Part 2 out of 14
amount of tax for the advantages of his general assistance. When a
man has perhaps made fifty pounds by using a 'straight tip' as to
a horse at Newmarket, in doing which he had of course encountered
some risks, he feels he ought not be made to pay the amount back
into the pockets of the 'tipper', and at the same time to find
himself saddled with the possession of a perfectly useless animal.
In this way there were rocks in the course through which Tifto was
called on to steer his bark. Of course he was anxious, when
preying upon his acquaintances, to spare those who were useful
friends to him. Now and again he would sell a serviceable animal
at a fair price, and would endeavour to make such a sale in favour
of someone whose countenance would be a rock to him. He knew his
business well, but yet there would be mistakes.
Now, at this very moment, was the culmination of the Major's life.
He was Master of Runnymede Hounds, he was partner with the eldest
son of a Duke in the possession of that magnificent colt, the
Prime Minister, and he was a member of the Beargarden. He was a
man who had often been despondent about himself, but was now
disposed to be little triumphant. He had finished his season well
with the Runnymede, and were it not that, let him work as he
would, his expenses always exceeded his means, he would have been
At eight o'clock Lord Silverbridge and his friend met in the
dining-room of the Beargarden. 'Have you been here before?' asked
'Not in here, my Lord. I just looked in at the smoking-room last
night. Glasslough and Nidderdale were there. I thought we should
have got up a rubber, but they didn't seem to see it.'
'There is whist there generally. You'll find out all about it
before long. Perhaps they are a little afraid of you.'
'I'm the worst hand at cards, I suppose, In England. A dash at loo
for about an hour, and half-a-dozen cuts at blind hookey,--that's
about my form. I know I drop more than I pick up. If I knew what I
was about I should never touch a card.'
'Horses; eh, Tifto?'
'Horses, yes. They've pretty good claret, here, eh, Silverbridge?'
He could never hit off his familiarity quite right. He had my-
Lorded his young friend at first, and now brought out the name
with a hesitating twang, which the young nobleman appreciated. But
then the young nobleman was quite aware that the Major was a
friend for club purposes, and sporting purposes, and not for home
'Everything of that kind is pretty good here,' said the Lord.
'You were saying--horses.'
'I dare say you deal better with them than cards.'
'If I didn't I don't know where I should be, seeing what a lot
pass through my hands in the year. Anyone of our fellows who has a
horse to sell thinks that I am bound to buy him. And I do buy 'em.
Last May I had forty-two hunters on my hands.'
'How many of them have you got now?'
'Three. Three of that lot,--though a goodish many have come up
since. But what does it amount to? When I have anything that is
very good, some fellow that I like gets it from me.'
'After paying for him?'
'After paying for him! Yes, I don't mean that I make a fellow a
present. But the man who buys has a deal the best of it. Did you
ever get anything better than that spotted chestnut in your life?'
'What, old Sarcinet?'
'You had her for one hundred and sixty pounds. Now, if you were on
your oath, what is she worth?'
'She suits me, Major, and of course I shouldn't sell her.'
'I rather think not. I knew what that mare was well enough. A
dealer would have had three hundred and fifty pounds for her. I
could have got the money easily if I had taken her down into the
shires, and ridden her a day or two myself.'
'I gave you what you asked.'
'Yes, you did. It isn't often that I take less than I ask. But the
fact is, about horses. I don't know whether I shouldn't do better
if I never owned an animal at all but those I want for my own use.
When I am dealing with a man I call a friend, I can't bear to make
money of him. I don't think fellows give me all the credit they
should do for sticking to them.' The Major, as he said this,
leaned back in his chair, put his hand up to his mustache, and
looked sadly away into the vacancy of the room, as though he were
meditating sorrowfully on the ingratitude of the world.
'I suppose it's all right about Cream Cheese?' asked the Lord.
'Well; it ought to be.' And now the Major spoke like an oracle,
leaning forward on the table, uttering his words in a low voice,
but very plainly, so that not a syllable might be lost. 'When you
remember how he ran at the Craven with 9st 12lb on him, that it
took Archbishop all he knew to beat him with only 9st 2lb, and
what the lot at Chester are likely to be, I don't think that there
can be seven to one against him. I should be very glad to take it
off your hands, only the figures are a little too heavy for me.'
'I suppose Sunflower'll be the best animal there?'
'Not a doubt of it, if he's all right, and if his temper will
stand. Think what a course Chester is for an ill-conditioned brute
like that! And then he's the most uncertain horse in training.
There are times he won't feed. From what I hear, I shouldn't
wonder if he don't turn up at all.'
'Solomon says he's all right.'
'You won't get Solomon to take four to one against him, nor yet
four and a half. I suppose you'll go down my Lord?'
'Well, yes; if there's nothing else doing just then. I don't know
how it may be about this electioneering business. I shall go and
At the Beargarden there were,--I was going to say, two smoking-
rooms; but in truth the house was a smoking-room all over. It was,
however, the custom of those who habitually played cards, to have
their cigars and coffee upstairs. Into this sanctum Major Tifto
had not yet been introduced, but now he was taken there under Lord
Silverbridge's wing. There were already four or five assembled,
among whom was Mr Adolphus Longstaff, a young man of about thirty-
five years of age, who spent very much of his time at the
Beargarden. 'Do you know my friend Tifto?' said the Lord. 'Tifto,
this is Mr Longstaff, whom men within the walls of this asylum
sometimes call Dolly.' Whereupon the Major bowed and smiled
'I have heard of Major Tifto,' said Dolly.
'Who has not?' said Lord Nidderdale, another middle-aged young
man, who made one of the company. Again the Major bowed.
'Last season I was always intending to get down to your country
and have a day with the Tiftoes,' said Dolly. 'Don't they call
your hounds the Tiftoes?'
'They shall be called so if you like,' said the Major. 'And why
didn't you come?'
'It always was such a grind.'
'Train down from Paddington every day at 10.30.'
'That's all very well if you happen to be up. Well, Silverbridge,
how's the Prime Minister?'
'How is he, Tifto?' asked the noble partner.
'I don't think there's a man in England just at present enjoying a
very much better state of health,' said the Major pleasantly.
'Safe to run?' asked Dolly.
'Safe to run! Why shouldn't he be safe to run?'
'I means sure to start.'
'I think we mean him to start, don't we, Silverbridge?' said the
There was something perhaps in the tone in which the last remark
was made which jarred a little against the young lord's dignity.
At any rate he got up and declared his purpose of going to the
opera. He should look in, he said, and hear a song from
Mademoiselle Stuffa. Mademoiselle Stuffa was the nightingale of
the season, and Lord Silverbridge, when he had nothing else to do,
would sometimes think that he was fond of music. Soon after he was
gone Major Tifto had some whisky-and-water, lit his third cigar,
and began to feel the glory of belonging to the Beargarden. With
Lord Silverbridge, to whom it was essentially necessary that he
should make himself agreeable at all times, he was somewhat
overweighted as it were. Though he attempted an easy familiarity,
he was a little afraid of Lord Silverbridge. With Dolly Longstaff
he felt that he might be comfortable,--not, perhaps, understanding
that gentleman's character. With Lord Nidderdale he had previously
been acquainted, and had found him to be good-natured. So he
sipped his whisky, he became confidential and comfortable.
'I never thought so much about her good looks,' he said. They were
talking of the singer, the charm of whose voice had carried Lord
'Did you ever see her off the stage?' asked Nidderdale.
'Oh dear yes.'
'She does not go about very much, I fancy,' said someone.
'I dare say not,' said Tifto. 'But she and I have had a day or two
together, for all that.'
'You must have been very much favoured,' said Dolly.
'We've been pals ever since she has been over here,' said Tifto,
with an enormous lie.
'How do you get on with her husband?' asked Dolly,--in the simplest
voice, as though not in the least surprised at his companion's
'Husband!' exclaimed the Major; who was not possessed of
sufficient presence of mind to suppress all signs of ignorance.
'Ah,' said Dolly; 'you are not probably aware that your pal has
been married to Mr Thomas Jones for the last year and a half.'
Soon after that Major Tifto left the club,--with considerable
enhanced respect for Mr Longstaff.
Lord Silverbridge had engaged himself to be with his father the
next morning at half-past nine, and he entered the breakfast-room
a very few minutes after that hour. He had made up his mind as to
what he would say to his father. He meant to call himself a
Conservative, and to go into the House of Commons under that
denomination. All the men among whom he lived were Conservatives.
