Part 3 out of 14
other thing I think I ought to say, papa. If Lady Cantrip speaks
to me about Mr Tregear, I can only tell her what I have told you.
I shall never give him up.' When he heard this he turned angrily
from her, almost stamping his foot upon the ground, when she
quietly left the room.
Cruel! She had told him that he would be cruel, if he opposed her
love. He thought he knew of himself that he could not be cruel,--
even to a fly, even to a political opponent. There could be no
cruelty without dishonesty, and did he not always struggle to be
honest? Cruel to his own daughter!
The pity of it! The pity of it! It was thus that Lady Cantrip
looked at it. From what the girl's father had said to her she was
disposed to believe that the malady had gone deep with her. 'All
things go deep with her,' he had said. And she too from other
sources had heard something of this girl. She was afraid that it
would go deep. It was a thousand pities! Then she asked herself
whether the marriage ought to be regarded as impossible. The Duke
had been very positive,--had declared again and again that it was
quite impossible, had so expressed himself as to make her aware
that he intended her to understand that he would not yield
whatever the sufferings of the girl might be. But Lady Cantrip
knew the world well and was aware that in such matters daughters
are apt to be stronger than their fathers. He had declared Tregear
to be a young man with very small means, and intent on such
pleasures as require great means for their enjoyment. No worse
character could be given to a gentleman who had proposed himself
as a son-in-law. But Lady Cantrip thought it possible that the
Duke might be mistaken in this. She had never seen Mr Tregear, but
she fancied that she had heard his name, and that the name was
connected with a character different from that which the Duke had
Lady Cantrip, who at this time was a young-looking woman, not much
above forty, had two daughters, both of whom were married. The
younger about a year since had become the wife of Lord Nidderdale,
a middle-aged young man who had been long about town, a cousin of
the late Duchess, the heir to a marquisate, and a Member of
Parliament. The marriage had not been considered very brilliant;
but the husband was himself good-natured and pleasant, and Lady
Cantrip was fond of him. In the first place she went to him for
'Oh yes, I know him. He's one of our set at the Beargarden.'
'Not your set now, I hope,' she said laughing.
'Well;--I don't see so much of them as I used to. Tregear is not a
bad fellow at all. He's always with Silverbridge. When
Silverbridge does what Tregear tells him, he goes along pretty
straight. But unfortunately there's another man called Tifto, and
when Tifto is in the ascendant then Silverbridge is apt to go a
'He's not in debt, then?'
'Who?-Tregear? I should think he's the last man in the world to owe
a penny to anyone.'
'Is he a betting man?'
'Oh dear no; quite the other way up. He's a severe, sarcastic,
bookish sort of fellow,--a chap who knows everything and turns up
his nose at people who know nothing.'
'Has he got anything of his own?'
'Not much I should say. If he had had any money he would have
married Lady Mab Grex last year.'
Lady Cantrip was inclined from what she now learned to think that
the Duke must be wrong about the young man. But before Lady Mary
joined her she made further inquiry. She too knew Lady Mabel, and
knowing Lady Mabel, she knew Miss Cassewary. She contrived to find
herself alone with Miss Cassewary, and asked some further
questions about Mr Tregear. 'He's a cousin of my Lord's,' said
'So I thought. I wonder what sort of young man he is. He is a good
deal with Lord Silverbridge.'
Then Miss Cassewary spoke her opinion very plainly. 'If Lord
Silverbridge has nobody worse about him than Mr Tregear he would
not come to much harm.'
'I suppose he's not very well off?'
'No;--certainly not. He will have a property of some kind, I
believe, when his mother dies. I think very well of Mr Tregear;--
only I wish that he had a profession. But why are you asking about
him, Lady Cantrip?'
'Nidderdale was talking to me about him and saying that he was so
much with Lord Silverbridge. Lord Silverbridge is going into
Parliament now, and, as it were, beginning the world, and it would
be a thousand pities that he should get into bad hands.' It may,
however, be doubted whether Miss Cassewary was hoodwinked by this
Early in the second week of May the Duke brought his daughter up
to The Horns, and at the same time expressed his intention of
remaining in London. When he did so Lady Mary at once asked
whether she might not be with him, but he would not permit it. The
house in London would, he said, be more gloomy even than Matching.
'I am quite ashamed of giving so much trouble,' Lady Mary said to
her new friend.
'We are delighted to have you, my dear.'
'But I know you have been obliged to leave London because I am
'There is nothing I like so much as this place, which your father
has been kind enough to lend us. As for London, there is nothing
now to make me like being there. Both my girls are married, and
therefore I regard myself as an old woman who has done her work.
Don't you think this place very much nicer than London at this
time of the year?'
'I don't know London at all. I had only just been brought out when
poor mamma want abroad.'
The life they led was very quiet, and most probably have been felt
to be dull by Lady Cantrip, in spite of her old age and desire for
retirement. But the place itself was very lovely. May of all the
months of the year is in England the most insidious, the most
dangerous, and the most inclement. A greatcoat can not be endured,
and without a greatcoat who can endure a May wind and live? But
of all months it is the prettiest. The grasses are then the
greenest, and the young foliage of the trees, while it has all the
glory and all the colour of spring vegetation, does not hide the
form of the branches as do the heavy masses of the larger leaves
which come in the advancing summer. And of all the villas near
London The Horns was the sweetest. The broad green lawn swept down
to the very margins of the Thames, which absolutely washed the
fringe of grass when the tide was high. And here, along the bank,
was a row of flowering ashes the drooping boughs of which in
places touched the water. It was one of those spots which when
they are first seen make the beholder feel that to be able to live
there and look at it always would be happiness for life.
At the end of the week there came a visitor to see Lady Mary. A
very pretty carriage was driven up to the door of The Horns, and
the servant asked for Lady Mary Palliser. The owner of the
carriage was Mrs Finn. Now it must be explained to the reader that
there had never been any friendship between Mrs Finn and Lady
Cantrip, though the ladies had met each other. The great political
intimacy which had existed between the Duke and Lord Cantrip had
created some intimacy between their wives. The Duchess and Lady
Cantrip had been friends,--after a fashion. But Mrs Finn had never
been cordially accepted by those among whom Lady Cantrip chiefly
lived. When therefore the name was announced, the servant
expressly stating that the visitor had asked for Lady Mary, Lady
Cantrip, who was with her guest, had to bethink herself what she
would do. The Duke, who was at this time very full of wrath
against Mrs Finn, had not mentioned this lady's name when
delivering up the charge of his daughter to Lady Cantrip. At this
moment it occurred to her that not improbably Mrs Finn would cease
to be included in the intimacies of the Palliser family from the
time of the death of the Duchess,---that the Duke would not care to
maintain the old relations, and that he would be as little anxious
to do it for his daughter as for himself. If so, could it be right
that Mrs Finn should come down her, to a house which was now in
the occupation of a lady with whom she was not on inviting terms,
in order that she might thus force herself on the Duke's daughter?
Mrs Finn had not left her carriage, but had sent to ask of Lady
Mary could see her. In all this there was considerable
embarrassment. She looked round at her guest, who had at once
risen from her chair. 'Would you wish to see her?' asked Lady
'Oh yes, certainly.'
'Have you seen her since,--since you came home from Italy?'
'Oh dear, yes! She was down at Matching when poor mamma died. And
papa persuaded her to remain afterwards. Of course I will see
her.' Then the servant was desired to ask Mrs Finn to come in;--
and while this was being done Lady Cantrip retired.
Mrs Finn embraced her young friend, and asked after her welfare,
and after the welfare of the house in which she was staying,--a
house with which Mrs Finn had been well acquainted,--and said half-
a-dozen pretty little things in her own quiet pretty way, before
she spoke of the matter which had really brought her to The Horns
on that day.
'I have had a correspondence with your father, Mary,'
'And unfortunately one that has been far from agreeable to me.'
'I am sorry for that, Mrs Finn.'
So am I, very sorry. I may say with perfect truth that there is no
man in the world, except my own husband, for whom I feel so
perfect an esteem as I do for your father. If it were not that I
do not like to be carried away by strong language, I would speak
of more than esteem. Through your dear mother I have watched his
conduct closely, and have come to think that perhaps no other man
at the same time so just and patriotic. Now he is very angry with
me,--and most unjustly angry.'
'Is it about me?'
'Yes;--it is about you. Had it not been altogether about you I
would not have troubled you.'
'Yes;--about Mr Tregear also. When I tell you that there has been a
correspondence I must explain that I have written one long letter
to the Duke, and that in answer I have received a very short one.
That his been the whole correspondence. Here is your father's
letter to me.' Then she brought out of her pocket a note, which
Lady Mary read,--covered with blushes as she did so. The note was
'The Duke of Omnium understands from Mrs Finn's
letter that Mrs Finn, while she was the Duke's guest at
Matching, was aware of a certain circumstance affecting
the Duke's honour and happiness,--which circumstance she
certainly did not communicate to the Duke. The Duke
thinks that the trust which had been placed in Mrs Finn
should have made such a communication imperative. The
Duke feels that no further correspondence between
himself and Mrs Finn on the matter could lead to any
'Do you understand it?' asked Mrs Finn.
'I think so.'
'It simply means this,--that when at Matching he had thought me
worthy of having for a time the charge of you and your welfare,
that he had trusted me, who was the friend of your dear mother, to
take for time in regard to you the place which had been so
unhappily left vacant by her death; and it means also that I
deceived and betrayed that trust by being privy to an engagement
on your part, of which he disapproves, and of which he was not
'I suppose he does mean that.'
