Mr. Scarborough's Family
Part 10 out of 12
"Not at all. He knows that it is the only subject on which I cannot take
his advice. I would burn my hand off for my father, but I cannot afford
to give it to any one at his instance. It must be exclusively my
own,--unless some one should come very different from those who are
likely to ask for it."
There was something, Mr. Barry thought, of offence in this, but he could
not altogether throw off his humility as yet. "I quite admit the value
of the treasure," he said.
"There need not be any nonsense between us, Mr. Barry. It has no special
value to any one,--except to myself; but to myself I mean to keep it. At
my father's instance I had thought over the proposition you have made me
much more seriously than I had thought it possible that I should do."
"That is not flattering," he said.
"There is no need for flattery, either on the one side or on the other.
You had better take that as established. You have done me the honor of
wishing, for certain reasons, that I should be your wife."
"The common reason:--that I love you."
"But I am not able to return the feeling, and do not therefore wish that
you should be my husband. That sounds to be uncivil."
"But I say it in order to make you understand the exact truth. A woman
cannot love a man because she feels for him even the most profound
respect. She will often do so when there is neither respect nor esteem.
My father has so spoken of you to me that I do esteem you; but that has
no effect in touching my heart, therefore I cannot become your wife."
Now, as Mr. Barry thought, had come the time in which he must assert
himself. "Miss Grey," he said, "you have probably a long life before
"Long or short, it can make no difference."
"If I understood you aright, you are one who lives very much to
"To myself and my father."
"He is growing in years."
"So am I, for the matter of that. We are all growing in years."
"Have you looked out for yourself, and thought what manner of home yours
will be when he shall have been dead and buried?" He paused, but she
remained silent, and assumed a special cast of countenance, as though
she might say a word, if he pressed her, which it would be disagreeable
for him to hear. "When he has gone will you not be very solitary without
"No doubt I shall."
"Had you not better accept one when one comes your way who is not, as he
tells you, quite unworthy of you?"
"In spite of such worth solitude would be preferable."
"You certainly have a knack, Miss Grey, of making the most unpalatable
"I will make another more unpalatable. Solitude I could bear,--and
death,--but not such a marriage. You force me to tell you the whole truth
because half a truth will not suffice."
"I have endeavored to be at any rate civil to you," he said.
"And I have endeavored to save you what trouble I could by being
straightforward." Still he paused, sitting in his chair uneasily, but
looking as though he had no intention of going. "If you will only take
me at my word and have done with it!" Still he did not move. "I suppose
there are young ladies who like this kind of thing, but I have become
old enough to hate it. I have had very little experience of it, but it
is odious to me. I can conceive nothing more disagreeable than to have
to sit still and hear a gentleman declare that he wants to make me his
wife, when I am quite sure that I do not intend to make him my husband."
"Then, Miss Grey," he said, rising from his chair suddenly, "I shall bid
"Good-bye, Mr. Barry."
"Good-bye, Miss Grey. Farewell!" And so he went.
"Oh, papa, we have had such a scene!" she said, the moment she felt
herself alone with her father.
"You have not accepted him?"
"Accepted him! Oh dear no! I am sure at this moment he is only thinking
how he would cut my throat if he could get hold of me."
"You must have offended him then very greatly."
"Oh, mortally! I said everything I possibly could to offend him. But
then he would have been here still had I not done so. There was no other
way to get rid of him,--or indeed to make him believe that I was in
"I am sorry that you should have been so ungracious."
"Of course I am ungracious. But how can you stand bandying compliments
with a man when it is your object to make him know the very truth that
is in you? It was your fault, papa. You ought to have understood how
very impossible it is that I should marry Mr. Barry."
THE BEGINNING OF THE LAST PLOT.
When Mr. Scarborough had written the check and sent it to Mr. Grey, he
did not utter another word on the subject of gambling. "Let us make
another beginning," he said, as he told his son to make out another
check for sixty pounds as his first instalment of the allowance.
"I do not like to take it," said the son.
"I don't think you need be scrupulous now with me." That was early in
the morning, at their first interview, about ten o'clock. Later on in
the day Mr. Scarborough saw his son again, and on this occasion kept him
in the room some time. "I don't suppose I shall last much longer now,"
"Your voice is as strong as I ever heard it."
"But unfortunately my body does not keep pace with my voice. From what
Merton says, I don't suppose there is above a month left."
"I don't see why Merton is to know."
"Merton is a good fellow; and if you can do anything for him, do it for
"I will." Then he added, after a pause, "If things go as we expect,
Augustus can do more for him than I. Why don't you leave him a sum of
Then Miss Scarborough came into the room, and hovered about her brother,
and fed him, and entreated him to be silent; but when she had gone he
went back to the subject. "I will tell you why, Mountjoy. I have not
wished to load my will with other considerations,--so that it might be
seen that solicitude for you has been in my last moments my only
thought. Of course I have done you a deep injury."
"I think you have."
"And because you tell me so I like you all the better. As for
Augustus--But I will not burden my spirit now, at the last, with
uttering curses against my own son."
"He is not worth it."
"No, he is not worth it. What a fool he has been not to have understood
me better! Now, you are not half as clever a fellow as he is."
"I dare say not."
"You never read a book, I suppose?"
"I don't pretend to read them, which he does."
"I don't know anything about that;--but he has been utterly unable to
read me. I have poured out my money with open hands for both of you."
"That is true, sir, certainly, as regards me."
"And have thought nothing of it. Till it was quite hopeless with you I
went on, and would have gone on. As things were then, I was bound to do
something to save the property."
"These poor devils have put themselves out of the running now," said
"Yes; Augustus with his suspicions has enabled us to do that. After all,
he was quite right with his suspicions."
"What do you mean by that, sir?"
"Well, it was natural enough that he should not trust me. I think, too,
that perhaps he saw a screw loose where old Grey did not; but he was
such an ass that he could not bring himself to keep on good terms with
me for the few months that were left. And then he brought that brute
Jones down here, without saying a word to me as to asking my leave. And
here he used to remain, hardly ever coming to see me, but waiting for my
death from day to day. He is a cold-blooded, selfish brute. He certainly
takes after neither his father nor his mother. But he will find yet,
perhaps, that I am even with him before all is over."
"I shall try it on with him, sir. I have told you so from the beginning;
and now if I have this money it will give me the means of doing so. You
ought to know for what purpose I shall use it."
"That is all settled," said the father. "The document, properly
completed, has gone back with the clerk. Were I to die this minute you
would find that everything inside the house is your own,--and everything
outside except the bare acres. There is a lot of plate with the banker
which I have not wanted of late years. And there are a lot of trinkets
too,--things which I used to fancy, though I have not cared so much about
them lately. And there are a few pictures which are worth money. But the
books are the most valuable; only you do not care for them."
"I shall not have a house to put them in."
"There is no saying. What an idiot, what a fool, what a blind,
unthinking ass Augustus has been!"
"Do you regret it, sir,--that he should not have them and the house too?"
"I regret that my son should have been such a fool! I did not expect
that he should love me. I did not even want him to be kind to me. Had he
remained away and been silent, that would have been sufficient. But he
came here to enjoy himself, as he looked about the park which he thought
to be his own, and insulted me because I would not die at once and leave
him in possession. And then he was fool enough to make way for you
again, and did not perceive that by getting rid of your creditors he
once again put you into a position to be his rival. I don't know whether
I hate him most for the hardness of his heart, or despise him for the
slowness of his intellect."
During the time that these words had been spoken Miss Scarborough had
once or twice come into the room, and besought her brother to take some
refreshment which she offered him, and then give himself up to rest. But
he had refused to be guided by her till he had come to a point in the
conversation at which he had found himself thoroughly exhausted. Now she
came for the third time, and that period had arrived, so that Mountjoy
was told to go about his business, and shoot birds or hunt foxes, in
accordance with his natural proclivities. It was then three o'clock on a
gloomy December afternoon, and was too late for the shooting of birds;
and as for the hunting of foxes, the hounds were not in the
neighborhood. So he resolved to go through the house, and look at all
those properties which were so soon to become his own. And he at once
strolled into the library. This was a long, gloomy room, which contained
perhaps ten thousand volumes, the greater number of which had, in the
days of Mountjoy's early youth, been brought together by his own father;
and they had been bound in the bindings of modern times, so that the
shelves were bright, although the room itself was gloomy. He took out
book after book, and told himself, with something of sadness in his
heart, that they were all "caviare" to him. Then he reminded himself
that he was not yet thirty years of age, and that there was surely time
enough left for him to make them his companions.
He took one at random, and found it to be a volume of Clarendon's
"History of the Rebellion." He pitched upon a sentence in which he
counted that there were sixteen lines, and when he began to read it, it
became to him utterly confused and unintelligible. So he put it back,
and went to another portion of the room and took down Wittier's
"Hallelujah;" and of this he could make neither head nor tail. He was
informed, by a heading in the book itself, that a piece of poetry was to
be sung "as the ten commandments." He could not do that, and put the
book back again, and declared to himself that farther search would be
useless. He looked round the room and tried to price the books, and told
himself that three or four days at the club might see an end of it all.
Then he wandered on into the state drawing-room,--an apartment which he
had not entered for years,--and found that all the furniture was
carefully covered. Of what use could it all be to him,--unless that it,
too, might be sent to the melting-pot and brought into some short-lived
use at the club?
But as he was about to leave the room he stood for a moment on the rug
before the fireplace and looked into the huge mirror which stood there.
If the walls might be his, as well as the garnishing of them, and if
Florence Mountjoy could come and reign there, then he fancied that they
all might be put to a better purpose than that of which he had thought.
