BOOK III. WAITING FOR DEATH.
25. CHAPTER XXV.
"Love seeketh not itself to please,
Nor for itself hath any care
But for another gives its ease
And builds a heaven in hell's despair.
. . . . . . .
Love seeketh only self to please,
To bind another to its delight,
Joys in another's loss of ease,
And builds a hell in heaven's despite."
--W. BLAKE: Songs of Experience
Fred Vincy wanted to arrive at Stone Court when Mary could not
expect him, and when his uncle was not down-stairs in that case
she might be sitting alone in the wainscoted parlor. He left his
horse in the yard to avoid making a noise on the gravel in front,
and entered the parlor without other notice than the noise of the
door-handle. Mary was in her usual corner, laughing over Mrs. Piozzi's
recollections of Johnson, and looked up with the fun still in her face.
It gradually faded as she saw Fred approach her without speaking,
and stand before her with his elbow on the mantel-piece, looking ill.
She too was silent, only raising her eyes to him inquiringly.
"Mary," he began, "I am a good-for-nothing blackguard."
"I should think one of those epithets would do at a time," said Mary,
trying to smile, but feeling alarmed.
"I know you will never think well of me any more. You will think
me a liar. You will think me dishonest. You will think I didn't
care for you, or your father and mother. You always do make
the worst of me, I know."
"I cannot deny that I shall think all that of you, Fred, if you give
me good reasons. But please to tell me at once what you have done.
I would rather know the painful truth than imagine it."
"I owed money--a hundred and sixty pounds. I asked your father to put
his name to a bill. I thought it would not signify to him. I made
sure of paying the money myself, and I have tried as hard as I could.
And now, I have been so unlucky--a horse has turned out badly--
I can only pay fifty pounds. And I can't ask my father for the money:
he would not give me a farthing. And my uncle gave me a hundred a
little while ago. So what can I do? And now your father has no ready
money to spare, and your mother will have to pay away her ninety-two
pounds that she has saved, and she says your savings must go too.
You see what a--"