Mr. Scarborough's Family
Part 6 out of 12
"His uncle can't disinherit him."
"He's quite young enough to marry and have a family, and then Annesley
will be disinherited. He has stopped his allowance, anyway, and you
mustn't think of him. He did something uncommonly unhandsome the other
day, though I don't quite know what."
"He did nothing unhandsome, Uncle Magnus."
"Of course a young lady will stand up for her lover, but you will
really have to drop him. I'm not a hard sort of man, but this was
something that the world will not stand. When he thought the man had
been murdered he didn't say anything about it for fear they should tax
him with it. And then he swore he had never seen him. It was something
of that sort."
"He never feared that any one would suspect him."
"And now young Anderson has proposed. I should not have spoken else, but
it's my duty to tell you about young Anderson. He's a gentleman all
"So is Mr. Annesley."
"And Anderson has got into no trouble at all. He does his duty here
uncommonly well. I never had less trouble with any young fellow than I
have had with him. No licking him into shape,--or next to none,--and he
has a very nice private income. You together would have plenty, and
could live here till you had settled on apartments. A pair of ponies
would be just the thing for you to drive about and support the British
interests. You think of it, my dear, and you'll find that I'm right."
Then Florence escaped from that room and went up to receive the much
more severe lecture which she was to have from her aunt.
"Come in, my dear," said Lady Mountjoy, in her most austere voice. She
had a voice which could assume austerity when she knew her power to be
in the ascendant. As Florence entered the room Miss Abbott left it by a
door on the other side. "Take that chair, Florence. I want to have a few
minutes' conversation with you." Then Florence sat down. "When a young
lady is thinking of being married, a great many things have to be taken
into consideration." This seemed to be so much a matter of fact that
Florence did not feel it necessary to make any reply. "Of course I am
aware you are thinking of being married."
"Oh yes," said Florence.
"But to whom?"
"To Harry Annesley," said Florence, intending to imply that all the
world knew that.
"I hope not; I hope not. Indeed, I may say that it is quite out of the
question. In the first place, he is a beggar."
"He has begged from none," said Florence.
"He is what the world calls a beggar, when a young man without a penny
thinks of being married."
"I'm not a beggar, and what I've got will be his."
"My dear, you're talking about what you don't understand. A young lady
cannot give her money away in that manner; it will not be allowed.
Neither your mother, nor Sir Magnus, nor will I permit it." Here
Florence restrained herself, but drew herself up in her chair as though
prepared to speak out her mind if she should be driven. Lady Mountjoy
would not permit it! She thought that she would feel herself quite able
to tell Lady Mountjoy that she had neither power nor influence in the
matter, but she determined to be silent a little longer. "In the first
place, a gentleman who is a gentleman never attempts to marry a lady for
"But when a lady has the money she can express herself much more clearly
than she could otherwise."
"I don't quite understand what you mean by that, my dear."
"When Mr. Annesley proposed to me he was the acknowledged heir to his
"A trumpery affair at the best of it."
"It would have sufficed for me. Then I accepted him."
"That goes for nothing from a lady. Of course your acceptance was
contingent on circumstances."
"It was so;--on my regard. Having accepted him, and as my regard remains
just as warm as ever, I certainly shall not go back because of anything
his uncle may do. I only say this to explain that he was quite justified
in his offer. It was not for my small fortune that he came to me."
"I'm not so sure of that."
"But if my money can be of any use to him, he's quite welcome to it. Sir
Magnus spoke to me about a pair of ponies. I'd rather have him than a
pair of ponies."
"I'm coming to that just now. Here is Mr. Anderson."
"Oh yes; he's here."
There was certainly a touch of impatience in the tone in which this was
uttered. It was as though she had said that Mr. Anderson had so
contrived that she could have no doubt whatever about his continued
presence. Mr. Anderson had made himself so conspicuous as to be visible
to her constantly. Lady Mountjoy, who intended at present to sing Mr.
Anderson's praises, felt this to be impertinent.
"I don't know what you mean by that. Mr. Anderson has behaved himself
quite like a gentleman, and you ought to be very proud of any token you
may receive of his regard and affection."
"But I'm not bound to return to it."
"You are bound to think of it when those who are responsible for your
actions tell you to do so."
"Mamma, you mean?"
"I mean your uncle, Sir Magnus Mountjoy." She did not quite dare to say
that she had meant herself. "I suppose you will admit that Sir Magnus is
a competent judge of young men's characters?"
"He may be a judge of Mr. Anderson, because Mr. Anderson is his clerk."
There was something of an intention to depreciate in the word "clerk."
Florence had not thought much of Mr. Anderson's worth, nor, as far as
she had seen them, of the duties generally performed at the British
Embassy. She was ignorant of the peculiar little niceties and
intricacies which required the residence at Brussels of a gentleman with
all the tact possessed by Sir Magnus. She did not know that while the
mere international work of the office might be safely intrusted to Mr.
Blow and Mr. Bunderdown, all those little niceties, that smiling and
that frowning, that taking off of hats and only half taking them off,
that genial, easy manner, and that stiff hauteur, formed the peculiar
branch of Sir Magnus himself,--and, under Sir Magnus, of Mr. Anderson.
She did not understand that even to that pair of ponies which was
promised to her were to be attached certain important functions, which
she was to control as the deputy of the great man's deputy And now she
had called the great man's deputy a clerk!
"Mr. Anderson is no such thing," said Lady Mountjoy.
"His young man, then,--or private secretary;--only somebody else is
"You are very impertinent and very ungrateful. Mr. Anderson is second
secretary of legation. There is no officer attached to our establishment
of more importance. I believe you say it on purpose to anger me. And
then you compare this gentleman to Mr. Annesley, a man to whom no one
"I will speak to him." Had Harry heard her say that, he ought to have
been a happy man in spite of his trouble.
"You! What good can you do him?" Florence nodded her head, almost
imperceptibly, but still there was a nod, signifying more than she could
possibly say. She thought that she could do him a world of good if she
were near him, and some good, too, though she were far away. If she were
with him she could hang on to his arm,--or perhaps at some future time
round his neck,--and tell him that she would be true to him though all
others might turn away. And she could be just as true where she was,
though she could not comfort him by telling him so with her own words.
Then it was that she resolved upon writing that letter. He should
already have what little comfort she might administer in his absence.
"Now, listen to me, Florence. He is a thorough reprobate."
"I will not hear him so called. He is no reprobate."
"He has behaved in such a way that all England is crying out about him.
He has done that which will never allow any gentleman to speak to him
"Then there will be more need that a lady should do so. But it is not
"You put your knowledge of character against that of Sir Magnus."
"Sir Magnus does not know the gentleman; I do. What's the good of
talking of it, aunt? Harry Annesley has my word, and nothing on earth
shall induce me to go back from it. Even were he what you say I would be
true to him."
"Certainly I would. I could not willingly begin to love a man whom I
knew to be base; but when I had loved him I would not turn because of
his baseness;--I couldn't do it. It would be a great--a terrible
misfortune; but it would have to be borne. But here--I know all the
story to which you allude."
"I know it too."
"I am quite sure that the baseness has not been on his part. In defence
of my name he has been silent. He might have spoken out, if he had known
all the truth then. I was as much his own then as I am now. One of these
days I suppose I shall be more so."