'Yes, Lady Mary; that is what he means. And he means further to
let me know that as I did so foully betray the trust which he had
placed in me,--that as I had consented to play the part of
assistant to you in that secret engagement,--therefore he casts me
off as altogether unworthy of his esteem and acquaintance. It is
as though he had told me in so many words that among women he had
known none more vile or more false than I.'
'Not that, Mrs Finn.'
'Yes, that;--all of that. He tells me that, and then says that
there shall be no more words spoken or written about it. I can
hardly submit to so stern a judgement. You know the truth, Lady
'Do not call me Lady Mary. Do not quarrel with me.'
'If your father has quarrelled with me, it would not be fit that
you and I should be friends. Your duty to him would forbid it. I
should not have come to you now did I not feel that I am bound to
justify myself. The thing of which I am accused is so repugnant to
me, that I am obliged to do something and to say something, even
though the subject itself be one on which I would willing be
'What can I do, Mrs Finn?'
'It was Mr Tregear who first told me that your father was very
angry with me. He knew what I had done and why, and he was bound
to tell me in order that I might have an opportunity of setting
myself right with the Duke. Then I wrote and explained
everything,--how you had told me of the engagement, and how I then
urged Mr Tregear that he should not keep such a matter secret from
your father. In answer to my letter I have received--that.'
'Shall I write and tell papa?'
'He should be made to understand that from the moment in which I
heard of the engagement I was urgent with you and with Mr Tregear
that he should be informed of it. You will remember what passed.'
'I remember it all.'
'I did not conceive it to my duty to tell the Duke myself, but I
did conceive it to be my duty to see that he should be told. Now
he writes to as though I had known the secret from the first, and
as though I had been concealing it from him at the very moment in
which he was asking me to remain at Matching on your behalf. That
I consider to be hard,--and unjust. I cannot deny what he says I
did know of it while I was at Matching, for it was at Matching
that you told me. But he implies that I knew it before. When you
told me your story I did feel that it was my duty to see that the
matter was not kept longer from him;--and I did my duty. Now your
father takes it upon himself to rebuke me,--and takes upon himself
at the same time to forbid me to write to him again!'
'I will tell him, Mrs Finn.'
'Let him understand this. I do not wish to write to him again.
After what has passed I cannot say I wish to see him again. But I
think he should acknowledge to me that he has been mistaken. He
need not then fear that I shall trouble him with any reply. But I
shall know that he has acquitted me of a fault of which I cannot
bear to think I should be accused.' Then she took a somewhat
formal though still an affectionate farewell to the girl.
'I want to see papa as soon as possible,' said Lady Mary when she
was again with Lady Cantrip. The reason for her wish was soon
given, and then the whole story told. 'You do not think that she
should have gone to papa at once?' Lady Mary asked. It was a point
of moral law on which the elder woman, who had girls of her own,
found it hard to give an immediate answer. It certainly is
expedient that parents should know at once of any engagement by
which their daughters may seek to contract themselves. It is
expedient that they should be able to prevent any secret
contracts. Lady Cantrip felt strongly that Mrs Finn having
accepted the confidential charge of the daughter, could not,
without gross betrayal of trust, allow herself to be the
depositary of such a secret. 'But she did not allow herself,' said
Lady Mary, pleading for her friend.
'But she left the house without telling him, my dear.'
'But it was because of what she did that he was told.'
'That is true; but I doubt whether she should have left him an
hour in ignorance.'
'But it was I who told her. She would have betrayed me.'
'She was not a fit recipient for your confidence, Mary. But I do
not wish to accuse her. She seems a high-minded woman, and I think
that your papa has been hard upon her.'
'And mamma knew it always,' said Mary. To this Lady Cantrip could
give no answer. Whatever the cause for anger the Duke might have
against Mrs Finn, there had been cause for much more against his
wife. But she had freed herself from all accusation by death.
Lady Mary wrote to her father, declaring that she was most
particularly anxious to see him and talk to him about Mrs Finn.
The Duke's Injustice
No advantage whatever was obtained by Lady Mary's interview with
her father. He persisted that Mrs Finn had been untrue to him when
she left Matching without telling him all that she knew of his
daughter's engagement with Mr Tregear. No doubt by degrees that
idea which he at first entertained was expelled from his heat,--the
idea that she had been cognizant of the whole thing before she
came to Matching; but even this was done so slowly that there was
no moment at which he became aware of any lessened feeling of
indignation. To his thinking she had betrayed her trust, and he
could not be got by his daughter to say that he would forgive her.
He certainly could not be got to say that he would apologise for
the accusation he had made. It was nothing less that his daughter
asked; and he could hardly refrain himself from anger when she
asked it. 'There should not have been a moment,' he said, 'before
she came and told me and told me all.' Poor Lady Mary's position
was certainly uncomfortable enough. The great sin,--the sin which
was so great that to have known it for a day without revealing it
was in itself a damning sin on the part of Mrs Finn,--was Lady
Mary's sin. And she differed so entirely from her father as to
think that the sin of her own was a virtue, and that to have
spoken of it to him would have been, on the part of Mrs Finn, a
treachery so deep that no woman ought to have forgive it! When he
spoke of a matter which deeply affected his honour,--she could
hardly refrain from asserting that his honour was quite safe in
his daughter's hands. And when in his heart he declared that it
should have been Mrs Finn's first care to save him from disgrace,
Lady Mary did break out, 'Papa there could be no disgrace.' 'That
for a moment shall be laid aside,' he said, with that manner by
which even his peers in council had never been able not to be
awed, 'but if you communicate with Mrs Finn at all you must be
made to understand that I regard her conduct as inexcusable.'
Nothing had been gained, and poor Lady Mary was compelled to write
a few lines which were to her most painful in writing.
'MY DEAR MRS FINN,
'I have seen papa, and he thinks that you
ought to have told him when I told you. It occurs to me
that it would have been a cruel thing to do, and most
unfair to Mr Tregear, who was quite willing to go to
papa, and had only put off doing so because of poor
mamma's death. As I had told mamma, of course it was
right that he should tell papa. Then I told you,
because you were so kind to me! I am so sorry that I
have got you into this trouble; but what can I do?
'I told him I must write to you. I suppose it is
better that I should, although what I have to say is so
unpleasant. I hope it will all blow over in time,
because I love you dearly. You may be quite sure of one
thing,--that I shall never change.' (In this assurance
the writer was alluding not to her friendship for her
friend but her love for her lover,--and so the friend
understood her) I hope things will be settled some day,
and then we may be able to meet.
'Your very affectionate
Mrs Finn, when she received this, was alone in her house in Park
Lane. Her husband was down in the North of England. On this
subject she had not spoken to him, fearing that he would feel
himself bound to take some steps to support his wife under the
treatment she had received. Even though she must quarrel with the
Duke, she was most anxious that her husband should not be
compelled to do so. Their connection had been political rather
than personal. There were many reasons why there should be no open
cause of disruption between them. But her husband was hot-headed,
and, were al this to be told to him and that letter shown to him
which the Duke had written, there would be words between him and
the Duke which would probably make impossible any further
connection between them.
It troubled her very much. She was by no means not alive to the
honour of the Duke's friendship. Throughout her intimacy with the
Duchess she had abstained from pressing herself on him, not
because she had been indifferent about him, but that she had
perceived that she might make her way with him better by standing
aloof than by thrusting herself forward. And she had known that
she had been successful. She could tell herself with pride that her
conduct towards him had been always such as would become a lady of
high spirit and fine feeling. She knew that she had deserved well
of him, that in all her intercourse with him, with his uncle, and
with his wife, she had given much and had taken little. She was
the last woman in the world to let a word on such a matter pass
her lips; but not the less was she conscious of her merit towards
him. And she had been led to act as she had done by sincere
admiration for the man. In all their political troubles, she had
understood him better than the Duchess had done. Looking on from a
distance she had understood the man's character as it had come to
her both from his wife and from her own husband.
That he was unjust to her,--cruelly unjust, she was quite sure. He
accused her of intentional privity as to a secret which it
behooved him to know, and of being a party to that secrecy.
Whereas from the moment in which she had heard the secret she had
determined that it must be made known to him. She felt that she
had deserved his good opinion in all things, but in nothing more
than in the way in which she had acted in this matter. And yet he
had treated her with an imperious harshness which amounted to
insolence. What a letter it was that he had written to her! The
very tips of her ears tingled with heat as she read again to
herself. None of the ordinary courtesies of epistle-craft had been
preserved either in the beginning or in the end. It was worse even
than if he had called her, Madam without an epithet. 'The Duke
understands--' 'The Duke thinks--' 'The Duke feels--' feels that he
should not be troubled with either letters or conversation; the
upshot of it all being that the Duke declared her to have shown
herself unworthy of being treated like a lady! And this is after
all she had done!
She would not bear it. That at present was all that she could say
to herself. She was not angry with Lady Mary. She did not doubt
but that the girl had done the best in her power to bring her
father to reason. But because Lady Mary had failed, she, Mrs Finn,
was not going to put up with so grievous an injury. And she was
forced to bear all this alone! There was none with whom she could
communicate;--no one from whom she could ask advice. She would not
bring her husband into a quarrel which might be prejudicial to his
position as a member of his political party. There was no one else
to whom she would tell the secret of Lady Mary's love. And yet she
could not bear this injustice done to her.