In earlier days, two or three years ago, at a time which now seemed to
him to be very distant, he had regarded Florence as his own, and as such
had demanded her hand. In the pride of his birth, and position, and
fashion, he had had no thought of her feelings, and had been imperious.
He told himself that it had been so with much self-condemnation. At any
rate, he had learned, during those months of solitary wandering, the
power of condemning himself. And now he told him that if she would yet
come he might still learn to sing that song of the old-fashioned poet
"as to the ten commandments." At any rate, he would endeavor to sing it,
as she bade him.
He went on through all the bedrooms, remembering, but hardly more than
remembering, them as he entered them. "Oh, Florence,--my Florence!" he
said, as he passed on. He had done it all for himself,--brought down
upon his own head this infinite ruin,--and for what? He had scarcely ever
won, and Tretton was gone from him forever. But still there might yet be
a chance if he could abstain from gambling.
And then, when it was dusk within the house, he went out, and passed
through the stables and roamed about the gardens till the evening had
altogether set in, and black night had come upon him. Two years ago he
had known that he was the heir to it all, though even then that habit
was so strong upon him he had felt that his tenure of it would be but
slight. But he had then always to tell himself that when his marriage
had taken place a great change would be effected. His marriage had not
taken place, and the next fatal year had fallen upon him. As long as the
inheritance of the estate was certainly his, he could assuredly raise
money,--at a certain cost. It was well known that the property was rising
in value, and the money had always been forthcoming,--at a tremendous
sacrifice. He had excused to himself his recklessness on the ground of
his delayed marriage, but still always treating her, on the few
occasions on which they had met, with an imperiousness which had been
natural to him. Then the final crash had come, and the estate was as
good as gone. But the crash, which had been in truth final, had come
afterward, almost as soon as his father had learned what was to be the
fate of Tretton; and he had found himself to be a bastard with a
dishonored mother,--just a nobody in the eyes of the world. And he
learned at the same time that Harry Annesley was the lover whom Florence
Mountjoy really loved. What had followed has been told already,--perhaps
But at this moment, as he stood in the gloom of the night, below the
porch in the front of the house, swinging his stick at the top of the
big steps, an acknowledgment of contrition was very heavy upon him.
Though he was prepared to go to law the moment that Augustus put himself
forward as the eldest son, he did recognize how long-suffering his
father had been, and how much had been done for him in order, if
possible, to preserve him. And he knew, whatever might be the result of
his lawsuit, that his father's only purpose had been to save the
property for one of them. As it was, legacies which might be valued at
perhaps thirty thousand pounds would be his. He would expend it all on
the lawsuit, if he could find lawyers to undertake his suit. His anger,
too, against his brother was quite as hot as was that of his father.
When he had been obliterated and obliged to vanish, from the joint
effects of his violence in the streets and his inability to pay his
gambling debts at the club, he had, in an evil moment, submitted himself
to Augustus; and from that hour Augustus had become to him the most
cruel of tyrants. And this tyranny had come to an end with his absolute
banishment from his brother's house. Though he had been subdued to
obedience in the lowest moment of his fall, he was not the man who could
bear such tyranny well. "I can forgive my father," he said, "but
Augustus I will never forgive." Then he went into the house, and in a
short time was sitting at dinner with Merton, the young doctor and
secretary. Miss Scarborough seldom came to table at that hour, but
remained in a room up-stairs, close to her brother, so that she might be
within call should she be wanted. "Upon the whole, Merton," he said,
"what do you think of my father?" The doctor shrugged his shoulders.
"Will he live or will he die?"
"He will die, certainly."
"Do not joke with me. But I know you would not joke on such a subject.
And my question did not merely go to the state of his health. What do
you think of him as a man generally? Do you call him an honest man?"
"How am I to answer you?"
"Just the truth."
"If you will have an answer, I do not consider him an honest man. All
this story about your brother is true or is not true. In neither case
can one look upon him as honest."
"But I think that he has within him a capacity for love, and an
unselfishness, which almost atones for his dishonesty; and there is
about him a strange dislike to conventionality and to law which is so
interesting as to make up the balance. I have always regarded your
father as a most excellent man, but thoroughly dishonest. He would rob
any one,--but always to eke out his own gifts to other people. He has,
therefore, to my eyes been most romantic."
"And as to his health?"
"Ah, as to that I cannot answer so decidedly. He will do nothing because
I tell him."
"Do you mean that you could prolong his life?"
"Certainly I think that I could. He has exerted himself this morning,
whereas I have advised him not to exert himself. He could have given
himself the same counsel, and would certainly live longer by obeying it
than the reverse. As there is no difficulty in the matter, there need
be no conceit on my part in saying that so far my advice might be of
service to him."
"How long will he live?"
"Who can say? Sir William Brodrick, when that fearful operation was
performed in London, thought that a month would see the end of it. That
is eight months ago, and he has more vitality now than he had then. For
myself, I do not think that he can live another month."
Later on in the evening Mountjoy Scarborough began again. "The governor
thinks that you have behaved uncommonly well to him."
"I am paid for it all."
"But he has not left you anything by his will."
"I have certainly expected nothing, and there could be no reason why he
"He has entertained an idea of late that he wishes to make what
reparation may be possible to me; and therefore, as he says, he does not
choose to burden his will with legacies. There is some provision made
for my aunt, who, however, has her own fortune. He has told me to look
"It will be quite unnecessary," said Mr. Merton.
"If you choose to cut up rough you can do so. I would propose that we
should fix upon some sum which shall be yours at his death,--just as
though he had left it to you. Indeed, he shall fix the sum himself."
Merton, of course, said that nothing of the kind would be necessary; but
with this understanding Mountjoy Scarborough went that night to bed.
Early on the following morning his father again sent for him.
"Mountjoy," he said, "I have thought much about it, and I have changed
"About your will?"
"No, not about my will at all. That shall remain as it is. I do not
think I should have strength to make another will, nor do I wish to do
"You mean about Merton?"
"I don't mean about Merton at all. Give him five hundred pounds, and he
ought to be satisfied. This is a matter of more importance than Mr.
Merton--or even than my will."
"What is it?" said Mountjoy, in a tone of much surprise.
"I don't think I can tell you now. But it is right that you should know
that Merton wrote, by my instructions, to Mr. Grey early this morning,
and has implored him to come to Tretton once again. There! I cannot say
more than that now." Then he turned round on his couch, as was his
custom, and was unassailable.
Mr. Scarborough again sent for Mr. Grey, but a couple of weeks passed
before he came. At first he refused to come, saying that he would send
his clerk down if any work were wanted such as the clerk might do. And
the clerk did come and was very useful. But Mr. Scarborough persevered,
using arguments which Mr. Grey found himself unable at last to resist.
He was dying, and there would soon be an end of it. That was his
strongest argument. Then it was alleged that a lawyer of experience was
certainly needed, and that Mr. Scarborough could not very well put his
affairs into the hands of a stranger. And old friendship was brought up.
And, then, at last, the squire alleged that there were other secrets to
be divulged respecting his family, of which Mr. Scarborough thought that
Mr. Grey would approve. What could be the "other secrets?" But it ended
in Mr. Grey assenting to go, in opposition to his daughter's advice. "I
would have nothing more to do with him or his secrets," Dolly had said.
"You do not know him."
"I know as much about him as a woman can know of a man she doesn't
know,--and all from yourself. You have said over and over again that he
is a 'rascal!'"
"Not a rascal. I don't think I said he was a rascal."
"I believe you used that very word."
"Then I unsay it. A rascal has something mean about him. Juniper's a
"He cares nothing for his word."
"Nothing at all,--when the law is concerned."
"And he has defamed his own wife."
"That was done many years ago."
"For a fixed purpose, and not from passion," Dolly continued. "He is a
thoroughly bad man. You have made his will for him, and now I would
leave him." After that Mr. Grey declined for a second time to go. But at
last he was persuaded.
On the evening of his arrival he dined with Mountjoy and Merton, and on
that occasion Miss Scarborough joined them. Of course there was much
surmise as to the cause of this farther visit. Merton declared that, as
he had acted as the sick man's private secretary, he was bound to keep
his secret as far as he knew it. He only surmised what he believed to be
the truth, but of that he could say nothing. Miss Scarborough was
altogether in the dark. She, and she alone, spoke of her brother with
respect, but in that she knew nothing.
"I cannot tell what it is," said Mountjoy; "but I suspect it to be
something intended for my benefit and for the utter ruin of Augustus."
Miss Scarborough had now retired. "If it could be possible, I should
think that he intended to declare that all he had said before was
false." To this, however, Mr. Grey would not listen. He was very stout
in denying the possibility of any reversion of the decision to which
they had all come. Augustus was, undoubtedly, by law his father's eldest
son. He had seen with his own eyes copies of the registry of the
marriage, which Mr. Barry had gone across the Continent to make. And in
that book his wife had signed her maiden name, according to the custom
of the country. This had been done in the presence of the clergyman and
of a gentleman,--a German, then residing on the spot, who had himself
been examined, and had stated that the wedding, as a wedding, had been
regular in all respects. He was since dead, but the clergyman who had
married them was still alive. Within twelve months of that time Mr.
Scarborough and his bride had arrived in England, and Augustus had been
born. "Nothing but the most indisputable evidence would have sufficed to
prove a fact by which you were so cruelly wronged," he said, addressing
himself to Mountjoy. "And when your father told me that no wrong could
be done to you, as the property was hopelessly in the hands of the Jews,
I told him that, for all purposes of the law, the Jews were as dear to
me as you were. I do say that nothing but the most certain facts would
have convinced me. Such facts, when made certain, are immovable. If your
father has any plot for robbing Augustus, he will find me as staunch a
friend to Augustus as ever I have been to you." When he had so spoken
they separated for the night, and his words had been so strong that they
had altogether affected Mountjoy. If such were his father's intentions,
it must be by some farther plot that he endeavored to carry it out: and
in his father's plots he would put no trust whatever.
