Page:Pierre.djvu/94

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80 PIERRE

departure, was hovering near the door ; the setting sun, streaming through the window, bathed her whole form in golden loveliness and light ; that wonderful, and most vivid transparency of her clear, Welsh complexion, now fairly glowed like rosy snow. Her flowing, white, blue-ribboned dress, fleecily invested her. Pierre almost thought that she could only depart the house by floating out of the open window, instead of actually stepping from the door. All her aspect to him, was that moment touched with an indescribable gaiety, buoyancy, fragility, and an unearthly evanescence.

Youth is no philosopher. Not into young Pierre's heart did there then come the thought, that as the glory of the rose endures but for a day, so the full bloom of girlish airiness and bewitchingness, passes from the earth almost as soon ; as jealously absorbed by those frugal elements, which again incorporate that translated girlish bloom, into the first expanding flower-bud. Not into young Pierre, did there then steal that thought of utmost sadness ; pondering on the inevitable evanescence of all earthly loveliness ; which makes the sweetest things of life only food for ever-devouring and omnivorous melancholy. Pierre's thought was different from this, and yet somehow akin to it.

This to be my wife ? I that but the other day weighed an hundred and fifty pounds of solid avoirdupois ;—I to wed this heavenly fleece ? Methinks one husbandly embrace would break her airy zone, and she exhale upward to that heaven whence she hath hither come, condensed to mortal sight. It cannot be ; I am of heavy earth, and she of airy light. By heaven, but marriage is an impious thing !

Meanwhile, as these things ran through his soul, Mrs. Glendinning also had thinkings of her own.

'A very beautiful tableau,' she cried, at last, artisti--