Page:Gaskell - North and South, vol. I, 1855.djvu/52

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38
NORTH AND SOUTH.

amber foliage, so perfectly motionless as that!" pointing to some of the great forest trees which shut in the garden as if it were a nest.

"You must please to remember that our skies are not always as deep a blue as they are now. We have rain, and our leaves do fall, and get sodden: though I think Helstone is about as perfect a place as any in the world. Recollect how you rather scorned my description of it one evening in Harley Street: 'a village in a tale.'"

"Scorned, Margaret! That is rather a hard word."

"Perhaps it is. Only I know I should have liked to have talked to you of what I was very full at the time, and you—what must I call it, then?—spoke disrespectfully of Helstone as a mere village in a tale."

"I will never do so again," said he, warmly. They turned the corner of the walk.

"I could almost wish, Margaret——" he stopped and hesitated. It was so unusual for the fluent lawyer to hesitate that Margaret looked up at him, in a little state of questioning wonder; but in an instant—from what about him she could not tell—she wished herself back with her mother—her father—anywhere away from him, for she was sure he was going to say something to which she should not know what to reply. In another moment the strong pride that was in her came to conquer her sudden agitation, which she hoped he had not perceived. Of course she could answer, and answer the right thing; and it was poor and despicable of her to shrink from hearing any speech, as if she