And yet he declared his own purpose as he discussed the matter, late
into the night, with Merton. "I cannot trust Grey at all, nor my father
either, because I do not believe, as Grey believes, this story of the
marriage. My father is so clever, and so resolute in his purpose to set
aside all control over the property as arranged by law, that to my mind
it has all been contrived by himself. Either Mr. Barry has been squared,
or the German parson, or the foreign gentleman, or more probably all of
them. Mr. Grey himself may have been squared, for all I know, though he
is the kindest-hearted gentleman I ever came across. Anything shall be
more probable to me than that I am not my father's eldest son." To all
this Mr. Merton said very little, though no doubt he had his own ideas.
The next morning the three gentlemen, with Mr. Grey's clerk, sat down to
breakfast, solemn and silent. The clerk had been especially entreated to
say nothing of what he had learned, and was therefore not questioned by
his master. But in truth he had learned but little, having spent his
time in the sorting and copying of letters which, though they all bore
upon the subject in hand, told nothing of the real tale. Farther
surmises were useless now, as at eleven o'clock Mr. Grey and Mr. Merton
were to go up together to the squire's room. The clerk was to remain
within call, but there would be no need of Mountjoy. "I suppose I may as
well go to bed," said he, "or up to London, or anywhere." Mr. Grey very
sententiously advised him at any rate not to go up to London.
The hour came, and Mr. Grey, with Merton and the clerk, disappeared
up-stairs. They were summoned by Miss Scarborough, who seemed to feel
heavily the awful solemnity of the occasion. "I am sure he is going to
do something very dreadful this time," she whispered to Mr. Grey, who
seemed himself to be a little awe-struck, and did not answer her.
At two o'clock they all met again at lunch and Mr. Grey was silent, and
in truth very unhappy. Merton and the clerk were also silent, as was
Miss Scarborough,--silent as death. She, indeed, knew nothing, but the
other three knew as much as Mr. Scarborough could or would tell them.
Mountjoy was there also, and in the middle of the meal broke out
violently: "Why the mischief don't you tell me what it is that my father
has said to you?"
"Because I do not believe a word of his story," said Mr. Grey.
"Oh, Mr Grey!" ejaculated Miss Scarborough.
"I do not believe a word of his story," repeated Mr. Grey. "Your
father's intelligence is so high, and his principles so low, that there
is no scheme which he does not think that he cannot carry out against
the established laws of his country. His present tale is a made-up
"What do you say, Merton?" asked Mountjoy.
"It looks to me to be true," said Merton. "But I am no lawyer."
"Why don't you tell me what it is?" said Mountjoy.
"I cannot tell you," said Grey, "though he commissioned me to do so.
Greenwood there will tell you." Greenwood was the name of the clerk.
"But I advise you to take him with you to your own room. And Mr. Merton
would, I am sure, go with you. As for me, it would be impossible that I
should do credit in the telling of it to a story of which I do not
believe a single word."
"Am I not to know?" asked Miss Scarborough, plaintively.
"Your nephew will tell you," said Mr. Grey,--"or Mr. Merton; or Mr.
Greenwood can do so, if he has permission from Mr. Scarborough. I would
rather tell no one. It is to me incredible." With that he got up and
"Now then, Merton," said Mountjoy, rising from his chair.
"Upon my word I hardly know what to do," said Merton.
"You must come and tell me this wonderful tale. I suppose that in some
way it does affect my interests?"
"It affects your interests very much."
"Then I think I may say that I certainly shall believe it. My father at
present would not wish to do me an injury. It must be told, so come
along. Mr. Greenwood had better come also." Then he left the room, and
the two men followed him. They went away to the smoking-room, leaving
Mr. Grey with Miss Scarborough. "Am I to know nothing about it?" said
"Not from me, Miss Scarborough. You can understand, that I cannot tell
you a story which will require at every word that I should explain my
thorough disbelief in your brother. I have been very angry with him, and
he has been more energetic than can have been good for him."
"Ah me! you will have killed him among you!"
"It has been his own doing. You, however, had better go to him. I must
return to town this evening."
"You will stay for dinner?"
"No. I cannot stay for dinner. I cannot sit down with Mountjoy,--who has
done nothing in the least wrong,--because I feel myself to be altogether
opposed to his interests. I would rather be out of the house." So
saying he did leave the house, and went back to London by train that
The meeting that morning, which had been very stormy, cannot be given
word by word. From the moment in which the squire had declared his
purpose, the lawyer had expressed his disbelief in all that was said to
him. This Mr. Scarborough had at first taken very kindly; but Mr. Grey
clung to his purpose with a pertinacity which had at last beaten down
the squire's good-humor, and had called for the interference of Mr.
Merton. "How can I be quiet?" the squire had said, "when he tells me
everything I say is a lie?"
"It is a lie!" said Mr. Grey, who had lost all control of himself.
"You should not say that, Mr. Grey," said Merton.
"He should spare a man on his death-bed, who is endeavoring to do his
duty by his children," said the man who thus declared himself to be
"I will go away," said Mr. Grey, rising. "He has forced me to come here
against my will, and has known,--must have known,--that I should tell him
what I thought. Even though a man be dying, a man cannot accept what he
says on a matter of business such as this unless he believe him. I must
tell him that I believe him or that I do not. I disbelieve the whole
story, and will not act upon it as though I believed it." But even after
this the meeting was continued, Mr. Grey consenting to sit there and to
hear what was said to the end.
The purport of Mr. Scarborough's story will probably have been
understood by our readers. It was Mr. Scarborough's present intention to
make it understood that the scheme intended for the disinheritance of
Mountjoy had been false from the beginning to the end, and had been
arranged, not for the injury of Mountjoy, but for the salvation of the
estate from the hands of the Jews. Mountjoy would have lost nothing, as
the property would have gone entirely to the Jews had Mr. Scarborough
then died, and Mountjoy been taken as his legitimate heir. He was not
anxious, he had declared, to say anything on the present occasion in
defence of his conduct in that respect. He would soon be gone, and he
would leave men to judge him who might do so the more honestly when they
should have found that he had succeeded in paying even the Jews in full
the moneys which they had actually advanced. But now things were again
changed, and he was bound to go back to the correct order of things.
"No!" shouted Mr. Grey.
"To the correct order of things," he went on. Mountjoy Scarborough was,
he declared, undoubtedly legitimate. And then he made Merton and the
clerk bring forth all the papers, as though he had never brought forth
any papers to prove the other statement to Mr. Grey. And he did expect
Mr. Grey to believe them. Mr. Grey simply put them all back,
metaphorically, with his hand. There had been two marriages, absolutely
prepared with the intent of enabling him at some future time to upset
the law altogether, if it should seem good to him to do so.
"And your wife?" shouted Mr. Grey.
"Dear woman! She would have done anything that I told her,--unless I had
told her to do what was absolutely wrong."
"Well, you know what I mean. She was the purest and best of women." Then
he went on with his tale. There had been two marriages, and he now
brought forth all the evidence of the former marriage. It had taken
place in a remote town, a village in the northern part of Prussia,
whither she had been taken by her mother to join him. The two ladies had
both been since long dead. He had been laid up at the little Prussian
town under the plea of a bad leg. He did not scruple to say now that the
bad leg had been pretence, and a portion of his scheme. The law, he
thought, in endeavoring to make arrangements for his property,--the
property which should have been his own,--had sinned so greatly as to
drive a wise man to much scheming. He had begun scheming early in the
business. But for his bad leg the old lady would not have brought her
daughter to be married at so out-of-the-way a place as Rummelsburg, in
Pomerania. He had travelled about and found Rummelsburg peculiarly
fitted for his enterprise. There was a most civil old Lutheran clergyman
there, to whom he had made himself peculiarly acceptable. He had now
certified copies of the registry at Rummelsburg, which left no loop-hole
for doubt. But he had felt that probably no inquiry would have been made
about what had been done thirty years ago at Rummelsburg, had he himself
desired to be silent on the subject. "There will be no difficulty," he
said, "in making the Rummelsburg marriage known to all the world."
"I think there will;--very great difficulty," Mr. Grey had said.
"Not the least. But when I had to be married in the light of day, after
Mountjoy's birth, at Nice, in Italy, then there was the difficulty. It
had to be done in the light of day; and that little traveller with his
nurse were with us. Nice was in Italy then, and some contrivance was, I
assure you, necessary. But it was done, and I have always had with me
the double sets of certificates. As things have turned up, I have had to
keep Mr. Grey altogether in the dark as regards Rummelsburg. It was very
difficult; but I have succeeded."
That Mr. Grey should have been almost driven to madness by such an
outrage as this was a matter of course. But he preferred to believe that
Rummelsburg, and not Nice, was the myth. "How did your wife travel with
you during the whole of that year?" he had asked.
"As Mrs. Scarborough, no doubt. But we had been very little in society,
and the world at large seemed willing to believe almost anything of me
that was wrong. However, there's the Rummelsburg marriage, and if you
send to Rummelsburg you'll find that it's all right,--a little white
church up a corner, with a crooked spire. The old clergyman is, no
doubt, dead, but I should imagine that they would keep their registers."
Then he explained how he had travelled about the world with the two sets
of certificates, and had made the second public when his object had been
to convert Augustus into his eldest son. Many people then had been found
who had remembered something of the marriage at Nice, and remembered to
have remembered something at the time of having been in possession of
some secret as to the lady. But Rummelsburg had been kept quite in the
dark. Now it was necessary that a strong light should be thrown on the
absolute legality of the Rummelsburg marriage.
