The only inharmonious note at this time was my intense
"Well, you know, of course it is a mortifying thing when a lady claims a gentleman's acquaintance, and the gentleman doesn't admit it. But what could I do? I couldn't tell a lie about it--could I?"
"I was off my guard, and rudish; but you were not. What tact! what delicacy! what high breeding and angelic benevolence! And so clever, too!"
"You left the door ajar, and I could not bear to lose a word that dropped from those lips so near me. Yes, I listened, and got such a lesson as only a noble, gentle lady could give. I shall never forget your womanly art, and the way you contrived to make the benefaction sound nothing. 'We are all of us at low water in turns, and for a time, especially me, Zoe Vizard; so here's a trifling loan.' A loan! you'll never see a shilling of it again! No matter. What do angels want of money?"
"Oh, pray," said Zoe, "you make me blush!"
"Then I wish there was more light to see it--yes, an angel. Do you think I can't see you have done all this for a lady you do not really approve? Fancy--a she doctor!"
"My dear friend," said Zoe, with a little juvenile pomposity, "one ought not to judge one's intellectual superiors hastily, and this lady is ours"--then, gliding back to herself, "and it is my nature to approve what those I love approve--when it is not downright wrong, you know."
"Oh, of course it is not wrong; but is it wise?"
Zoe did not answer: the question puzzled her.