鈥淓ncore merci,鈥?said Bigourdin. 鈥淵ou must know that F茅lise came to us at five years old, when my poor wife was living鈥攕he died ten years ago鈥擨 am a widower. She is to me like my own daughter. Although,鈥?he added, with a smile and a touch of vanity, 鈥淚 am not quite so old as that. My sister, her mother, is older than I.鈥? "Ah, well, sir, you see, I am not altogether responsible for my actions, for, as a matter of fact, sir, I fear that my affections have run off with my wits, and I feel impelled to lay before you a very important request. For many months I have been exceedingly desirous of approaching your second daughter with a view to marriage, but hesitated to do so without consulting you, sir. I think the time has come when your daughter would consider the matter favorably, and with your consent I shall lose no time in laying the matter before her." Perhaps the shock of so great a change in his surroundings had accelerated changes in his opinions, just as the cocoons of silkworms, when sent in baskets by rail, hatch before their time through the novelty of heat and jolting. But however this may be, his belief in the stories concerning the Death, Resurrection, and Ascension of Jesus Christ, and hence his faith in all the other Christian miracles, had dropped off him once and for ever. The investigation he had made in consequence of Mr. Shaw鈥檚 rebuke, hurried though it was, had left a deep impression upon him, and now he was well enough to read he made the New Testament his chief study, going through it in the spirit which Mr. Shaw had desired of him, that is to say as one who wished neither to believe nor disbelieve, but cared only about finding out whether he ought to believe or no. The more he read in this spirit the more the balance seemed to lie in favour of unbelief, till, in the end, all further doubt became impossible, and he saw plainly enough that, whatever else might be true, the story that Christ had died, come to life again, and been carried from earth through clouds into the heavens could not now be accepted by unbiassed people. It was well he had found it out so soon. In one way or another it was sure to meet him sooner or later. He would probably have seen it years ago if he had not been hoodwinked by people who were paid for hoodwinking him. What should he have done, he asked himself, if he had not made his present discovery till years later, when he was more deeply committed to the life of a clergyman? Should he have had the courage to face it, or would he not more probably have evolved some excellent reason for continuing to think as he had thought hitherto? Should he have had the courage to break away even from his present curacy? During the rest of the half year Ernest was listless and unhappy. He was very fond of some of his schoolfellows, but afraid of those whom he believed to be better than himself, and prone to idealise everyone into being his superior except those who were obviously a good deal beneath him. He held himself much too cheap, and because he was without that physical strength and vigour which he so much coveted, and also because he knew he shirked his lessons, he believed that he was without anything which could deserve the name of a good quality; he was naturally bad, and one of those for whom there was no place for repentance, though he sought it even with tears. So he shrank out of sight of those whom in his boyish way he idolised, never for a moment suspecting that he might have capacities to the full as high as theirs though of a different kind, and fell in more with those who were reputed of the baser sort, with whom he could at any rate be upon equal terms. Before the end of the half year he had dropped from the estate to which he had been raised during his aunt鈥檚 stay at Roughborough, and his old dejection, varied, however, with bursts of conceit rivalling those of his mother, resumed its sway over him. 鈥淧ontifex,鈥?said Dr. Skinner, who had fallen upon him in hall one day like a moral landslip, before he had time to escape, 鈥渄o you never laugh? Do you always look so preternaturally grave?鈥?The Doctor had not meant to be unkind, but the boy turned crimson, and escaped. 鈥淭here鈥檚 everything to be said,鈥?declared Fortinbras. 鈥淏ut it鈥檚 not worth while saying it.鈥? 久久 这里只精品 免费_老司机视频_99视频有精品视频高清 鈥淲ell,鈥?said F茅lise, with a smile, preparing, to resume the article in the newspaper over which she had stumbled, 鈥減erhaps the beautiful prince will come along one of these days.鈥?