He declared that he had more than once made up his mind to destroy those
Rummelsburg documents, but had always been deterred by the reflection
that, when they were once gone, they could not be brought back again. "I
had always intended," he had said, "to burn the papers the last thing
before my death. But as I learned Augustus's character, I made quite
certain by causing them to be sealed up in a parcel addressed to him, so
that if I had died by accident they might have fallen into proper hands.
But I see now the wickedness of my project, and, therefore, I give them
over to Mr. Grey." So saying he tendered the parcel to the attorney.
Mr. Grey, of course, refused to take, or even to touch, the Rummelsburg
parcel. He then prepared to leave the room, declaring it would be his
duty to act on the part of Augustus, should Augustus be pleased to
accept his services. But Mr. Scarborough, almost with tears, implored
him to change his purpose. "Why should you set two brothers by the
ears?" At this Mr. Grey only shook his head incredulously. "And why ruin
the property without an object?"
"The property will come to ruin."
"Not if you will take the matter up in the proper spirit. But if you
determine to drive one brother to hostility against the other, and
promote unnecessary litigation, of course the lawyers will get it all."
Then Mr. Grey left the room, boiling with anger in that he, with his
legal knowledge and determination to do right, had been so utterly
thrown aside; while Mr. Scarborough sank exhausted by the effort he had
MR. GREY'S REMORSE.
Mr. Grey's feeling, as he returned home, was chiefly one of
self-reproach; so that, though he persisted in not believing the story
which had been told to him, he did, in truth, believe it. He believed,
at any rate, in Mr. Scarborough. Mr. Scarborough had determined that the
property should go hither and thither according to his will, without
reference to the established laws of the land, and had carried, and
would carry his purpose. His object had been to save his estate from the
hands of those harpies, the money-lenders; and as far as he was
concerned he would have saved it.
He had, in fact, forced the money-lenders to lend their money without
interest and without security, and then to consent to accept their
principal when it was offered to them. No one could say but that the
deed when done was a good deed. But this man in doing it had driven his
coach and horses through all the laws, which were to Mr. Grey as Holy
Writ; and, in thus driving his coach and horses, he had forced Mr. Grey
to sit upon the box and hold the reins. Mr. Grey had thought himself to
be a clever man,--at least a well-instructed man; but Mr. Scarborough had
turned him round his finger, this way and that way, just as he had
Mr. Grey when, in his rage, he had given the lie to Mr. Scarborough had,
no doubt, spoken as he had believed at that moment. To him the new
story must have sounded like a lie, as he had been driven to accept the
veritable lie as real truth. He had looked into all the circumstances of
the marriage at Nice, and had accepted it. He had sent his partner over,
and had picked up many incidental confirmations. That there had been a
marriage at Nice between Mr. Scarborough and the mother of Augustus was
certain. He had traced back Mr. Scarborough's movements before the
marriage, and could not learn where the lady had joined him who
afterward became his wife; but it had become manifest to him that she
had travelled with him, bearing his name. But in Vienna Mr. Barry had
learned that Mr. Scarborough had called the lady by her maiden name. He
might have learned that he had done so very often at other places; but
it had all been done in preparation for the plot in hand,--as had scores
of other little tricks which have not cropped up to the surface in this
Mr. Scarborough's whole life had been passed in arranging tricks for the
defeat of the law; and it had been his great glory so to arrange them as
to make it impossible that the law should touch him. Mountjoy had
declared that he had been defrauded. The creditors swore, with many
oaths, that they had been horribly cheated by this man. Augustus, no
doubt, would so swear very loudly. No man could swear more loudly than
did Mr. Grey as he left the squire's chamber after this last revelation.
But there was no one who could punish him. The money-lenders had no
writing under his hand. Had Mountjoy been born without a
marriage-ceremony it would have been very wicked, but the vengeance of
the law would not have reached him. If you deceive your attorney with
false facts he cannot bring you before the magistrates. Augustus had
been the most injured of all; but a son, though he may bring an action
against his father for bigamy, cannot summon him before any tribunal
because he has married his mother twice over. These were Mr.
Scarborough's death-bed triumphs; but they were very sore upon Mr. Grey.
On his journey back to town, as he turned the facts over more coolly in
his mind, he began to fear that he saw a glimmer of the truth. Before he
reached London he almost thought that Mountjoy would be the heir. He had
not brought a scrap of paper away with him, having absolutely refused to
touch the documents offered to him. He certainly would not be employed
again either by Mr. Scarborough or on behalf of his estate or his
executors. He had threatened that he would take up the cudgels on
behalf of Augustus, and had felt at the moment that he was bound to do
so, because, as he had then thought, Augustus had the right cause. But
as that idea crumbled away from him, Augustus and his affairs became
more and more distasteful to him. After all, it ought to be wished that
Mountjoy should become the elder son,--even Mountjoy, the incurable
gambler. It was terrible to Mr. Grey that the old, fixed arrangement
should be unfixed, and certainly there was nothing in the character of
Augustus to reconcile him to such a change.
But he was a very unhappy man when he put himself into a cab to be
carried down to Fulham. How much better would it have been for him had
he taken his daughter's advice, and persistently refused to make this
last journey to Tretton! He would have to acknowledge to his daughter
that Mr. Scarborough had altogether got the better of him, and his
unhappiness would consist in the bitterness of that acknowledgment.
But when he reached the Manor House his daughter met him with news of
her own which for the moment kept his news in abeyance. "Oh, papa," she
said, "I am so glad you've come!" He had sent her a telegram to say that
he was coming. "Just when I got your message I was frightened out of my
life. Who do you think was here with me?"
"How am I to think, my dear?"
"Who on earth is Mr. Juniper?" he asked. "Oh, I remember;--Amelia's
"Do you mean to say you forgot Mr. Juniper? I never shall forget him.
What a horrid man he is!"
"I never saw Mr. Juniper in my life. What did he want of you?"
"He says you have ruined him utterly. He came here about two o'clock,
and found me at work in the garden. He made his way in through the open
gate, and would not be sent back though one of the girls told him that
there was nobody at home. He had seen me, and I could not turn him out,
"What did he say to you? Was he impudent?"
"He did not insult me, if you mean that; but he was impudent in not
going away, and I could not get rid of him for an hour. He says that you
have doubly ruined him."
"You would not let Amelia have the fortune that you promised her; and I
think his object now was to get the fortune without the girl. And he
said, also, that he had lent five hundred pounds to your Captain
"He is not my Captain Scarborough."
"And that when you were settling the captain's debts his was the only
one you would not pay in full."
"He is a rogue,--an arrant rogue!"
"But he says that he's got the captain's name to the five hundred
pounds; and he means to get it some of these days, now that the captain
and his father are friends again. The long and the short of it is, that
he wants five hundred pounds by hook or by crook, and that he thinks you
ought to let him have it."
"He'll get it, or the greater part of it. There's no doubt he'll get it
if he has got the captain's name. If I remember right, the captain did
sign a note for him to that amount,--and he'll get the money if he has
stuck to it."
"Do you mean that Captain Scarborough would pay all his debts?"
"He will have to pay that one, because it was not included in the
schedule. What do you think has turned up now?"
"Some other scheme?"
"It is all scheming,--base, false scheming,--to have been concerned with
which will be a disgrace to my name forever!"
"Yes; forever! He has told me, now, that Mountjoy is his true,
legitimate, eldest son. He declares that that story which I have
believed for the last eight months has been altogether false, and made
out of his own brain to suit his own purposes. In order to enable him to
defraud these money-lenders he used a plot which he had concocted long
since, and boldly declared Augustus to be his heir. He made me believe
it; and because I believed it, even those greedy, grasping men, who
would not have given up a tithe of their prey to save the whole family,
even they believed it too. Now, at the very point of death, he comes
forward with perfect coolness, and tells me that the whole story was a
plot made out of his own head."
"Do you believe him now?"
"I became very wroth, and said that it was a lie! I did think that it
was a lie. I did flatter myself that in a matter concerning my own
business, and in which I was bound to look after the welfare of others,
he could not have so deceived me; but I find myself as a child--as a
baby--in his hands."
"Then you do believe him now?"
"I am afraid so. I will never see him again, if it be possible for me to
avoid him. He has treated me as no one should have treated his enemy,
let alone a faithful friend. He must have scoffed and scorned at me
merely because I had faith in his word. Who could have thought of a man
laying his plots so deeply,--arranging for twenty years past the frauds
which he has now executed? For thirty years, or nearly, his mind has
been busy on these schemes, and on others, no doubt, which he has not
thought it necessary to execute, and has used me in them simply as a
machine. It is impossible that I should forgive him."
"And what will be the end of it?" she asked.
"Who can say? But this is clear. He has utterly destroyed my character
as a lawyer."
"No. Nothing of the kind."
"And it will be well if he have not done so as a man. Do you think that
when people hear that these changes have been made with my assistance
they will stop to unravel it all, and to see that I have been only a
fool and not a knave? Can I explain under what stress of entreaty I went
down there on this last occasion?"
"Papa, you were quite right to go. He was your old friend, and he was
Even for this he was grateful. "Who will judge me as you do,--you who
persuaded me that I should not have gone? See how the world will use my
name! He has made me a party to each of his frauds. He disinherited
Mountjoy, and he forced me to believe the evidence he brought. Then,
when Mountjoy was nobody, he half paid the creditors by means of my
"They got all they were entitled to get."