It was a matter on which, as he thought, his father could have no
right to command him. Down in Barsetshire, as well as up in
London, there was some little difference of opinion in this
matter. The people of Silverbridge declared that they would prefer
to have a conservative member, as indeed they had had one for the
last session. They had loyally returned the Duke himself while he
was a commoner, but they had returned him as being part and parcel
of the Omnium appendages. That was all over now. As a constituency
they were not endowed with advanced views, and thought that a
Conservative would suit them best. That being so, and as they had
been told that the Duke's son was a Conservative, they fancied
that by electing him they would be pleasing everybody. But, in
truth, by so doing they would by no means please the Duke. He had
told them on previous occasions that they might elect whom they
pleased, and felt no anger because they had elected a
Conservative. They might send up to Parliament the most
antediluvian old Tory they could find in England if they wished,
on not his son, not a Palliser as a Tory or Conservative. And
then, though the little town had gone back in the ways of the
world, the county, or the Duke's division of the county, had made
so much progress, that a Liberal candidate recommended by him
would almost certainly be returned. It was just the occasion on
which a Palliser should show himself ready to serve his country.
There would be an expense, but he would think nothing of expense
in such a matter. Ten thousand pounds spent on such an object
would not vex him. The very contest would have given him new life.
All this Lord Silverbridge understood, but had said to himself and
to all his friends that it was a matter in which he did not intend
to be controlled.
The Duke had passed a very unhappy night. He had told himself that
any such marriage as that spoken of was out of the question. He
believed that the matter might be so represented to his girl as to
make her feel that it was out of the question. He hardly doubted
but that he could stamp it out. Though he should have to take her
away to some further corner of the world, he would stamp it out.
But she, when this foolish passion of hers should have been thus
stamped out, could never be the pure, the bright, the unsullied,
unsoiled thing, of the possession of which he had thought so much.
He had never spoken of his hopes about her even to his wife, but
in the silence of his very silent life he had thought much of the
day when he would give her to some noble youth,--noble with all the
gifts of nobility, including rank and wealth,--who might be fit to
receive her. Now, even though no one else should know it,--and all
would know it,--she would be the girl who had condescended to love
His own Duchess, she whose loss to him now was as though he had
lost half of his limbs,--had not she in the same way loved a
Tregear, or worse than a Tregear, in her early days? Ah, yes!
And though his Cora had been so much to him, had he not often
felt, had he not been feeling all his days, that Fate had robbed
him of the sweetest joy that is given to man, in that she had not
come to him loving him with her early spring of love, as she had
loved that poor ne'er-do-well? How infinite had been his regrets.
How often had he told himself that, with all that Fortune had
given him, still Fortune had been unjust to him because he had
been robbed of that. Not to save his life could he have whispered
a word of this to anyone, but he had felt it. He had felt it for
years. Dear as she had been, she had not been quite what she
should have been but for that. And now this girl of his, who was
so much dearer to him than anything else left to him, was doing
exactly as her mother had done. The young man might be stamped
out. He might be made to vanish as that other young man had
vanished. But the fact that he had been there, cherished in the
girl's heart,--that could not be stamped out.
He struggled gallantly to acquit the memory of his wife. He could
best do that by leaning with the full weight of his mind on the
presumed iniquity of Mrs Finn. Had he not known from the first
that the woman was an adventuress? And had he not declared to
himself over and over again that between such a one and himself
there should be no intercourse, no common feeling? He had allowed
himself to be talked into an intimacy, to be talked into an
affection. And this was the result!
And how should he treat this matter in his coming interview with
his son,--or should he make allusion to it? At first it seemed as
though it would be impossible for him to give his mind to that
other subject. How could he enforce the merits of political
liberalism, and the duty of adhering to the old family party,
while his mind was entirely preoccupied with his daughter? It had
suddenly become almost indifferent to him whether Silverbridge
should be a Conservative or a Liberal. But as he dressed he told
himself, that, as a man, he ought to be able to do a plain duty,
marked out for him as this had been by his own judgement, without
regard to personal suffering. The hedger and ditcher must make his
hedge clean and clean his ditch even though he be tormented by
rheumatism. His duty by his son he must do, even though his heart
were torn to pieces.
During breakfast he tried to be gracious, and condescended to ask
a question about Prime Minister. Racing was an amusement to which
English noblemen had been addicted for many ages, and had been
held to be serviceable rather than disgraceful, if conducted in a
noble fashion. He did not credit Tifto with much nobility. He knew
but little about the Major. He would much have preferred that his
son should have owned a horse alone, if he must have anything to
do with ownership. 'Would it not be better to buy the other
share?' asked the Duke.
'It would take a deal of money, sir. The Major would ask a couple
of thousand, I should think.'
'That is a great deal.'
'And then the Major is a very useful man. He thoroughly
understands the turf.'
'I hope he doesn't live by it?'
'Oh no, he doesn't live by it. That is, he has a great many irons
in the fire.'
'I do not mind a young man owning a horse, if he can afford the
expense,--as you perhaps can do; but I hope you don't bet.'
'Nothing to speak of.'
'Nothing to speak of is so apt to grow into that which has to be
spoken of.' So much that father said at breakfast, hardly giving
his mind to the matter discussed,--his mind being on other things.
But when their breakfast was eaten, then it was necessary that he
should begin. 'Silverbridge,' he said, 'I hope you have thought
better of what we were talking about as to these coming
'Well, sir,--of course I have thought about it.'
'And can you do as I would have you?'
'You see, sir, a man's political opinion is a kind of thing he
can't get rid of.'
'You can hardly as yet have any confirmed political opinion. You
are still young, and I do not suppose that you have thought much
'Well, sir; I think I have. I've got my own ideas. We've got to
protect our position as well as we can against the Radicals and
'I cannot admit that at all, Silverbridge. There is no great
political party in this county anxious either for communism or for
revolution. But, putting all that aside for the present, do you
think that a man's political opinions should be held in regard to
his own individual interests, or to the much wider interests of
others, whom we call the public?'
'To his own interest,' said the young man with decision.
'It is simply self-protection then?'
'His own and his class. The people will look after themselves, and
we must look after ourselves. We are so few and they are so many,
that we shall have quite enough to do.'
Then the Duke gave his son a somewhat lengthy political lecture,
which was intended to teach him that the greatest benefit of the
greatest number was the object to which all political studies
should tend. The son listened with attention, and when it was
over, expressed his opinion that there was a great deal in what
his father had said. 'I trust, if you will consider it,' said the
Duke, 'that you will not find yourself obliged to desert the
school of politics in which your father has not been an inactive
supporter, and to which your family has belonged for many years.'
'I could not call myself a Liberal,' said the young politician.
'Because I am a Conservative.'
'And you won't stand for the county on the Liberal interest?'
'I should be obliged to tell them that I should always give a
'Then you refuse to do as I ask?'
'I do not know how I can help refusing it. If you wanted me to
grow a couple of inches taller, I couldn't do it, even though I
should be ever so anxious to oblige you.'
'But a very young man, as you are, may have so much deference for
his elders as to be induced to believe that he has been in error.'
'Oh yes; of course.'
'You cannot but be aware that the political condition of the
country is the one subject to which I have devoted the labour of
'I know that very well; and of course, I know how much they all
think of you.'
'Then my opinion might go for something with you?'
'So it does, sir; I shouldn't have doubted at all only for that.
Still, you see, as the thing is,--how am I to help myself?'
'You believe that you must be right,--you who have never given an
hour's study to the subject.'
'No, sir. In comparison with a great many men, I know that I am a
fool. Perhaps it is because I know that, that I am a Conservative.
The Radicals are always saying that a Conservative must be a fool.
Then a fool ought to be a Conservative.'
Hereupon the father got up from his chair and turned round, facing
the fire, with his back to his son. He was becoming very angry,
but endeavoured to restrain his anger. The matter in dispute
between them was of so great importance, that he could hardly be
justified in abandoning it in consequence of arguments so trifling
in themselves as these which his son adduced. As he stood there
for some minutes thinking of it all, he was tempted again and
again to burst out in wrath and threaten the lad,--to threaten him
as to money, as to his amusements, as to the general tenure of his
life. The pity was so great that the lad should be so stubborn and
so foolish! He would never ask his son to be a slave to the
Liberal party, as he had been. But that a Palliser should not be a
Liberal,--and his son, as the first recreant Palliser,--was
wormwood to him! As he stood there he more than once clenched his
fist in eager desire to turn upon the young man; but he restrained
himself, telling himself that in justice he should not be angry
for such offence as this. To become a Conservative, when the path
to liberalism was so fairly open, might be the part of a fool, but
could not fairly be imputed as a crime. To endeavour to be just
was the study of his life, and in no condition of life can justice
be more imperatively due than from a father to his son.
