The Daisy Chain or Aspirations
Ye cumbrous fashions, crowd not on my head.
Mine be the chip of purest white,
Swan-like; and, as her feathers light,
When on the still wave spread;
And let it wear the graceful dress
Of unadorned simpleness.
Catherine Fanshaw's 'Parody on Grey'.
Nothing transpired to the discredit of Lieutenant Rivers. He had spent a great
deal of money, but chiefly for want of something else to do, and, though he
was not a subject for high praise, there was no vice in him--no more than in
an old donkey--as Dr. May declared, in his concluding paroxysm of despair,
on finding that, though there was little to reconcile him to the engagement,
there was no reasonable ground for thwarting his daughter's wishes. He
argued the matter once more with her, and, finding her purpose fixed, he
notified his consent, and the rest of the family were admitted to a knowledge
of the secret which they had never suspected.
Etheldred could not help being gratified with the indignation it excited. With
one voice, Mary and Blanche declared that they would never give up the title
of "the detestable," and would not make him any presents; certainly not
watch-chains! Miss Bracy, rather alarmed, lectured them just enough to make
them worse; and Margaret, overhearing Blanche instructing Aubrey in her
own impertinences, was obliged to call her to her sofa, and assure her that
she was unkind to Flora, and that she must consider Mr. George Rivers as her
"Never my brother like Harry!" exclaimed Mary indignantly.
"No, indeed; nor like Alan!" exclaimed Blanche. "And I won't call him George,
I am determined, if it is ever so!"
"It will not matter to him what such little girls call him," said Margaret.
Blanche was so annihilated, that the sound of a carriage, and of the door bell,
was a great satisfaction to her.
Meta Rivers came flying into the room, her beautiful eyes dancing, and her
cheeks glowing with pleasure, as, a little timidly, she kissed Margaret; while
Ethel, in a confused way, received Mr. Rivers, in pain for her own cold, abrupt
manner, in contrast with his gentle, congratulating politeness.
Meta asked, blushing, and with a hesitating voice, for their dear Flora; Mary
offered to call her, but Meta begged to go herself, and thus was spared the
awkwardness that ensued. Ethel was almost vexed with herself, as