"No; till the law had decided against them, they were entitled to their
bonds. But they, ruffians though they are, had advanced so much hard
money, and I was anxious that they should get their hard money back
again. But unless Mountjoy had been illegitimate,--so as to be capable of
inheriting nothing,--they would have been cheated; and they have been
cheated. Will it be possible that I should make them or make others
think that I have had nothing to do with it? And Augustus, who will be
open-mouthed,--what will he say against me? In every turn and double of
the man's crafty mind I shall be supposed to have turned and doubled
with him. I do not mind telling the truth about myself to you."
"I should hope not."
"The light that has guided me through my professional life has been a
love of the law. As far as my small powers have gone, I have wished to
preserve it intact. I am sure that the Law and Justice may be made to
run on all-fours. I have been so proud of my country as to make that the
rule of my life. The chance has brought me into the position of having
for a client a man the passion of whose life has been the very reverse.
Who would not say that for an attorney to have such a man as Mr.
Scarborough, of Tretton, for his client, was not a feather in his cap?
But I have found him to be not only fraudulent, but too clever for me.
In opposition to myself he has carried me into his paths."
"He has never induced you to do anything that was wrong."
"'Nil conscire sibi;' that ought to be enough for a simple man. But it
is not enough for me. It cannot be enough for a man who intends to act
as an attorney for others. Others must know it as well as I myself. You
know it. But can I remain an attorney for you only? There are some of
whom just the other thing is known; but then they look for work of the
other kind. I have never put up a shop-board for sharp practice. After
this the sharpest kind of practice will be all that I shall seem to be
fit for. It isn't the money. I can retire with enough for your wants and
for mine. If I could retire amid the good words of men I should be
happy. But, even if I retire, men will say that I have filled my pockets
with plunder from Tretton."
"That will never be said."
"Were I to publish an account of the whole affair,--which I am bound in
honor not to do,--explaining it all from beginning to end, people would
only say that I was endeavoring to lay the whole weight of the guilt
upon my confederate who was dead. Why did he pick me out for such
usage,--me who have been so true to him?"
There was something almost weak, almost feminine in the tone of Mr.
Grey's complaints. But to Dolly they were neither feminine nor weak. To
her her father's grief was true and well-founded; but for herself in her
own heart there was some joy to be drawn from it. How would it have been
with her if the sharp practice had been his, and the success? What would
have been her state of mind had she known her father to have conceived
these base tricks? Or what would have been her condition had her father
been of such a kind as to have taught her that the doing of such tricks
should be indifferent to her? To have been high above them all,--for him
and for her,--was not that everything? And was she not sure that the
truth would come to light at last? And if not here, would not the truth
come to light elsewhere where light would be of more avail than here?
Such was the consolation with which Dolly consoled herself.
On the next two days Mr. Grey went to his chambers and returned, without
any new word as to Mr. Scarborough and his affairs. One day he did bring
back some tidings as to Juniper. "Juniper has got into some row about a
horse," he said, "and is, I fear, in prison. All the same, he'll get his
five hundred pounds; and if he knew that fact it would help him."
"I can't tell him, papa. I don't know where he lives."
"Perhaps Carroll could do so."
"I never speak to Mr. Carroll. And I would not willingly mention
Juniper's name to my aunt or to either of the girls. It will be better
to let Juniper go on in his row."
"With all my heart," said Mr. Grey. And then there was an end of that.
On the next morning, the fourth after his return from Tretton, Mr. Grey
received a letter from Mountjoy Scarborough. "He was sure," he said,
"that Mr. Grey would be sorry to hear that his father had been very weak
since Mr. Grey had gone, and unable even to see him, Mountjoy, for more
than two or three minutes at a time. He was afraid that all would soon
be over; but he and everybody around the squire had been surprised to
find how cheerful and high-spirited he was. It seems," wrote Mountjoy,
"as though he had nothing to regret, either as regards this world or the
next. He has no remorse, and certainly no fear. Nothing, I think, could
make him angry, unless the word repentance were mentioned to him. To me
and to his sister he is unwontedly affectionate; but Augustus's name has
not crossed his lips since you left the house." Then he went on to the
matter as to which his letter had been written. "What am I to do when
all is over with him? It is natural that I should come to you for
advice. I will promise nothing about myself, but I trust that I may not
return to the gambling-table. If I have this property to manage, I may
be able to remain down here without going up to London. But shall I have
the property to manage? and what steps am I to take with the view of
getting it? Of course I shall have to encounter opposition, but I do
not think that you will be one of those to oppose me. I presume that I
shall be left here in possession, and that, they say, is nine points of
the law. In the usual way I ought, I presume, simply to do nothing, but
merely to take possession. The double story about the two marriages
ought to count for nothing,--and I should be as though no such plots had
ever been hatched. But they have been hatched, and other people know of
them. The creditors, I presume, can do nothing. You have all the bonds
in your possession. They may curse and swear, but will, I imagine, have
no power. I doubt whether they have a morsel of ground on which to raise
a lawsuit; for whether I or Augustus be the eldest son, their claims
have been satisfied in full. But I presume that Augustus will not sit
quiet. What ought I to do in regard to him? As matters stand at present
he will not get a shilling. I fear my father is too ill to make another
will. But at any rate he will make none in favor of Augustus. Pray tell
me what I ought to do; and tell me whether you can send any one down to
assist me when my father shall have gone."
"I will meddle no farther with anything in which the name of Scarborough
is concerned." Such had been Mr. Grey's first assertion when he received
Mountjoy's letter. He would write to him and tell him that, after what
had passed, there could be nothing of business transacted between him
and his father's estate. Nor was he in the position to give any advice
on the subjects mooted. He would wash his hands of it altogether. But,
as he went home, he thought over the matter and told himself that it
would be impossible for him thus to repudiate the name. He would
undertake no lawsuit either on behalf of Augustus or of Mountjoy. But he
must answer Mountjoy's letter, and tender him some advice.
During the long hours of the subsequent night he discussed the whole
matter with his daughter, and the upshot of his discussion was
this:--that he would withdraw his name from the business, and leave Mr.
Barry to manage it. Mr. Barry might then act for either party as he
All these things were not done at Tretton altogether unknown to Augustus
Scarborough. Tidings as to the will reached him, and then he first
perceived the injury he had done himself in lending his assistance to
the payment of the creditors. Had his brother been utterly bankrupt, so
that the Jews might have seized any money that might have come to him,
his father would have left no will in his favor. All that was now
intelligible to Augustus. The idea that his father should strip the
house of every stick of furniture, and the estate of every chattel upon
it, had not occurred to him before the thing was done.
He had thought that his father was indifferent to all personal offence,
and therefore he had been offensive. He found out his mistake, and
therefore was angry with himself. But he still thought that he had been
right in regard to the creditors. Had the creditors been left in the
possession of their unpaid bonds, they would have offered terrible
impediments to the taking possession of the property. He had been right
then, he thought. The fact was that his father had lived too long.
However, the property would be left to him, Augustus, and he must make
up his mind to buy the other things from Mountjoy. He at any rate would
have to provide the funds out of which Mountjoy must live, and he would
take care that he did not buy the chattels twice over. It was thus he
consoled himself till rumors of something worse reached his ears.
How the rumors reached him it would be difficult to say. There were
probably some among the servants who got an inkling of what the squire
was doing when Mr. Grey again came down; or Miss Scarborough had some
confidential friend; or Mr. Grey's clerk may have been indiscreet. The
tidings in some unformed state did reach Augustus and astounded him. His
belief in his father's story as to his brother's illegitimacy had been
unfixed and doubtful. Latterly it had verged toward more thorough belief
as the creditors had taken their money,--less than a third of what would
have been theirs had the power remained with them of recovering their
full debt. The creditors had thus proved their belief, and they were a
people not likely to believe such a statement without some foundation.
But at any rate he had conceived it to be impossible that his own
father should go back from his first story, and again make himself out
to be doubly a liar and doubly a knave.
But if it were so, what should he do? Was it not the case that in such
event he would be altogether ruined,--a penniless adventurer with his
profession absolutely gone from him? What little money he had got
together had been expended on behalf of Mountjoy,--a sprat thrown out to
catch a whale. Everything according to the present tidings had been left
to Mountjoy. He had only half known his father, who had turned against
him with virulence because of his unkindness. Who could have expected
that a man in such a condition should have lived so long, and have been
capable of a will so powerful? He had not dreamed of a hatred so
inveterate as his father's for him.
He received news also from Tretton that his father was not now expected
by any one to live long.
"It may be a week, the doctors say, and it is hardly possible that he
should remain alive for another month." Such was the news which reached
him from his own emissary at Tretton. What had he better do in the
emergency of the moment?
There was only one possibly effective step that he could take. He might,
of course, remain tranquil, and accept what chance might give him, when
his father should have died. But he might at once go down to Tretton and
demand an interview with the dying man. He did not think that his
father, even on his death-bed, would refuse to see him. His father's
pluck was indomitable, and he thought that he could depend on his own
pluck. At any rate he resolved that he would immediately go to Tretton
and take his chance. He reached the house about the middle of the day,
and at once sent his name up to his father. Miss Scarborough was sitting
by her brother's bedside, and from time to time was reading to him a few
words. "Augustus!" he said, as soon as the servant had left the room.
"What does Augustus want with me? The last time he saw me he bade me die
out of hand if I wished to retrieve the injury I had done him."
"Do not think of that now, John," his sister said.
"As God is my judge, I will think of it to the last moment. Words such
as those spoken, by a son to his father, demand a little thought. Were I
to tell you that I did not think of them, would you not know that I was
"You need not speak of them, John."
"Not unless he came here to harass my last moments. I strove to do very
much for him;--you know with what return. Mountjoy has been, at any rate,
honest and straightforward; and, considering all things, not lacking in
respect. I shall, at any rate, have some pleasure in letting Augustus
know the state of my mind."