'You mean to stand for Silverbridge?' he said at last.
'Not if you object, sir.'
This made it worse. It became now still more difficult for him to
scold the young man. 'You are aware that I should not meddle in
'That is what I supposed. They will return a Conservative at any
'It is not that I care about,' said the Duke sadly.
'Upon my word, sir, I am very sorry to vex you; but what would you
have me do? I will give up Parliament altogether, if you say that
you wish it.'
'No; I do not wish that.'
'You wouldn't have me tell a lie?'
'What can I do then?'
'Learn what there is to learn from some master fit to teach you.'
'There are so many masters.'
'I believe it to be that most arrogant ill-behaved young man who
was with me yesterday who has done this evil.'
'You mean Frank Tregear?'
'I do mean Mr Tregear.'
'He's a Conservative, of course; and of course he and I have been
much together. Was he with you yesterday, sir?'
'Yes, he was.'
'What was that about?' asked Lord Silverbridge, in a voice that
almost betrayed fear, for he knew very well what cause had
produced the interview.
'He has been speaking to me-' When the Duke had got so far as this
he paused, finding himself hardly able to declare the disgrace
which had fallen upon himself and his family. As he did tell the
story, both his face and his voice was altered, so that the son,
in truth, was scared. 'He has been speaking to me about your
sister. Did you know of this?'
'I knew there was something between them.'
'And you encouraged it?'
'No, sir; just the contrary. I have told him that I was quite sure
it would never do.'
'And why did you not tell me?'
'Well, sir; it was hardly my business, was it?'
'Not to guard the honour of your sister?'
'You see, sir; so many things have happened all at once.'
'My dear mother, sir, thought well of him.' The Duke uttered a
deep sigh, and turned round to the fire. 'I always told him you
would never consent.'
'I should think not.'
'It has come so suddenly. I should have spoken to you about it as
soon as--as soon-' He had meant to say as soon as the husband's
grief for the loss of his wife had been in some degree appeased,
but could not speak the words. The Duke, however, perfectly
understood him. 'In the meantime, they were not seeing each
'I think not.'
'Mrs Finn has known it all.'
'Certainly. She has known all through.'
'I do not see how it can have been so.'
'He told me so himself,' said the Duke, unwittingly putting words
into Tregear's mouth which Tregear had never uttered. 'There must
be an end of this. I will speak to your sister. In the meantime,
the less, I think, you see of Mr Tregear the better. Of course it
is out of the question he should be allowed to remain in this
house. You will make him understand that at once, if you please.'
'Oh, certainly,' said Silverbridge.
He is a Gentleman
The Duke returned to Matching an almost broken-hearted man. He had
intended to go down into Barsetshire, in reference to the coming
elections;--not with the view of interfering in any unlordly, or
rather, unpeerlike fashion, but thinking that if his eldest son
were to stand for the county in a proper constitutional spirit, as
the eldest son of so great a county magnate ought to do, his
presence at Gatherum Castle, among his own people, might properly
be serviceable, and would certainly be gracious. There would be no
question of entertainment. His bereavement would make that
impossible. But there would come from his presence a certain
savour of proprietorship, and a sense of power, which would be
beneficial to his son, and would not, as the Duke thought, be
contrary to the spirit of the constitution. But all this was now
at an end. He told himself that he did not care how the elections
might go;--that he did not care much how anything might go.
Silverbridge might stand for Silverbridge if he so pleased. He
would give neither assistance nor obstruction, either in the
county or in the borough. He wrote to this effect to his agent, Mr
Morton;--but at the same time desired that gentleman to pay Lord
Silverbridge's electioneering expenses, feeling it to be his duty
as a father to do so much for his son.
But though he endeavoured to engage his thoughts in these
parliamentary matters, though he tried to make himself believe
that this political apostasy was the trouble which vexed him, in
truth that other misery was so crushing, as to make the affairs of
his son insignificant. How should he express himself to her? That
was the thought present to his mind as he went down to Matching.
Should he content himself with simply telling her that such a wish
on her part was disgraceful, and that it could never be fulfilled;
or should he argue the matter with her, endeavouring as he did so
to persuade her gently that she was wrong to place her affections
so low, and so to obtain from her an assurance that the idea
should be abandoned?
The latter course would be infinitely the better,--if only he could
accomplish it. But he was conscious of his own hardness of manner,
and was aware that he had never succeeded in establishing
confidence between himself and his daughter. It was a thing for
which he had longed,--as a plain girl might long to possess the
charms of an acknowledged beauty;--as a poor little fellow, five
feet in height, might long to a cubit added to his stature.
Though he was angry with her, how willingly would he take her into
his arms and assure her of his forgiveness! How anxious he would
be to make her understand that nothing should be spared by him to
add beauty and grace to her life! Only, as a matter of course, Mr
Tregear must be abandoned. But he knew of himself that he would
not know how to begin to be tender and forgiving. He knew that he
would not know not to be stern and hard.
But he must find out the history of it all. No doubt the man had
been his son's friend, and had joined the party in Italy at his
son's instance. But yet he had come to entertain the idea that Mrs
Finn had been the great promoter of this sin, and he thought that
Tregear had told him that that lady had been concerned with the
matter from the beginning. In all this there was a craving in his
heart to lessen the amount of culpable responsibility which might
seem to attach itself to the wife he had lost.
He reached Matching about eight, and ordered his dinner to be
brought to him in his own study. When Lady Mary came to welcome
him, he kissed her forehead, and bade her to come to him after his
dinner. 'Shall I not sit with you, papa, whilst you are eating
it?' she asked; but he merely told her that he would not trouble
her to do that. Even in saying this, he was so unusually tender to
her that she assured herself that her lover had not as yet told
The Duke's meals were generally not feasts for a Lucullus. No man
living, perhaps, cared less what he ate, or knew less what he
drank. In such matters he took what was provided for him, making
his dinner off the first bit of meat that was brought, and simply
ignoring anything offered to him afterwards. And he would drink
what wine the servant gave him, mixing it, whatever it might be,
with seltzer water. He had never been given much the pleasures of
the table; but this habit of simplicity had grown on him of late,
till the Duchess used to tell him that his wants were so few that
it was a pity he was not a hermit, vowed to poverty.
Very shortly a message was brought to Lady Mary, saying that her
father wished to see her. She went at once, and found him seated
on a sofa, which stood close along the bookshelves on one side of
the room. The table had already been cleared, and he was alone. He
not only was alone, but had not even a pamphlet or newspaper in
Then she knew that Tregear must have told the story. As this
occurred to her, her legs almost gave way under her. 'Come and sit
down, Mary,' he said, pointing to the seat on the sofa beside
She sat down and took one of his hands within her own. Then, as he
did not begin at once, she asked a question. 'Will Silverbridge
stand for the county, papa?'
'No, my dear.'
'But for the town.'
'Yes, my dear.'
'And he won't be a Liberal?'
'I am afraid not. It is a cause of great unhappiness to me; but I
do not know that I should be justified in any absolute opposition.
A man is entitled to his own opinion, even though he be a very
'I am so sorry that it should be so, papa, because it vexes you.'
'I have many things to vex me;--things to break my heart.'
'Poor mamma!' she exclaimed.
'Yes; that above all others. But life and death are in God's
hands, and even though we may complain we can alter nothing. But
whatever our sorrows are, while we are here we must do our duty.'
'I suppose he may be a good Member of Parliament, though he has
'I am not thinking about your brother. I am thinking about you.'
The poor girl gave a little start on the sofa. 'Do you know-Mr
Tregear?' he added.
'Yes, papa; of course I know him. You used to see him in Italy.'
'I believe I did; I understood that he was there as a friend of
'His most intimate friend, papa.'
'I dare say. He came to me in London yesterday, and told me,--! Oh
Mary, can it be true?'
'Yes, papa,' she said, covered up to her forehead with blushes,
and with her eyes turned down. In the ordinary affairs of life she
was a girl of great courage, who was not given to be shaken from
her constancy by the pressures of any present difficulty; but now
the terror inspired by her father's voice almost overpowered her.
