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EOFFREY AMBERLEY family. Families are tolerant of their
was at an age when fools; they may be proud of, but they alit did not strike ways resent, an intellectual superior in
him as surpris- their bosom. Not that the Amberleys ing that every- were in the least proud of Geoffrey; they thing should merely resented him. They might have happen exactly been proud of him if he had done well the as he wanted things that they cared to do, but the things it to happen. Geoffrey did well were the things no AmProbably other berley cared to do at all. He painted pic
things, too, he tures; and no real Amberley would have thought to himself, would go on happen- so taken to heart the absence of approval ing in the same satisfactory way, though of other Amberleys. They simply went he doubted if he should ever feel again their way; and if anybody got into it, quite the same high pitch of satisfaction they knocked him down. and ecstasy.
But Geoffrey cared intensely what his It was n't only that he was happy. family thought of him, and the things Other young men had been fairly well that got into Geoffrey's way could n't be off and engaged to be married to girls knocked down. They were awkward, inwith whom they were in love; but what tangible things that stuck into his heart distinguished Geoffrey's happiness was of hearts forever. that what pleased Geoffrey should, for What he did n't like was to see anythe first time in his life, please the rest thing ugly; what he did like with an emof his family.
barrassing delight was to see things that It is an isolating thing in a world of were beautiful. The rest of his family average intelligence to be stupid; but it is did n't know what was beautiful and a far more isolated position, it is even a what was not. They had a simpler standhostile one-to be cleverer than your own ard. If one liked pork, one killed pigs, Copyright, 1917, by THE CENTURY CO. All rights reserved.
and there was an end of it. This indeli- Sir Thomas understood both his other bility of fact seemed to Geoffrey sublime, sons, Tom, who helped him with the but he never reached it. He continued to estate and kept hounds, and Billy, who like pork and to try to prevent pigs being was the fast one of the family. There killed. It was an attitude that made the had always been a fast Amberley. Billy whole of his family suspicious of him. spent too much money, drank too much Lady Amberley had a private theory that whisky, and liked driving unchaperoned Geoffrey was not so strong as the others, young ladies with big hats and uncertain and always urged him to take second help- hair upon the front seat of a four-in-hand. ings at meals; but Sir Thomas, with Sir Thomas knew there was no harm in sterner insight, felt that Geoffrey was Billy, but a son who neither kept hounds morally unsound.
nor caused scandals might be up to any "Mark my words," he said to his wife, trick. with an unaccountable flight of imagery, Sir Thomas did not understand his "one of these days Geoffrey will put his daughters, because it is not necessary to foot into it."
understand girls, - they get on all right It was at Oxford that his foot first pre- without it, - but he was very generous to sented itself as off the proper course.
He them, and allowed each of them to keep a took a very good second, but he could no dog. longer keep it a secret that he knew suc- Now Geoffrey looked forward to his cessfully how to draw. A magazine actu- interview with his father for the first time ally took some of his illustrations.
in his life. Sir Thomas might not apThe Amberleys bore it extremely well prove of French prizes or Post-impressionfrom the moment they saw it was going ist art, but he would be quite certain to to pay, but they never liked it. There is approve of Emily Dering. The whole all the difference in the world between a family approved of Emily. His mother peculiarity that takes things off your considered her a distinguished young woshoulders and a peculiarity that is likely man, and Lady Amberley did not easily to put them on; still, even the less nox- distinguish young women. She lumped ious kind of peculiarity is a peculiarity. them generally into two classes, the kind
Geoffrey's earnings took him to Paris, that are all right and nobody ever looks and kept him there for two years with at, and the kind that everybody looks at very little assistance from a belated al- and who are not very good for one's boys. lowance. Sir Thomas was n't stingy, but Emily, on the contrary, was both pleashe declined to see any necessity for Geof- ant to the eye and yet could be desired to frey's going to Paris when there were make one's boys wiser. Geoffrey's sisters plenty of subjects to draw in England. idolized her. She chose their Mudie
When he found that Geoffrey was books for them and lived in London, and really getting on, he gave him an extra yet when she came to stay with them she hundred a year. Geoffrey did n't need it walked miles and played an excellent then, and there had been earlier times game of tennis. She had had four hunwhen he had needed it; but he wrote a dred a year left her by her grandmother, suitable letter of thanks, and returned to and would be an heiress when her parents England a few months later with a pic- died. They were rather young and very ture that had won the much-coveted Sa- pleasant parents, and great personal friends lon prize.