"You mean to marry him, then?"
"Most certainly I do, or I will never be married; and as he is poor now,
and I must have my own money when I am twenty-four, I suppose I shall
have to wait till then."
"Will your mother's word go for nothing with you?"
"Poor mamma! I do believe that mamma is very unhappy, because she makes
me unhappy. What may take place between me and mamma I am not bound, I
think, to tell you. We shall be away soon, and I shall be left to mamma
And mamma would be left alone to her daughter, Lady Mountjoy thought.
The visit must be prolonged so that at last Mr. Anderson might be
enabled to prevail.
The visit had been originally intended for a month, but was now
prolonged indefinitely. After that conversation between Lady Mountjoy
and her niece two or three things happened, all bearing upon our story.
Florence at once wrote her letter. If things were going badly in England
with Harry Annesley, Harry should at any rate have the comfort of
knowing what were her feelings,--if there might be comfort to him in
that. "Perhaps, after all, he won't mind what I may say," she thought to
herself; but only pretended to think it, and at once flatly contradicted
her own "perhaps." Then she told him most emphatically not to reply. It
was very important that she should write. He was to receive her letter,
and there must be an end of it. She was quite sure that he would
understand her. He would not subject her to the trouble of having to
tell her own people that she was maintaining a correspondence, for it
would amount to that. But still when the time came for the answer she
had counted it up to the hour. And when Sir Magnus sent for her and
handed to her the letter,--having discussed that question with her
mother,--she fully expected it, and felt properly grateful to her uncle.
She wanted a little comfort, too, and when she had read the letter she
knew that she had received it.
There had been a few words spoken between the two elder ladies after the
interview between Florence and Lady Mountjoy. "She is a most self-willed
young woman," said Lady Mountjoy.
"Of course she loves her lover," said Mrs. Mountjoy, desirous of making
some excuse for her own daughter. The girl was very troublesome, but not
the less her daughter. "I don't know any of them that don't who are
"If you regard it in that light, Sarah, she'll get the better of you. If
she marries him she will be lost; that is the way you have got to look
at it. It is her future happiness you must think of--and respectability.
She is a headstrong young woman, and has to be treated accordingly."
"What would you do?"
"I would be very severe."
"But what am I to do? I can't beat her; I can't lock her up in her
"Then you mean to give it up?"
"No, I don't. You shouldn't be so cross to me," said poor Mrs. Mountjoy.
When it had reached this the two ladies had become intimate. "I don't
mean to give it up at all; but what am I to do?"
"Remain here for the next month, and--and worry her; let Mr. Anderson
have his chance with her. When she finds that everything will smile
with her if she accepts him, and that her life will be made a burden to
her if she still sticks to her Harry Annesley, she'll come round, if she
be like other girls. Of course a girl can't be made to marry a man, but
there are ways and means." By this Lady Mountjoy meant that the utmost
cruelty should be used which would be compatible with a good breakfast,
dinner, and bedroom. Now, Mrs. Mountjoy knew herself to be incapable of
this, and knew also, or thought that she knew, that it would not be
"You stay here,--up to Christmas, if you like it," said Sir Magnus to his
sister-in-law. "She can't but see Anderson every day, and that goes a
long way. She, of course, puts on a resolute air as well as she can.
They all know how to do that. Do you be resolute in return. The deuce is
in it if we can't have our way with her among us. When you talk of ill
usage nobody wants you to put her in chains. There are different ways of
killing a cat. You get friends to write to you from England about young
Annesley, and I'll do the same. The truth, of course, I mean."
"Nothing can be worse than the truth," said Mrs. Mountjoy, shaking her
"Just so," said Sir Magnus, who was not at all sorrowful to hear so bad
an account of the favored suitor. "Then we'll read her the letters. She
can't help hearing them. Just the true facts, you know. That's fair;
nobody can call that cruel. And then, when she breaks down and comes to
our call, we'll all be as soft as mother's milk to her. I shall see her
going about the boulevards with a pair of ponies yet." Mrs. Mountjoy
felt that when Sir Magnus spoke of Florence coming to his call he did
not know her daughter. But she had nothing better to do than to obey Sir
Magnus. Therefore she resolved to stay at Brussels another period of six
weeks and told Florence that she had so resolved. Just at present
Brussels and Cheltenham would be all the same to Florence.
"It will be a dreadful bore having them so long," said poor Lady
Mountjoy, piteously, to her husband. For in the presence of Sir Magnus
she was by no means the valiant woman that she was with some of her
"You find everything a bore. What's the trouble?"
"What am I to do with them?"
"Take 'em about in the carriage. Lord bless my soul! what have you got a
"Then, with Miss Abbott, there's never room for any one else."
"Leave Miss Abbott at home, then. What's the good of talking to me about
Miss Abbott? I suppose it doesn't matter to you whom my brother's
daughter marries?" Lady Mountjoy did not think that it did matter much;
but she declared that she had already evinced the most tender
solicitude. "Then stick to it. The girl doesn't want to go out every
day. Leave her alone, where Anderson can get at her."
"He's always out riding with you."
"No, he's not; not always. And leave Miss Abbott at home. Then there'll
be room for two others. Don't make difficulties. Anderson will expect
that I shall do something for him, of course."
"Because of the money," said Lady Mountjoy, whispering.
"And I've got to do something for her too." Now, there was a spice of
honesty about Sir Magnus. He knew that as he could not at once pay back
these sums, he was bound to make it up in some other way. The debts
would be left the same. But that would remain with Providence.
Then came Harry's letter, and there was a deep consultation. It was
known to have come from Harry by the Buntingford post-mark. Mrs.
Mountjoy proposed to consult Lady Mountjoy; but to that Sir Magnus would
not agree. "She'd take her skin off her if she could, now that she's
angered," said the lady's husband, who no doubt knew the lady well. "Of
course she'll learn that the letter has been written, and then she'll
throw it in our teeth. She wouldn't believe that it had gone astray in
coming here. We should give her a sort of a whip-hand over us." So it
was decided that Florence should have her letter.
Thus it was arranged that Florence should be left in Mr. Anderson's way.
Mr. Anderson, as Sir Magnus had said, was not always out riding. There
were moments in which even he was off duty. And Sir Magnus contrived to
ride a little earlier than usual so that he should get back while the
carriage was still out on its rounds. Lady Mountjoy certainly did her
duty, taking Mrs. Mountjoy with her daily, and generally Miss Abbott, so
that Florence was, as it were, left to the mercies of Mr. Anderson. She
could, of course, shut herself up in her bedroom, but things had not as
yet become so bad as that. Mr. Anderson had not made himself terrible to
her. She did not, in truth, fear Mr. Anderson at all, who was courteous
in his manner and complimentary in his language, and she came at this
time to the conclusion that if Mr. Anderson continued his pursuit of her
she would tell him the exact truth of the case. As a gentleman, and as a
young man, she thought that he would sympathize with her. The one enemy
whom she did dread was Lady Mountjoy. She too had felt that her aunt
could "take her skin off her," as Sir Magnus had said. She had not heard
the words, but she knew that it was so, and her dislike to Lady Mountjoy
was in proportion. It cannot be said that she was afraid. She did not
intend to leave her skin in her aunt's hands. For every inch of skin
taken she resolved to have an inch in return. She was not acquainted
with the expressive mode of language which Sir Magnus had adopted, but
she was prepared for all such attacks. For Sir Magnus himself, since he
had given up the letter to her, she did feel some regard.