'Do you mean to tell me that you have engaged yourself to that
young man without my approval?'
'Of course you were to have been asked, papa.'
'Is that in accordance with your idea of what should be the
conduct of a young lady in your position?'
'Nobody meant to conceal anything from you, papa.'
'It has been so far concealed. And yet this young man has the
self-confidence to come to me and to demand your hand as though it
were a matter of course that I should accede to so trivial a
request. It is, as a matter of course, quite impossible. You
understand that; do you not?' When she did not answer him at
once, he repeated the question. 'I ask you whether you do not feel
that it is altogether impossible?'
'No, papa,' she said, in the lowest possible whisper, but still in
such a whisper that he could hear the word, and with so much
clearness that he could judge from her face the obstinacy of her
'Then, Mary, it becomes my duty to tell you that it is quite
impossible. I will not have it thought of. There must be an end of
'Why! I am astonished that you should ask me why.'
'I should not have allowed him, papa, to go to you unless I had,--
unless I had loved him.'
'Then you must conquer your love. It is disgraceful and must be
'Yes. I am sorry to use such word to my own child, but it is so.
If you will promise to be guided by me in this matter, if you will
undertake not to see him any more, I will,--if not forget it,--at
any rate pardon it, and be silent. I will excuse it because you
were young, and were thrown imprudently in his way. There has, I
believe, been someone at work in the matter with whom I ought to
be more angry than with you. Say that you will obey me, and there
is nothing within a father's power that I will not do for you, to
make your life happy.' It was thus that he strove to be stern.
His heart, indeed, was tender enough, but there was nothing tender
in the tone of his voice or in the glance of his eye. Though he
was very positive in what he said, yet he was shy and shamefaced
even with his own daughter. He, too, had blushed when he told her
that she must conquer her love.
That she should be told that she had disgraced herself was
terrible to her. That her father should speak of her marriage with
this man as an event that was impossible made her very unhappy.
That he should talk of pardoning her, as for some great fault, was
in itself a misery. But she had not on that account the least idea
of giving up her lover. Young as she was, she had her own peculiar
theory on that matter, her own code of conduct and honour, from
which she did not mean to be driven. Of course she had not
expected that her father would yield at the first word. He, no
doubt, would wish that she should make a more exalted marriage.
She had known that she would have to encounter opposition, though
she had not expected to be told that she had disgraced herself. As
she sat there she resolved that under no pretence would she give
up her lover;--but she was so far abashed that she could not find
words to express herself. He, too, had been silent for a few
moments before he again asked her for her promise.
'Will you tell me, Mary, that you will not see him again?'
'I don't think I can say that, papa.'
'Oh, papa, how can I, when of all people in the world I love him
It is not without a pang that anyone can be told that she who is
of all the dearest has some other one who is to her the dearest.
Such pain fathers and mothers have to bear; and though, I think,
the arrow is never so blunted but that it leaves something of a
wound behind, there is in most cases, if not a perfect salve,
still an ample consolation. The mother knows that it is good that
her child should love some man better than all the world beside,
and that she should be taken away to become a wife and a mother.
And the father, when that delight of his eye ceases to assure him
that he is her nearest and dearest, though he abandon the treasure
of the nearestness and dearestness with a soft melancholy, still
knows that it should be. Of course that other 'him' is the person
she loves the best in the world. Were it not so how evil a thing
it would be that she should marry him? Were it not so with
reference to some 'him', how void would her life be! But now, to
the poor Duke the wound had no salve, no consolation. When he was
told that this young Tregear was the owner of the girl's sweet
love, was the treasure of her heart, he shrank as though arrows
with sharp points were pricking him all over. 'I will not hear of
such love,' he said.
'What am I to say, papa?'
'Say that you will obey me.'
Then she sat silent. 'Do you not know that he is not fit to be
'Then you cannot have thought much either of your position or of
'He is a gentleman, papa.'
'So is my private secretary. There is not a clerk in one of our
public offices who does not consider himself to be a gentleman.
The curate of the parish is a gentleman, and the medical man who
comes here from Bradstock. The word is too vague to carry with it
any meaning that ought to be serviceable to you in thinking of
such a matter.'
'I do not know of any other way of dividing people,' said she,
showing thereby that she had altogether made up her mind as to
what ought to be serviceable to her.
'You are not called upon to divide people. That division requires
so much experience that you are bound in this matter to rely upon
those to whom your obedience is due. I cannot but think you must
have known that you were not entitled to give your love to any man
without being assured that the man would be approved of by--by--by
me.' He was going to say 'your parents', but was stopped by the
remembrance of his wife's imprudence.
She saw it all, and was too noble to plead her mother's authority.
But she was not too dutiful to cast a reproach upon him, when he
was so stern to her. 'You have been so little with me, papa.'
'That is true,' he said, after a pause. 'That is true. It has been
a fault and I will need to mend it. It is a reason for
forgiveness, and I will forgive you. But you must tell me that
there shall be an end to this.'
'What do you mean?'
'That I love Mr Tregear, and as I have told him so, and as I have
promised him, I will be true to him. I cannot let there be an end
'You do not suppose that you will be allowed to see him again?'
'I hope so.'
'Most assuredly not. Do you write to him?'
'Never since we have been back in England.'
'You must promise me that you will not write.'
She paused for a moment before she answered him, and now she was
looking him full in the face. 'I shall not write to him. I do not
think I shall write to him; but I will not promise.'
'Not promise me,--your father!'
'No, papa. It might be that--that I should do it.'
'You would not wish me so to guard you that you should have no
power of sending a letter but by permission?'
'I should not like that.'
'But it will have to be so.'
'If I do write I will tell you.'
'And show me what you write?'
'No, papa; not that, but I will tell you what I have written.'
Then it occurred to him that this bargaining was altogether
derogatory to his parental authority, and by no means likely to
impress upon her mind the conviction that Tregear must be
completely banished from her thoughts. He began already to find
how difficult it would be for him to have the charge of such a
daughter,--how impossible that he should conduct such a charge with
sufficient firmness, and yet with sufficient tenderness! At
present he had done no good. He had only been made more wretched
than ever by her obstinacy. Surely he must pass her over to the
charge of some lady,--but of some lady who would be as determined
as he was himself that she should not throw herself away by
marrying Mr Tregear. 'There shall be no writing,' he said, 'no
visiting, no communication of any kind. As you refuse to obey me
now, you had better go to your room.'
'In Media Res'
Perhaps the method of rushing at once 'in media res' is, of all
the ways of beginning a story, or a separate branch of a story,
the least objectionable. The reader is made to think that the gold
lies so near the surface that he will be required to take very
little trouble in digging for it. And the writer is enabled,--at
any rate for a time, and till his neck has become, as it were,
warm to the collar,--to throw off from him the difficulties and
dangers, the tedium and prolixity, of description. This rushing
'in media res' has doubtless the charm of ease. 'Certainly when I
threw her from the garret window to the stony pavement below, I
did not anticipate that she would fall so far without injury to
life or limb.' When a story has been begun after this fashion,
without any prelude, without description of the garret or of the
pavement, or of the lady thrown, or of the speaker, a great amount
of trouble seems to have been saved. The mind of the reader fills
up the blanks,--if erroneously, still satisfactorily. He knows, at
least, that the heroine has encountered a terrible danger, and has
escaped from it with almost incredible good fortune, that the
demon of the piece is a bold demon, not ashamed to speak of his
own iniquity, and that the heroine and the demon are so far united
that they have been in a garret together. But there is the
drawback on the system,--that it is almost impossible to avoid the
necessity of doing, sooner or later, that which would naturally be
done at first. It answers, perhaps, for a half-a-dozen chapters;--
and to carry the reader pleasantly for half-a-dozen chapters is a
great matter!-but after that a certain nebulous darkness gradually
seems to envelope the characters and the incidents. 'Is all this
going on in the country, or is it in town,--or perhaps in the
Colonies? How old was she? Was she tall? Is she fair? Is she
heroine-like in her form and gait? And, after all, how high was
the garret window? I have always found that the details would
insist on being told at last, and that by rushing 'in media res' I
was simply presenting the cart before the horse. But as readers
like the cart the best, I will do it once again,--trying it only
for a branch of my story,--and will endeavour to let as little as
possible of the horse be seen afterwards.
'And so poor Frank has been turned out of heaven?' said Lady Mabel
Grex to young Lord Silverbridge.
