A love still burning upward, giving light To read those laws; an accent very low In blandishment, but a most silver flow Of subtle-paced counsel in distress. Right to the heart and brain, tho' undescried, Winning its way with extreme gentleness Thro' all the outworks of suspicious pride; A courage to endure and to obey: A hate of gossip parlance and of sway, Crown'd Isabel, thro' all her placid life, The queen of marriage, a most perfect wife.
When we love others, we naturally want to talk about them, we want to show them off, like emotional trophies. We invest them with a power to do to others what they do to us; a vain hope, as the lovers of others are rarely of much interest to us. But we listen in patience, as friends must, and as Isabel now did, refraining from comment, other than to encourage the release of the story and the attendant confession of human frailty and hope.alexander mccall smith