« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
But the greeting over, the Earl attempted nothing further; and, taking his seat near Yolande, he left all the talking to Mrs. Villaroy and to Colyton. Perhaps encouraged by Yolande's kind look of approbation, he said, in an under and confidential tone“Do you know, cousin Yolande, that I met Bet and Bounce, and the other brown dog, down in the lane leading to the mill, ever so far off, and when they saw me they sat down at Randal's gate, and pretended they were waiting there for somebody."
“Really!" Yolande answered quickly, and trying to change the conversation, added, “Have you been walking far ?”
“Oh! dear, no," the Earl answered, “I knew it was near the dogs' dinner-time, and so I brought them all back, and then I wanted luncheon; so I took some bread and cold meat, and ate it with Rollo in the por
tico. I wanted to watch and find out, why the three other dogs wanted to walkout alone.”
Yolande blushed for her cousin's simplicity; but Mrs. Villaroy said, laughing, “My dear Villaroy, you must not quiz us by pretending that dogs can have anything like plan in their movements.”
The Earl never could speak to his aunt, and so did not attempt it now. Colyton goodtemperedly answered for him; saying, that if dogs were watched as closely and philosophically as Huber had studied ants and bees, much that was astonishing would be found out respecting them; and added with warmth, and really speaking from his feelings—"Beautiful creatures ! I love their sweet listening eyes and extraordinary discriminations better than half the talk of my fellow-bipeds; and could say to them with the poet
Oh! fair half souls, capacious of full blessing.'”
“Does that mean they will go to heaven ?" Lord Villaroy said timidly; but with a quickness rare in him, and forgetting the reserve he usually evinced to strangers. “I know they can see ghosts, and somebody once told me, that dogs do go with Indians, when they are dead, to happy hunting-grounds. I wish our dogs went with us. Do you think if they were very, very good, they could ?”
“Oh! my dear Lord, it is impossible for me to speak or think on such a subject,” Colyton answered. “Thus much I believe, that such exquisite organization, such good common sense, such perfect honesty, and such enduring love, must make a heaven to them of this earth, even if a future is denied them. And wo-betide the man who should interrupt it by cruelty or unkindness.”
There was something touching in the
eagerness with which Lord Villaroy listened to Colyton, whose words, by chance hitting on the one passion of his sickly existence, seemed to elicit a show of pleasure he rarely exhibited. He so far stepped from his usual timidity, as to ask him if he would like him to walk back to Stokebree with him, and then he would have all his dogs out to walk with them. Colyton accepted the offer, and they left together.
With this beginning, Yolande was not greatly surprised to find Mr. Colyton one of the dinner guests that evening. But she was pleased and amused by the affection shewn towards him by the Earl.
In the evening she found herself some minutes alone with Colyton in the billiardroom. Taking a mace, and making semblance to hit the balls, she asked archly"Are you really interested in Villaroy ?
or is it because”-she hesitated. He took up her words, “or is it because he is your cousin that I pay him attention ? that is what you would say. And do you think I could so readily feign ?” There was a flash in his eye, which showed the supposition annoyed him; but he continued without further reference to her words~" Lord Villaroy establishes an idea, which has often occurred to me, that the less the mind is filled by abtruse and abstract studies, the quicker are its perceptions into animal instincts; while the love which we so often see the creature manifest to man, seems more direct, the less his own nature is departed from. By Jupiter ! I was almost tempted to envy your cousin to-day on seeing him sitting on the grass by the side of that princely creature Rollo; who, with his head pressed against his master's, looked round with a