"What shall I say to him?" his sister asked.
"Tell him that he had better go back to London. I have tried them both,
as few sons can be tried by their father, and I know them now. Tell him,
with my compliments, that it will be better for him not to see me. There
can be nothing pleasant said between us. I have no communication to make
to him which could in the least interest him."
But before night came the squire had been talked over, and had agreed to
see his son. "The interview will be easy enough for me," he had said,
"but I cannot imagine what he will get from me. But let him come as he
Augustus spent much of the intervening time in discussing the matter
with his aunt. But not a word on the subject was spoken by him to
Mountjoy, whom he met at dinner, and with whom he spent the evening in
company with Mr. Merton. The two hours after dinner were melancholy
enough. The three adjourned to the smoking-room, and sat there almost
without conversation. A few words were said about the hunting, but
Mountjoy had not hunted this winter. There were a few also of greater
interest about the shooting. The shooting was of course still the
property of the old man, and in the early months had, without many words
spoken, become, as it were, an appanage of the condition of life to
which Augustus aspired; but of late Mountjoy had assumed the command.
"You found plenty of pheasants here, I suppose," Augustus remarked.
"Well, yes; not too many. I didn't trouble myself much about it. When I
saw a pheasant I shot it. I've been a little troubled in spirit, you
"Gambling again, I heard."
"That didn't trouble me much. Merton can tell you that we've had a
"Yes, indeed," said Merton. "It hasn't seemed to be a time in which a
man would think very much of his pheasants."
"I don't know why," said Augustus, who was determined not to put up with
the rebuke implied in the doctor's words. After that there was nothing
more said between them till they all went to their separate apartments.
"Don't contradict him," his aunt said to him the next morning, "and if
he reprimands you, acknowledge that you have been wrong."
"That's hard, when I haven't been wrong."
"But so much depends upon it; and he is so stern. Of course, I wish well
for both of you. There is plenty enough,--plenty; if only you could agree
"But the injustice of his treatment. Is it true that he now declares
Mountjoy to be the eldest son?"
"I believe so. I do not know, but I believe it."
"Think of what his conduct has been to me. And then you tell me that I
am to own that I have been wrong! In what have I been wrong?"
"He is your father, and I suppose you have said hard words to him."
"Did I rebuke him because he had fraudulently kept me for so many years
in the position of a younger son? Did I not forgive him that iniquity?"
"But he says you are a younger son."
"This last move," he said, with great passion, "has only been made in an
attempt to punish me, because I would not tell him that I was under a
world of obligations to him for simply declaring the truth as to my
birth. We cannot both be his eldest son."
"No, certainly, not both."
"At last he declared that I was his heir. If I did say hard words to
him, were they not justified?"
"Not to your father," said Miss Scarborough, shaking her head.
"That is your idea? How was I to abstain? Think what had been done to
me. Through my whole life he had deceived me, and had attempted to rob
"But he says that he had intended to get the property for you."
"To get it! It was mine. According to what he said it was my own. He had
robbed me to give it to Mountjoy. Now he intends to rob me again in
order that Mountjoy may have it. He will leave such a kettle of fish
behind him, with all his manoeuvring, that neither of us will be the
better of Tretton."
Then he went to the squire. In spite of what had passed between him and
his aunt, he had thought deeply of his conduct to his father in the
past, and of the manner in which he would now carry himself. He was
aware that he had behaved,--not badly, for that he esteemed nothing,--but
most unwisely. When he had found himself to be the heir to Tretton he
had fancied himself to be almost the possessor, and had acted on the
instincts which on such a case would have been natural to him. To have
pardoned the man because he was his father, and then to have treated him
with insolent disdain, as some dying old man, almost entirely beneath
his notice, was what he felt the nature of the circumstances demanded.
And whether the story was true or false it would have been the same. He
had come at last to believe it to be true, and had therefore been the
more resolute; but, whether it were true or false, the old man had
struck his blow, and he must abide by it. Till the moment came in which
he had received that communication from Tretton, the idea had never
occurred to him that another disposition of the property might still be
within his father's power. But he had little known the old man's power,
or the fertility of his resources, or the extent of his malice. "After
what you have done you should cease to stay and disturb us," he had once
said, when his father had jokingly alluded to his own death. He had at
once repented, and had felt that such a speech had been iniquitous as
coming from a son. But his father had, at the moment, expressed no deep
animosity. Some sarcastic words had fallen from him of which Augustus
had not understood the bitterness. But he had remembered it since, and
was now not so much surprised at his father's wish to injure him as at
But could he have any such power? Mr. Grey, he knew, was on his side,
and Mr. Grey was a thorough lawyer. All the world was on his side,--all
the world having been instructed to think and to believe that Mr.
Scarborough had not been married till after Mountjoy was born. All the
world had been much surprised, and would be unwilling to encounter
another blow. Should he go into his father's room altogether penitent,
or should he hold up his head and justify himself?
One thing was brought home to him, by thinking, as a matter of which he
might be convinced. No penitence could now avail him anything. He had at
any rate by this time looked sufficiently into his father's character to
be sure that he would not forgive such an offence as had been his. Any
vice, any extravagance, almost any personal neglect, would have been
pardoned. "I have so brought him up," the father would have said, "and
the fault must be counted as my own." But his son had deliberately
expressed a wish for his father's death, and had expressed it in his
father's presence. He had shown not only neglect, which may arise at a
distance, and may not be absolutely intentional; but these words had
been said with the purpose of wounding, and were, and would be,
unpardonable. Augustus, as he went along the corridor to his father's
room, determined that he would at any rate not be penitent.
"Well, sir, how do you find yourself?" he said, walking in briskly and
putting out his hand to his father. The old man languidly gave his hand,
but only smiled. "I hear of you, though not from you, and they tell me
that you have not been quite so strong of late."
"I shall soon cease to stay and trouble you," said the squire, with
affected weakness, in a voice hardly above a whisper, using the very
words which Augustus had spoken.
"There have been some moments between us, sir, which have been,
"And yet I have done so much to make them pleasant to you! I should have
thought that the offer of all Tretton would have gone for much with
Augustus was again taken in. There was a piteous whine about his
father's voice which once more deceived him. He did not dream of the
depth of the old man's anger. He did not imagine that at such a moment
it could boil over with such ferocity; nor was he altogether aware of
the cat-like quietude with which he could pave the way for his last
spring. Mountjoy, by far the least gifted of the two, had gained the
truer insight to his father's character.
"You had done much, or rather, as I supposed, circumstances had done
"The facts, I mean, as to Mountjoy's birth and my own."
"I have not always left myself to be governed by actual circumstances."
"If there was any omission on my part of an expression of proper
feeling, I regret it."
"I don't know that there was. What is proper feeling? There was no
hypocrisy, at any rate."
"You sometimes are a little bitter, sir."
"I hope you won't find it so when I am gone."
"I don't know what I said that has angered you, but I may have been
driven to say what I did not feel."
"Certainly not to me."
"I'm not here to beg pardon for any special fault, as I do not quite
know of what I am accused."
"Of nothing. There is accusation at all."
"Nor what the punishment is to be. I have learned that you have left to
Mountjoy all the furniture in the house."
"Yes, poor boy!--when I found that you had turned him out."
"I never turned him out,--not till your house was open to receive him."
"You would not have wished him to go into the poor-house?"
"I did the very best for him. I kept him going when there was no one
else to give him a shilling."
"He must have had a bitter time," said the father. "I hope it may have
done him good."
"I think I behaved to him just as an elder brother should have done. He
was not particularly grateful, but that was not my fault."
"Still, I thought it best to leave him the old sticks about the place.
As he was to have the property, it was better that he should have the
sticks." As he said this he managed to turn himself round and look his
son full in the face. Such a look as it was! There was the gleam of
victory, and the glory of triumph, and the venom of malice. "You
wouldn't have them separated, would you?"
"I have heard of some farther trick of this kind."
"Just the ordinary way in which things ought to be allowed to run. Mr.
Grey, who is a very good man, persuaded me. No man ought to interfere
with the law. An attempt in that direction led to evil. Mountjoy is the
eldest son, you know."
"I know nothing of the kind."
"Oh dear, no! there is no question at all as to the date of my marriage
with your mother. We were married in quite a straightforward way at
Rummelsburg. When I wanted to save the property from those harpies, I
was surprised to find how easily I managed it. Grey was a little soft
there: an excellent man, but too credulous for a lawyer."
"I do not believe a word of it."
"You'll find it all go as naturally as possible when I have ceased to
stay and be troublesome. But one thing I must say in your favor."
"What do you mean?"
"I never could have managed it all unless you had consented to that
payment of the creditors. Indeed, I must say, that was chiefly your own
doing. When you first suggested it, I saw what a fine thing you were
contriving for your brother. I should think, after that, of leaving it
all so that you need not find out the truth when I am dead. I do think
I had so managed it that you would have had the property. Mountjoy, who
has some foolish feeling about his mother, and who is obstinate as a
pig, would have fought it out; but I had so contrived that you would
have had it. I had sealed up every document referring to the Rummelsburg
marriage, and had addressed them all to you. I couldn't have made it
safer, could I?"
"I don't know what you mean."
"You would have been enabled to destroy every scrap of the evidence
which will be wanted to prove your brother's legitimacy. Had I burned
the papers I could not have put them more beyond poor Mountjoy's reach.
Now they are quite safe in Mr. Grey's office; his clerk took them away
with him. I would not leave them here with Mountjoy because,--well,--you
might come, and he might be murdered!" Now Mr. Scarborough had had his
"You think you have done your duty," said Augustus.
"I do not care two straws about doing my duty, young man." Here Mr.