Behind the British minister's house, which, though entitled to no such
name, was generally called the Embassy, there was a large garden, which,
though not much used by Sir Magnus or Lady Mountjoy, was regarded as a
valuable adjunct to the establishment. Here Florence betook herself for
exercise, and here Mr. Anderson, having put off the muddy marks of his
riding, found her one afternoon. It must be understood that no young man
was ever more in earnest than Mr. Anderson. He, too, looking through the
glass which had been prepared for him by Sir Magnus, thought that he saw
in the not very far distant future a Mrs. Hugh Anderson driving a pair
of gray ponies along the boulevard and he was much pleased with the
sight. It reached to the top of his ambition. Florence was to his eyes
really the sort of a girl whom a man in his position ought to marry. A
secretary of legation in a small foreign capital cannot do with a dowdy
wife, as may a clerk, for instance, in the Foreign Office. A secretary
of legation,--the second secretary, he told himself,--was bound, if he
married at all, to have a pretty and _distinguee_ wife. He knew all
about the intricacies which had fallen in a peculiar way into his own
hand. Mr. Blow might have married a South Sea Islander, and would have
been none the worse as regarded his official duties. Mr. Blow did not
want the services of a wife in discovering and reporting all the secrets
of the Belgium iron trade. There was no intricacy in that, no nicety.
There was much of what, in his lighter moments, Mr. Anderson called
"sweat." He did not pretend to much capacity for such duties; but in his
own peculiar walk he thought that he was great. But it was very
fatiguing, and he was sure that a wife was necessary to him. There were
little niceties which none but a wife could perform. He had a great
esteem for Sir Magnus. Sir Magnus was well thought of by all the court,
and by the foreign minister at Brussels. But Lady Mountjoy was really of
no use. The beginning and the end of it all with her was to show herself
in a carriage. It was incumbent upon him, Anderson, to marry.
He was loving enough, and very susceptible. He was too susceptible, and
he knew his own fault, and he was always on guard against it,--as
behooved a young man with such duties as his. He was always falling in
love, and then using his diplomatic skill in avoiding the consequences.
He had found out that though one girl had looked so well under waxlight
she did not endure the wear and tear of the day. Another could not be
always graceful, or, though she could talk well enough during a waltz,
she had nothing to say for herself at three o'clock in the morning. And
he was driven to calculate that he would be wrong to marry a girl
without a shilling. "It is a kind of thing that a man cannot afford to
do unless he's sure of his position," he had said on such an occasion to
Montgomery Arbuthnot, alluding especially to his brother's state of
health. When Mr. Anderson spoke of not being sure of his position he was
always considered to allude to his brother's health. In this way he had
nearly got his little boat on to the rocks more than once, and had given
some trouble to Sir Magnus. But now he was quite sure. "It's all there
all round," he had said to Arbuthnot more than once. Arbuthnot said that
it was there--"all round, all round." Waxlight and daylight made no
difference to her. She was always graceful. "Nobody with an eye in his
head can doubt that," said Anderson. "I should think not, by Jove!"
replied Arbuthnot. "And for talking,--you never catch her out; never." "I
never did, certainly," said Arbuthnot, who, as third secretary, was
obedient and kind-hearted. "And then look at her money. Of course a
fellow wants something to help him on. My position is so uncertain that
I cannot do without it." "Of course not." "Now, with some girls it's so
deuced hard to find out. You hear that a girl has got money, but when
the time comes it depends on the life of a father who doesn't think of
dying;--damme, doesn't think of it."
"Those fellows never do," said Arbuthnot. "But here, you see, I know all
about it. When she's twenty-four,--only twenty-four,--she'll have ten
thousand pounds of her own. I hate a mercenary fellow." "Oh yes; that's
beastly." "Nobody can say that of me. Circumstanced as I am, I want
something to help to keep the pot boiling. She has got it,--quite as much
as I want,--quite, and I know all about it without the slightest doubt in
the world." For the small loan of fifteen hundred pounds Sir Magnus paid
the full value of the interest and deficient security. "Sir Magnus tells
me that if I'll only stick to her I shall be sure to win. There's some
fellow in England has just touched her heart,--just touched it, you
know." "I understand," said Arbuthnot, looking very wise. "He is not a
fellow of very much account," said Anderson; "one of those handsome
fellows without conduct and without courage." "I've known lots of 'em,"
said Arbuthnot. "His name is Annesley," said Anderson. "I never saw him
in my life, but that's what Sir Magnus says. He has done something
awfully disreputable. I don't quite understand what it is, but it's
something which ought to make him unfit to be her husband. Nobody knows
the world better than Sir Magnus, and he says that it is so." "Nobody
does know the world better than Sir Magnus," said Arbuthnot. And so that
conversation was brought to an end.
One day soon after this he caught her walking in the garden. Her mother
and Miss Abbot were still out with Lady Mountjoy in the carriage, and
Sir Magnus had retired after the fatigue of his ride to sleep for half
an hour before dinner. "All alone, Miss Mountjoy?" he said.
"Yes, alone, Mr. Anderson. I'm never in better company."
"So I think; but then if I were here you wouldn't be all alone, would
"Not if you were with me."
"That's what I mean. But yet two people may be alone, as regards the
world at large. Mayn't they?"
"I don't understand the nicety of language well enough to say. We used
to have a question among us when we were children whether a wild beast
could howl in an empty cavern. It's the same sort of thing."
"Why shouldn't he?"
"Because the cavern would not be empty if the wild beast were in it.
Did you ever see a girl bang an egg against a wall in a stocking, and
then look awfully surprised because she had smashed it?"
"I don't understand the joke."
"She had been told she couldn't break an egg in an empty stocking. Then
she was made to look in, and there was the broken egg for her pains. I
don't know what made me tell you that story."
"It's a very good story. I'll get Miss Abbott to do it to-night. She
"And everybody? Then she's a happy woman."
"I wish you'd believe everybody."
"So I do;--nearly everybody. There are some inveterate liars whom nobody
"I hope I am not regarded as one."
"You? certainly not. If anybody were to speak of you as such behind your
back no one would take your part more loyally than I. But nobody would."
"That's something, at any rate. Then you do believe that I love you?"
"I believe that you think so."
"And that I don't know my own heart?"
"That's very common, Mr. Anderson. I wasn't quite sure of my own heart
twelve months ago, but I know it now." He felt that his hopes ran very
low when this was said. She had never before spoken to him of his rival,
nor had he to her. He knew, or fancied that he knew, that "her heart had
been touched," as he had said to Arbuthnot. But the "touch" must have
been very deep if she felt herself constrained to speak to him on the
subject. It had been his desire to pass over Mr. Annesley, and never to
hear the name mentioned between them. "You were speaking of your own
"Well I was, no doubt. It is a silly thing to talk of, I dare say."
"I'm going to tell you of my heart, and I hope you won't think it silly.
