The door stood open, and we both followed them with our eyes as they passed down the adjoining room, on which the sun was shining, and out at its farther end. Richard with his head bent, and her hand drawn through his arm, was talking to her very earnestly; and she looked up in his face, listening, and seemed to see nothing else. So young, so beautiful, so full of hope and promise, they went on lightly through the sunlight as their own happy thoughts might then be traversing the years to come and making them all years of brightness. So they passed away into the shadow and were gone. It was only a burst of light that had been so radiant. The room darkened as they went out, and the sun was clouded over.
"Am I right, Esther?" said my guardian when they were gone.
He was so good and wise to ask ME whether he was right!
"Rick may gain, out of this, the quality he wants. Wants, at the core of so much that is good!" said Mr. Jarndyce, shaking his head. "I have said nothing to Ada, Esther. She has her friend and counsellor always near." And he laid his hand lovingly upon my head.
I could not help showing that I was a little moved, though I did all I could to conceal it.
"Tut tut!" said he. "But we must take care, too, that our little woman's life is not all consumed in care for others."
"Care? My dear guardian, I believe I am the happiest creature in the world!"
"I believe so, too," said he. "But some one may find out what Esther never will — that the little woman is to be held in remembrance above all other people!"
I have omitted to mention in its place that there was some one else at the family dinner party. It was not a lady. It was a gentleman. It was a gentleman of a dark complexion — a young surgeon. He was rather reserved, but I thought him very sensible and agreeable. At least, Ada asked me if I did not, and I said yes.