Then she wrote as follows to the Duke:
'Mrs Finn presents her compliments to the Duke of
Omnium. Mrs Finn finds it to be essential to her that
she should see the Duke in reference to his letter to
her. If his Grace will let her know on what day and at
what hour he will be kind enough to call on her, Mrs
Finn will be at home to receive him.
'Park Lane. Thursday 12th May, 18-'
The New Member for Silverbridge
Lord Silverbridge was informed that it would be right that he
should go down to Silverbridge a few days before the election, to
make himself known to the electors. As the day for the election
drew near it was understood that there would be no other
candidate. The Conservative side was the popular side among the
tradesmen of Silverbridge. Silverbridge had been proud to be
honoured by the services of the heir of the House of Omnium, even
while that heir had been a Liberal,--had regarded it as so much a
matter of course that the borough should be at his disposal that
no question as to politics had ever arisen while he retained the
seat. And had the Duke chosen to continue to send them Liberals,
one after another, when he went into the House of Lords, there
would have been no question as to the fitness of the man, or men
so sent. Silverbridge had been supposed to be a Liberal as a
matter of course;--because the Pallisers were Liberals. But when
the matter was remitted to themselves;--when the Duke declared that
he would not interfere any more, for it was thus that the borough
had obtained its freedom;--then the borough began to feel
conservative predilections. 'If his Grace really does mean us to
do just what we please ourselves which is a thing we never thought
of asking from his Grace, then we find, having turned the matter
over among ourselves, that we are upon the whole Conservative.'
In this spirit the borough had elected a certain Mr Fletcher; but
in doing so the borough had still a shade of fear that it would
offend the Duke. The House of Palliser, Gatherum Castle, the Duke
of Omnium, and this special Duke himself, were all so great in the
eyes of the borough, that the first and only strong feeling in the
borough was the one of duty. The borough did not altogether enjoy
being enfranchised. But when the Duke had spoken once, twice, and
thrice, then with a hesitating heart the borough returned Mr
Fletcher. Now Mr Fletcher was wanted elsewhere, having been
persuaded to stand for the county, and it was a comfort to the
borough that it could resettle itself beneath the warmth of the
wings of the Pallisers.
So the matter stood when Lord Silverbridge was told that his
presence in the borough for a few hours would be taken as a
compliment. Hitherto no one knew him at Silverbridge. During his
boyhood he had not been much at Gatherum Castle, and had done his
best to eschew the place since he had ceased to be a boy. All the
Pallisers took a pride in Gatherum Castle, but they all disliked
it. 'Oh yes, I'll go down,' he said to Mr Morton, who was up in
town. 'I needn't go to the great barrack I suppose.' The great
barrack was the Castle. 'I'll put up at the Inn.' Mr Morton begged
the heir to come to his own house; but Silverbridge declared that
he would prefer the Inn, and so the matter was settled. He was to
meet sundry politicians,--Mr Spurgeon and Mr Sprout and Mr Du
Boung,--who would like to be thanked for what they had been done.
But who was to go with him? He would naturally have asked Tregear,
but from Tregear he had for the last week or two been, not perhaps
estranged, but separated. He had been much taken up with racing.
He had gone down to Chester with Major Tifto, and under the
Major's auspicious influences had won a little money;--and now he
was very anxiously preparing himself for the Newmarket Second
Spring Meeting. He had therefore passed much of his time with
Major Tifto. And when this visit to Silverbridge was pressed on
him he thoughtlessly asked Tifto to go with him. Tifto was
delighted. Lord Silverbridge was to be met at Silverbridge by
various well-known politicians from the neighbourhood, and Major
Tifto was greatly elated by the prospect of such an introduction
into the political world.
But no sooner had the offer been made by Lord Silverbridge than he
saw his own indiscretion. Tifto was very well for Chester or
Newmarket, very well perhaps for the Beargarden, but not very well
for an electioneering expedition. An idea came to the young
nobleman that if it should be his fate to represent Silverbridge
in Parliament for the next twenty years, it would be well that
Silverbridge should entertain respecting him some exalted
estimation,--that Silverbridge should be taught to regard him as a
fit son of his father and a worthy specimen of the British
political nobility. Struck by serious reflection of this nature he
did open his mind to Tregear. 'I am very fond of Tifto,' he said,
'but I don't know whether he's just the sort of fellow to take
down to an election.'
'I should think not,' said Tregear very decidedly.
'He's a very good fellow, you know,' said Silverbridge. 'I don't
know an honester man than Tifto anywhere.'
'I dare say. Or rather, I don't dare say. I know nothing about the
Major's honesty, and I doubt whether you do. He rides very well.'
'What has that to do with it?'
'Nothing on earth. Therefore I advise you not to take him to
'You needn't preach.'
'You may call it what you like. Tifto would not hold his tongue,
and there is nothing he could say there which would not be to your
'Will you go?'
'If you wish it,' said Tregear.
'What will the governor say?'
'That must be your look out. In a political point of view I shall
not disgrace you. I shall hold my tongue and look like a
gentleman,--neither of which is in Tifto's power.'
And so it was settled, that on the day but one after this
conversation Lord Silverbridge and Tregear should go together to
Silverbridge. But the Major, when on that same night his noble
friend's altered plans were explained to him, did not bear the
disappointment with equanimity. 'Isn't that a little strange?' he
said, becoming very red in the face.
'What do you call strange?' said the Lord.
'Well;--I'd made all my arrangements. When a man has been asked to
do a thing like that, he doesn't like to be put off.'
'The truth is, Tifto, when I came to think of it, I saw that,
going down to these fellows about Parliament and all that sort of
thing, I ought to have a political atmosphere, and not a racing or
a betting or a hunting atmosphere.'
'There isn't a man in London who cares more about politics than I
do,--and not many perhaps who understand them better. To tell you
the truth, my Lord, I think you are throwing me over.'
'I'll make it up to you,' said Silverbridge, meaning to be kind.
'I'll go down to Newmarket with you and stick to you like wax.'
'No doubt you'll do that,' said Tifto, who, like a fool, failed to
see where his advantage lay. 'I can be useful at Newmarket, and so
you'll stick to me.'
'Look here, Major Tifto,' said Silverbridge; 'if you are
dissatisfied, you and I can easily separate ourselves.'
'I am not dissatisfied,' said the little man, almost crying.
'Then don't talk as though you were. As to Silverbridge, I shall
not want you there. When I asked you I was only thinking what
would be pleasant to both of us; but since that I have remembered
that business must be business.' Even this did not reconcile the
angry little man, who as he turned away declared himself within
his own little bosom that he would 'take it out of Silverbridge
Lord Silverbridge and Tregear went down to the borough together,
and on the journey something was said about Lady Mary,--and
something also about Lady Mabel. 'From the first, you know,' said
Lady Mary's brother, 'I never thought it would answer.'
'Why not answer?'
'Because I knew the governor would not have it. Money and rank and
those sort of things are not particular charming to me. But still
things should go together. It is all very silly for you and me to
be pals, but of course it will be expected that Mary should marry
'Some swell if you would have it.'
'You mean to call yourself a swell.'
'Yes I do,' said Silverbridge, with considerable resolution. 'You
ought not to make yourself disagreeable, because you understand
all about it as well as anybody. Chance has me the eldest son of a
Duke and heir to an enormous fortune. Chance has made my sister
the daughter of a Duke, and an heiress also. My intimacy ought to
be proof at any rate to you that I don't on that account set
myself up above other fellows. But when you come to talk of
marriage of course it is a serious thing.'
'But you have told me more than once that you have no objection on
your own score.'
'Nor have I.'
'You are only saying what the Duke will think.'
'I am telling you that it is impossible, and I told you so before.
You and she will be kept apart, and so--'
'And so she'll forget me.'
'Something of that kind.'
'Of course I have to trust her for that. If she forgets me, well
'She needn't forget you. Lord bless me! you talk as though the
thing were not done every day. You'll hear some morning that she
is going to marry some fellow who has a lot of money and a good
position; and what difference will it make then whether she has
forgotten you or no? It might almost have been supposed that the
young man had been acquainted with his mother's history.'
After this there was a pause, and there arose some conversation
about other things, and a cigar was smoked. Then Tregear returned
once more to the subject. 'There is one thing I wish to say about
'What is that?'
'I want you to understand that nothing else will turn me away from
my intention but such a marriage on her part as that of which you
speak. Nothing that your father can do will turn me.'
'She can't marry without his leave.'
'That he'll never give,--and I don't suppose you look forward to
waiting till his death.'
'If he sees her happiness really depends on it he will give his
leave. It all depends on that. If I judge your father rightly,
he's just as soft-hearted as other people. The man who holds out
is not the man of the firmest opinion, but the man of the hardest
'Somebody will talk Mary over.'
'If so, the thing is over. It all depends on her.' Then he went
on to tell his friend that he had spoken of his engagement with
Lady Mabel. 'I have mentioned it to no soul but to your father and
'Why to her?'
'Because we were friends together as children. I never had a
sister, but she has been more like a sister to me than anyone
else. Do you object to her knowing it?'
'Not particularly. It seems to me now that everybody knows
everything. There are no longer any secrets.'
'She is a special friend.'
'Of yours,' said Silverbridge.
'And of yours,' said Tregear.
'Well, yes;--in a sort of way. She is the jolliest girl I know.'
'Take her all round, for beauty, intellect, good sense, and fun at
the same time. I don't know anyone equal to her.'
'It's a pity you didn't fall in love with her.'
'We knew each other too early for that. And then she has not a
shilling. I should think myself dishonest if I did not tell you
that I could not afford any girl who hadn't money. A man must
live,--and a woman too.'
