The Daisy Chain or Aspirations HTML version

Chapter I.8
"Tis not enough that Greek or Roman page
At stated hours, his freakish thoughts engage,
Even in his pastimes he requires a friend
To warn and teach him safely to unbend,
O'er all his pleasures gently to preside,
Watch his emotions, and control their tide."--COWPER.
The misfortunes of that day disheartened and disconcerted Etheldred. To do
mischief where she most wished to do good, to grieve where she longed to
comfort, seemed to be her fate; it was vain to attempt anything for anyone's
good, while all her warm feelings and high aspirations were thwarted by the
awkward ungainly hands and heedless eyes that Nature had given her. Nor
did the following day, Saturday, do much for her comfort, by giving her the
company of her brothers. That it was Norman's sixteenth birthday seemed
only to make it worse. Their father had apparently forgotten it, and Norman
stopped Blanche when she was going to put him in mind of it; stopped her by
such a look as the child never forgot, though there was no anger in it. In
reply to Ethel's inquiry what he was going to do that morning, he gave a
yawn and stretch, and said, dejectedly, that he had got some Euripides to
look over, and some verses to finish.
"I am sorry; this is the first time you ever have not managed so as to make a
real holiday of your Saturday!"
"I could not help it, and there's nothing to do," said Norman wearily.
"I promised to go and read to Margaret while Flora does her music," said
Ethel; "I shall come after that and do my Latin and Greek with you."
Margaret would not keep her long, saying she liked her to be with Norman,
but she found him with his head sunk on his open book, fast asleep. At
dinner-time, Harry and Tom, rushing in, awoke him with a violent start.
"Halloo! Norman, that was a jump!" said Harry, as his brother stretched and
pinched himself. "You'll jump out of your skin some of these days, if you don't
take care!"
"It's enough to startle any one to be waked up with such a noise," said Ethel.
"Then he ought to sleep at proper times," said Harry, "and not be waking me
up with tumbling about, and hallooing out, and talking in his sleep half the
"Talking in his sleep! why, just now, you said he did not sleep," said Ethel.