The Well - Beloved
She Fails To Vanish Still
Pierston had not turned far back towards the castle when he was overtaken by Somers
and the man who carried his painting lumber. They paced together to the door; the man
deposited the articles and went away, and the two walked up and down before entering.
'I met an extremely interesting woman in the road out there,' said the painter.
'Ah, she is! A sprite, a sylph; Psyche indeed!'
'I was struck with her.'
'It shows how beauty will out through the homeliest guise.'
'Yes, it will; though not always. And this case doesn't prove it, for the lady's attire was in
the latest and most approved taste.'
'Oh, you mean the lady who was driving?'
'Of course. What, were you thinking of the pretty little cottage-girl outside here? I did
meet her, but what's she? Very well for one's picture, though hardly for one's fireside.
'Is Mrs. Pine-Avon. A kind, proud woman, who'll do what people with no pride would
not condescend to think of. She is leaving Budmouth to- morrow, and she drove across to
see me. You know how things seemed to be going with us at one time? But I am no good
to any woman. She's been very generous towards me, which I've not been to her. . . .
She'll ultimately throw herself away upon some wretch unworthy of her, no doubt.'
'Do you think so?' murmured Somers. After a while he said abruptly, 'I'll marry her
myself, if she'll have me. I like the look of her.'
'I wish you would, Alfred, or rather could! She has long had an idea of slipping out of the
world of fashion into the world of art. She is a woman of individuality and earnest
instincts. I am in real trouble about her. I won't say she can be won--it would be
ungenerous of me to say that. But try. I can bring you together easily.'
'I'll marry her, if she's willing!' With the phlegmatic dogmatism that was part of him,
Somers added: 'When you have decided to marry, take the first nice woman you meet.
They are all alike.'
'Well--you don't know her yet,' replied Jocelyn, who could give praise where he could not