I do so because I believe you to be a gentleman, and a man of honor." He
blushed at the words and the tone in which they were spoken, but his
heart fell still lower. "Mr. Anderson, I am engaged." Here she paused a
moment, but he had nothing to say. "I am engaged to marry a gentleman
whom I love with all my heart, and all my strength, and all my body. I
love him so that nothing can ever separate me from him, or, at least,
from the thoughts of him. As regards all the interests of life, I feel
as though I were already his wife. If I ever marry any man I swear to
you that it will be him." Then Mr. Anderson felt that all hope had
utterly departed from him. She had said that she believed him to be a
man of truth. He certainly believed her to be a true-speaking woman. He
asked himself, and he found it to be quite impossible to doubt her word
on this subject. "Now I will go on and tell you my troubles. My mother
disapproves of the man. Sir Magnus has taken upon himself to disapprove,
and Lady Mountjoy disapproves especially. I don't care two straws about
Sir Magnus and Lady Mountjoy. As to Lady Mountjoy, it is simply an
impertinence on her part, interfering with me." There was something in
her face as she said this which made Mr. Anderson feel that if he could
only succeed in having her and the pair of ponies he would be a prouder
man than the ambassador at Paris. But he knew that it was hopeless. "As
to my mother, that is indeed a sorrow. She has been to me the dearest
mother, putting her only hopes of happiness in me. No mother was ever
more devoted to a child, and of all children I should be the most
ungrateful were I to turn against her. But from my early years she has
wished me to marry a man whom I could not bring myself to love. You have
heard of Captain Scarborough?"
"The man who disappeared?"
"He was and is my first cousin."
"He is in some way connected with Sir Magnus."
"Through mamma. Mamma is aunt to Captain Scarborough, and she married
the brother of Sir Magnus. Well, he has disappeared and been
disinherited. I cannot explain all about it, for I don't understand it;
but he has come to great trouble. It was not on that account that I
would not marry him. It was partly because I did not like him, and
partly because of Harry Annesley. I will tell you everything because I
want you to know my story. But my mother has disliked Mr. Annesley,
because she has thought that he has interfered with my cousin."
"I understand all that."
"And she has been taught to think that Mr. Annesley has behaved very
badly. I cannot quite explain it, because there is a brother of Captain
Scarborough who has interfered. I never loved Captain Scarborough, but
that man I hate. He has spread those stories. Captain Scarborough has
disappeared, but before he went he thought it well to revenge himself on
Mr. Annesley. He attacked him in the street late at night, and
endeavored to beat him."
"Why indeed. That such a trumpery cause as a girl's love should operate
with such a man!"
"I can understand it; oh yes,--I can understand it."
"I believe he was tipsy, and he had been gambling, and had lost all his
money--more than all his money. He was a ruined man, and reckless and
wretched. I can forgive him, and so does Harry. But in the struggle
Harry got the best of it, and left him there in the street. No weapons
had been used, except that Captain Scarborough had a stick. There was no
reason to suppose him hurt, nor was he much hurt. He had behaved very
badly, and Harry left him. Had he gone for a policeman he could only
have given him in charge. The man was not hurt, and seems to have walked
"The papers were full of it."
"Yes, the papers were full of it, because he was missing. I don't know
yet what became of him, but I have my suspicions."
"They say that he has been seen at Monaco."
"Very likely. But I have nothing to do with that. Though he was my
cousin, I am touched nearer in another place. Young Mr. Scarborough,
who, I suspect, knows all about his brother, took upon himself to
cross-question Mr. Annesley. Mr. Annesley did not care to tell anything
of that struggle in the streets, and denied that he had seen him. In
truth, he did not want to have my name mentioned. My belief is that
Augustus Scarborough knew exactly what had taken place when he asked the
question. It was he who really was false. But he is now the heir to
Tretton and a great man in his way, and in order to injure Harry
Annesley he has spread abroad the story which they all tell here."
"He does;--that is all I know. But I will not be a hypocrite. He chose to
wish that I should not marry Harry Annesley. I cannot tell you farther
than that. But he has persuaded mamma, and has told every one. He shall
never persuade me."
"Everybody seems to believe him," said Mr. Anderson, not as intending to
say that he believed him now, but that he had done so.
"Of course they do. He has simply ruined Harry. He too has been
disinherited now. I don't know how they do these things, but it has been
done. His uncle has been turned against him, and his whole income has
been taken from him. But they will never persuade me. Nor, if they did,
would I be untrue to him. It is a grand thing for a girl to have a
perfect faith in the man she has to marry, as I have--as I have. I know
my man, and will as soon disbelieve in Heaven as in him. But were he
what they say he is, he would still have to become my husband. I should
be broken-hearted, but I should still be true. Thank God, though,--thank
God,--he has done nothing and will do nothing to make me ashamed of him.
Now you know my story."
"Yes; now I know it." The tears came very near the poor man's eyes as he
"And what will you do for me?"
"What shall I do?"
"Yes; what will you do? I have told you all my story, believing you to
be a fine-tempered gentleman. You have entertained a fancy which has
been encouraged by Sir Magnus. Will you promise me not to speak to me of
it again? Will you relieve me of so much of my trouble? Will you;--will
you?" Then, when he turned away, she followed him, and put both her
hands upon his arm. "Will you do that little thing for me?"
"A little thing!"
"Is it not a little thing,--when I am so bound to that other man that
nothing can move me? Whether it be little or whether it be much, will
you not do it?" She still held him by the arm, but his face was turned
from her so that she could not see it. The tears, absolute tears, were
running down his cheeks. What did it behoove him as a man to do? Was he
to believe her vows now and grant her request, and was she then to give
herself to some third person and forget Harry Annesley altogether? How
would it be with him then? A faint heart never won a fair lady. All is
fair in love and war. You cannot catch cherries by holding your mouth
open. A great amount of wisdom such as this came to him at the spur of
the moment. But there was her hand upon his arm, and he could not elude
her request. "Will you not do it for me?" she asked again.
"I will," he said, still keeping his face turned away.
"I knew it;--I knew you would. You are high-minded and honest, and cannot
be cruel to a poor girl. And if in time to come, when I am Harry
Annesley's wife, we shall chance to meet each other,--as we will,--he
shall thank you."
"I shall not want that. What will his thanks do for me? You do not think
that I shall be silent to oblige him?" Then he walked forth from out of
the garden, and she had never seen his tears. But she knew well that he
was weeping, and she sympathized with him.
MR. ANDERSON IS ILL.
When they went down to dinner that day it became known that Mr. Anderson
did not intend to dine with them. "He's got a headache," said Sir
Magnus. "He says he's got a headache. I never knew such a thing in my
life before." It was quite clear that Sir Magnus did not think that his
lieutenant ought to have such a headache as would prevent his coming to
dinner, and that he did not quite believe in the headache. There was a
dinner ready, a very good dinner, which it was his business to provide.
He always did provide it, and took a great deal of trouble to see that
it was good. "There isn't a table so well kept in all Brussels," he used
to boast. But when he had done his share he expected that Anderson and
Arbuthnot should do theirs, especially Anderson. There had been
sometimes a few words,--not quite a quarrel but nearly so,--on the subject
of dining out. Sir Magnus only dined out with royalty, cabinet
ministers, and other diplomats. Even then he rarely got a good
dinner--what he called a good dinner. He often took Anderson with him.