At the station they were met by Mr Spurgeon and Mr Sprout, who,
with many apologies for the meanness of such entertainment, took
them up to the George and Vulture, which was supposed for the
nonce to be the Conservative hotel in the town. Here they were met
by other men of importance in the borough, and among them by Mr Du
Boung. Now Mr Sprout and Mr Spurgeon were Conservatives but Mr Du
Boung was a strong Liberal.
'We are, all of us, particularly glad to see your Lordship among
us,' said Mr Du Boung.
'I have told his Lordship how perfectly satisfied you are to see
the borough in his Lordship's hands,' said Mr Spurgeon.
'I am sure it could not be in better,' said Mr Du Boung. 'For
myself I an quite willing to postpone any particular shade of
politics to the advantage of having your father's son as our
representative.' This Mr Du Boung said with much intention of
imparting both grace and dignity to the occasion. He thought that
he was doing a great thing for the House of Omnium, and that the
House of Omnium ought to know it.
'That's very kind of you,' said Lord Silverbridge, who had not
read as carefully as he should have done the letters which had
been sent to him, and did not therefore quite understand the
'Mr Du Boung had intended to stand himself,' said Mr Sprout.
'But retired in your lordship's favour,' said Mr Spurgeon.
'I thought you gave it up because there was hardly a footing for
a Liberal,' said his Lordship, very imprudently.
'The borough was always liberal till the last election,' said Mr
Du Boung, drawing himself up.
'The borough wishes on this occasion to be magnanimous,' said Mr
Sprout, probably having on his mind some confusion between
magnanimity and unanimity.
'As your Lordship is coming among us, the borough is anxious to
sink politics altogether for the moment,' said Mr Spurgeon. There
had no doubt been a compact between the Spurgeon and the Sprout
party and the Du Boung party in accordance with which it had been
arranged that Mr Du Boung should be entitled to a certain amount
of glorification in the presence of Lord Silverbridge.
'And it was in compliance with that wish on the part of the
borough, my Lord,' said Mr Du Boung,--'as to which my own feelings
were quite as strong as that of any other gentleman in the
borough,--that I conceived it to be my duty to give way.'
'His Lordship is quite aware how much he owes to Mr Du Boung,'
said Tregear. Whereupon Lord Silverbridge bowed.
'And now what are we to do?' said Lord Silverbridge.
Then there was a little whispering between Mr Sprout and Mr
Spurgeon. 'Perhaps, Mr Du Boung,' said Spurgeon, 'his lordship had
better call first on Dr Tempest.'
'Perhaps,' said the injured brewer, 'as it is to be a party affair
after all I had better retire from the scene.'
'I thought all that was to be given up,' said Tregear.
'Oh, certainly,' said Sprout. 'Suppose we go to Mr Walker first?'
'I'm up to anything,' said Lord Silverbridge; 'but of course
everybody understands that I am a Conservative.'
'Oh dear, yes,' said Spurgeon.
'We are all aware of that,' said Sprout.
'And very glad we've all of us been to hear of it,' said the
'Though there are some in the borough who could have wished, my
Lord, that you had stuck to the old Palliser politics,' said Mr Du
'But I haven't stuck to the Palliser politics. Just at present I
think that order and all that sort of thing should be maintained.'
'Hear, hear!' said the landlord.
'And now, as I have expressed my views generally, I am willing to
'Then we'll go to Mr Walker first,' said Spurgeon. Now it was
understood that in the borough, among those who really had
opinions of their own, Mr Walker the old attorney stood first as a
Liberal, and Dr Tempest the old rector as a Conservative.
'I am glad to see your Lordship in the town which gives you its
name,' said Mr Walker, who was a hale old gentleman with silvery-
white hair, over seventy years of age. 'I proposed your father for
this borough on, I think, six or seven different occasions. They
used to go in and out then whenever they changed their offices.'
'We hope you'll propose Lord Silverbridge now,' said Mr Spurgeon.
'Oh; well;--yes. He's his father's son, and I never knew anything
but good of the family. I wish you were going to sit on the same
side, my Lord.'
'Times are changed a little, perhaps,' said his Lordship.
'The matter is not to be discussed now,' said the old attorney.
'I understand that. Only I hope you'll excuse me if I say that
a man ought to get up very early in the morning if he means to
see further into politics than your father.'
'Very early indeed,' said Mr Du Boung, shaking his head.
'That's all right,' said Lord Silverbridge.
'I'll propose you, my Lord. I need not wish you success, because
there is no one to stand against you.'
Then they went to Dr Tempest, who was also an old man. 'Yes, my
Lord, I shall be proud to second you,' said the rector. 'I didn't
think that I should ever do that to one of your name of
'I hope you think I've made a change for the better,' said the
'You've come over to my school of course, and I suppose I am bound
to think that a change for the better. Nevertheless I have a kind
of idea that certain people ought to be Tories and that other
certain people ought to be Whigs. What does your father say about
'My father wishes me to be in the House, and that he has not
quarrelled with me you may know by the fact that had there been a
contest he would have paid my expenses.'
'A father generally has to do that whether he approves of what his
son is about or not,' said the caustic old gentleman.
There was nothing else to be done. They all went back to the
hotel, and Mr Spurgeon with Mr Sprout and the landlord clerk drank
a glass of sherry at the candidate's expense, wishing him
political long life and prosperity. There was no one else whom it
was thought necessary that the candidate should visit, and the
next day he returned to town with the understanding that on the
day appointed in the next week he should come back again to be
And on the appointed day the two young men again went to
Silverbridge, and after he had been declared duly elected, the new
Member of Parliament made his first speech. There was a meeting in
the town-hall and many were assembled anxious to hear,--not the
lad's opinions, for which the probably nobody cared much,--but the
tone of his voice and to see his manner. Of what sort was the
eldest son of the man of whom the neighbourhood had been so proud?
For the county was in truth proud of their Duke. Of this son whom
they had now made a Member of Parliament they at present only knew
that he had been sent away from Oxford,--not so very long ago,--for
painting the Dean's house scarlet. The speech was not very
brilliant. He told them that he was very much obliged to them for
the honour they had done him. Though he could not follow exactly
his father's political opinions,--he would always have before his
eyes his father's honesty and independence. He broke down two or
three times and blushed, and repeated himself, and knocked his
words a great deal too quickly one on top of another. But it was
taken very well, and was better than expected. When it was over he
wrote a line to the Duke.
'MY DEAR FATHER,
'I am Member of Parliament for Silverbridge,--as you
used to be in the days which I can first remember. I
hope you won't think that it does not make me unhappy
to have differed from you. Indeed it does. I don't
think that anybody has ever done so well in politics as
you have. But when a man does take up an opinion, I
don't see how he can help himself. Of course I could
have kept myself quiet;--but then you wished me to be in
the House. They were all very civil to me at
Silverbridge, but there was very little said.
'Your affectionate Son,
The Duke Receives a Letter,--and Writes One.
The Duke, when he received Mrs Finn's note, demanding an
interview, thought much upon the matter before he replied. She had
made her demand as though the Duke had been no more than any other
gentleman, almost as though she had a right to call upon him to
wait upon her. He understood and admitted the courage of this;--but
nevertheless he would not go to her. He had trusted her with that
which of all things was the most sacred to him, and she had
deceived him! He wrote her as follows:
'The Duke of Omnium presents his compliments to
Mrs Finn. As the Duke thinks that no good could result
either to Mrs Finn or to himself from an interview, he
is obliged to say that he would rather not do as Mrs
Finn has requested.
'But for the strength of this conviction the Duke
would have waited upon Mrs Finn most willingly.'
Mrs Finn when she received this was not surprised. She had felt
sure that such would be the nature of the Duke's answer; but she
was also sure that is such an answer did come, she would not let
the matter rest. The accusation was so bitter to her that she
would spare nothing in defending herself,--nothing in labour and
nothing in time. She would make him know that she was in earnest.
As she could not succeed in getting into his presence she must do
so by letter,--and she wrote her letter, taking two days to think
of her words.
'May 18, 18-
'MY DEAR DUKE OF OMNIUM,
'As you will not come to me, I must trouble your
Grace to read what I fear will be a long letter. For it
is absolutely necessary that I should explain my
conduct to you. That you have condemned me I am sure
you will not deny;--nor that you have punished me as far
as the power of punishment was in your hands. If I can
succeed in making you see that you have judged me
wrongly, I think you will admit you error and beg my
pardon. You are not one who from your nature can be
brought easily to do this; but you are the one who will
certainly do it if you can be made to feel that by not
doing so you would be unjust. I am myself so clear as
to my own rectitude of purpose and conduct, and I am so
well aware of your perspicuity, that I venture to
believe that if you will read this letter I shall
'Before I go any further I will confess that the
matter is one,--I was going to say almost of life and
death to me. Circumstances, not of my own seeking, have
for some years past thrown me so closely into
intercourse with your family that now to be cast off,
and to be put on one side as a disgraced person,--and
that so quickly after the death of her who loved me so
dearly, and who was dear to me,--is such an affront as I
cannot bear and hold up my head afterwards. I have come
to be known as her whom your uncle trusted and loved,
as her whom your wife trusted and loved,--obscure as I
was before;--and as her whom, may I not say, you
yourself trusted? As there was much of honour and very
much of pleasure in this, so also was their something
of misfortune. Friendships are safest when the friends
are of the same standing. I have always felt there was
a danger, and now the thing I have feared has come home
'Now I will plead my case. I fancy, that when you
first heard that I had been cognizant of your
daughter's engagement, you imagined that I was aware of
it before I went to Matching. Had I been so, I should
have been guilty of that treachery of which you accuse
me. I did know nothing of it till Lady Mary told me on
the day before I left Matching. That she should tell me
was natural enough. Her mother had known of it, and for
the moment,--if I am not assuming too much in saying
so,--I was filling her mother's place. But, in reference
to you, I could not exercise the discretion which a
mother might have used, and I told her at once, most
decidedly, that you must be made acquainted with the
'Then Lady Mary expressed to me her wish,--not
that this matter should be kept any longer from you,
for that it should be told to you by Mr Tregear. It was
not for me to raise any question as to Mr Tregear's
fitness or unfitness,--as to which indeed I could know
nothing. All I could do was to say that if Mr Tregear
would make communications at once, I should feel that I
had done my duty. The upshot was that Mr Tregear came
to me immediately on my return to London, and agreeing
with me that it was imperative for you to be informed,
went to you and did inform you. In all of that, if I
have told the story truly, where has been my offence?
