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Villette

18. We Quarrel
During the first days of my stay at the Terrace, Graham never took a seat near me, or in
his frequent pacing of the room approached the quarter where I sat, or looked
preoccupied, or more grave than usual, but I thought of Miss Fanshawe and expected her
name to leap from his lips. I kept my ear and mind in perpetual readiness for the tender
theme; my patience was ordered to be permanently under arms, and my sympathy desired
to keep its cornucopia replenished and ready for outpouring. At last, and after a little
inward struggle which I saw and respected, he one day launched into the topic. It was
introduced delicately; anonymously as it were.
'Your friend is spending her vacation in travelling I hear?' 'Friend, forsooth!' thought I to
myself: but it would not do to contradict; he must have his own way; I must own the soft
impeachment: friend let it be. Still, by way of experiment, I could not help asking whom
he meant?
He had taken a seat at my work-table; he now laid hands on a reel of thread which he
proceeded recklessly to unwind.
'Ginevra - Miss Fanshawe, has accompanied the Cholmondeleys on a tour through the
south of France?'
'She has.'
'Do you and she correspond?'
'It will astonish you to hear that I never once thought of making application for that
privilege.'
'You have seen letters of her writing?'
'Yes; several to her uncle.'
'They will not be deficient in wit and naïveté; there is so much sparkle, and so little art in
her soul?'
'She writes comprehensively enough when she writes to M. de Bassompierre: he who
runs may read.' (In fact, Ginevra's epistles to her wealthy kinsman were commonly
business documents, unequivocal applications for cash.)
'And her handwriting? It must be pretty, light, ladylike, I should think?'
It was, and I said so.
 
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