Scarborough raised himself in part, and spoke in that strong voice which
was supposed to be so deleterious to him. "Or rather, in seeking my
duty, I look beyond the conventionalities of the world. I think that you
have behaved damnably, and that I have punished you. Because of
Mountjoy's weakness, because he had been knocked off his legs, I
endeavored to put you upon yours. You at once turned upon me, when you
thought the deed was done, and bade me go--and bury myself. You were a
little too quick in your desire to become the owner of Tretton Park at
once. I have stayed long enough to give some farther trouble. You will
not say, after this, that I am _non compos_, and unable to make a will.
You will find that, under mine, not one penny-piece, not one scrap of
property, will become yours. Mountjoy will take care of you, I do not
doubt. He must hate you, but will recognize you as his brother. I am not
so soft-hearted and will not recognize you as my son. Now you may go
away." So saying, he turned himself round to the wall, and refused to be
induced to utter another word. Augustus began to speak, but when he had
commenced his second sentence the old man rung his bell. "Mary," said he
to his sister, "will you have the goodness to get Augustus to go away? I
am very weak, and if he remains he will be the death of me. He can't get
anything by killing me at once; it is too late for that."
Then Augustus did leave the room, and before the night came had left
Tretton also. He presumed there was nothing for him to do there. One
word he did say to Mountjoy,--"You will understand, Mountjoy, that when
our father is dead Tretton will not become your property."
"I shall understand nothing of the kind," said Mountjoy "but I suppose
Mr. Grey will tell me what I am to do."
MR. PROSPER SHOWS HIS GOOD-NATURE.
While these things were going on at Tretton, and while Mr. Scarborough
was making all arrangements for the adequate disposition of his
property,--in doing which he had happily come to the conclusion that
there was no necessity for interfering with what the law had
settled,--Mr. Prosper was lying very ill at Buston, and was endeavoring
on his sick-bed to reconcile himself to what the entail had done for
him. There could be no other heir to him but Harry Annesley. As he
thought of the unmarried ladies of his acquaintance, he found that there
was no one who would have done for him but Miss Puffle and Matilda
Thoroughbung. All others were too young or too old, or chiefly
penniless. Miss Puffle would have been the exact thing--only for that
intruding farmer's son.
As he lay there alone in his bedroom his mind used to wander a little,
and he would send for Matthew, his butler, and hold confidential
discussions with him. "I never did think, sir, that Miss Thoroughbung
was exactly the lady," said Matthew.
"Well, sir, there is a saying--But you'll excuse me."
"Go on, Matthew."
"There is a saying as how 'you can't make a silk purse out of a sow's
"I've heard that."
"Just so, sir. Now, Miss Thoroughbung is a very nice lady."
"I don't think she's a nice lady at all."
"But--Of course it's not becoming in me to speak against my betters, and
as a menial servant I never would."
"Go on, Matthew."
"Miss Thoroughbung is--"
"Go on, Matthew."
"Well;--she is a sow's ear. Ain't she, now? The servants here never
would have looked upon her as a silk purse."
"Never! She has a way with her just as though she didn't care for silk
purses. And it's my mind, sir, that she don't. She wishes, however, to
be uppermost, and if she had come here she'd have said so."
"That can never be. Thank God, that can never be!"
"Oh, no! Brewers is brewers, and must be. There's Mr. Joe--He's very
well, no doubt."
"I haven't the pleasure of his acquaintance."
"Him as is to marry Miss Molly. But Miss Molly ain't the head of the
family; is she, sir?" Here the squire shook his head. "You're the head
of the family, sir."
"I suppose so."
"And is--I might make so bold as to speak?"
"Go on, Matthew."
"Miss Thoroughbung would be a little out of place at Buston Hall. Now,
as to Miss Puffle--"
"Miss Puffle is a lady,--or was."
"No doubt, sir. The Puffles is not quite equal to the Prospers, as I can
hear. But the Puffles is ladies--and gentlemen. The servants below all
give it up to them that they're real gentlefolk. But--"
"She demeaned herself terribly with young Tazlehurst. They all said as
there were more where that came from."
"What should they mean by that?"
"She'd indulge in low 'abits,--such as never would have been put up with
at Buston Hall,--a-cursing and a-swearing--"
"Not herself,--I don't say that; but it's like enough if you 'ad heard
all. But them as lets others do it almost does it themselves. And them
as lets others drink sperrrits o' mornings come nigh to having a dram
down their own throats."
"Oh laws!" exclaimed Mr. Prosper, thinking of the escape he had had.
"You wouldn't have liked it, sir, if there had been a bottle of gin in
the bedroom!" Here Mr. Prosper hid his face among the bedclothes. "It
ain't all that comes silk out of the skein that does to make a purse
There were difficulties in the pursuit of matrimony of which Mr. Prosper
had not thought. His imagination at once pictured to himself a bride
with a bottle of gin under her pillow, and he went on shivering till
Matthew almost thought that he had been attacked by an ague-fit.
"I shall give it up, at any rate," he said, after a pause.
"Of course you're a young man, sir."
"No, I'm not."
"That is, not exactly young,"
"You're an old fool to tell such lies!"
"Of course I'm an old fool; but I endeavor to be veracious. I never
didn't take a shilling as were yours, nor a shilling's worth, all the
years I have known you, Mr. Prosper."
"What has that to do with it? I'm not a young man."
"What am I to say, sir? Shall I say as you are middle-aged?"
"The truth is, Matthew, I'm worn out."
"Then I wouldn't think of taking a wife."
"Troubles have been too heavy for me to bear. I don't think I was
intended to bear trouble."
"'Man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward,'" said Matthew.
"I suppose so. But one man's luck is harder than another's. They've been
too many for me, and I feel that I'm sinking under them. It's no good my
thinking of marrying now."
"That's what I was coming to when you said I was an old fool. Of course
I am an old fool."
"Do have done with it! Mr. Harry hasn't been exactly what he ought to
have been to me."
"He's a very comely young gentleman."
"What has comely to do with it?"
"Them as is plain-featured is more likely to stay at home and be quiet.
You couldn't expect one as is so handsome to stay at Buston and hear
"I don't expect him to be knocking men about in the streets at
"It ain't that, sir."
"I say it is that!"
"Very well, sir. Only we've all heard down-stairs as Mr. Harry wasn't
him as struck the first blow. It was all about a young lady."
"I know what it was about."
"A young lady as is a young lady."--This was felt to the quick by Mr.
Prosper, in regard to the gin-drinking Miss Puffle and the brewer-bred
Miss Thoroughbung; but as he was beginning to think that the
continuation of the family of the Prospers must depend on the marriage
which Harry might make, he passed over the slur upon himself for the
sake of the praise given to the future mother of the Prospers.--"And
when a young gentleman has set his heart on a young lady he's not going
to be braggydoshoed out of it."
"Captain Scarborough knew her first."
"First come first served isn't always the way with lovers. Mr. Harry was
the conquering hero. 'Weni, widi, wici.'"
"Them's the words as they say a young gentleman ought to use when he's
got the better of a young lady's affections; and I dare say they're the
very words as put the captain into such a towering passion. I can
understand how it happened, just as if I saw it."
"But he went away, and left him bleeding and speechless."
"He'd knocked his _weni, widi, wici_ out of him, I guess! I think, Mr.
Prosper, you should forgive him." Mr. Prosper had thought so too, but
had hardly known how to express himself after his second burst of anger.
But he was at the present ill and weak, and was anxious to have some one
near to him who should be more like a silk purse than his butler,
Matthew. "Suppose you was to send for him, sir."
"He wouldn't come."
"Let him alone for coming! They tell me, sir--"
"Who tells you?"
"Why, sir, the servants now at the rectory. Of course, sir, where two
families is so near connected, the servants are just as near: it's no
more than natural. They tell me now that since you were so kind about
the allowance, their talk of you is all changed." Then the squire's
anger was heated hot again. Their talk had all been against him till he
had opened his hand in regard to the allowance. And now when there was
something again to be got they could be civil. There was none of that
love of him for himself for which an old man is always hankering,--for
which the sick man breaks his heart,--but which the old and sick find it
so difficult to get from the young and healthy. It is in nature that the
old man should keep the purse in his own pocket, or otherwise he will
have so little to attract. He is weak, querulous, ugly to look at, apt
to be greedy, cross, and untidy. Though he himself can love, what is his
love to any one? Duty demands that one shall smooth his pillow, and some
one does smooth it,--as a duty. But the old man feels the difference, and
remembers the time when there was one who was anxious to share it.
Mr. Prosper was not in years an old man, and had not as yet passed that
time of life at which many a man is regarded by his children as the best
of their playfellows. But he was weak in body, self-conscious, and
jealous in spirit. He had the heart to lay out for himself a generous
line of conduct, but not the purpose to stick to it steadily. His nephew
had ever been a trouble to him, because he had expected from his nephew
a kind of worship to which he had felt that he was entitled as the head
of the family. All good things were to come from him, and therefore good
things should be given to him. Harry had told himself that his uncle was
not his father, and that it had not been his fault that he was his
uncle's heir. He had not asked his uncle for an allowance. He had grown
up with the feeling that Buston Hall was to be his own, and had not
regarded his uncle as the donor. His father, with his large family, had
never exacted much,--had wanted no special attention from him. And if not
his father, then why his uncle? But his inattention, his absence of
gratitude for peculiar gifts, had sunk deep into Mr. Prosper's bosom.
Hence had come Miss Thoroughbung as his last resource, and Miss
Thoroughbung had--called him Peter. Hence his mind had wandered to Miss
Puffle, and Miss Puffle had gone off with the farmer's son, and, as he
was now informed, had taken to drinking gin. Therefore he turned his
face to the wall and prepared himself to die.