I suppose you will believe me, but your daughter can
give evidence as to every word that I have written.
'I think that you have got into your mind that I
have befriended Mr Tregear' suit, and that, having
received this impression, you hold it with the tenacity
which is usual to you. There never was a greater
mistake. I went to Matching as the friend of my dear
friend;---but I stayed there at your request, as your
friend. Had I been, when you asked me to do so, a
participator in that secret I could not have honestly
remained in the position you assigned to me. Had I done
so, I should have deserved your ill opinion. As it is I
have not deserved it, and your condemnation of me has
been altogether unjust. Should I not now receive from
you a full withdrawal of all charges against me, I
shall be driven to think that after all the insight
which circumstances have given me into your character,
I have nevertheless been mistaken in the reading of it.
'Dear Duke of Omnium,
'I find on looking over my letter that I must add
one word further. It might seem that I am asking for a
return of your friendship. Such is not my purpose.
Neither can you forget that you have accused me,--nor
can I. What I expect is that you should tell me that
you in your conduct to me have been wrong and that I in
mine to you have been right. I must be enabled to feel
that the separation between us has come from injury
done to me, and not by me.'
He did read the letter more than once, and read it with tingling
ears, and hot cheeks, and a knitted brow. As the letter went on,
and as the woman's sense of wrong grew hot from her own telling of
her own story, her words became stronger and still stronger, till
at last they were almost insolent in their strength. Were it not
that they came from one who did think herself to have been
wronged, then certainly they would be insolent. A sense of injury,
a burning conviction of wrong sustained, will justify language
which otherwise would be unbearable. The Duke felt that, though
his ears were tingling and his brow knitted, he could have
forgiven the language, if only he could have admitted the
argument. He understood every word of it. When she spoke of
tenacity she intended to charge him with obstinacy. Though she had
dwelt but lightly on her own services she had made her thoughts on
the matter clear enough. 'I, Mrs Finn, who am nobody, have done
much to succour and assist you, the Duke of Omnium; and this is
the return which I have received!' And then she told him to his
face that unless he did something which it would be impossible
that he should do, she would revoke her opinion of his honesty!
He tried to persuade himself that her opinion about his honesty
was nothing to him;--but he failed. Her opinion was very much to
him. Though in his anger he had determined to throw her off from
him, he knew her to be one whose good opinion was worth having.
Not a word of overt accusation had been made against his wife.
Every allusion to her was full of love. But yet how heavy a charge
was really made! That such a secret should be kept from him, the
father, was acknowledged to be a heinous fault;--but the wife had
known the secret and had kept it from him the father! And then
how wretched a thing it was for him that anyone should dare to
write to him about the wife that had been taken away from him! In
spite of all her faults her name was so holy to him that it had
never once passed his lips since her death, except in low whispers
to himself,--low whispers made in the perfect, double-guarded
seclusion of his own chamber. 'Cora, Cora,' he had murmured, so
that the sense of the sound and not the sound itself had come to
him from his own lips. And now this woman wrote to him about her
freely, as though there were nothing sacred, no religion in the
memory of her.
'It was not for me to raise any question as to Mr Tregear's
fitness'. Was it not palpable to all the world that he was unfit?
Unfit! How could a man be more unfit? He was asking for the hand
of one who was second only to royalty--who possessed of everything,
who was beautiful, well-born, rich, who was the daughter of the
Duke of Omnium, and he had absolutely nothing of his own to offer.
But it was necessary that he should at last come to the
consideration of the actual point as to which she had written to
him so forcibly. He tried to set himself to the task of perfect
honestly. He certainly had condemned her. He had condemned her and
had no doubt punished her to the extent of his power. And if he
could be brought to see that he had done this unjustly, then
certainly he must beg pardon. And when he considered it all, he
had to own that her intimacy with his uncle and his wife had not
been so much of her seeking as of theirs. It grieved him now that
it should have been so, but so it was. And after all this,--after
the affectionate surrender of herself to his wife's caprices which
the woman had made,--he had turned upon her and driven her away
with ignominy. That all was true. As he thought of it he became
hot, and was conscious of a quivering feeling round his heart.
These were bonds indeed; but they were bonds of such a nature as to
be capable of being rescinded and cut away altogether by absolute
bad conduct. If he could make it good to himself that in a matter
of such magnitude as the charge of his daughter she had been
untrue to him and had leagued herself against him, with an
unworthy lover, then, then,--all bonds would be rescinded! Then
would his wrath be altogether justified! Then would it have been
impossible that he should have done aught else than cast her out!
As he thought of this he felt sure that she had betrayed him! How
great would be the ignominy to him should he be driven to own to
himself that she had not betrayed him! 'There should not have
been a moment,' he said to himself over and over again,--'not a
moment!' Yes; she certainly had betrayed him.
There might still be safety for him in that confident assertion of
'not a moment'; but had there been anything of that conspiracy of
which he had certainly at first judged her to be guilty? She had
told her story, and had then appealed to Lady Mary for evidence.
After five minutes of perfect stillness,--but five minutes of
misery, five minutes during which great beads of perspiration
broke out from him and stood upon his brow, he had to confess to
himself that he did not want any evidence. He did believe her
story. When he allowed himself to think she had been in league
with Tregear he had wronged her. He wiped away the beads from his
brow, and again repeated to himself those words which were now his
only comfort, 'There should not have been a moment;--not a moment!'
It was thus and only thus that he was enabled to assure himself
that there need be no acknowledgment of wrong done on his part.
Having settled this in his own mind he forced himself to attend a
meeting at which his assistance had been asked to a complex
question on Law Reform. The Duke endeavoured to give himself up
entirely to the matter; but through it all there was the picture
before him of Mrs Finn waiting for an answer to her letter. If he
should confirm himself in his opinion that he had been right, then
would any answer be necessary? He might just acknowledge the
letter, after the fashion which has come up in official life, than
which silence is an insult much more bearable. But he did not wish
to insult, nor to punish her further. He would willingly have
withdrawn the punishment under which she was groaning could he
have done so with self-abasement. Or he might write as she had
done,--advocating his own cause with all his strength, using that
last one strong argument,--there should not have been a 'moment'.
But there would be something repulsive to his personal dignity in
the continued correspondence which this would produce. 'The Duke
of Omnium regrets to say, in answer to Mrs Finn's letter, that he
thinks no good can be attained by a prolonged correspondence.'
Such, or of such kind, he thought must be his answer. But would
this be a fair return for the solicitude shown to her by his
uncle, for the love which had made her so patient a friend to his
wife, for the nobility of her own conduct in many things? Then
his mind reverted to certain jewels,--supposed to be of enormous
value,--which were still in his possession though they were the
property of this woman. They had been left to her by his uncle,
and she had obstinately refused to take them. Now they were lying
packed in the cellars of certain bankers,--but still they were in
his custody. What should he do now in this matter? Hitherto,
perhaps once in every six months, he had notified to her that he
was keeping them as her curator, and she had always repeated that
it was a charge from which she could not relieve him. It had
become almost a joke between them. But how could he joke with a
woman with whom he had quarrelled after this internecine fashion?
What if he were to consult Lady Cantrip? He could not do so
without a pang that would have been very bitter to him,--but any
agony would be better than arising from a fear that he had been
unjust to one who had deserved so well of him. No doubt Lady
Cantrip would see it in the same light as he had done. And then he
would be able to support himself by the assurance that that which
had judged to be right was approved of by one whom the world would
acknowledge to be a good judge on such a matter.
When he got home he found his son's letter telling him of the
election at Silverbridge. There was something in it which softened
his heart to that young man,--or perhaps it was that in the midst
of his many discomforts he wished to find something which at least
was not painful to him. That his son and heir should insist in
entering political life in opposition to him was of course a
source of pain; but, putting that aside, the thing had been done
pleasantly enough, and the young member's letter had been written
with some good feeling. So he answered the letter as pleasantly as
he knew how.
'MY DEAR SILVERBRIDGE
'I am glad you are in Parliament and am glad also
that you should have been returned by the old borough;
though I would that you could have reconciled yourself
to the politics of your family. But there is nothing
disgraceful in such a change, and I am able to
congratulate you as a father should a son and to wish
you long life and success as a legislator.
'There are one or two things I would ask you to
remember;--and firstly this, that as you have
voluntarily undertaken certain duties you are bound as
an honest man to perform them as scrupulously as though
you were paid for doing them. There was no obligation
in you to seek the post;--but having sought it and
acquired it you cannot neglect the work attached to it
without being untrue to the covenant you have made. It
is necessary that a young member of Parliament should
bear this in mind, and especially a member who has not
worked his way up to notoriety outside the House,
because to him there will be great facility for
idleness and neglect.
