Diana of the Crossways: A Novel

Diana of the Crossways: A Novel

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Diana of the Crossways: A Novel

Diana of the Crossways: A Novel

Read FREE!

Excerpt

Among the Diaries beginning with the second quarter of our century there is frequent mention of a lady then becoming famous for her beauty and her wit: “an unusual combination,” in the deliberate syllables of one of the writers, who is, however, not disposed to personal irony when speaking of her. It is otherwise in his case : and a general fling at the sex we may deem pardonable, for doing as little harm to womankind as the stone of an urchin cast upon the bosom of mother Earth; though men must look some day to have it returned to them, which is a certainty; and, indeed, full surely will our idle-handed youngster too, in his riper season, be heard complaining of a strange assault of wanton missiles, coming on him he knows not whence: for we are all of us distinctly marked to get back what we give, even from the thing named inanimate nature.

The “LEAVES from the diary of henry WILMERS” are studded with examples of the dinner-table wit of the time, not always worth quotation twice; for smart remarks have their measured distances, many requiring to be à brûle pourpoint, or within throw of the pistol, to make it hit; in other words, the majority of them are addressed directly to our muscular system, and they have no effect when we stand beyond the range. On the contrary, they reflect sombrely on the springs of hilarity in the generation preceding us— with due reserve of credit, of course, to an animal vivaciousness that seems to have wanted so small an incitement. Our old yeomanry farmers, returning to their beds over ferny . . .

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