Page:Pierre.djvu/469

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

LUCY AT THE APOSTLES' 455

herself ; she had been moved to it by all-encompassing influences above, around, and beneath. She felt no pain for her own condition ; her only suffering was sympathetic. She looked for no reward ; the essence of well-doing was the consciousness of having done well without the least hope of reward. Concerning the loss of worldly wealth and sumptuousness, and all the brocaded applauses of drawing-rooms ; these were no loss to her, for they had always been valueless. Nothing was she now renouncing ; but in acting upon her present inspiration she was inheriting everything. Indifferent to scorn, she craved no pity. As to the question of her sanity, that matter she referred to the verdict of angels, and not to the sordid opinions of man. If anyone protested that she was defying the sacred counsels of her mother, she had nothing to answer but this : that her mother possessed all her daughterly deference, but her unconditional obedience was elsewhere due. Let all hope of moving her be immediately, and once for all, abandoned. One only thing could move her ; and that would only move her, to make her forever immovable ;—that thing was death.

Such wonderful strength in such wonderful sweetness ; such inflexibility in one so fragile, would have been matter for marvel to any observer. But to her mother it was very much more ; for, like many other superficial observers, forming her previous opinion of Lucy upon the slightness of her person, and the dulcetness of her temper, Mrs. Tartan had always imagined that her daughter was quite incapable of any such daring act. As if sterling heavenliness were incompatible with heroicness. These two are never found apart. Nor, though Pierre knew more of Lucy than anyone else, did this most singular behaviour in her fail to amaze him. Seldom even had the mystery of Isabel fascinated him more, with a fascination par--