Page:Court Royal.djvu/76

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she was withdrawn from the sphere where she might have found a husband suitable in birth and fortune. She would grow up at Court Royal to be an old maid, a hanger-on of the ducal house, unable to endure the roughs and chills of life outside its walls.

In social intercourse men and women act and react on one another unconsciously. Men’s minds give to those of women the impulse they require, and women’s minds afford a corrective and softening influence to those of men. By daily association women are stimulated to mental activity, and men’s opinions are rounded and smoothed. From the clash of minds, male and female, the latter take body, the former acquire temper. Woman stimulates man’s imagination, man awakes her reason.

Through the Straits of Gibraltar flow two currents—one, setting outward, is warm, and light, and sweet; the other, setting inward, is cold, and heavy, and salt. It is the presence of these opposed currents gliding past each other that saves the Mediterranean from stagnating into a Dead Sea. It is the constant movement of the male and female currents, one giving warmth, the other salt, which preserves civilisation in purity and health. Lucy had suffered by her separation from her brother and father. She had lost mental and moral independence, and Worthivale and his son had lost the comforts of home and the polish which the presence of a lady can alone impart. The steward was unconscious of the sacrifice he had made, but his son saw and regretted it.

As Beavis was walking along the corridor towards Lord Saltcombe’s apartments, the General’s door opened and Lord Ronald appeared in his dressing-gown, a fez on his grey hair, and a pipe in his hand.

‘What, Beavis, you here this morning? No use going on to Saltcombe; he is not out of bed. Here, step into my room and have a chat till the lazy fellow is ready to receive you.’




CHAPTER IX.
LORD RONALD.

Lord Ronald Eveleigh, K.C.B., was a widower. He had lost both his wife and his children. His wife, a very sweet and beautiful woman, whom he had tenderly loved, had died of consumption, after having given him two children, a boy and