"I question things but do not find
One that will answer to my mind:
And all the world appears unkind."
Gwendolen was glad that she had got through her interview with Klesmer before
meeting her uncle and aunt. She had made up her mind now that there were only
disagreeables before her, and she felt able to maintain a dogged calm in the face
of any humiliation that might be proposed.
The meeting did not happen until the Monday, when Gwendolen went to the
rectory with her mamma. They had called at Sawyer's Cottage by the way, and
had seen every cranny of the narrow rooms in a mid-day light, unsoftened by
blinds and curtains; for the furnishing to be done by gleanings from the rectory
had not yet begun.
"How shall you endure it, mamma?" said Gwendolen, as they walked away. She
had not opened her lips while they were looking round at the bare walls and
floors, and the little garden with the cabbage-stalks, and the yew arbor all dust
and cobwebs within. "You and the four girls all in that closet of a room, with the
green and yellow paper pressing on your eyes? And without me?"
"It will be some comfort that you have not to bear it too, dear."
"If it were not that I must get some money, I would rather be there than go to be a
"Don't set yourself against it beforehand, Gwendolen. If you go to the palace you
will have every luxury about you. And you know how much you have always
cared for that. You will not find it so hard as going up and down those steep
narrow stairs, and hearing the crockery rattle through the house, and the dear
"It is like a bad dream," said Gwendolen, impetuously. "I cannot believe that my
uncle will let you go to such a place. He ought to have taken some other steps."
"Don't be unreasonable, dear child. What could he have done?"
"That was for him to find out. It seems to me a very extraordinary world if people
in our position must sink in this way all at once," said Gwendolen, the other
worlds with which she was conversant being constructed with a sense of fitness
that arranged her own future agreeably.