The Daisy Chain or Aspirations HTML version

Chapter I.2
Meadows trim with daisies pied.--MILTON.
Ethel's navigation lesson was interrupted by the dinner-bell. That long table
was a goodly sight. Few ever looked happier than Dr. and Mrs. May, as they
sat opposite to each other, presenting a considerable contrast in appearance
as in disposition. She was a little woman, with that smooth pleasant
plumpness that seems to belong to perfect content and serenity, her
complexion fair and youthful, her face and figure very pretty, and full of quiet
grace and refinement, and her whole air and expression denoting a serene,
unruffled, affectionate happiness, yet with much authority in her mildness--
warm and open in her own family, but reserved beyond it, and shrinking from
general society.
The doctor, on the contrary, had a lank, bony figure, nearly six feet high, and
looking more so from his slightness; a face sallow, thin, and strongly marked,
an aquiline nose, highly developed forehead, and peculiar temples, over
which the hair strayed in thin curling flakes. His eyes were light coloured, and
were seldom seen without his near- sighted spectacles, but the expressions of
the Mouth were everything --so varying, so bright, and so sweet were his
smiles that showed beautiful white teeth--moreover, his hand was particularly
well made, small and delicate; and it always turned out that no one ever
recollected that Dr. May was plain, who had heard his kindly greeting.
The sons and daughters were divided in likeness to father and mother; Ethel
was almost an exaggeration of the doctor's peculiarities, especially at the
formed, but unsoftened age of fifteen; Norman had his long nose, sallow
complexion, and tall figure, but was much improved by his mother's fine blue
eyes, and was a very pleasant- looking boy, though not handsome; little Tom
was a thin, white, delicate edition of his father; and Blanche contrived to
combine great likeness to him with a great deal of prettiness. Of those that,
as nurse said, favoured their mamma, Margaret was tall and blooming, with
the same calm eyes, but with the brilliance of her father's smile; Flora had
greater regularity of feature, and was fast becoming a very pretty girl, while
Mary and Harry could not boast of much beauty, but were stout sturdy
pictures of health; Harry's locks in masses of small tight yellow curls, much
given to tangling and matting, unfit to be seen all the week, till nurse put him
to torture every Saturday, by combing them out so as, at least, to make him
for once like, she said, a gentleman, instead of a young lion.
Little Aubrey was said by his papa to be like nothing but the full moon. And
there he shone on them, by his mamma's side, announcing in language few
could understand, where he had been with papa.