He was the _doyen_ among the diplomats in Brussels, and a little
indulgence was shown to him. Therefore he thought that Anderson should
be as true to him as was he to Anderson. It was not for Anderson's sake,
indeed, who felt the bondage to be irksome;--and Sir Magnus knew that his
subordinate sometimes groaned in spirit. But a good dinner is a good
dinner,--especially the best dinner in Brussels,--and Sir Magnus felt that
something ought to be given in return. He had not that perfect faith in
mankind which is the surest evidence of a simple mind. Ideas crowded
upon him. Had Anderson a snug little dinner-party, just two or three
friends, in his own room? Sir Magnus would not have been very angry,--he
was rarely very angry,--but he should like to show his cleverness by
finding it out. Anderson had been quite well when he was out riding, and
he did not remember him ever before to have had a headache. "Is he very
"I haven't seen him, sir, since he was riding."
"Who has seen him?"
"He was in the garden with me," said Florence, boldly.
"I suppose that did not give him a headache."
"Not that I perceived."
"It is very singular that he should have a headache just when dinner is
ready," continued Sir Magnus.
"You had better leave the young man alone," said Lady Mountjoy.
And one who knew the ways of living at the British Embassy would be sure
that after this Sir Magnus would not leave the young man alone. His
nature was not simple. It seemed to him again that there might be a
little dinner-party, and that Lady Mountjoy knew all about it.
"Richard," he said to the butler, "go into Mr. Anderson's room and see
if he is very bad." Richard came back, and whispered to the great man
that Anderson was not in his room. "This is very remarkable. A bad
headache, and not in his room! Where is he? I insist on knowing where
Mr. Anderson is!"
"You had better leave him alone," said Lady Mountjoy.
"Leave a man alone because he's ill! He might die."
"Shall I go and see?" said Arbuthnot.
"I wish you would, and bring him in here, if he's well enough to show. I
don't approve of a young man going without his dinner. There's nothing
"He'll be sure to get something, Sir Magnus," said Lady Mountjoy. But
Sir Magnus insisted that Mr. Arbuthnot should go and look after his
It was now November, and at eight o'clock was quite dark, but the
weather was fine, and something of the mildness of autumn remained.
Arbuthnot was not long in discovering that Mr. Anderson was again
walking in the garden. He had left Florence there and had gone to the
house, but had found himself to be utterly desolate and miserable. She
had exacted from him a promise which was not compatible with any kind of
happiness to which he could now look forward. In the first place, all
Brussels knew that he had been in love with Florence Mountjoy. He
thought that all Brussels knew it. And they knew that he had been in
earnest in this love. He did believe that all Brussels had given him
credit for so much. And now they would know that he had suddenly ceased
to make love. It might be that this should be attributed to gallantry on
his part,--that it should be considered that the lady had been deserted.
But he was conscious that he was not so good a hypocrite as not to show
that he was broken-hearted. He was quite sure that it would be seen that
he had got the worst of it. But when he asked himself questions as to
his own condition he told himself that there was suffering in store for
him more heavy to bear than these. There could be no ponies, with
Florence driving them, and a boy in his own livery behind, seen upon the
boulevards. That vision was gone, and forever. And then came upon him an
idea that the absence of the girl from other portions of his life might
touch him more nearly. He did feel something like actual love. And the
more she had told him of her devotion to Harry Annesley, the more
strongly he had felt the value of that devotion. Why should this man
have it and not he? He had not been disinherited. He had not been
knocked about in a street quarrel. He had not been driven to tell a lie
as to his having not seen a man when he had, in truth, knocked him down.
He had quite agreed with Florence that Harry was justified in the lie;
but there was nothing in it to make the girl love him the better for it.
And then, looking forward, he could perceive the possibility of an event
which, if it should occur, would cover him with confusion and disgrace.
If, after all, Florence were to take, not Harry Annesley, but somebody
else? How foolish, how credulous, how vain would he have been then to
have made the promise! Girls did such things every day. He had promised,
and he thought that he must keep his promise; but she would be bound by
no promise! As he thought of it, he reflected that he might even yet
exact such a promise from her.
But when the dinner-time came he really was sick with love,--or sick with
disappointment. He felt that he could not eat his dinner under the
battery of raillery which was always coming from Sir Magnus, and
therefore he had told the servants that as the evening progressed he
would have something to eat in his own room. And then he went out to
wander in the dusk beneath the trees in the garden. Here he was
encountered by Mr. Arbuthnot, with his dress boots and white cravat.
"What the mischief are you doing here, old fellow?"
"I'm not very well. I have an awfully bilious headache."
"Sir Magnus is kicking up a deuce of a row because you're not there."
"Sir Magnus be blowed! How am I to be there if I've got a bilious
headache? I'm not dressed. I could not have dressed myself for a
"Couldn't you, now? Shall I go back and tell him that? But you must have
something to eat. I don't know what's up, but Sir Magnus is in a
"He's always in a taking. I sometimes think he's the biggest fool out."
"And there's the place kept vacant next to Miss Mountjoy. Grascour
wanted to sit there, but her ladyship wouldn't let him. And I sat next
Miss Abbott because I didn't want to be in your way."
"Tell Grascour to go and sit there, or you may do so. It's all nothing
to me." This he said in the bitterness of his heart, by no means
intending to tell his secret, but unable to keep it within his own
"What's the matter, Anderson?" asked the other piteously.
"I am clean broken-hearted. I don't mind telling you. I know you're a
good fellow, and I'll tell you everything. It's all over."
"All over--with Miss Mountjoy?" Then Anderson began to tell the whole
story; but before he had got half through, or a quarter through, another
message came from Sir Magnus. "Sir Magnus is becoming very angry
indeed," whispered the butler. "He says that Mr. Arbuthnot is to go
"I'd better go, or I shall catch it."
"What's up with him, Richard?" asked Anderson.
"Well, if you ask me, Mr. Anderson, I think he's--a-suspecting of
"What does he suspect?"
"I think he's a-thinking that perhaps you are having a jolly time of
it." Richard had known his master many years, and could almost read his
inmost thoughts. "I don't say as it so, but that's what I am thinking."
"You tell him I ain't. You tell him I've a bad bilious headache, and
that the air in the garden does it good. You tell him that I mean to
have something to eat up-stairs when my head is better; and do you mind
and let me have it, and a bottle of claret."
With this the butler went back, and so did Arbuthnot, after asking one
other question: "I'm so sorry it isn't all serene with Miss Mountjoy?"
"It isn't then. Don't mind now, but it isn't serene. Don't say a word
about her; but she has done me. I think I shall get leave of absence and
go away for two months. You'll have to do all the riding, old fellow. I
shall go,--but I don't know where I shall go. You return to them now, and
tell them I've such a bilious headache I don't know which way to turn
Arbuthnot went back, and found Sir Magnus quarrelling grievously with
the butler. "I don't think he's doing anything as he shouldn't," the
butler whispered, having seen into his master's mind.
"What do you mean by that?"
"Do let the matter drop," said Lady Mountjoy, who had also seen into her
husband's mind, and saw, moreover, that the butler had done so. "A young
man's dinner isn't worth all this bother."
"I won't let the matter drop. What does he mean when he says that he
isn't doing anything that he shouldn't? I've never said anything about
what he was doing."
