‘Now while the drowsy is lost in sleep.’THOMSON.
Miss Moreton saw that she had a new guest in Mr. Montgomery. In Walwyn's friend she had expected to behold the prototype of himself; one who could rattle, rant, spout, rave, and sigh, and laugh in a breath, and be just what the humour of the moment should require. How, then, was she surprised at seeing that she must condescend to talk to him, if she would hear his voice; how was she astonished at seeing him retire to a distance, whenever an opportunity offered of approaching her; and sit in sombre silence during those bright effusions of humour, which set her ‘table in a roar!’
This peculiarity of behaviour, rendered him at first an object of no common curiosity, which was heightened, perhaps, at perceiving that his dark eyes beamed with intelligence; and that, whatever might be the cause of his taciturnity, she could not for a moment impute it to a ‘deficiency of soul.’
‘Perhaps,’ thought Clarissa, ‘dazzled with the emanations of my superior genius, he fears to approach me, lest the refulgent scintillations of my wit should be too much for his faculties. Perhaps he too painfully remembers the different situations in which we are placed by the world. He may be awed by the customs of society; he may not rightly estimate my notions of mental equality, which contemn all customs that would place barriers to sentiment and genius!’
So reflected Clarissa on her pillow; while the animated countenance, the fine form of Montgomery, as he had leaned over Germ, when she concluded her invocation to Sentiment, danced before her eyes; for, though she had not heard a syllable that he uttered, yet, from the warmth of his manner, and the bright sparkle of his eye, she was sure that an eulogium on herself must, at that moment, have involuntarily escaped him; and, surely, at such a moment, he must have been more than mortal to have restrained it!
‘Such a character,’ thought Clarissa, pursuing her ruminations, ‘wants encouraging and emboldening. I must draw him out; Montgomery's is the extreme of sentimentality. Enthusiast as I am for Sentiment, I like to hear her votaries talk of her.