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BOOK XXVI

A WALK : A FOREIGN PORTRAIT : A SAIL : AND THE END

I

'Come, Isabel, come, Lucy ; we have not had a single walk together yet. It is cold, but clear ; and once out of the city, we shall find it sunny. Come : get ready now, and away for a stroll down to the wharf, and then for some of the steamers on the bay. No doubt, Lucy, you will find in the bay scenery some hints for that secret sketch you are so busily occupied with—ere real living sitters do come—and which you so devotedly work at, all alone and behind closed doors.'

Upon this, Lucy's original look of pale-rippling pleasantness and surprise—evoked by Pierre's unforeseen proposition to give himself some relaxation—changed into one of infinite, mute, but unrenderable meaning, while her swimming eyes gently, yet all-bewildered, fell to the floor.

'It is finished, then,' cried Isabel,—not unmindful of this by-scene, and passionately stepping forward so as to intercept Pierre's momentary rapt glance at the agitated Lucy,—'That vile book, it is finished !—Thank heaven ! '

'Not so,' said Pierre ; and, displacing all disguisements, a hectic unsummoned expression suddenly came to his face ;—' but ere that vile book be finished, I must get on some other element than earth. I have sat on earth's saddle till I am weary ; I must now vault over to the other saddle awhile. Oh, seems to me, there should be two ceaseless steeds for a bold man to ride,—