The Daisy Chain or Aspirations
While I, thy dearest, sat apart,
And felt thy triumphs were as mine,
And lov'd them more than they were thine.
That was a week of weeks; the most memorable week in Ethel's life, spent in
indefatigable sight-seeing. College Chapels, Bodleian Library, Taylor Gallery,
the Museum, all were thoroughly studied, and, if Flora had not dragged the
party on, in mercy to poor George's patience, Ethel would never have got
through a day's work.
Indeed, Mr. Ogilvie, when annoyed at being hurried in going over Merton
Chapel with her, was heard to whisper that he acted the part of policeman, by
a perpetual "move on"; and as Ethel recollected the portly form and wooden
face of the superintendent at Stoneborough, she was afraid that the
comparison would not soon be forgotten. Norman Ogilvie seemed to consider
himself bound to their train as much as his namesake, or, as on the second
morning, Norman reported his reasoning, it was that a man must walk about
with somebody on Commemoration week, and that it was a comfort to do so
with ladies who wore their bonnets upon their heads, instead of, like most of
those he met, remind him of what Cock Robin said to Jenny Wren in that
matrimonial quarrel, when
Robin, he grew angry, Hopped upon a twig--
Flora was extremely delighted, and, in matronly fashion, told her sister that
people were always respected and admired who had the strength of mind to
resist unsuitable customs. Ethel laughed in answer, and said she thought it
would take a great deal more strength of mind to go about with her whole
visage exposed to the universal gaze; and, woman-like, they had a thorough
gossip over the evils of the "backsliding" head-gear.
Norman had retreated from it into the window, when Flora returned to the
charge about Harvey Anderson. She had been questioning their old friend Mr.
Everard, and had learned from him that the cause of the hesitation with
which his name had been received was that he had become imbued with
some of the Rationalistic ideas current in some quarters. He seldom met
Norman May without forcing on him debates, which were subjects of great
interest to the hearers, as the two young men were considered as the most
distinguished representatives of their respective causes, among their own
immediate contemporaries. Norman's powers of argument, his eloquence,
readiness, and clearness, were thought to rank very high, and, in the opinion
of Mr. Everard, had been of great effect in preventing other youths from
being carried away by the specious brilliancy of his rival.