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37. Sunshine
It was very well for Paulina to decline further correspondence with Graham till her father
had sanctioned the intercourse. But Dr. Bretton could not live within a league of the
Hôtel Crécy, and not contrive to visit there often. Both lovers meant at first, I believe, to
be distant; they kept their intention so far as demonstrative courtship went, but in feeling
they soon drew very near.
All that was best in Graham sought Paulina; whatever in him was noble, awoke, and grew
in her presence. With his past admiration of Miss Fanshawe, I suppose his intellect had
little to do, but his whole intellect, and his highest tastes, came in question now. These,
like all his faculties, were active eager for nutriment, and alive to gratification when it
I cannot say that Paulina designedly led him to talk of books, or formally proposed to
herself for a moment the task of winning him to reflection, or planned the improvement
of his mind, or so much as fancied his mind. could in any one respect be improved. She
thought him very perfect; it was Graham himself who, at first by the merest chance,
mentioned some book he had been reading, and when in her response sounded a welcome
harmony of sympathies, something pleasant to his soul, he talked on, more and better
perhaps than he had ever talked before on such subjects. She listened with delight, and
answered with animation. In each successive answer, Graham heard a music waxing finer
and finer to his sense; in each he found a suggestive, persuasive, magic accent that
opened a scarce known treasure-house within, showed him unsuspected power in his own
mind, and what was better, latent goodness in his heart. Each liked the way in which the
other talked; the voice, the diction, the expression pleased; each keenly relished the
flavour of the other's wit; they met each other's meaning with strange quickness, their
thoughts often matched like carefully chosen pearls. Graham had wealth of mirth by
nature; Paulina possessed no such inherent flow of animal spirits -- unstimulated, she
inclined to be thoughtful and pensive -- but now she seemed merry as a lark; in her
lover's genial presence she glanced like some soft glad light. How beautiful she grew in
her happiness, I can hardly express, but I wondered to see her. As to that gentle ice of
hers -- that reserve on which she had depended; where was it now? Ah! Graham would
not long bear it; he brought with him a generous influence that soon thawed the timid,
self-imposed restriction.
Now were the old Bretton days talked over; perhaps brokenly at first, with a sort of
smiling diffidence, then with opening candour and still growing confidence. Graham had
made for himself a better opportunity than that he had wished me to give; he had earned
independence of the collateral help that disobliging Lucy had refused; all his
reminiscences of 'little Polly' found their proper expression in his own pleasant tones, by
his own kind and handsome lips; how much better than if suggested by me.
More than once when we were alone, Paulina would tell me how wonderful and curious it
was to discover the richness and accuracy of his memory in this matter. How, while he