Page:Court Royal.djvu/148

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she said. ‘If these greenhouses were mine I would keep everyone out but myself, and I would spend my life in them, looking at the flowers and eating the grapes.’

‘You would not spare me a bunch?’

‘I would give you everything,’ said Joanna, vehemently.


‘Because I love you, and would want to make you love me.’

‘You ought to love the sick, the suffering, and the needy, and be ready to relieve them.’

‘They are nothing to me. They can do nothing for me.’

‘We are all one family, tied together by common blood, bound by mutual duties, members of one body; and the hand cannot say to the foot, “I have no need of you,” nor the head to the hand, “I have no need of you.”’

‘We are individuals,’ answered Joanna. ‘To look out for self is the law of life and of progress. I have heard Laz—I mean my late master—say that this it is which makes the United States so great and prosperous, that every man lives as an unit, cares nothing for his fellows, and beats his way through and over all who stand in his path. This it is which makes the old order fail, that every man under it was entangled in responsibilities to every man around him, above, below, and on his level, and was not free. The old order must give way to the new. That is what my master said.’

‘I do not like your theory, Joanna. It grates with my notions of right and wrong.’

‘I daresay not, my lady. You have been reared under the old principle of social life, I under the new. Each man for himself, my master said, is the motto of the coming age, and those who are hampered with the old doctrines of mutual responsibilities must go down.’

‘You are a very extraordinary girl.’

‘No, my lady, I am not. I am merely the child of the period, a representative of the coming age; there are thousands and tens of thousands like me, trained in the same school. To us belongs the future.’

Lady Grace Eveleigh sighed, and put her hand to her brow, unconsciously. ‘I have no doubt you are right,’ she said; ‘I feel rather than see that it is so. Yes—perhaps it is well. I do not know. I suppose I am prejudiced. I like the old order best.’

Joanna was frightened. She had spoken too boldly; not insolently, but confidently. She feared she had hurt her