The slave will be free. Democracy in America will yet be a glorious reality; and when the top-stone of that temple of freedom which our fathers left unfinished shall be brought forth with shoutings and cries of grace unto it, when our now drooping Liberty lifts up her head and prospers, happy will he be who can say, with John Milton, "Among those who have something more than wished her welfare, I, too, have my charter and freehold of rejoicing to me and my heirs."
John Greenleaf Whittier
They sat in a sphere of quiet, save the sound of their breathing and the carriage's creaks and sways. Outside, the coachman yelled his encouragement to the steeds moving them forward. The whole carriage cocooned them in a peculiar world with the heaven's wool-thick mists pressing against the windows. Her hand didn't stop rubbing his neck, but she shifted her leg, bending her knee to rest her leg on his thigh. Her patten slipped off, dropping to the floor with a thud. Cyrus's head moved off the squab. 'Are you undressing for my benefit?' His smile's wicked curve played on her. From her stays to her drawers, everything was too tight, too much against her skin. Cyrus reached for her hand working his neck muscles. He brought it to his lips and kissed her knuckles thrice with slow adoration. 'We don't have to stop, ' she said, her voice breathy and quick. 'I'm sure you have more aches and pains.' Mid-kiss, he smiled against the back of her hand, his warm breath brushing her skin. 'There are so many ways a man could go with that.' Humor lightened his voice. 'But I'm sure you mean to provide tender care to my neck only.' She grinned at her unintended innuendo. This was the experience she craved-to flirt and tease, to kiss and touch. Cyrus put his lips to her wrist, marking her with hot kisses. A spangle of pleasure shot up her arm. 'You would break down the meanest soul with your soft heart.' He set her hand on the blanket's scratchy folds, his thumb caressing her wrist. 'High praise, indeed, sir.' Tinseled sparks danced across her skin, not letting her recover from those gentle touches, his lips to her arm. He stroked a lone finger on her hand that rested between them. 'And you don't care one bit that I'm the son of a Midland swine farmer, do you?' Cyrus asked the unexpected question, but his voice conveyed confidence in her answer. Was her chivalrous brawler showing a hidden spot? She peered at him, wanting a better view of his shadowed features. How was she to decipher this latest turn? The carriage bumped and rocked, and the outside candle lantern swung another shaft of light inside. His quicksilver stare pinned her. 'Miss Mayhew, have you ever wondered how a freehold farmer got to be in such a fine place?
The news that she had gone of course now spread rapidly, and by lunch time Riseholme had made up its mind what to do, and that was hermetically to close its lips for ever on the subject of Lucia. You might think what you pleased, for it was a free country, but silence was best. But this counsel of perfection was not easy to practice next day when the evening paper came. There, for all the world to read were two quite long paragraphs, in "Five o'clock Chit-Chat, " over the renowned signature of Hermione, entirely about Lucia and 25 Brompton Square, and there for all the world to see was the reproduction of one of her most elegant photographs, in which she gazed dreamily outwards and a little upwards, with her fingers still pressed on the last chord of (probably) the Moonlight Sonata... She had come up, so Hermione told countless readers, from her Elizabethan country seat at Riseholme (where she was a neighbour of Miss Olga Bracely) and was settling for the season in the beautiful little house in Brompton Square, which was the freehold property of her husband, and had just come to him on the death of his aunt. It was a veritable treasure house of exquisite furniture, with a charming music-room where Lucia had given Hermione a cup of tea from her marvellous Worcester tea service... (At this point Daisy, whose hands were trembling with passion, exclaimed in a loud and injured voice, "The very day she arrived!") Mrs. Lucas (one of the Warwickshire Smythes by birth) was, as all the world knew, a most accomplished musician and Shakespearean scholar, and had made Riseholme a centre of culture and art. But nobody would suspect the blue stocking in the brilliant, beautiful and witty hostess whose presence would lend an added gaiety to the London season. Daisy was beginning to feel physically unwell. She hurried over the few remaining lines, and then ejaculating "Witty! Beautiful!" sent de Vere across to Georgie's with the paper, bidding him to return it, as she hadn't finished with it. But she thought he ought to know... Georgie read it through, and with admirable self restraint, sent Foljambe back with it and a message of thanks-nothing more-to Mrs. Quantock for the loan of it. Daisy, by this time feeling better, memorised the whole of it. Life under the new conditions was not easy, for a mere glance at the paper might send any true Riseholmite into a paroxysm of chattering rage or a deep disgusted melancholy. The Times again recorded the fact that Mr. and Mrs. Philip Lucas had arrived at 25 Brompton Square, there was another terrible paragraph headed 'Dinner, ' stating that Mrs. Sandeman entertained the following to dinner. There was an Ambassador, a Marquis, a Countess (dowager), two Viscounts with wives, a Baronet, a quantity of Honourables and Knights, and Mr. and Mrs. Philip Lucas. Every single person except Mr. and Mrs. Philip Lucas had a title. The list was too much for Mrs. Boucher, who, reading it at breakfast, suddenly exclaimed: "I didn't think it of them. And it's a poor consolation to know that they must have gone in last." Then she hermetically sealed her lips again on this painful subject, and when she had finished her breakfast (her appetite had quite gone) she looked up every member of that degrading party in Colonel Boucher's "Who's Who.