Portrait of an Emilady

“I don’t think you ought to do that. I don’t think you ought to describe the place.”

Henrietta gazed at her as usual.  “Why, it’s just what the people want, and it’s a lovely place.”

“It’s too lovely to be put in the newspapers, and it’s not what my uncle wants.”

“Don’t you believe that!” cried Henrietta. “They’re always delighted afterwards.”

“My uncle won’t be delighted — nor my cousin either.  They’ll consider it a breach of hospitality.”

Miss Stackpole showed no sign of confusion; she simply wiped her pen, very neatly, upon an elegant little implement which she kept for the purpose, and put away her manuscript.  “Of course if you don’t approve I won’t do it; but I sacrifice a beautiful subject.”

“There are plenty of other subjects, there are subjects all round you.  We’ll take some drives; I’ll show you some charming scenery.”

“Scenery’s not my department; I always need a human interest.  You know I’m deeply human, Isabel; I always was,” Miss Stackpole rejoined. “I was going to bring in your cousin — the alienated American.  There’s great demand just now for the alienated American, and your cousin’s a beautiful specimen.  I should have handled him severely.”

“He would have died of it!” Isabel exclaimed. “Not of the severity, but of the publicity.”

“Well, I should have liked to kill him a little.  And I should have delighted to do your uncle, who seems to me a much nobler type — the American faithful still. He’s a grand old man; I don’t see how he can object to my paying him honour.”

Isabel looked at her companion in much wonderment; it struck her as strange that a nature in which she found so much to esteem should break down so in spots.  “My poor Henreietta,” she said, “you’ve no sense of privacy.”

Henrietta colored deeply, and for a moment her brilliant eyes were suffused, while Isabel found her more than ever inconsequent. “You do me great injustice,”  said Miss Stackpole with dignity.  “I’ve never written a word about myself!”

“I’m very sure of that; but it seems to me one should be modest for others also!”

“Ah, that’s very good!” cried Henrietta, seizing her pen again. “Just let me make a note of it and I’ll put it in somewhere.”

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