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present at all these deliberations, only permitted her to say, with a sigh—“Perhaps his may be, by far, the truest passion. Alas! why do I prefer even blame from the lips of O'Melvyl to praise from those of San Carlos ?”
Finding that her uncle did not cease his importunities, Diana Pendennis undertook to rid Geraldine of them completely, and, at the same time, to do him an essential service.-“ My uncle is ruining himself in the opinion of lady Louisa Southwell, his only real friend,” she said, “ by listening to the suggestions of a parcel of silly people, who do not care twopence for his true interest, and who will plunge him again into that variety of schemes from which he never derived either honour or profit. He now talks not only of a public reading of Marius, but of delivering a series of lectures on the drama, for which he is as well qualified as I am for giving lectures on sentiment; no thing will save him but a speedy return
to Mount Parnassus, and that I will undertake to bring about. Thank God, Bridget is out of the way, having gone, for a few days, into the country, with some Moravians, with whom she has scraped acquaintance. She might be raising some puritanical objections against part of my scheme, whereas now I shall have my good uncle all to myself.” Well, mind, Diana, you do not play
your tricks seriously to vex your uncle," replied Geraldine; “ he is a worthy man, and I would not have him annoyed or frightened.”
Perhaps Diana took this hint in the manner of the friends of the fair Scottish queen, when she said " Let me hear no more of it!" For certainly had she received a tacit permission, this incorrigible pursuer of fun could not have set more zealously and heartily to work than she did, in her project of teazing and terrifying her uncle out of his present abode.
This was a small lodging he had taken, as near lady
Louisa Southwell and Mrs. Gore as possible; and Diana had given up residing with the latter, lady, in order to administer to his comfort, which she did in the fola lowing manner.
That very evening, Pendennis called for lights and a good fire, and sat down at his desk to correct the last sheets of the second edition of his tour. Diana, notwithstanding his remonštránces to her on the extragavance of it, was seated at a table with another pair of candles, being engaged, as she said, in a piece of fancy. work, that required much light for the performance of it. On the chimneypiece were bronzes, containing tapers": unlit. Suddenly Pendennis started from his work, and, with horror in his looks; exclaimed" Niece Di, what is the matter with the candles ?”
, Nothing,” replied Diana, raising her eyes, with great tranquillity, from her work; " they are very good candles, for any thing that I see to the contráry."...
12 « But
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“But the colour!”. :)
“ The colour!” resumed Diana--"white to be sure.
Pendennis passed his hands across his eyes, stared, and then, trying to laugh off his perturbation, resumed~" It is very unaccountable then; but, as I look at those candles, lit and "unlit, I vow to Heaven they all appear to me of a bright blue."
Diana burst into a loud laugh.— Nay; dear uncle, if, instead of your own peaceinspiring lucubrations, you had been reading one of the terror-breathing tales of the author of Bertram, and then had imagined that the lights burnt blue, I should not have wondered at you; but as it is ” :
1!1 ci'' “ I mean the candles themselves the candles that are usually white;" resumed Pendennis-"! I cannot be deceived." | As he spoke, herung violently for the maid of the house, and, on her entrance, asked her, not without some agitation in his
look and voice, the colour of the candles she saw before her.
The girl, already tutored by Diana, answered, with an appearance of rustic surprise—“ Bless your heart, sir! what colour would they be but white ?-as good moulds as any in the city of Dublin.”
“ I am ill then,” said Pendennis, striking his forehead violently.
Diana, put up my papers—I can do no more to-night. Light a taper-I will go to bed. Good Heavens ! even that taper appears bright blue as the flame waves before me !"
To account for Diana's making choice of this mode of deception (for she had, indeed, with some expence and trouble, procured these coloured candles), it is necessary to mention a trait, not noticed yet, in the character of her uncle. He was ex. tremely nervous and hypochondriacal, partly from affectation and a desire to be interesting, and an idea that it was characteristic of the morbid sensibility of genius; partly from natural constitution, he