Page:Pierre.djvu/218

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204 PIERRE

tell me, can but corroborate and confirm. So go on, my dearest,—ay, my only sister.'

Isabel fixed her wonderful eyes upon him with a gaze of long impassionment ; then rose suddenly to her feet, and advanced swiftly toward him ; but more suddenly paused, and reseated herself in silence, and continued so for a time, with her head averted from him, and mutely resting on her hand, gazing out of the open casement upon the soft heat-lightning, occasionally revealed there.

She resumed anon.


II

'My brother, thou wilt remember that certain part of my story which in reference to my more childish years spent remote from here, introduced the gentleman—my—yes, our father, Pierre. I cannot describe to thee, for indeed, I do not myself comprehend how it was, that though at the time I sometimes called him my father, and the people of the house also called him so, sometimes when speaking of him to me ; yet—partly, I suppose, because of the extraordinary secludedness of my previous life—I did not then join in my mind with the word father, all those peculiar associations which the term ordinarily inspires in children. The word father only seemed a word of general love and endearment to me—little or nothing more ; it did not seem to involve any claims of any sort, one way or the other. I did not ask the name of my father ; for I could have had no motive to hear him named, except to individualise the person who was so peculiarly kind to me ; and individualised in that way he already was, since he was generally called by us the gentleman, and sometimes my father. As I have no reason to suppose that had I then or afterward, questioned the people of the house as to what more particular name my father went by in the world, they would have at all dis--