On the next day he sent for Matthew again. Matthew first came to him
always in the morning, but on that occasion very little conversation
ever took place. In the middle of the day he had a bowl of soup brought
to him, and by that time had managed to drag himself out of bed, and to
clothe himself in his dressing-gown, and to seat himself in his
arm-chair. Then when the soup had been slowly eaten, he would ring his
bell, and the conversation would begin. "I have been thinking over what
I was saying yesterday, Matthew." Matthew simply assented, but he knew
in his heart that his master had been thinking over what he himself had
"Is Mr. Harry at the rectory?"
"Oh yes; he's there now. He wouldn't stir from the rectory till he hears
that you are better."
"Why shouldn't he stir? Does he mean to say that I'm going to die?
Perhaps I am. I'm very weak, but he doesn't know it."
Matthew felt that he had made a blunder, and that he must get out of it
as well as he could. "It isn't that he is thinking anything of that, but
you are confined to your room, sir. Of course he knows that."
"I never told him."
"He's most particular in his inquiries from day to day."
"Does he come here?"
"He don't venture on that, because he knows as how you wouldn't wish
"Why shouldn't I wish it? It'd be the most natural thing in the world."
"But there has been--a little--I'm quite sure Mr. Harry don't wish to
intrude. If you'd let me give it to be understood that you'd like him to
call, he'd be over here in a jiffy." Then, very slowly, Mr. Prosper did
give it to be understood that he would take it as a compliment if his
nephew would walk across the park and ask after him. He was most
particular as to the mode in which this embassy should be conducted.
Harry was not to be made to think that he was to come rushing into the
house after his old fashion,--"Halloo, uncle, aren't you well? Hope
you'll be better when I come back. Have got to be off by the next
train." Then he used to fly away and not be heard of again for a week.
And yet the message was to be conveyed with an alluring courtesy that
might be attractive, and might indicate that no hostility was intended.
But it was not to be a positive message, but one which would signify
what might possibly take place. If it should happen that Mr. Harry was
walking in this direction, it might also happen that his uncle would be
pleased to see him. There was no better ambassador at hand than Matthew,
and therefore Matthew was commissioned to arrange matters. "If you can
get at Mrs. Weeks, and do it through his mother," suggested Mr. Prosper.
Then Matthew winked and departed on his errand.
In about two hours there was a ring at the back-door, of which Mr.
Prosper knew well the sound. Miss Thoroughbung had not been there very
often, but he had learned to distinguish her ring or her servant's. In
old days, not so very far removed, Harry had never been accustomed to
ring at all. But yet his uncle knew that it was he, and not the doctor,
who might probably come,--or Mr. Soames, of whose coming he lived in
hourly dread. "You can show him up," he said to Matthew, opening the
door with great exertion, and attempting to speak to the servant down
the stairs. Harry, at any rate, was shown up, and in two minutes' time
was standing over his uncle's sick-chair. "I have not been quite well
just lately," he said, in answer to the inquiries made.
"We are very sorry to hear that, sir."
"I suppose you've heard it before."
"We did hear that you were a little out of sorts."
"Out of sorts! I don't know what you call out of sorts. I have not been
out of this room for well-nigh a month. My sister came to see me one
day, and that's the last Christian I've seen."
"My mother would be over daily if she fancied you'd like it."
"She has her own duties, and I don't want to be troublesome."
"The truth is, Uncle Prosper, that we have all felt that we have been in
your black books; and as we have not thought that we deserved it, there
has been a little coolness."
"I told your mother that I was willing to forgive you."
"Forgive me what? A fellow does not care to be forgiven when he has done
nothing. But if you'll only say that by-gones shall be by-gones quite
past I'll take it so." He could not give up his position as head of the
family so easily,--an injured head of the family. And yet he was anxious
that by-gones should be by-gones, if only the young man would not be so
jaunty, as he stood there by his arm-chair. "Just say the word, and the
girls shall come up and see you as they used to do." Mr. Prosper thought
at the moment that one of the girls was going to marry Joe Thoroughbung,
and that he would not wish to see her. "As for myself, if I've been in
any way negligent, I can only say that I did not intend it. I do not
like to say more, because it would seem as though I were asking you for
"I don't know why you shouldn't ask me."
"A man doesn't like to do that. But I'd tell you of everything if you'd
only let me."
"What is there to tell?" said Uncle Prosper, knowing well that the
love-story would be communicated to him.
"I've got myself engaged to marry a young woman."
"A young woman!"
"Yes;--she's a young woman, of course; but she's a young lady as well.
You know her name: it is Florence Mountjoy."
"That is the young lady that I've heard of. Was there not some other
gentleman attached to her?"
"There was;--her cousin, Mountjoy Scarborough."
"His father wrote to me."
"His father is the meanest fellow I ever met."
"And he himself came to me,--down here. They were fighting your battle
"I'm much obliged to them. For I have even interfered with him about
Then Harry had to repeat his _veni, vidi, vici_ after his own fashion.
"Of course I interfered with him. How is a fellow to help himself? We
both of us were spooning on the same girl, and of course she had to
"And she decided for you?"
"I fancy she did. At any rate I decided for her, and I mean to have
Then Mr. Prosper was, for him, very gracious in his congratulations,
saying all manner of good things of Miss Mountjoy. "I think you'd like
her, Uncle Prosper." Mr. Prosper did not doubt but that he would
"appease the solicitor." He also had heard of Miss Mountjoy, and what he
had heard had been much to the "young lady's credit." Then he asked a
few questions as to the time fixed for the marriage. Here Harry was
obliged to own that there were difficulties. Miss Mountjoy had promised
not to marry for three years without her mother's consent. "Three
years!" said Mr. Prosper. "Then I shall be dead and buried." Harry did
not tell his uncle that in that case the difficulty might probably
vanish, as the same degree of fate which had robbed him of his poor
uncle would have made him owner of Buston. In such a case as that Mrs.
Mountjoy might probably give way.
"But why is the young lady to be kept from marriage for three years?
Does she wish it?"
Harry said that he did not exactly think that Miss Mountjoy, on her own
behalf, did wish for so prolonged a separation. "The fact is, sir, that
Mrs. Mountjoy is not my best friend. This nephew of hers, Mountjoy
Scarborough, has always been her favorite."
"But he's a man that always loses his money at cards."
"He's to have all Tretton now, it seems."
"And what does the young lady say?"
"All Tretton won't move her. I'm not a bit afraid. I've got her word,
and that's enough for me. How it is that her mother should think it
possible;--that's what I do not know."
"The three years are quite fixed?"
"I don't quite say that altogether."
"But a young lady who will be true to you will be true to her mother
also." Harry shook his head. He was quite willing to guarantee
Florence's truth as to her promise to him, but he did not think that her
promise to her mother need be put on the same footing. "I shall be very
glad if you can arrange it any other way. Three years is a long time."
"Quite absurd, you know," said Harry, with energy.
"What made her fix on three years?"
"I don't know how they did it between them. Mrs. Mountjoy, perhaps,
thought that it might give time to her nephew. Ten years would be the
same as far as he is concerned. Florence is a girl who, when she says
that she loves a man, means it. For you don't suppose I intend to remain
"What do you intend to do?"
"One has to wait a little and see." Then there was a long pause, during
which Harry stood twiddling his fingers. He had nothing farther to
suggest, but he thought that his uncle might say something. "Shall I
come again to-morrow, Uncle Prosper?" he said.
"I have got a plan," said Uncle Prosper.
"What is it, uncle?"
"I don't know that it can lead to anything. It's of no use, of course,
if the young lady will wait the three years."
"I don't think she's at all anxious," said Harry.
"You might marry almost at once."
"That's what I should like."
"And come and live here."
"In this house?"
"Why not? I'm nobody. You'd soon find that I'm nobody."
"That's nonsense, Uncle Prosper. Of course you're everybody in your own
"You might endure it for six months in the year."
Harry thought of the sermons, but resolved at once to face them boldly.
"I am only thinking how generous you are."
"It's what I mean. I don't know the young lady, and perhaps she mightn't
like living with an old gentleman. In regard to the other six months,
I'll raise the two hundred and fifty pounds to five hundred pounds. If
she thinks well of it, she should come here first and let me see her.
She and her mother might both come." Then there was a pause. "I should
not know how to bear it,--I should not, indeed. But let them both come."
After some farther delay this was at last decided on. Harry went away
supremely happy and very grateful, and Mr. Prosper was left to meditate
on the terrible step he had taken.
MR. SCARBOROUGH'S DEATH.
It is a melancholy fact that Mr. Barry, when he heard the last story
from Tretton, began to think that his partner was not so wide-awake as
he had hitherto always regarded him. As time runs on, such a result
generally takes place in all close connections between the old and the
young. Ten years ago Mr. Barry had looked up to Mr. Grey with a trustful
respect. Words which fell from Mr. Grey were certainly words of truth,
but they were, in Mr. Barry's then estimation, words of wisdom also.
Gradually an altered feeling had grown up; and Mr. Barry, though he did
not doubt the truth, thought less about it. But he did doubt the wisdom
constantly. The wisdom practised under Mr. Barry's vice-management was
not quite the same as Mr. Grey's. And Mr. Barry had come to understand
that though it might be well to tell the truth on occasions, it was
folly to suppose that any one else would do so. He had always thought
that Mr. Grey had gone a little too fast in believing Squire
Scarborough's first story. "But you've been to Nice, yourself, and
discovered that it is true," Mr. Grey would say. Mr. Barry would shake
his head, and declare that in having to deal with a man of such varied
intellect as Mr. Scarborough there was no coming at the bottom of a
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