'Who told you that? I have said nothing to anybody.'
'Of course he told me himself,' said the young beauty. I am aware
that, in the word beauty, and perhaps, also, the word young, a
little bit of the horse appearing; and I am already sure that I
shall have to show his head and neck, even if not his very tail.
'Poor Frank! Did you hear it all?'
'I heard nothing, Lady Mab, and know nothing.'
'You know that your awful governor won't let him stay any longer
in Carlton Terrace?'
'Yes, I know that.'
'And why not?'
'Would Lord Grex allow Percival to have his friends living here?'
Lord Grex was Lady Mabel's father, Lord Percival was the Earl's
son;--and the Earl lived in Belgrave Square. All these little bits
of the horse.
'Certainly not. In the first place, I am here.'
'That makes a difference, certainly.'
'Of course it makes a difference. They would be wanting to make
love to me.'
'No doubt. I should, I know.'
'And therefore it wouldn't do for you to live here, and then papa
is living here himself. And then the permission never has been
given. I suppose Frank did not go there without the Duke knowing
'I daresay that I mentioned it.'
'You might as well tell me about it. We are cousins, you know.'
Frank Tregear, through his mother's family, was second cousin to
Lady Mabel; as was also Lord Silverbridge, one of the Grexes
having, at some remote period, married a Palliser. This is another
bit of the horse.
'The governor merely seemed to think that he would like to have
his own house to himself,--like other people. What an ass Tregear
was to say anything to you about it.'
'I don't think he was an ass at all. Of course he had to tell us
that he was changing his residence. He says that he is going to
take a back bedroom somewhere near the Seven Dials.'
'He has got very nice rooms in Duke Street.'
'Have you seen him, then?'
'Of course I have.'
'Poor fellow! I wish he had a little money; he is so nice. And
now, Lord Silverbridge, do you mean to say that there is something
in the wind about Lady Mary?'
'If there were I should not talk about it,' said Lord
'You are a very innocent young gentleman.'
'And you are a very interesting young lady.'
'You ought to think me so, for I interest myself very much about
you. Was the Duke very angry about your not standing for the
'He was vexed.'
'I do think it is so odd that a man should be expected to be this
or that in politics because his father happened to be so before
him! I don't understand how he should expect that you should
remain with a party so utterly snobbish and down in the world as
the Radicals. Everybody that is worth anything is leaving them.'
'He has not left them.'
'No, I don't suppose he could; but you have.'
'I never belonged to them, Lady Mab.'
'And never will, I hope. I always told papa that you would
certainly be one of us.' All this took place in the drawing-room
of Lord Grex's house. There was no Lady Grex alive, but there
lived with the Earl, a certain elderly lady, reported in some
distant way a cousin of the family, named Miss Cassewary, who in
the matter of looking after Lady Mab, did what was supposed to be
absolutely necessary. She now entered the room with her bonnet on,
having just returned from church. 'What was the text?' asked Lady
Mab at once.
'If you had gone to church, as you ought to have done, my dear,
you would have heard it.'
'But as I didn't?'
'I don't think the text alone will do you any good.'
'And probably you forget it.'
'No, I don't, my dear. How do you do, Lord Silverbridge?'
'He is a Conservative, Miss Cass.'
'Of course he is. I am quite sure that a young nobleman of so much
taste and intellect would take the better side.'
'You forget that all you are saying is against my father and my
family, Miss Cassewary.'
'I dare say it was different when your father was a young man. And
your father, too, was not very long since, at the head of a
government which contained many Conservatives. I don't look upon
your father as a Radical, though perhaps I should not be justified
in calling him a Conservative.'
'Well; certainly not, I think.'
'But now it is necessary that all noblemen in England should rally
to the defence of their order.' Miss Cassewary was a great
politician, and was one of those who are always foreseeing the
ruin of their country. 'My dear, I will go up and take my bonnet
off. Perhaps you will have tea when I come down.'
'Don't you go,' said Lady Mabel, when Silverbridge got up to take
'I always do when tea comes.'
'But you are going to dine here?'
'Not that I know of. In the first place, nobody has asked me. In
the second place, I am engaged. Thirdly, I don't care about having
to talk politics to Miss Cass; and fourthly, I hate family dinners
'In the first place, I ask you. Secondly, I know you are going to
dine with Frank Tregear, at the club. Thirdly, I want you to talk
to me, and not to Miss Cass. And, fourthly, you are an uncivil
young,--young,--young,--I should say cub, if I dared, to tell me that
you don't like dining with me any day of the week.'
'Of course you know what I mean is, that I don't like troubling
'Leave that to me. I shall tell him you are coming, and Frank too.
Of course you can bring him. Then he can talk to me when papa goes
down to his club, and you can arrange your politics with Miss
Cass.' So it was settled, and at eight o'clock Lord Silverbridge
reappeared in Belgrave Square with Frank Tregear.
Earl Grex was a nobleman of a very ancient family, the Grexes
having held the parish of Grex, in Yorkshire, from some time long
prior to the Conquest. In saying all this, I am, I know, allowing
the horse to appear wholesale;--but I find that he cannot be kept
out. I may as well go on to say that the present Earl was better
known at Newmarket and the Beaufort,--where he spent a large part
of his life in playing whist,--than in the House of Lords. He was a
grey-haired, handsome, worn-out old man, who through a long life
of pleasure had greatly impaired a fortune, which, for an earl,
had never been magnificent, and who now strove hard, but not
always successfully, to remedy that evil by gambling. As he could
no longer eat and drink as he used to do, and as he cared no
longer for the light that lies in a lady's eye, there was not much
left to him but cards and racing. Nevertheless he was a handsome
old man, of polished manners, when he chose to use them; a staunch
Conservative and much regarded by his party, for whom in his early
life he had done some work in the House of Commons.
'Silverbridge is all very well,' he had said; 'but I don't see why
that young Tregear is to dine here every night of his life.'
'This is the second time since he has been up in town. Papa.'
'He was here last week, I know.'
'Silverbridge wouldn't come without him.'
'That's d-d nonsense,' said the Earl. Miss Cassewary gave a
start,--not, we may presume, because she was shocked, for she could
not be much shocked, having heard the same word from the same lips
very often; but she thought it right always to enter a protest.
Then the two young men were announced.
Frank Tregear, having been known by the family as a boy, was Frank
to all of them,--as was Lady Mabel, Mabel to him, somewhat to the
disgust of the father and not altogether with the approbation of
Miss Cass. But Lady Mabel had declared that she would not be
guilty of the folly of changing old habits. Silverbridge, being
Silverbridge to all his own people, hardly seemed to have a
Christian name;--his godfathers and godmothers had indeed called
him Plantagenet;--but having only become acquainted with the family
since his Oxford days he was Lord Silverbridge to Lady Mabel. Lady
Mabel had not as yet become Mabel to him, but, as by her very
intimate friends she was called Mab, had allowed herself to be
addressed by him as Lady Mab. There was thus between them all
'I'm deuced glad to hear it,' said the Earl when dinner was
announced. For although he could not eat much, Lord Grex was
always impatient when the time of eating was at hand. Then he
walked down alone. Lord Silverbridge followed with his daughter,
and Frank Tregear gave his arm to Miss Cassewary. 'If that woman
can't clear her soup better than that, she might as well go to the
d-,' said the Earl;--upon which remark no one in the company made
any observation. As there were two men-servants in the room when
it was made the cook probably had the advantage of it. It may be
almost unnecessary to add that though the Earl had polished
manners for certain occasions he would sometimes throw them off in
the bosom of his own family.
'My Lord,' said Miss Cassewary--she always called him 'My Lord'--
'Lord Silverbridge is going to stand for the Duke's borough in the
'I didn't know the Duke had a borough.'
'He had one till he thought it proper to give it up,' said the son,
taking his father's part.
'And you are going to pay him off for what he has done by standing
against him. It's just the sort of thing a son to do in these
days. If I had a borough Percival would go down and make radical
'There isn't a better Conservative in England than Percival,' said
Lady Mabel, bridling up.
'Nor a worse son,' said the father. 'I believe he would do
anything he could lay his hand on to oppose me.' During the past
week there had been some little difference of opinion between the
father and the son as to the signing of a deed.
'My father does not take it in bad part at all,' said
'Perhaps he is ratting himself,' said the Earl. 'When a man lends
himself to a coalition he is as good as half gone.'