'And then I would have you always remember the
purpose for which there is a parliament elected in this
happy and free country. It is not that some men may
shine there, that some may acquire power, or that all
may plume themselves on being the elect of the nation.
It often appears to me that some members of Parliament
so regard their success in life,--as the fellows of our
colleges do too often, thinking that their fellowships
were awarded for their comfort and not for the
furtherance of any object such as education or
religion. I have known gentlemen who have felt that in
becoming members of Parliament they had achieved an
object for themselves instead of thinking that they had
put themselves in the way of achieving something for
others. A member of Parliament should feel himself to
be the servant of his country,--and like every other
servant, he should serve. If this be distasteful to a
man he need not go into Parliament. If the harness gall
him he need not wear it. But if he takes the trappings,
then he should draw the coach. You are there as the
guardian of your fellow-countrymen,--that they may be
safe, they may be prosperous, that they may be well
governed and lightly burdened,--above all that they may
be free. If you cannot feel this to be your duty, you
should not be there at all.
'And I would have you remember also that the work
of a member of Parliament can seldom be of that
brilliant nature which is of itself charming; and that
the young member should think of such brilliancy as
being possible to him only at a distance. It should be
your first care to sit and listen so that the forms and
methods of the House may as it were soak into you
gradually. And then you must bear in mind that speaking
in the House is but a very small part of a member's
work, perhaps that part he may lay aside altogether
with the least stain on his conscience. A good member
of Parliament will be good upstairs in the Committee
Rooms, good downstairs to make and to keep a House,
good to vote, for his party if it may be nothing
better, but for the measures also which he believes to
be for the good of the country.
'Gradually, if you will give your thoughts to it,
and above all your time, the theory of legislation will
sink into your mind, and you will find that there will
come upon you the ineffable delight of having served
your country to the best of your ability.
'It is the only pleasure in life which has been
enjoyed without alloy by your affectionate father,
The Duke in writing this letter was able for a few moments to
forget Mrs Finn, and to enjoy the work which he had on hand.
The new member for Silverbridge, when he entered the House to take
the oath, was supported on the right and left by two staunch old
Tories. Mr Monk had seen him a few minutes previously,--Mr Monk who
of all Liberals was the firmest and than whom no one had been more
staunch to the Duke,--and had congratulated him on his election,
expressing at the same time some gentle regrets. 'I only wish you
could have come among us on the other side,' he said.
'But I couldn't,' said the young Lord.
'I am sure nothing but a conscientious feeling would have
separated you from your father's friends,' said the old Liberal.
And then they were parted, and the member for Silverbridge was
bustled up to the table between the two staunch Tories.
Of what else was done on that occasion nothing shall be said here.
No political work was required from him, except that of helping
for an hour or two to crowd the Government benches. But we will
follow him as he left the House. There were one or two others
quite as anxious as to his political career as any staunch old
Liberal. At any rate one other. He had promised that as soon as he
could get away from the House he would go to Belgrave Square and
tell Lady Mabel Grex all about it. When he reached the square it
was past seven, but Lady Mabel and Miss Cassewary were still in
the drawing-room. 'There seemed to be a great deal of bustle, and
I didn't understand much about it, said the Member.
'But you heard speeches?' These were the speeches made on the
proposing and seconding of the address.
'Oh yes;--Lupon did it very well. Lord George didn't seem to be
quite as good. Then Sir Timothy Beeswax made a speech, and then Mr
Monk. After that I saw other fellows going away, so I bolted too.'
'If I were a member of Parliament I would never leave it while the
House was sitting,' said Miss Cassewary.
'If all were like that there wouldn't be seats for them to sit on,
'A persistent member will always find a seat,' continued the
positive old lady.
'I am sure that Lord Silverbridge means to do his duty,' said Lady
'Oh yes;--I've thought a good deal about it, and I mean to try. As
long as a man isn't called upon to speak I don't see why it
shouldn't be easy enough.'
'I'm so glad to hear you say so! Of course after a little time
you will speak. I should like to hear you make your first speech.'
'If I thought you were there, I'm sure I should not make it at
all.' Just at this period Miss Cassewary, saying something as to
the necessity of dressing, and cautioning her young friend that
there was not much time to be lost, left the room.
'Dressing does not take me more than ten minutes,' said Lady
Mabel. Miss Cassewary declared this to be nonsense, but she
nevertheless left the room. Whether she would have done so if Lord
Silverbridge had not been Lord Silverbridge, but had been some
young man with whom it would not have been expedient that Lady
Mabel should fall in love, may perhaps be doubted. Lady Mabel
herself would not have remained. She had quite related the duties
of life, had had her little romance,--and had acknowledged that it
'I do so hope that you will do well,' she said, going back to the
'I don't think I shall ever do much. I shall never be like my
'I don't see why not.'
'There never was anybody like him. I am always amusing myself, but
he never cared for amusement.'
'You are very young.'
'As far as I can learn he was just as he is now at my age. My
mother has told me that long before she married him he used to
spend all his time in the House. I wonder whether you would mind
reading the letter he wrote to me when he heard of my election.'
Then he took the epistle out of his pocket and handed it to Lady
'He means what he says.'
'He always does that.'
'And he really hopes that you will put your shoulder to the
wheel,--even though you must do so in opposition to him.'
'That makes no difference. I think my father is a very fine
'Shall you do as he tells you?'
'Well,--I suppose not;--except that he advises me to hold my tongue.
I think I shall do that. I mean to go down there, you know, and I
daresay I shall be much the same as others.'
'Has he talked to you much about it?'
'No;--he never talks much. Every now and then he will give me a
downright lecture, or he will write me a letter like that; but he
never talks to any of us.'
'How very odd.'
'Yes; he is odd. He seems to be fretful when we are with him. A
good many things make him unhappy.'
'Your poor mother's death.'
'That first;--and then there are other things. I suppose he didn't
like the way I came to an end in Oxford.'
'You were a boy then.'
'Of course I was very sorry for it,--though I hated Oxford. It was
neither one thing nor another. You were your own master and yet
you were not.'
'Now you must be your own master.'
'I suppose so.'
'You must marry, and become a lord of the Treasury. When I was a
child I acted as a child. You know all about that.'
'Oh yes. And now I must throw off childish things. You mean that I
mustn't paint any man's house? Eh, Lady Mab.'
'That and the rest of it. You are a legislator now.'
'So is Popplecourt, who took his seat in the House of Lords two or
three months ago. He's the biggest young fool I know out. He
couldn't even paint a house.'
'He is not an elected legislator. It makes all the difference. I
quite agree with what the Duke says. Lord Popplecourt can't help
himself. Whether he's an idle young scamp or not, he must be a
legislator. But when a man goes into if for himself, as you have
done, he should make up his mind to be useful.'
'I shall vote with my party of course.'
'More than that, much more than that. if you didn't care for
politics you couldn't have taken that line of your own.' When she
said this she knew that he had been talked into what he had done
by Tregear,--by Tregear, who had ambition, and intelligence, and
capacity for forming an opinion of his own. 'If you do not do it
for your own sake, you will for the sake of those who,--who,--who
are your friends,' she said at last, not feeling quite able to
tell him that he must do it for the sake of those that loved him.
'There are not very many I suppose who care about it.'
'Oh yes,--my father.'
'Tregear has got his own fish to fry.'
'Are there none others? Do you think we care nothing about it
'Well;--Miss Cassewary! A man might have a worse friend than Miss
Cassewary;--and my father.'
'I don't suppose Lord Grex cares a straw about me.'
'Indeed he does,--a great many straws. And so do I. Do you think I
don't care a straw about you?'
'I don't know why you should.'
'Because it is in my nature to be earnest. A girl comes out into
the world so young that she becomes serious, and steady as it
were, so much sooner than a man does.'
'I always think that nobody is so full of chaff as you are, Lady
'I am not chaffing now in recommending you go to work in the world
like a man.' As she said this they were sitting on the same sofa,
but with some space between them. When Miss Cassewary had left the
room Lord Silverbridge was standing, but after a little he had
fallen into the seat, at the extreme corner, and had gradually
come a little nearer to her. Now in her energy she put our her
hand, meaning perhaps to touch lightly the sleeve of his coat,
meaning perhaps not quite to touch him at all. But as she did so
he put out his hand and took hold of hers.
She drew it away, not seeming to allow it to remain in his grasp
for a moment, but she did so, not angrily, or hurriedly, or with
any flurry. She did it as though it were natural that he should
take her hand and as natural that she should recover it. 'Indeed I
have hardly more than ten minutes left before dressing,' she said,
rising from her seat.
'If you will say that you care about it, you yourself, I will do
my best.' As he made this declaration blushes covered his cheeks
'I do care about it,--very much; I myself,' said Lady Mabel, not
blushing at all. Then there was a knock at the door, and Lady
Mabel's maid, putting her head in, declared that my Lord had come
in and had already been some time in the dressing-room. 'Good-bye,
Lord Silverbridge,' she said quite gaily, and rather more aloud
than would have been necessary, had she not intended that the maid
should also hear her.
'Poor boy!' she said to herself as she was dressing. 'Poor boy!'
