. I hardly know. My aunt must settl* lhat.”

THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY.

II

I will settle it with her at a quarter to seven” And Ralph looked at his watch again.

“lam glad to he here at all,” said the girl.

I don’t believe you allow things to be settled for you.”

Oh yes ; if they are settled as I like them.”

I shall settle this as I like it,” said Ralph. * It’s most unaccountable that we should never have known you

I was there you had only to come and see me.”

There 1 Where do you mean 1

In the United States : in New York, and Albany, and othei places.”

I have been there all over, but I never saw you. I can’t make it out.”

Miss Archer hesitated a moment.

It was because there had been some disagreement between your mother and my father, after my mother's death, which took place when I was a child. In consequence of it, we never expected to see you.”

Ah, but I don’t embrace all my mother’s quarrels Heaven forbid 1 the young man cried. You have lately lost your father 1 he went on, more gravely.

Yes ; more than a year ago. After that my aunt was very- kind to me ; she came to see me, and proposed that L should come to Europe.”

I see,” said Ralph. She has adopted you.”

Adopted me?” The girl stared, and her blush came back to her, together with a momentary look of pain, which gave her interlocutor some alarm. He had under-estimated the effect of hia words. Lord Warburton, who appeared constantly desirous of a nearer view of Miss Archer, strolled toward the two cousins at the moment, and as he did so, she rested her startled eyes upon him. Oh, no ; she has not adopted me,” she said. I am not a candidate for adoption.”

I beg a thousand pardons,” Ealph murmured. I meant I meant He hardly knew what he meant.

You meant she has taken me up. Yes ; she likes to take people up. She has been very kind to me ; but,” she added, with a certain visible eagerness of desire to be explicit, I am very fond of my liberty.”

Are you talking about Mrs. Touchett ? the old man called out from his chair. Come here, my dear, and tell me about her. I am always thankful for information.”

The girl hesitated a moment, smiling.

She is really very benevolent,”