'I do not think that in all England there is so thorough a Liberal
as my father,' said Lord Silverbridge. 'And when I say that he
doesn't take this badly, I don't mean that it doesn't vex him. I
know it vexes him. But he doesn't quarrel with me, he even wrote
to Barsetshire to say that all my expenses at Silverbridge were to
'I call that bad politics,' said the Earl.
'It seems to me to be very grand,' said Frank.
'Perhaps, sir, you don't know what is good or what is bad in
politics,' said the Earl, trying to snub his guest.
But it was difficult to snub Frank. 'I know a gentleman when I see
him, I think,' he said. 'Of course Silverbridge is right to be a
Conservative. Nobody has a stronger opinion about that than I
have. But the Duke is behaving so well that if I were he I should
almost regret it.'
'And so I do,' said Silverbridge.
When the ladies were gone the old Earl turned himself round the
fire, having filled his glass and pushed the bottles away from
him, as though he meant to leave the two young men to themselves.
He sat leaning with his head on his hand, looking the picture of
woe. It was now only nine o'clock, and there would be no more
whist at the Beaufort till eleven. There was still more than a
hour to be endured before the brougham would come to fetch him. 'I
suppose we shall have a majority,' said Frank, trying to rouse
'Who does "We" mean?' asked the Earl.
'The Conservatives, of whom I take the liberty to call myself
'It sounded as though you were a very influential member of the
'I consider myself to be one of the party, and so I say "We".'
Upstairs in the drawing-room Miss Cassewary did her duty loyally.
It was quite right that young ladies and young gentlemen should be
allowed to talk together, and very right indeed that such a young
gentleman as Lord Silverbridge should be allowed to talk so such a
young lady as Lady Mabel. What could be so nice as a marriage
between the heir of the house of Omnium and Lady Mabel Grex? Lady
Mabel looked indeed to be the elder,--but they were in truth the
same age. All the world acknowledged that Lady Mabel was very
clever and very beautiful and fit to be a Duchess. Even the Earl,
when Miss Cassewary hinted at the matter to him, grunted an
assent. Lady Mabel had already refused one or two not ineligible
offers, and it was necessary that something should be done. There
had been at one time a fear in Miss Cassewary's bosom lest her
charge should fall too deeply in love with Frank Tregear,--but Miss
Cassewary knew that whatever danger there might have been in that
respect had passed away. Frank was willing to talk to her, while
Mabel and Lord Silverbridge were in a corner together.
'I shall be on tenterhooks now till I know how it is to be at
Silverbridge,' said the young lady.
'It is very good of you to feel so much interest.'
'Of course I feel an interest. Are you not one of us? When is to
'They say that the elections will be over before the Derby.'
'And which do you care for the most?'
'I should like to pull off the Derby, I own.'
'From what papa says, I should think the other event is more
'Doesn't the Earl stand to win on Prime Minister?'
'I never know anything about his betting. But,--you know his way,--
he said you were going to drop a lot of money like a-I can't quite
tell you what he likened you to.'
'The Earl may be mistaken.'
'You are not betting much, I hope.'
'Not plunging. But I have a little money on.'
'Don't get into the way of betting.'
'Why:--what difference does it make,--to you?'
'Is that kind, Lord Silverbridge?'
'I meant to say that if I did make a mess of it you wouldn't care
'Yes, I should. I should care very much. I dare say you could lose
a great deal of money and care nothing about it.'
'Indeed I could not.'
'What would be a great deal of money to me. But you would want to
get it back again. And in that way you would be regularly on the
'And why not?'
'I want to see better things from you.'
'You ought not to preach against the turf, Lady Mab.'
'Because of papa? But I am not preaching against the turf. If I
were such as you are I would have a horse or two myself. A man in
your position should do a little of everything. You should hunt
and have a yacht, and stalk deer and keep your own trainer at
'I wish you would say all that to my father.'
'Of course I mean if you can afford it. I like a man to like
pleasure. But I despise a man who makes a business of his
pleasures. When I hear that this man is the best whist-player in
London, and that man the best billiard-player, I always know that
they can do nothing else, and then I despise them.'
'You needn't despise me, because I do nothing well,' said he, as
he got up to take his leave.
'I do so hope you'll get the seat,--and win the Derby.'
These were her last words to him as she wished him good-night.
Why if not Romeo if I Feel like Romeo?
'That's nonsense, Miss Cass, and I shall,' said Lady Mabel. They
were together on the morning after the little dinner-party
described in the last chapter, in a small back sitting-room which
was supposed to be Lady Mabel's own, and the servant had just
announced that Mr Tregear was below.
'Then I shall go down too,' said Miss Cassewary.
'You'll do nothing of the kind. Will you please to tell me what it
is you are afraid of? Do you think that Frank is going to make
love to me again?'
'Or that if I chose that he should I would let you stop me? He is
in love with somebody else,--and perhaps I am too. And we are two
'My lord would not approve of it.'
'If you know what my lord approves of and he disapproves you
understand a great deal better than I do. And if you mind what he
approves or disapproves, you care for his opinion a great deal
more than I do. My cousin is here now to talk to me,--about his
own affairs, and I mean to see him,--alone.' Then she left the
room, and went down to that in which Frank was waiting for her,
without the company of Miss Cassewary.
'Do you really mean,' she said, after they had been together for
some minutes, 'that you had the courage to ask the Duke for his
'I believe you would dare to do anything.'
'I couldn't very well take it without asking him.'
'As I am not acquainted with the young lady I don't know how that
'And if I took her so, I should have to take her empty-handed.'
'Which wouldn't suit;--would it?'
'It wouldn't suit for her,--whose comforts and happiness are much
more to me than my own.'
'No doubt! Of course you are terribly in love.'
'Very thoroughly in love, I think I am.'
'For the tenth time, I should say.'
'For the second only. I don't regard myself as a monument of
constancy, but I think I am less fickle than some other people.'
'Frank, that is ill-natured, and almost unmanly,--and false also.
When have been I fickle? You say that there was one before with you.
I say that thee has never really been one with me at all. No one
knows that better than yourself. I cannot afford to be in love
till I am quite sure that the man is fit to be, and will be, my
'I doubt sometimes whether you are capable of being in love with
'I think I am,' she said, very gently. 'But I am at any rate
capable of not being in love till I wish it. Come, Frank, do not
quarrel with me. You know,--you ought to know,--that I should have
loved you had not been that such love would have been bad for both
'It is a kind of self-restraint I do not understand.'
'Because you are not a woman.'
'Why did you twit me with changing my love?'
'Because I am a woman. Can't you forgive as much as that to me?'
'Certainly. Only you must not think that I have been false because
I now love so dearly.'
'I do not think you are false. I would do anything to help you if
there were anything I could do. But when you spoke so like a Romeo
of your love,--'
'Why not like a Romeo, if I feel like a Romeo?'
'But I doubt whether Romeo talked much to Rosaline of his love for
Juliet. But you shall talk to me of yours for Lady Mary, and I
will listen to you patiently and encourage you, and will not even
think of those former vows.'
'The former vows were foolish.'
'You at least used to say so.'
'I say so now, and they shall be as though they had never been
spoken. So you bearded the Duke in his den, and asked him for Lady
Mary's hand,--just as though you had been a young Duke yourself and
owned half a county?'
'Just the same.'
'And what did he say?'
'He swore that it was impossible.-Of course I knew all that
'How will it be now? You will not give it up?'
'And Lady Mary?'
'One human being can perhaps never answer for another with perfect
'But you feel sure of her.'
'He, I should think, be very imperious.'
'And so can she. The Pallisers are all obstinate.'
'Is Silverbridge obstinate?' she asked.
'Stiff-necked as a bull if he takes it into his head to be so.'
'I shouldn't have thought it.'
'No;--because he is so soft in his manner, and often finds it
easier to be led by others than to direct himself.'
Then she remained silent for a few seconds. They were both
thinking of the same thing, and both wishing to speak of it. But
the words came to her first. 'I wonder what he thinks of me.'
Whereupon Tregear only smiled. 'I suppose he has spoken to you
'Why do you ask?'
'And why should I tell you? Suppose he should have said to me in
the confidence of friendship that he thinks you ugly and stupid.'
'I am sure he has not said that. He has eyes to see and ears to
hear. But, though I am neither ugly nor stupid, he needn't like
'Do you want him to like you?'
'Yes, I do. Oh yes; you may laugh; but if I did not think that I
could be a good wife to him I would not take his hand even to
become the Duchess of Omnium.'