"He isn't dressed, Sir Magnus. He finds himself a little better now, and
means to have something up-stairs." Then there came an awful silence,
during which the dinner was eaten. Sir Magnus knew nothing of the truth,
simply suspecting the headache to be a myth. Lady Mountjoy, with a
woman's quickness, thought that there had been some words between
Florence and her late lover, and, as she disliked Florence, was inclined
to throw all the blame upon her. A word had been said to Mrs.
Mountjoy,--"I don't think he'll trouble me any more, mamma,"--which Mrs.
Mountjoy did not quite understand, but which she connected with the
young man's absence. But Florence understood it all, and liked Mr.
Anderson the better. Could it really be that for love of her he would
lose his dinner? Could it be that he was so grievously afflicted at the
loss of a girl's heart? There he was, walking out in the dark and the
cold, half-famished, all because she loved Harry Annesley so well that
there could be no chance for him! Girls believe so little in the truth
of the love of men that any sign of its reality touches them to the
core. Poor Hugh Anderson! A tear came into her eye as she thought that
he was wandering there in the dark, and all for the love of her. The
rest of the dinner passed away in silence, and Sir Magnus hardly became
cordial and communicative with M. Grascour, even under the influence of
On the next morning just before lunch Florence was waylaid by Mr.
Anderson as she was passing along one of the passages in the back part
of the house. "Miss Mountjoy," he said, "I want to ask from your great
goodness the indulgence of a few words."
"Could you come into the garden?"
"If you will give me time to go and change my boots and get a shawl. We
ladies are not ready to go out always, as are you gentlemen."
"Anywhere will do. Come in here," and he led the way into a small parlor
which was not often used.
"I was so sorry to hear last night that you were unwell, Mr. Anderson."
"I was not very well, certainly, after what I had heard before dinner."
He did not tell her that he so far recovered as to be able to drink a
bottle of claret and to smoke a couple of cigars in his bedroom. "Of
course you remember what took place yesterday."
"Remember! Oh yes. I shall not readily forget it."
"I made you a promise--"
"You did--very kindly."
"And I mean to keep it."
"I'm sure you do, because you're a gentleman."
"I don't think I ought to have made it."
"Oh, Mr. Anderson!"
"I don't think I ought. See what I am giving up."
"Nothing, except the privilege of troubling me."
"But if it should be something else? Do not be angry with me, but,
loving you as I do, of course my mind is full of it. I have promised,
and must be dumb."
"And I shall be spared great vexation."
"But suppose I were to hear that in six months' time you had married
some one else?"
"Mr. Annesley, you mean. Not in six months."
"Somebody else. Not Mr. Annesley."
"There is nobody else."
"But there might be."
"It is impossible. After all that I told you, do not you understand?"
"But if there were?" The poor man, as he made the suggestion, looked
very piteous. "If there were, I think you should promise me I shall be
that somebody else. That would be no more than fair."
She paused a moment to think, frowning the while. "Certainly not."
"I can make no such promise, nor should you ask it. I am to promise that
under certain circumstances I would become your wife, when I know that
under no circumstances I would do so."
"Under no circumstances?"
"Under none. What would you have me say, Mr. Anderson? Supposing
yourself engaged to marry a girl--"
"I wish I were--to you."
"To a girl who loved you, and whom you loved?"
"There's no doubt about my loving her."
"You can follow my meaning, and I wish that you would do so. What would
you think if you were to hear that she had promised to marry some one
else in the event of your deserting her? It is out of the question. I
mean to be the wife of Harry Annesley. Say that it is not to be so, and
you will simply destroy me. Of one thing I may be sure,--that I will
marry him or nobody. You promised me, not because your promise was
necessary for that, but to spare me from trouble till that time shall
come. And I am grateful,--very grateful." Then she left him suffering
from another headache.
"Was there anything said between you and Mr. Anderson yesterday?" her
aunt inquired, that afternoon.
"Why do you ask?"
"Because it is necessary that I should know."
"I do not see the necessity. Mr. Anderson has, at any rate, your
permission to say what he likes to me, but I am not on that account
bound to tell you all that he does say. But I will tell you. He has
promised to trouble me no farther. I told him that I was engaged to Mr.
Annesley, and he, like a gentleman, has assured me that he will desist."
"Just because you asked him?"
"Yes, aunt; just because I asked him."
"He will not be bound by such a promise for a moment. It is a thing not
to be heard of. If that kind of thing is to go on, any young lady will
be entitled to ask any young gentleman not to say a word of marriage,
just at her request."
"Some of the young ladies would not care for that, perhaps."
"Don't be impertinent."
"I should not, for one, aunt; only that I am already engaged."
"And of course the young ladies would be bound to make such requests,
which would go for nothing at all. I never heard of anything so
monstrous. You are not only to have the liberty of refusing, but are to
be allowed to bind a gentleman not to ask!"
"He has promised."
"Pshaw! It means nothing."
"It is between him and me. I asked him because I wished to save myself
from being troubled."
"As for that other man, my dear, it is quite out of the question. From
all that I hear, it is on the cards that he may be arrested and put into
prison. I am quite sure that at any rate he deserves it. The letters
which Sir Magnus gets about him are fearful. The things that he has
done,--well, penal servitude for life would be the proper punishment. And
it will come upon him sooner or later. I never knew a man of that kind
escape. And you now to come and tell us that you intend to be his wife!"
"I do," said Florence, bobbing her head.
"And what your uncle says to you has no effect?"
"Not the least in the world; nor what my aunt says. I believe that
neither the one nor the other know what they are talking about. You have
been defaming a gentleman of the highest character, a Fellow of a
college, a fine-hearted, noble, high-spirited man, simply
because--because--because--" Then she burst into tears and rushed out of
the room; but she did not break down before she had looked at her aunt,
and spoken to her aunt with a fierce indignation which had altogether
served to silence Lady Mountjoy for the moment.
"Good-bye, sir. You ought not to be angry with me. I am sure it will be
better for us both to remain as we are." This was said by Miss Dorothy
Grey, as a gentleman departed from her and made his way out of the
front-door at the Fulham Manor-house. Miss Grey had received an offer of
marriage, and had declined it. The offer had been made by a worthy man,
he being no other than her father's partner, Mr. Barry.
It may be remembered that, on discussing the affairs of the firm with
her father, Dolly Grey had been accustomed to call this partner "the
Devil." It was not that she had thought this partner to be specially
devilish, nor was he so. It had ever been Miss Grey's object to have the
affairs of the firm managed with an integrity which among lawyers might
be called Quixotic. Her father she had dubbed "Reason," and herself
"Conscience;" but in calling Mr. Barry "the Devil" she had not intended
to signify any defalcation from honesty more than ordinary in lawyers'
offices. She did, in fact, like Mr. Barry. He would occasionally come
out and dine with her father. He was courteous and respectful, and
performed his duties with diligence. He spent nobody's money but his
own, and not all of that; nor did he look upon the world as a place to
which men were sent that they might play. He was nearly forty years old,
was clean, a little bald, and healthy in all his ways. There was nothing
of a devil about him, except that his conscience was not peculiarly
attentive to abstract honesty and abstract virtue. There must, according
to him, be always a little "give and take" in the world; but in the
pursuit of his profession he gave a great deal more than he took. He
thought himself to be an honest practitioner, and yet in all domestic
professional conferences with her father Mr. Barry had always been Miss
The possibility of such a request as had been now made had been already
discussed between Dolly and her father. Dolly had said that the idea was
absurd. Mr. Grey had not seen the absurdity. There had been nothing more
common, he had said, than that a young partner should marry an old
partner's daughter. "It's not put into the partnership deed?" Dolly had
rejoined. But Dolly had never believed that the time would come. Now it
Mr. Barry had as yet possessed no more than a fourth of the business. He
had come in without any capital, and had been contented with a fourth.
