"You hardly understand what our life has been," said Priscilla; "but the truth is that we had no right to receive you in such a house as this. It has not been our way of living, and it cannot continue to be so. It is not wonderful that people should talk of us. Had it been called your house, it might have been better." "And what will you do now?" asked Nora.
"Beautiful, isn't it?" she said. Denis preferred not to hazard an opinion, but uttered a non-committal "H'm." "Ah, it's a fine book this, a beautiful book," said Priscilla, as she let the pages flick back, one by one, from under her thumb. "And here's the passage about the Lotus Pool. He compares the Soul to a Lotus Pool, you know." She held up the book again and read.
"Innocent!" he exclaimed, passionately "if you would only listen to reason " She shook her head. "I never could!" she declared, with an odd little air of penitent self-depreciation "People who ask you to listen to reason are always so desperately dull! Even Priscilla! when she asks you to 'listen to reason, she's in the worst of tempers!
Trevelyan had at last allowed Priscilla to explain how it had come to pass that she had told her brother that it would be better both for her mother and for herself that the existing arrangements should be brought to an end, and there had come to be an agreement between them that they should all part in amity. But the conversation on the Sunday evening was very difficult.
Then Betty said they must go, and Aunt Priscilla tartly rejoined that they might look in and see whether she was dead or alive. "Can I come and see Solomon again?" asked Doris. "Of course, since Solomon is head of the house." "Thank you," returned Doris simply, not understanding the sarcasm. "Wonderful how Solomon liked little missy," said Polly, straightening the chairs and restoring order.
I said I knew not what might meet me here, and but at long and at last I promised to wait until the first ship had followed us, and if Jacques came in her I would would listen to him again." "And that was all thy promise, maiden?" "Ay, and enough, for before we landed on yonder Rock, and 't was Mary Chilton and not thee, John, who first skipt ashore" "Oh, mind not that just now, Priscilla."
And now Alden hasting upon his errand found that Priscilla had already been warned by Helen Billington of the proposed feast, and with Mistress Brewster's consent had arranged the tables in the Common house, and added to the heavier viands some delicate dishes of her own composition, finishing by making a kettle of plum-porridge whereon the women were to regale themselves in the Brewster kitchen while their lords feasted in the Common house.
'It appears to me, you're on the road of Priscilla Graves and Pempton, observed Simeon. 'Strike off Priscilla's viands and friend Pempton's couple of glasses, and there's your aristocracy established; but with rather a dispersed recognition of itself. 'Upon my word, you talk like old Colney, except for a twang of your own, said Victor. 'Colney sours at every fresh number of that Serial.
I could not turn away my own eyes, but hoped that nobody, save Zenobia and myself, was witnessing this picture. It is before me now, with the evening twilight a little deepened by the dusk of memory. "Come hither, Priscilla," said Zenobia. "I have something to say to you." She spoke in little more than a whisper. But it is strange how expressive of moods a whisper may often be.
Curtis had something pleasant to tell me about the misfortunes of my enemies, so I listened attentively. It was a tale of western love, and its course was no smoother in Illinois than in any less enlightened country of old Europe. Miss Priscilla reckoned she could hoe her own row. She and Mr. Sellars conducted the Common School at Dresden with great success and harmony.