'Do you mean that you love him, Mabel?'
'No; I do not mean that. But I would learn to love him. You do not
believe that?' Here he again smiled and shook his head. 'It is as
I said before, because you are not a woman, and do not understand
how woman are trammelled. Do you think ill of me because I say
'Do not think ill of me if you can help it, because you are almost
the only friend that I trust. I almost trust dear old Cass, but
not quite. She is old-fashioned and I shock her. As for other
women, there isn't one anywhere to whom I would say a word. Only
think how a girl such as I am is placed; or indeed any girl. You,
if you see a woman that you fancy, can pursue her, can win her and
triumph, or lose her and gnaw your heart;--at any rate you can do
something. You can tell her that you love her; can tell her so
again and again even though she should scorn you. You can set
yourself about the business you have taken in hand and can work
hard at it. What can a girl do?'
'Girls work hard sometimes.'
'Of course they do;--but everybody feels that they are sinning
against their sex. Of love, such as a man's is, a woman ought to
know nothing. How can she love with passion when she should never
give her love till it has been asked, and not then unless her
friends tell her that the thing is suitable? Love such as that to
me is out of the question. But, as it is fit that I should be
married, I wish to be married well.'
'And you will love him after a fashion?'
'Yes;--after a very sterling fashion. I will make his wishes my
wishes, his ways my ways, his party my party, his home my home,
his ambition my ambition,--his honour my honour.' As she said this
she stood up with her hands clenched and head erect, and her eyes
flashing. 'Do you not know me well enough to be sure that I should
be loyal to him?'
'Yes;--I think that you would be loyal.'
'Whether I loved him or not, he should love me.'
'And you think that Silverbridge would do?'
'Yes. I think that Silverbridge would do. You, no doubt, will say
that I am flying high.'
'Not too high. Why should you not fly high? If I can justify
myself, surely I cannot accuse you.'
'It is hardly the same thing, Frank. Of course there is not a girl
in London to whom Lord Silverbridge would not be the best match
that she could make. He has the choice of us all.'
'Most girls would think twice before refusing him.'
'Very few would think twice before accepting him. Perhaps he
wishes to add to his wealth by marrying richly,--as his father
'No thought on that subject would ever trouble him. That will be
all as it happens. As soon as he takes sufficient fancy to a girl
he will ask her straight off. I do not say that he might not
change afterwards, but he would mean it at the time.'
'If he had once said the word to me, he should not change. But
then what right have I to expect it? What has he ever said about
'Very little. But had he said much I should not tell you.'
'You are my friend,--but you are his too; and he, perhaps, is more
to you than I am. As his friend it may be your duty to tell him
all that I am saying. If so, I have been wrong.'
'Do you think that I shall do that, Mabel?'
'I do not know. Men are so strong in their friendships.'
'Mine with you is the older, and the sweeter. Though we may not be
more than friends, I will say that it is the more tender. In my
heart of hearts, I do not think that Silverbridge could do
'Thanks for that, Frank.'
'I shall tell him nothing of you that can set him against you.'
'And you would be glad to see me his wife?' she said.
'As you must be somebody's wife, and not mine.'
'I cannot be yours, Frank.'
'And not mine,' he repeated. 'I will endeavour to be glad. Who can
explain his feelings in such a matter? Though I most truly love
the girl I hope to marry, yet my heart goes back to former things
and opens itself to past regrets.'
'I know it all,' she whispered.
'But you and I must be too wise to permit ourselves to be
tormented by such foolish melancholy.' As he said this he took
her hand, half with the purpose of bidding her good-bye, but
partly with the idea of giving some expression of tenderness of
his feelings. But as he did so, the door was opened, and the old
Earl shambled into the room.
'What the deuce are you doing here?' he said.
'I have been talking to Lady Mabel.'
'For about an hour.'
'Indeed I do not know for how long.'
'Papa, he is going to be married.' When she said this Frank
Tregear turned round and looked at her almost in anger.
'Going to be married, is he? And who is the fortunate woman?
'I don't think he will let me tell you.'
'Not yet, I think,' said Frank, gloomily. 'There is nothing
The old Earl looked puzzled, but Lady Mabel's craft had been
successful. If this objectionable young second-cousin had come
there to talk about his marriage with another young woman, the
conversation must have been innocent. 'Where is Miss Cassewary?'
asked the Earl.
'I asked her not to come down with me because Frank wished to
speak to me about his own affairs. You have no objection to his
There had been objections raised to any intimacy with Frank
Tregear, but all that was now nearly two years since. He had been
assured over and over again by Miss Cassewary that he need not be
afraid of Frank Tregear, and had in a sort of way assented to the
young man's visits. 'I think he might find something better to do
with his time than hanging about here all day.' Frank, shrugging
his shoulders, and having shaken hands with both the daughter and
father, took his hat and departed. 'Who is the girl?' asked the
'You heard him say that I was not to tell.'
'Has she got money?'
'I believe she will have a great deal.'
'Then she is a great fool for her pains,' said the Earl, shambling
Lady Mabel spent the greater part of the afternoon alone,
endeavouring to recall to her mind all that she had said to Frank
Tregear, and questioning herself as to the wisdom and truth of her
own words. She had intended to tell the truth,--but hardly perhaps
the whole truth. The life which was before her,--which it was
necessary that she should lead,--seemed to her to be so difficult!
She could not clearly see her way to be pure and good and
feminine, and at the same time wise. She had been false now,--so
far false that she had told her friend that she had never been in
love. But she was in love;--in love with him, Frank Tregear. She
knew it as thoroughly as it was possible for her to know
anything;--and had acknowledged it to herself a score of times.
But, she could not marry him. And it was expected, nay, almost
necessary that she should marry someone. To that someone, how good
she would be! How she would strive by duty and attention, and if
possible by affection, to make up for the misfortune of her early
And so I hope that I have brought my cart to its appointed place
in the front, without showing too much of the horse.
For two or three days after the first scene between the Duke and
his daughter,--that scene in which she was forbidden either to see
or to write to her lover,--not a word was said at Matching about Mr
Tregear, nor were any steps taken towards curtailing her liberty
of action. She had said she would not write to him without telling
her father, and the Duke was too proud of the honour of his family
to believe it to be possible that she should deceive him. Nor was
it possible. Not only would her own idea of duty prevent her from
writing to her lover, although she had stipulated for the right to
do so in some possible emergency,--but, carried far beyond that in
her sense of what was right and wrong, she felt it now incumbent
on her to have no secret from her father at all. The secret, as
long as it had been a secret, had been a legacy from her mother,--
and had been kept, at her lover's instance, during that period of
mourning for her mother in which it would, she thought, have been
indecorous that there should be any question of love or of giving
in marriage. It had been a burden to her, though a necessary
burden. She had been very clear that the revelation should be made
to her father, when it was made, by her lover. That had been
done,--and now it was open to her to live without any secrecy,--as
was her nature. She meant to cling to her lover. She was quite
sure of that. Nothing could divide her from him but his death or
hers,--or falseness on his part. But as to marriage, that would not
be possible till her father had assented. And as to seeing the
man,--ah, yes if she could do so with her father's assent! She
would not be ashamed to own her great desire to see him. She would
tell her father that all her happiness depended on seeing him, she
would not be coy in speaking of her love. But she would obey her
She had a strong idea that she would ultimately prevail,--and idea
also that that 'ultimately' should not be postponed to some
undefined middle-aged period in her life. As she intended to
belong to Frank Tregear, she thought it expedient that he should
have the best of her days as well as what might be supposed to be
the worst; and she therefore resolved that it would be her duty to
make her father understand that though she would certainly obey
him, she would look to be treated humanely by him, and not to be
made miserable for an indefinite term of years.
The first word spoken between them on the subject,--the first word
after that discussion, began with him and was caused by his
feeling that her present life at Matching must be sad and lonely.
Lady Cantrip had again written that she would be delighted to take
her;--but Lady Cantrip was in London and must be in London, at any
rate when Parliament would again be sitting. A London life would
perhaps, at present, hardly suit Lady Mary. Then a plan had been
prepared which might be convenient. The Duke had a house at
Richmond, on the river, called The Horns. That should be lent to
Lady Cantrip, and Mary should there be her guest. So it was
settled between the Duke and Lady Cantrip. But as yet Lady Mary
knew nothing of the arrangement.