He now suggested to Dolly that on their marriage the business should be
equally divided. And he had named the house in which they would live.
There was a pleasant, genteel residence on the other side of the water,
at Putney. Miss Grey had suggested that the business might be divided in
a manner that would be less burdensome to Mr. Barry. As for the house,
she could not leave her father. Upon the whole, she had thought that it
would be better for both of them that they should remain as they were.
By that Miss Grey had not intended to signify that Mr. Barry was to
remain single, but that he would have to do so in reference to Miss
When he was gone Dolly Grey spent the remainder of the afternoon in
contemplating what would have been her condition had she agreed to join
her lot to that of Mr. Barry, and she came to the conclusion that it
would have been simply unendurable. There was nothing of romance in her
nature; but as she looked at matrimony, with all its blisses,--and Mr.
Barry among them,--she told herself that death would be preferable. "I
know myself," she said. "I should come to hate him with a miserable
hatred. And then I should hate myself for having done him so great an
evil." And as she continued thinking she assured herself that there was
but one man with whom she could live, and that that was her father. And
then other questions presented themselves to her, which were not so
easily answered. What would become of her when he should go? He was now
sixty-six, and she was only thirty-two. He was healthy for his age, but
would complain of his work. She knew that he must in course of nature go
much the first. Ten years he might live, while she might probably be
called upon to endure for thirty more. "I shall have to do it all
alone," she said; "all alone; without a companion, without one soul to
whom I can open my own. But if I were to marry Mr. Barry," she
continued, "I should at once be encumbered with a soul to whom I could
not open my own. I suppose I shall be enabled to live through it, as do
others." Then she began to prepare for her father's coming. As long as
he did remain with her she would make the most of him.
"Papa," she said, as she took him by the hand as he entered the house
and led him into the dining-room,--"who do you think has been here?"
"Then he has told you?"
"Not a word,--not even that he was coming. But I saw him as he left the
chambers, and he had on a bright hat and a new coat."
"And he thought that those could move me."
"I have not known that he has wanted to move you. You asked me to guess,
and I have guessed right, it seems."
"Yes; you have guessed right."
"And why did he come?"
"Only to ask me to be his wife."
"And what did you say to him, Dolly?"
"What did I say to the Devil?" She still held him by the hand, and now
she laughed lightly as she looked into his face. "Cannot you guess what
I said to him?"
"I am sorry for it;--that's all."
"Sorry for it? Oh, papa, do not say that you are sorry. Do you want to
"I do not want to think that for my own selfish purposes I have retained
you. So he has asked you?"
"Yes; he has asked me."
"And you have answered him positively?"
"And for my sake?"
"No, papa; I have not said that. I was joking when I asked whether you
wished to lose me. Of course you do not want to lose me." Then she wound
her arm round him, and put up her face to be kissed. "But now come and
dress yourself, as you call it. The dinner is late. We will talk about
it again after dinner."
But immediately after dinner the conversation went away to Mr.
Scarborough and the Scarborough matters. "I am to see Augustus, and he
is to tell me something about Mountjoy and his affairs. They say that
Mountjoy is now in Paris. The money can be given to them now, if he will
consent and will sign the deed releasing the property. But the men have
not all as yet agreed to accept the simple sums which they advanced.
That fellow Hart stands out, and says that he would sooner lose it all."
"Then he will lose it all," said Dolly.
"But the squire will consent to pay nothing unless they all agree.
Augustus is talking about his excessive generosity."
"It is generous on his part," said Dolly.
"He sees his own advantage, though I cannot quite understand where. He
tells Tyrrwhit that as there is so great an increase to the property he
is willing, for the sake of the good name of the family, to pay all that
has been in truth advanced; but he is most anxious to do it now, while
his father is alive. I think he fears that there will be lawsuits, and
that they may succeed. I doubt whether he thanks his father."
"But why should his father lie for his sake, since they are on such bad
"Because his father was on worse terms with Mountjoy when he told the
lie. That is what I think Augustus thinks. But his father told no lie at
that time, and cannot now go back to falsehood. My belief is that if he
were confident that such is the fact he would not surrender a shilling
to pay these men their moneys. He may stop a lawsuit, which is like
enough, though they could only lose it. And if Mountjoy should turn out
to be the heir, which is impossible, he will be able to turn round and
say that by his efforts he had saved so much of the property."
"My head becomes so bewildered," said Dolly, "that I can hardly
understand it yet."
"I think I understand it; but I can only guess at his mind. But he has
got Tyrrwhit to accept forty thousand pounds, which is the sum he, in
truth, advanced. The stake is too great for the man to lose it without
ruin. He can get it back now, and save himself. But Hart is the more
determined blackguard. He, with two others, has a claim for thirty-five
thousand pounds, for which he has given but ten thousand pounds in hard
cash, and he thinks that he may get some profit out of Tyrrwhit's money,
and holds out."
"For how much?"
"For the entire debt, he tells me; but I know that he is trying to deal
with Tyrrwhit. Tyrrwhit would pay him five thousand, I think, so as to
secure the immediate payment of his own money. Then there are a host of
others who are contented to take what they have advanced, but not
contented if Hart is to have more. There are other men in the background
who advanced the money. All the rascaldom of London is let loose upon
me. But Hart is the one man who holds his head the highest."
"But if they will accept no terms they will get nothing," said Dolly.
"If once they attempt to go to law all will be lost."
"There are wheels within wheels. When the old man dies Mountjoy himself
will probably put in a claim to the entire estate, and will get some
lawyer to take up the case for him."
"You would not?"
"Certainly not, because I know that Augustus is the eldest legitimate
son. As far as I can make it out, Augustus is at present allowing
Mountjoy the money on which he lives. His father does not. But the old
man must know that Augustus does, though he pretends to be ignorant."
"But why is Hart to get money out of Tyrrwhit?"
"To secure the payment of the remainder. Mr. Tyrrwhit would be very glad
to get his forty thousand pounds back; would pay five thousand pounds to
get the forty back. But nothing will be paid unless they all agree to
join in freeing the property. Therefore Hart, who is the sharpest rascal
of the lot, stands out for some share of his contemplated plunder."
"And you must be joined in such an arrangement?"
"Not at all. I cannot help surmising what is to be done. In dealing with
the funds of the property I go to the men, and say to them so much, and
so much, and so much you have actually lost. Agree among yourselves to
accept that, and it shall be paid to you. That is honest?"
"I do not know."
"But I do. Every shilling that the son of my client has had from them my
client is ready to pay. There is some hitch among them, and I make my
surmises. But I have no dealings with them. It is for them to come to me
now." Dolly only shook her head. "You cannot touch pitch and not be
defiled." That was what Dolly said, but said it to herself. And then she
went on and declared to herself still farther, that Mr. Barry was pitch.
