Afoot In England, By W.H. Hudson


























































































 -   Your
eyes have revealed the shock you have experienced.  You cannot
hide it; her heart is stabbed with a sudden - Page 160
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Your Eyes Have Revealed The Shock You Have Experienced.

You cannot hide it; her heart is stabbed with a sudden pain, and she is filled with shame and confusion; and the pain is but greater if her life has glided smoothly - if she cannot appeal to your compassion, finding a melancholy relief in that saddest cry:

-

O Grief has changed me since you saw me last!

For not grief, nor sickness, nor want, nor care, nor any misery or calamity which men fear, is her chief enemy. Time alone she hates and fears - insidious Time who has lulled her mind with pleasant flatteries all these years while subtly taking away her most valued possessions, the bloom and colour, the grace, the sparkle, the charm of other years.

Here is a true and pretty little story, which may or may not exactly fit the theme, but is very well worth telling. A lady of fashion, middle-aged or thereabouts, good-looking but pale and with the marks of care and disillusionment on her expressive face, accompanied by her pretty sixteen-years-old daughter, one day called on an artist and asked him to show her his studio. He was a very great artist, the greatest portrait-painter we have ever had and he did not know who she was, but with the sweet courtesy which distinguished him through all his long life - he died recently at a very advanced age - he at once put his work away and took her round his studio to show her everything he thought would interest her. But she was restless and inattentive, and by and by leaving the artist talking to her young daughter she began going round by herself, moving constantly from picture to picture. Presently she made an exclamation, and turning they saw her standing before a picture, a portrait of a girl, staring fixedly at it.

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