of Sir Thomas and Lady Amberley's; Sir Thomas inspected his son's work in still, there was no harm in remembering London; he disliked it very much, but he that their death would set loose an indetiat once bought two of the least objection- nite supply of remarkably good investable and quietest pictures, and gave them ments. as wedding presents to his nieces. They The point that filled Geoffrey with surhad to have something.
prise as well as with delight was that he
himself liked the marriage, liked with ar- ing you." Sir Thomas liked to say he dor, for the first time he could remember, was expecting people when they kept an what all his family would accept with appointment which they had previously satisfaction.
made. It crystallized the transaction. He adored Emily. She was clever and Geoffrey should have replied: charming, and yet never gave him the im- "Yes, it is three o'clock.” Instead of pression of yesterday's cigarette ashes and which he said: "It 's the jolliest day in insufficiently combed hair, which he had the world; all the trees are out in the supposed were the necessary accompani- park. Don't you want the window open?" ments of intellectual women. Still less Sir Thomas looked pained. Trees were did she remind him of those awful hours, naturally out in the park,- where else under mulberry-trees, at garden parties, should they be?-and he was an open-air with some of his sisters' less enlightened man who very much disliked any of it friends. These young women had looked getting into houses. He felt that Geofbeautifully clean, but their innumerable frey should have known that if he had baths had apparently washed the color out wanted the window open it would be of their minds.
open. Emily was quite as clean, but she had "Well,” he said a little briskly, shakretained her color. She had golden- ing his head toward the window, “I hope bronze hair, blue eyes so far apart that nothing is wrong. You 'd better sit down they gave to her bright young face an air and tell me all about it. Your letter of noble benevolence, and a complexion
asked for an interview, but you gave me which was made up of sun and air and no idea what it was you wanted. You very faint rose color. She would n't have know I am not fond of surprises." fitted into Geoffrey's idea for a portrait; Geoffrey did n't sit down. He moved he preferred less prosperous and more
about the room. He was aware of his curious types. Emily was like one of his father's pale-blue eyes following him with father's favorite works of art-a very disapproval. Sir Thomas never moved round, very ripe peach lying in a sunbeam. about a room unless he wished to put
“That,” Sir Thomas had said to his something down or pick something up. son on one occasion, brandishing his stick "It's not bad,” Geoffrey asserted within an inch of this satisfactory canvas, slowly. "On the whole, I am quite sure "is my idea of a picture."
you 'll like it. It 's simply Emily." It had n't been Geoffrey's idea of a pic- Sir Thomas cleared his throat. ture, but it had very soon become his idea "Simply Emily," he repeated. "I don't of a wife. He had asked his father for quite follow. Are you alluding to a musian interview at his club, and Sir Thomas cal comedy which you wish me to athad come up for the occasion.
tend?” “This time," Sir Thomas had said to Geoffrey sighed impatiently. That was his wife, “there 's sure to be trouble; if it the worst of the Amberleys. If you were was n't trouble, he would say what it perfectly succinct and to the point, they was.”
did n't understand what you meant, and Sir Thomas had prepared for trouble if you gave a subject the right amount of by a solid lunch and by reading three even expression, they understood it still less. more solid leaders in the “Times." He “I mean,” he said, "that there 's nothwas still immersed in this guide to human ing in the world I want as much as Emknowledge when he saw Geoffrey burst- ily, and that I 've got her. I can't explain ing into the room. Geoffrey always came what she sees in me, but I suppose she into a room as if he wanted to get there, sees something. Anyhow, she's taken me and all the rest of the family came into It only happened yesterday-by the rooms as if they did n't.
Serpentine in the gardens - the wonderful “Ah,” said Sir Thomas, “I was expect- bit by the bridge."
Sir Thomas gazed solemnly into the what Emily herself possesses, will bring space between two leather arm-chairs. your income up to a thousand a year. It
"Has Emily Dering consented to marry is not very much, but many people have you ?” he asked.
begun married life successfully upon even Geoffrey did n't like to explain that he less. When is the marriage to take place?" and Emily had never mentioned marriage. "Oh, sometime or other, I suppose," The understanding at which they had ar- said Geoffrey, restlessly. Of course he rived had glided grotesquely over details wanted to be married, but he did n't like
, and had taken the form of their simply the idea of a marriage taking place; it seeing themselves always together, some- made him think of an appointment at the where near the Serpentine, under the dentist's. trees. Geoffrey felt instinctively that this "I should settle the date as soon as posview of an engagement would hardly ap- sible if I were you,” said Sir Thomas. peal to Sir Thomas.
