And now, except during official hours, I was entirely without control 鈥?without the influences of any decent household around me. I have said something of the comedy of such life, but it certainly had its tragic aspect. Turning it all over in my own mind, as I have constantly done in after years, the tragedy has always been uppermost. And so it was as the time was passing. Could there be any escape from such dirt? I would ask myself; and I always answered that there was no escape. The mode of life was itself wretched. I hated the office. I hated my work. More than all I hated my idleness. I had often told myself since I left school that the only career in life within my reach was that of an author, and the only mode of authorship open to me that of a writer of novels. In the journal which I read and destroyed a few years since, I found the matter argued out before I had been in the Post Office two years. Parliament was out of the question. I had not means to go to the Bar. In Official life, such as that to which I had been introduced, there did not seem to be any opening for real success. Pens and paper I could command. Poetry I did not believe to be within my grasp. The drama, too, which I would fain have chosen, I believed to be above me. For history, biography, or essay writing I had not sufficient erudition. But I thought it possible that I might write a novel. I had resolved very early that in that shape must the attempt be made. But the months and years ran on, and no attempt was made. And yet no day was passed without thoughts of attempting, and a mental acknowledgment of the disgrace of postponing it. What reader will not understand the agony of remorse produced by such a condition of mind? The gentleman from Mecklenburgh Square was always with me in the morning 鈥?always angering me by his hateful presence 鈥?but when the evening came I could make no struggle towards getting rid of him. A week or two later the same kind doctor discovered that[Pg 239] his patient was fast losing ground. Her strength had flagged considerably in a short time. He recommended change of scene. Her own reflection. Was that really herself, that ghastly[Pg 312] image which the glass gave back to her? The reflection of a woman with livid cheeks and blanched lips, with swollen eyelids, and dark rings of purple round the haggard eyes, and hair rough and tangled as Medusa's locks, and bare shoulders from which the stained satin bodice had slipped away. Her wedding-gown! Could that defiled garment鈥攖he long folds of the once shining satin, draggled and dripping with sea-water鈥攃ould these tawdry rags be the wedding-gown she had put on in her proud and happy innocence in the old bedroom at Dinan, with mother, and servants, and a useful friend or two helping and hindering? 鈥楽he has never mentioned her father to me. Was he鈥攚ell, the sort of man whom the County Club would not have blackballed?鈥? 久久色,综合,久久色 综合,久久色,久久色综合 | 色鬼88 CHAPTER XXII. Keeling had that faculty, which had stood him in such good stead all his life, of being able to make up his mind quickly when all the data were put before him. He did not hesitate now, and ten minutes after, when the details of the ownership and present lease were in his possession, he had authorised his agent to purchase for him. I have repented, she cried piteously. "My life has been one long repentance ever since my sin." It might seem strange that Isola should turn from the story of the Evangelists to the works of a poet whose human sympathies were so wrung by the evil that has been wrought in the name of the Cross that he was blind to the infinitely greater good which Christianity has accomplished for mankind. Shelley saw the blood of the martyrs, not as a sublime testimony to the Godlike power of faith, not as a sacrifice rich in after-fruits, sad seed of a joyous harvest鈥攂ut as the brutal outcome of man's cruelty, using any name, Christ, or[Pg 255] Buddha, Mahomet, or Brahma鈥攁s the badge of tyranny, the sanction to torture and to slay.