Then, when the evening was over she spoke to herself again about
him. 'Dear sweet boy!' And then she sat and thought. How was it
that she was so old a woman, while he was so little more than a
child? How fair he was, how far removed from conceit, how capable
of being made into man--in the process of time! What might not be
expected from him if he could be kept in good hands for the next
ten years! But in whose hands? What would she be in ten years,
she who already seemed to know the town and all its belongings so
well? And yet she was as young in years as he. He, as she knew,
had passed his twenty-second birthday,--and so had she. That was
all. It might be good for her that she should marry him. She was
ambitious. And such a marriage would satisfy her ambition. Through
her father's fault, and her brother's she was likely to be poor.
This man would certainly be rich. Many of those who were buzzing
around her from day to day, were distasteful to her. From among
them she knew that she could not take a husband, let their rank
and wealth be what it might. She was too fastidious, too proud,
too prone to think that things could be with her as she liked
them! This last was in all things pleasant to her. Though he was
but a boy, there was a certain boyish manliness about him. The very
way in which he had grasped at her hand and had then blushed ruby-
red at his own daring, had gone far with her. How gracious he was
to look at! Dear sweet boy! Love him? No;--she did not know that
she loved him. That dream was over. She was sure however that she
But could she love him? That a woman should not marry a man
without loving him, she partly knew. But she thought she knew also
that there must be exceptions. She would do her very best to love
him. That other man should be banished from her very thoughts. She
would be such a wife to him that he should never know that he
lacked anything. Poor boy! Sweet dear boy! He, as he went away to
his dinner, had his thoughts also about her. Of all the girls he
knew she was the jolliest,--and of all his friends she was the
pleasantest. As she was anxious that he should go to work in the
House of Commons he would go to work there. As for loving her!
Well;--of course he must marry some day, and why not Lady Mab as
well as anyone else.
An attendance at the Newmarket Second Spring Meeting had
unfortunately not been compatible with the Silverbridge election.
Major Tifto had therefore been obliged to look after the affair
alone. 'A very useful mare,' as Tifto had been in the habit of
calling a leggy, thoroughbred, meagre-looking brute named
Coalition, was on this occasion confided to the Major's sole care
and judgement. But Coalition failed, as coalitions always do, and
Tifto had to report to his noble patron that they had not pulled
off the event. It had been a match for four hundred pounds, made
indeed by Lord Silverbridge, but made at the suggestion of Tifto;--
and now Tifto wrote in a very bad humour about it. It had been
altogether his Lordship's fault in submitting to carry two pounds
more than Tifto had thought to be fair and equitable. The match
had been lost. Would Lord Silverbridge be so good as to pay the
money to Mr Green Griffin and debit him, Tifto, with the share of
We must acknowledge that the unpleasant tone of the Major's letter
was due quite as much to the ill-usage he had received in
reference to that journey to Silverbridge, as to the loss of the
race. Within that little body there was a high-mounting heart, and
that heart had been greatly wounded by his Lordship's treatment.
Tifto had felt himself to have been treated like a servant. Hardly
an excuse had even been made. He had been simply told that he was
not wanted. He was apt sometimes to tell himself that he knew on
which side his bread was buttered. But perhaps he hardly knew how
best to keep the butter going. There was a little pride about him
which was antagonistic to the best interests of such a trade as
his. Perhaps it was well that he should inwardly suffer when
injured. But it could not be well that he should declare to such
men as Nidderdale, and Dolly Longstaff, and Popplecourt that he
didn't mean to put up with that sort of thing. He certainly should
not have spoken in this strain before Tregear. Of all men living
he hated and feared him the most. And he knew that no other man
loved Silverbridge as did Tregear. Had he been thinking of his
bread-and-butter, instead of giving way to the mighty anger of his
little bosom, he would have hardly declared openly at the club
that he would let Lord Silverbridge know that he did not mean to
stand any man's airs. But these extravagances were due perhaps to
whisky-and-water, and that kind of intoxication which comes to
certain men from momentary triumphs. Tifto could always be got to
make a fool of himself when surrounded by three or four men of
rank who, for the occasion, would talk to him as an equal. He
almost declared that Coalition had lost her match because he had
not been taken down at Silverbridge.
'Tifto is in a deuce of a way with you,' said Dolly Longstaff to
the young member.
'I know all about it,' said Silverbridge, who had had an interview
with his partner since the race.
'If you don't take care he'll dismiss you.'
Silverbridge did not care much about this, knowing that words of
wisdom did not ordinarily fall from the mouth of Dolly Longstaff.
But he was more moved when his friend Tregear spoke to him. 'I
wish you knew the kind of things that fellow Tifto says behind
'As if I cared.'
'But you ought to care.'
'Do you care what every fellow says about you?'
'I care very much what those say whom I choose to live with me.
Whatever Tifto might say about me would be quite indifferent to
me, because we have nothing in common. But you and he are bound
'We have a horse or two in common; that's all.'
'But that is a great deal. The truth is he's a nasty, brawling,
boasting, ill-conditioned little reptile.'
Silverbridge of course did not acknowledge that this was true. But
he felt it, and almost repented of his trust in Tifto. But still
Prime Minister stood very well for the Derby. He was second
favourite, the odds against him being only four to one. The glory
of being part owner of a probable winner of the Derby was so much
to him that he could not bring himself to be altogether angry with
Tifto. There was no doubt that the horse's present condition was
due entirely to Tifto's care. Tifto spent in these few days just
before the race the greatest part of his time in the close
vicinity of the horse, only running up to London now and then, as
a fish comes up to the surface, for a breath of air. It is
impossible that Lord Silverbridge should separate himself from the
Major,--at any rate till after the Epsom meeting.
He had paid the money for the match without a word of reproach to
his partner, but still with a feeling that things were not quite
as they ought to be. In money matters his father had been liberal,
but not very definite. He had been told that he ought not to spend
above two thousand pounds a year, and had been reminded that there
was a house for him to use both in town and in the country. But he
had been given to understand also that any application made to Mr
Morton, if not very unreasonable, would be attended with success.
A solemn promise had been exacted from him that he would have no
dealings with money-lenders;--and then he had been set afloat.
There had been a rather frequent correspondence with Mr Morton,
who had once or twice submitted a total of the money paid on
behalf of his correspondent. Lord Silverbridge, who imagined
himself to be anything but extravagant, had wondered how the
figures could mount up so rapidly. But the money needed was always
forthcoming, and the raising of objections never seemed to be
carried back beyond Mr Morton. His promise to his father about the
money-lenders had been scrupulously kept. As long as ready money
can be made to be forthcoming without any charge for interest, a
young man must be very foolish who will prefer to borrow it at
twenty-five per cent.
Now had come the night before the Derby, and it must be
acknowledged that the young Lord was much fluttered by the
greatness of the coming struggle. Tifto, having seen his horse
conveyed to Epsom, had come up to London in order that he might
dine with his partner and hear what was being said about the race
at the Beargarden. The party dining there consisted of
Silverbridge, Dolly Longstaff, Popplecourt, and Tifto. Nidderdale
was to have joined them, but he told them on the day before, with
a sigh, that domestic duties were too strong for him. Lady
Nidderdale,--or if not Lady Nidderdale herself, then Lady
Nidderdale's mother,--was so far potent over the young nobleman as
to induce him to confine his Derby practices to the Derby-day.
Another guest had also been expected, the reason for whose non-
appearance must be explained somewhat at length. Lord Gerald
Palliser, the Duke's second son, was at this time at Cambridge,--
being almost as popular at Trinity as his brother had been at
Christ Church. It was to him quite a matter of course that he
should see his brother's horse run for the Derby. But,
unfortunately, in this very year a stand was being made by the
University pundits against a practice which they thought had
become too general. For the last year or two, it had been
considered almost as much a matter of course that a Cambridge
undergraduate should go to the Derby as that a Member of
Parliament should do so. Against this three or four rigid
disciplinarians had raised their voices,--and as a result, no young
man up at Trinity could get leave to be away on the Derby pretext.
Lord Gerald raged against the restriction very loudly. He at first
proclaimed his intention of ignoring the college authorities
altogether. Of course he would be expelled. But the order itself
was to his thinking so absurd,--the idea that he should not see his
brother's horse run was so extravagant,--that he argued that his
father could not be angry with him for incurring dismissal in so
excellent a cause. But his brother saw things in a different
light. He knew how his father had looked at him when he had been
sent away from Oxford, and he counselled moderation. Gerald should
see the Derby, but should not encounter that heaviest wrath of all
which comes from a man's not sleeping beneath his college roof.
There was a train which left Cambridge at an early hour, and would
bring him into London in time to accompany his friends to the
racecourse;--and another train, a special, which would take him
down after dinner, so that he and others should reach Cambridge
before the college gates were shut.
The dinner at the Beargarden was very joyous. Of course the state
of the betting in regard to Prime Minister was the subject
generally popular for the night. Mr Lupton came in, a gentleman
well known in all fashionable circles, parliamentary, social, and
racing, who was rather older than the company on this occasion,
but still not so much so as to be found to be an incumbrance.
Lord Glasslough too, and others joined them, and a good deal was
said about the horse. 'I never kept these things dark,' said
Tifto. 'Of course he is an uncertain horse.'
'Most horses are,' said Lupton.
'Just so, Mr Lupton. What I mean is, the Minister has got a bit of
a temper. But if he likes to do his best I don't think any three-
year-old in England can get his nose past him.'
'For half a mile he'd be nowhere with the Provence filly,' said
'I'm speaking of a Derby distance, my Lord.'
'That's a kind of thing nobody really knows,' said Lupton.