"This is the last of April; June is an ex"Yes, it 's all right, sir," he explained; cellent month for a wedding. Emily will “and what seems to me awfully jolly is of course fix her own date, but she will that you 'll like it yourself." ”
not do so unless you urge it upon her. I Geoffrey regarded his father a little disapprove of long engagements. She will anxiously. Delighted people seldom look be married from Campden Hill, of course; so solemnly at leather arm-chairs.
probably, I should suppose, at St. Mary “I think you extremely fortunate,” said Abbott's, Kensington." Sir Thomas, gravely, "to have won the "Oh, damn St. Mary Abbott's, Kenaffection of so charming and sensible a sington!” exclaimed Geoffrey, unexpectperson. One can only hope you will re- edly. Quite apart from the fact that it tain it. You have made a very wise sounded like a line of poetry, no Amberchoice, but one can hardly expect the Der- ley would have dreamed of damning a ings to feel the same. I shall, however, church. They damned dogs, boot-laces, assist them to do so, as far as it lies in or butlers. my power, by settling two hundred a year Sir Thomas was seriously annoyed.
"If you are going to approach your marriage in this tone,” he said severely, "I shall doubt its ever taking place."
“I can't think why you always do doubt me," said Geoffrey, impetuously kicking at a footstool. “It 's jolly unfair. You seem to suppose I don't know my own mind; and yet I always have known it, and done what I wanted with it as well."
"This is the first time," said Sir Thomas, dryly, “that I have ever known you wish to do a really sensible thing; you cannot, therefore, be surprised if I am anxious as to whether you will succeed in doing it or not.”
"If Emily were sensible, I dare say I should n't do it,” said Geoffrey, reck
lessly. “Fortunately, she 's adorable.” "That,' said Sir Thomas, 'is my idea
Sir Thomas folded the “Times” careof a picture”?
fully and laid it on the nearest table. upon Emily when the marriage takes "You will find," he said, "in after life place. This, with what I already give that Emily is even more sensible than she you and your own earnings, added to is adorable."
"Oh, damn after life!" said Geoffrey, thoroughly, as she did everything she even more recklessly.
thought was right. Human nature was her particular hobby; but it was notice
Emily's house was n't in the least like other London houses. It was half-way up Campden Hill, and had a little red door in the wall. If you opened the door, there was a garden, a real lawn, with velvety green turf and with trees at an agreeable distance from the windows. A bigger house in a row would have been considerably cheaper, but big houses in rows have an air of five meals a day, family prayers, and heavy balances in banks. Emily's house never reminded any one of an income or lent itself to the congregational use of prayer. You were quite safe as to meals,- the cook was French and excellent,-but they came upon you unawares, without the menace of a gong.
The house was full of flowers and light. There was very little furniture, and what there was, was unexpectedly comfortable. It would have been incredible if the house had not contained a good and beautiful woman. Strictly speaking, perhaps, Emily was not beautiful, but no one was ever
"Emily's house . . . had a little red door strict in the appreciation of Emily; her
in the wall" goodness was undeniable. She was neither tall nor short, and it must be confessed able that she generally preferred unhappy once and for all that she was not slim. people, for whom much could be done, to She paid eight guineas a pair for her stays, happy people, who like to be left alone. and was wise to do so. She had wonder- The unhappy people who prefer to be left fully fine hair, which managed never to alone Emily had never had the misfortune appear brassy; her nose and her mouth to meet, or if she had, she had mercifully were not good and never mattered.
overlooked them. She had sufficient viBut to whatever you attributed Emily's tality to face the victims of an earthquake, charm, it was there with all the force, and but one could imagine her losing very with none of the inconveniences, of an quickly her interest in the earlier stages avalanche. Her radiance penetrated the of the garden of Eden. When Emily was house, which seemed like an advance- sympathetic, and she was almost always guard of Emily's; it hung about her sympathetic, nothing could stop her, not clothes, which she bought with industry even the object of her sympathy. and inspiration once every year in Paris. Falling in love had not stopped her; it They were the kind of clothes possible had simply signaled to her as a mission only to people who have command of a the needs of less happy lovers. She would restrained taste and an extravagant ex- carry her personal happiness like a torch penditure.
into dark places, and Geoffrey would Emily thought it a woman's duty to carry his with her. look as well as she could, and she did it She took an enormous interest in Geof