'I think I shall go up to town tomorrow,' said the Duke to his
'I shall be gone only one night. It is on your behalf that I am
'On my behalf, papa?'
'I have been writing to Lady Cantrip.'
'Not about Mr Tregear?'
'No;--not about Mr Tregear,' said the father with a mixture of
anger and solemnity in his tone. 'It is my desire to regard Mr
Tregear as though he did not exist.'
'That is not possible, papa.'
'I have alluded to the inconvenience of your position here.'
'Why is it inconvenience?'
'You are too young to be without a companion. It is not fit that
you should be much alone.'
'I do not feel it.'
'It is very melancholy for you, and cannot be good for you. They
will go down to The Horns so that you will not be absolutely in
London, and you will find Lady Cantrip a very nice person.'
'I don't care for new people just now, papa,' she said. But to
this he paid but little heed; nor was she prepared to say that she
would not do as he directed. When therefore he left Matching, she
understood that he was going to prepare a temporary home for her.
Nothing further was said about Tregear. She was too proud to ask
that no mention of his name should be made to Lady Cantrip. And he
when he left the house did not think that he would find himself
called upon to allude to the subject.
But when Lady Cantrip made some inquiry about the girl and her
habits,--asking what were her ordinary occupations, how she was
accustomed to pass her hours, to what she chiefly devoted
herself,--then at last with much difficulty the Duke did bring
himself to tell the story. 'Perhaps it is better that you should
know it all,' he said as he told it.
'Poor girl! Yes, Duke, upon the whole it is better that I should
know it all,' said Lady Cantrip. 'Of course he will not come
'Oh dear; I hope not.'
'Nor to The Horns.'
'I hope he will never see her again anywhere,' said the Duke.
'Have I not been right? Is it not best to put an end to such a
thing at once?'
'Certainly at once, if it has to be put an end to,--and can be put
an end to.'
'It must be put an end to,' said the Duke, very decidedly. 'Do you
not see that it must be so? Who is Mr Tregear?'
'I suppose they were allowed to be together?'
'He was unfortunately intimate with Silverbridge, who took him
over to Italy. He has nothing; not even a profession.' Lady
Cantrip could not but smile when she remembered the immense wealth
of the man who was speaking to her;--and the Duke saw the smile and
understood it. 'You will understand what I mean, Lady Cantrip. If
this young man were in other respects suitable, of course I could
find an income for them. But he is nothing; just an idle seeker
for pleasure without the means of obtaining it.'
'That is very bad.'
'As for rank,' continued the Duke energetically, 'I do not think
that I am specially wedded to it. I have found myself as willing
to associate with those who are without it as with those who have
it. But for my child, I would wish her to mate with one of her own
'It would be best.'
'When a young man comes to me, though I believe him to be what is
called a gentleman, has neither rank, nor means, nor profession,
nor name, and asks for my daughter, surely I am right to say that
such a marriage shall not be thought of. Was I not right?'
demanded the Duke persistently.
'But it is a pity that it should be so. It is a pity that they
should ever have come together.'
'It is indeed, indeed to be lamented,--and I will own at once that
the fault was not hers. Though I must be firm in this, you are not
to suppose that I am angry with her. I have myself been to blame.'
This he said with a resolution that,--as he and his wife had been
one flesh,--all faults committed by her should, now that she was
dead, be accepted by him as his faults. 'It had not occurred to me
that as yet she would love any man.'
'Has it gone deep with her, Duke?'
'I fear that all things go deep with her.'
'But they shall be kept apart! As long as your great kindness is
continued for her they shall be kept apart!'
'I do not think that I should be found good at watching a young
'She will require no watching.'
'Then of course they will not meet. She had better know that you
have told me.'
'She shall know it.'
'And let her know also that anything I can do to make her happy
shall be done. But, Duke, there is but one cure.'
'Time you mean.'
'Yes; time; but I did not mean time.' Then she smiled as she went
on. 'You must not suppose that I am speaking against my own sex if
I say that she will not forget Mr Tregear till someone else has
made himself agreeable to her. We must wait till she can go out a
little more into society. Then she will find out that there are
others in the world besides Mr Tregear. It so often is the case
that a girl's love means her sympathy for him who has chanced to
be nearest her.'
The Duke as he went away thought very much of what Lady Cantrip
had said to him;--particularly of those last words. 'Till some one
else has made himself agreeable to her.' Was he to send his girl
into the world in order that she might find a lover? There was
something in the idea which was thoroughly distasteful to him. He
had not given his mind much to the matter, but had felt that a
woman should be sought for,--sought for and extracted, cunningly,
as it were, from some hiding-place, and not sent out into a market
to be exposed as for sale. In his own personal history there had
been a misfortune,--a misfortune, the sense of which he could
never, at any moment, have expressed to any ears, the memory of
which had been always buried deep in his own bosom,--but a
misfortune in that no such cunning extraction on his part had won
for him the woman to whose hands had been confided the strings of
his heart. His wife had undergone that process of extraction
before he had seen her, and his marriage with her had been a
matter of sagacious bargaining. He was now told that his daughter
must be sent out among young men in order that she might become
sufficiently fond of some special one to be regardless of Tregear.
There was a feeling that in doing so she must lose something of
the freshness of the bloom of her innocence. How was this transfer
of her love to be effected? Let her go here because she will meet
the heir of this wealthy house who may probably be smitten by her
charms; or there because that other young lordling would make a
fit husband for her. Let us contrive to throw her into the arms of
this man, or put her into the way of that man. Was his girl to be
exposed to this? Surely that method of bargaining to which he had
owed his own wife would be better than that. Let it be said,--only
he himself most certainly could not be the person to say it,--let
it be said to some man of rank and means and fairly good
character, 'Here is a wife for you with so many thousand pounds,
with beauty, as you can see for yourself, with rank and belongings
of the highest; very good in every respect;--only that as regards
her heart she thinks she has given it to a young man named
Tregear. No marriage there is possible; but perhaps the young lady
might suit you?' It was thus he had been married. There was an
absence in it of that romance which, though he had never
experienced it in his own life, was always present to his
imagination. His wife had often ridiculed him because he could
only live among figures and official details; but to her had not
been given the power of looking into a man's heart and feeling all
that was there. Yes;--in such bargaining for a wife, in such
bargaining for a husband, there could be nothing of the tremulous
delicacy of feminine romance; but it would be better than standing
at a stall in the market till the sufficient purchaser should
come. It never occurred to him that the delicacy, the innocence,
the romance, the bloom might all be preserved if he would give his
girl to the man whom she said she loved. Could he have modeled her
future course according to his own wishes, he would have had her
live a gentle life for the next three years, with a pencil perhaps
in her hand or a music-book before her;--and then come forth,
cleaned as it were by such quarantine from the impurity to which
she had been subjected.
When he was back at Matching he at once told his daughter what he
had arranged for her, and then there took place a prolonged
discussion both as to his view of her future life and as to her
own. 'You did tell her then about Mr Tregear?' she asked.
'As she is to have charge of you for a time I thought it best.'
'Perhaps it is. Perhaps--you were afraid.'
'No; I was not afraid, he said angrily.
'You need not be afraid. I shall do nothing elsewhere that I would
not do here, and nothing anywhere without telling you.'
'I know that I can trust you.'
'But, papa, I shall always intend to marry Mr Tregear.'
'No!' he exclaimed.
'Yes;--always. I want you to understand exactly how it is. Nothing
you can do can separate me from him.'
'Mary, that is very wicked.'
'It cannot be wicked to tell the truth, papa. I mean to try to do
all you tell me. I shall not see him, or write to him,--unless
there should be some very particular reason. And if I did see him,
or write to him I would tell you. And of course I should not think
of--of marrying without your leave. But I shall expect you to let
me marry him.'
'Then I shall think you are--cruel; and you will break my heart.'
'You should not call your father cruel.'
'I hope you will not be cruel.'
'I can never permit you to marry this man. It would be altogether
improper. I cannot allow you to say that I am cruel because I do
what I feel to be my duty. You will see other people.'
'A great many perhaps.'
'And will learn to,--to,--to forget him.'
'Never! I will not forget him. I should hate myself if I thought
it possible. What would love be worth if it could be forgotten in
that way?' As he heard this he reflected whether his own wife,
this girl's mother, had ever forgotten her early love for that
Burgo Fitzgerald whom in her girlhood she had wished to marry.
When he was leaving her she called him back again. 'There is one