GUENDOLEN. I'll die Piecemeal, record that, if there have not gloomed Some blot i' the 'scutcheon!
TRESHAM. Go! or, Guendolen, Be you at call,--With Austin, if you choose,-- In the adjoining gallery! There go! [GUENDOLEN goes.] Another lesson to me! You might bid A child disguise his heart's sore, and conduct Some sly investigation point by point With a smooth brow, as well as bid me catch The inquisitorial cleverness some praise. If you had told me yesterday, "There's one You needs must circumvent and practise with, Entrap by policies, if you would worm The truth out: and that one is--Mildred!" There, There--reasoning is thrown away on it! Prove she's unchaste... why, you may after prove That she's a poisoner, traitress, what you will! Where I can comprehend nought, nought's to say, Or do, or think. Force on me but the first Abomination,--then outpour all plagues, And I shall ne'er make count of them.
MILDRED. What book Is it I wanted, Thorold? Guendolen Thought you were pale; you are not pale. That book? That's Latin surely.
TRESHAM. Mildred, here's a line, (Don't lean on me: I'll English it for you) "Love conquers all things." What love conquers them? What love should you esteem--best love?
MILDRED. True love.
TRESHAM. I mean, and should have said, whose love is best Of all that love or that profess to love?
MILDRED. The list's so long: there's father's, mother's, husband's...
TRESHAM. Mildred, I do believe a brother's love For a sole sister must exceed them all. For see now, only see! there's no alloy Of earth that creeps into the perfect'st gold Of other loves--no gratitude to claim; You never gave her life, not even aught That keeps life--never tended her, instructed, Enriched her--so, your love can claim no right O'er her save pure love's claim: that's what I call Freedom from earthliness. You'll never hope To be such friends, for instance, she and you, As when you hunted cowslips in the woods, Or played together in the meadow hay. Oh yes--with age, respect comes, and your worth Is felt, there's growing sympathy of tastes, There's ripened friendship, there's confirmed esteem: --Much head these make against the newcomer! The startling apparition, the strange youth-- Whom one half-hour's conversing with, or, say, Mere gazing at, shall change (beyond all change This Ovid ever sang about) your soul ...Her soul, that is,--the sister's soul! With her 'Twas winter yesterday; now, all is warmth, The green leaf's springing and the turtle's voice, "Arise and come away!" Come whither?--far Enough from the esteem, respect, and all The brother's somewhat insignificant Array of rights! All which he knows before, Has calculated on so long ago! I think such love, (apart from yours and mine,) Contented with its little term of life, Intending to retire betimes, aware How soon the background must be placed for it, --I think, am sure, a brother's love exceeds All the world's love in its unworldliness.