'I've seen him 'ave his gallops,' said the little man, who in his
moments of excitement would sometimes fall away from that exact
pronunciation which had been one of the studies of his life,' and
have measured his stride. I think I know what pace means. Of
course I'm not going to answer for the 'orse. He's a temper, but
if things go favourably, no animal that ever showed on the Downs
was more likely to do the trick. Is there any gentleman here who
would like to bet me fifteen to one in hundreds against the two
events,--the Derby and the Leger?' The desired odds were at once
offered by Mr Lupton, and the bet was booked.
This gave rise to other betting, and before the evening was over
Lord Silverbridge had taken three-and-a-half to one against his
horse to such an extent that he stood to lose twelve hundred
pounds. The champagne which he had drunk, and the news that
Quousque, the first favourite, had so gone to pieces that now
there was a question which was the first favourite, had so
inflated him, that, had he been left alone, he would almost have
wagered even money on his horse. In the midst of his excitement
there came to him a feeling that he was allowing himself to do
just that which he had intended to avoid. But then the occasion
was so peculiar! How often can it happen to a man in his life
that he shall own a favourite for the Derby! The affair was one
in which it was almost necessary that he should risk a little
Tifto, when he got into his bed, was altogether happy. He had
added whisky-and-water to his champagne, and feared nothing. If
Prime Minister should win the Derby he would be able to pay all
that he owed, and to make a start with money in his pocket. And
then there would be attached to him all the infinite glory of
being the owner of the winner of the Derby. The horse was run in
his name. Thoughts as to great successes crowded themselves upon
his heated brain. What might not be open to him? Parliament! The
Jockey Club! The mastership of one of the crack shire packs! Might
it not come to pass that he should some day become the great
authority in England upon races, racehorses, and hunters? If he
could be the winner of the Derby and Leger he thought that
Glasslough and Lupton would snub him no longer, that even Tregear
would speak to him, and that his pal the Duke's son would never
throw him aside again.
Lord Silverbridge had brought a drag with all its appendages.
There was a coach, the four bay horses, the harness, and the two
regulation grooms. When making this purchase he had condescended
to say a word to his father on the subject. 'Everybody belongs to
the four-in-hand club now,' said the son.
'I never did,' said the Duke.
'Ah,--if I could be like you!'
The Duke said that he would think about it, and then had told Mr
Morton that he was to pay the bill for this new toy. He had
thought about it, and had assured himself that driving a coach and
four was at present regarded as a fitting amusement for young men
of rank and wealth. He did not understand it himself. It seemed to
him to be as unnatural as though a gentleman should turn
blacksmith and make horseshoes for his amusement. Driving four
horses was hard work. But the same might be said of rowing. There
were men, he knew, who would spend their day standing at a lathe,
making little boxes for their recreation. He did not sympathise
with it. But the fact was so, and this driving of coaches was
regarded with favour. He had been a little touched by that word
his son had spoken, 'Ah,--if I could be like you!' So he had given
the permission; the drag, horses, harness, and grooms had come
into the possession of Lord Silverbridge; and now they were put
into requisition to take their triumphant owner and his party down
to Epsom. Dolly Longstaff's team was sent down to meet them half-
way. Gerald Palliser, who had come up from Cambridge that morning,
was allowed to drive the first stage out of town to compensate him
for the cruelty done to him by the University pundits. Tifto, with
a cigar in his mouth, with a white hat and a blue veil, and a new
light-coloured coat, was by no means the least happy of the party.
How that race was run, and how both Prime Minister and Quousque
were beaten by an outsider named Fishknife, Prime Minister,
however, coming in a good second, the present writer having no
aptitude in that way, cannot describe. Such, however, were the
facts, and then Dolly Longstaff and Lord Silverbridge drove the
coach back to London. The coming back was not triumphant, though
the young fellows bore their failure well. Dolly Longstaff had
lost a 'pot of money', Silverbridge would have to draw upon the
inexhaustible Mr Morton for something over two thousand pounds,--in
regard to which he had no doubt as to the certainty with which the
money would be forthcoming, but he feared that it would give rise
to special notice from his father. Even the poor younger brother
had lost a couple of hundred pounds, for which he would have to
make his own special application to Mr Morton.
But Tifto felt it more than anyone. The horse ought to have won.
Fishknife had been favoured by such a series of accidents that the
whole affair had been a miracle. Tifto had these circumstances at
his fingers' ends, and in the course of the afternoon and evening
explained them accurately to all who would listen to him. He had
this to say on his own behalf,--that before the party had left the
course their horse stood first favourite for the Leger. But Tifto
was unhappy as he came back to town, and in spite of the lunch,
which had been very glorious, sat moody and sometimes even silent
within his gay apparel.
'It was the unfairest start I ever saw,' said Tifto, almost
getting up from his seat on the coach so as to address Dolly and
Silverbridge on the box.
'What the ---- is the good of that?' said Dolly from the coach-box.
'Take your licking and don't squeal.'
'That's all very well. I can take my licking as well as another
man. But one has to look to the causes of these things. I never
saw Peppermint ride so badly. Before he got round the corner I
wished I'd been on the horse myself.'
'I don't believe it was Peppermint's fault a bit,' said
'Well;--perhaps not. Only I did think I was a pretty good judge of
riding.' Then Tifto again settled down into silence.
But though much money had been lost, and a great deal of
disappointment had to be endured by our party in reference to the
Derby, the most injurious and most deplorable event in the day's
history had not occurred yet. Dinner had been ordered at the
Beargarden at seven,--an hour earlier than would have been named
had it not been that Lord Gerald must be at Eastern Counties
Railway Station at nine pm. An hour an half for dinner and a cigar
afterwards, and half an hour to get to the railway station would
not be more than time enough.
But of all men alive Dolly Longstaff was the most unpunctual. He
did not arrive till eight. The others were not there before half-
past seven, and it was nearly eight before any of them sat down.
At half-past eight Silverbridge began to be very anxious about his
brother, and told him that he ought to start without further
delay. A hansom cab was waiting at the door, but Lord Gerald still
delayed. He knew, he said, that the special would not start till
half-past nine. There were a lot of fellows who were dining about
everywhere, and they would never get to the station by the hour
fixed. It became apparent to the elder brother that Gerald would
stay altogether unless he were forced to go, and at last he did
get up and pushed the young fellow out. 'Drive like the very
devil,' he said to the cabman, explaining to him something of the
circumstances. The cabman did do his best, but a cab cannot be
made to travel from the Beargarden, which as all the world knows
is close to St James's Street, to Liverpool Street in the City in
ten minutes. When Lord Gerald reached the station the train had
At twenty minutes to ten the young man reappeared at the club.
'Why on earth didn't you take a special for yourself?' exclaimed
'They wouldn't give me one.' After it was apparent to all of them
that what had just happened had done more to ruffle our hero's
temper than his failure and loss at the races.
'I wouldn't have had it to happen for any money you could name,'
said the elder brother to the younger, as he took him home to
'If they do send me down, what's the odds?' said the younger
brother, who was not quite as sober as he might have been.
'After what happened to me it will almost break the governor's
heart,' said the heir.
One of the Results of the Derby
On the following morning at about eleven Silverbridge and his
brother were at breakfast at an hotel in Jermyn Street. They had
slept in Carlton Terrace, but Lord Gerald had done so without the
knowledge of the Duke. Lord Silverbridge, as he was putting
himself to bed, had made up his mind to tell the story to the Duke
at once, but when the morning came his courage failed him. The two
young men therefore slunk out of the house, and as there was no
breakfasting at the Beargarden they went to his hotel. They were
both rather gloomy, but the elder brother was the more sad of the
two. 'I'd give anything I have in the world,' he said, 'that you
hadn't come at all.'
'Things have been so unfortunate!'
'Why the deuce wouldn't you go when I told you?'
'Who on earth would have thought that they'd have been so
punctual? They never are punctual on the Great Eastern. It was an
infernal shame. I think I shall go at once to Harnage and tell him
about it.' Mr Harnage was Lord Gerald's tutor.
'But you have been in ever so many rows before.'
'Well;--I've been gated, and once when they'd gated me, I came
right upon Harnage on the bridge at King's'
'What sort of fellow is he?'
'He used to be good-natured. Now he has taken ever so many
crotchets into his head. It was he who began all this about none
of the men going to the Derby.'
'Did you ask him yourself for leave?'
'Yes; and when I told him about your owning Prime Minister he got
savage and declared that was the very reason why I shouldn't go.'
'You didn't tell me that.'
'I was determined I would go. I wasn't going to be made a child
At last it was decided that the two brothers should go down to
Cambridge together. Silverbridge would be able to come back to
London the same evening, so as to take his drag down to the Oaks
on the Friday,--a duty from which even his present misery would not
deter him. They reached Cambridge at about three, and Lord
Silverbridge at once called at the Master's lodge and sent in his
card. The Master of Trinity is so great that he cannot be supposed
to see all comers, but on this occasion Lord Silverbridge was
fortunate. With much trepidation he told his story. Such being the
circumstances, could anything be done to moderate the vials of
wrath which must doubtless be poured out over the head of his
'Why come to me?' said the Master. 'From what you say yourself, it
is evident that you know that must rest with the College tutor.'
'I thought, sir, if you could say a word.'
'Do you think that it would be right that I should interfere for
one special man, and that a man of special rank?'
'Nobody thinks that would count for anything. But--'
'But what?' asked the Master.
'If you knew my father, sir!'
'Everybody knows your father;--every Englishman I mean. Of course I
know your father,--as a public man, and I know how much the country
owes to him.'