Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/Evan Harrington - Part 28
EVAN HARRINGTON; or, HE WOULD BE A GENTLEMAN.
BY GEORGE MEREDITH.
CHAPTER XXXIV.A PAGAN SACRIFICE.
Three steps from the Countess's chamber-door, the knot of Evan's resolution began to slacken. The clear light of his simple duty grew cloudy and complex. His pride would not let him think that he was shrinking, but cried out in him, "Will you be believed?" and whispered that few would believe him guilty of such an act. Yet, while something said that full surely Lady Jocelyn would not, a vague dread that Rose might, threw him back on the luxury of her love and faith in him. He found himself hoping that his statement would he laughed at. Then why make it?
No: that was too blind a hope. Many would take him at his word; all—all save Lady Jocelyn! Rose the first! Because he stood so high with her now he feared the fall. Ah, dazzling pinnacle! our darlings shoot us up on a wondrous juggler's pole, and we talk familiarly to the stars, and are so much above everybody, and try to walk like creatures with two legs, forgetting that we have but a pin's point to stand on up there. Probably the absence of natural motion inspires the prophecy that we must ultimately come down: our unused legs wax morbidly restless. Evan thought it good that Rose should lift her head to look at him; nevertheless, he knew that Rose would turn from him the moment he descended from his superior station. Nature is wise in her young children, though they wot not of it, and are always trying to rush away from her. They escape their wits sooner than their instincts.
But was not Rose involved in him, and part of him? Had he not sworn never to renounce her? What was this but a betrayal?
Go on, young man: fight your fight. The little imps pluck at you: the big giant assails you: the seductions of the soft-mouthed syren are not Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/206 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/207 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/208 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/209