She knew that Mr. Barry had seen Hart, and had seen Tyrrwhit, and had
been bargaining with them. She excused her father because he was her
father; but according to her thinking there should have been no
dealings with such men as these, except at the end of a pair of tongs.
"And now, Dolly," said her father, after a long pause, "tell me about
"There is nothing more to be told."
"Not of what you said to him, but of the reasons which have made you so
determined. Would it not be better for you to be married?"
"If I could choose my husband."
"Whom would you choose?"
"That is nonsense. I am your father."
"You know what I mean. There is no one else among my circle of
acquaintances with whom I should care to live. There is no one else with
whom I should care to do more than die. When I look at it all round it
seems to be absolutely impossible. That I should on a sudden entertain
habits of the closest intimacy with such a one as Mr. Barry! What should
I say to him when he went forth in the morning? How should I welcome him
when he came back at night? What would be our breakfast, and what would
be our dinner? Think what are yours and mine,--all the little
solicitudes, all the free abuse, all the certainty of an affection which
has grown through so many years; all the absolute assurance on the part
of each that the one does really know the inner soul of the other."
"It would come."
"With Mr. Barry? That is your idea of my soul with which you have been
in communion for so many years? In the first place, you think that I am
a person likely to be able to transfer myself suddenly to the first man
that comes my way?"
"Gradually you might do so,--at any rate so as to make life possible. You
will be all alone. Think what it will be to have to live all alone."
"I have thought. I do know that it would be well that you should be able
to take me with you."
"But I cannot."
"No. There is the hardship. You must leave me, and I must be alone. That
is what we have to expect. But for her sake, and for mine, we may be
left while we can be left. What would you be without me? Think of that."
"I should bear it."
"You couldn't. You'd break your heart and die. And if you can imagine my
living there, and pouring out Mr. Barry's tea for him, you must imagine
also what I should have to say to myself about you. 'He will die, of
course. But then he has come to that sort of age at which it doesn't
much signify.' Then I should go on with Mr. Barry's tea. He'd come to
kiss me when he went away, and I--should plunge a knife into him."
"Or into myself, which would be more likely. Fancy that man calling me
Dolly." Then she got up and stood behind his chair and put her arm round
his neck. "Would you like to kiss him?--or any man, for the matter of
that? There is no one else to whom my fancy strays, but I think that I
should murder them all,--or commit suicide. In the first place, I should
want my husband to be a gentleman. There are not a great many gentlemen
"You are fastidious."
"Come now;--be honest; is our Mr. Barry a gentleman?" Then there was a
pause, during which she waited for a reply. "I will have an answer. I
have a right to demand an answer to that question, since you have
proposed the man to me as a husband."
"Nay, I have not proposed him."
"You have expressed a regret that I have not accepted him. Is he a
"Well;--yes; I think he is."
"Mind; we are sworn, and you are bound to speak the truth. What right
has he to be a gentleman? Who was his father and who was his mother? Of
what kind were his nursery belongings? He has become an attorney, and so
have you. But has there been any one to whisper to him among his
teachings that in that profession, as in all others, there should be a
sense of high honor to guide him? He must not cheat, or do anything to
cause him to be struck off the rolls; but is it not with him what his
client wants, and not what honor demands? And in the daily intercourse
of life would he satisfy what you call my fastidiousness?"
"Nothing on earth will ever do that."
"You do. I agree with you that nothing else on earth ever will. The man
who might, won't come. Not that I can imagine such a man, because I know
that I am spoiled. Of course there are gentlemen, though not a great
many. But he mustn't be ugly and he mustn't be good-looking. He mustn't
seem to be old, and certainly he mustn't seem to be young. I should not
like a man to wear old clothes, but he mustn't wear new. He must be well
read, but never show it. He must work hard, but he must come home to
dinner at the proper time." Here she laughed, and gently shook her head.
"He must never talk about his business at night. Though, dear, darling
old father, he shall do that if he will talk like you. And then, which
is the hardest thing of all, I must have known him intimately for at any
rate, ten years. As for Mr. Barry, I never should know him intimately,
though I were married to him for ten years."
"And it has all been my doing?"
"Just so. You have made the bed and you must lie on it. It hasn't been a
"Not for me. Heaven knows it has not been bad for me."
"Nor for me, as things go; only that there will come an arousing before
we shall be ready to get up together. Your time will probably be the
first. I can better afford to lose you than you to lose me."
"God send that it shall be so!"
"It is nature," she said. "It is to be expected, and will on that
account be the less grievous because it has been expected. I shall have
to devote myself to those Carroll children. I sometimes think that the
work of the world should not be made pleasant to us. What profit will it
be to me to have done my duty by you? I think there will be some profit
if I am good to my cousins."
"At any rate, you won't have Mr. Barry?" said the father.
"Not if I know it," said the daughter; "and you, I think, are a wicked
old man to suggest it." Then she bade him good-night and went to bed,
for they had been talking now till near twelve.
But Mr. Barry, when he had gone home, told himself that he had
progressed in his love-suit quite as far as he had expected on the first
opportunity. He went over the bridge and looked at the genteel house,
and resolved as to certain little changes which should be made. Thus one
room should look here, and the nursery should look there. The walk to
the railway would only take five minutes, and there would be five
minutes again from the Temple Station in London. He thought it would do
very well for domestic felicity. And as for a fortune, half the business
would not be bad. And then the whole business would follow, and he in
his turn would be enabled to let some young fellow in who should do the
greater part of the work and take the smaller part of the pay, as had
been the case with himself.
But it had not occurred to him that the young lady had meant what she
said when she refused him. It was the ordinary way with young ladies. Of
course he had expected no enthusiasm of love;--nor had he wanted it. He
would wait for three weeks and then he would go to Fulham again.
Though there was an air of badinage, almost of tomfoolery, about Dolly
when she spoke of her matrimonial prospects to her father,--as when she
said that she would "stick a knife" into Mr. Barry,--still there was a
seriousness in all she said which was more than grave. She was pathetic
and melancholy. She knew that there was nothing before her but to stay
with her father, and then to devote herself to her cousins, from whom
she was aware that she recoiled almost with hatred. And she knew that it
would be a good thing to be married,--if only the right man would come.
The right man would have to bear with her father, and live in the same
house with him to the end. The right man must be a _preux chevalier sans
peur et sans reproche_. The right man must be strong-minded and
masterful, and must have a will of his own; but he must be strong-minded
always for good. And where was she to find such a man as this? she who
was only an attorney's daughter,--plain, too, and with many
eccentricities. She was not intended to marry, and consequently the only
man who came in her way was her father's partner, for whom, in regard to
a share in the business, she might be desirable.
Devotion to the Carroll cousins was manifestly her duty. The two eldest
girls she absolutely did hate, and their father. To hate the father,
because he was vicious beyond cure, might be very well; but she could
not hate the girls without being aware that she was guilty of a grievous
sin. Every taste possessed by them was antagonistic to her. Their
amusements, their literature, their clothes, their manners,--especially
in regard to men,--their gestures and color, were distasteful to her.
"They hide their dirt with a thin veneer of cheap finery," said Dolly to
her father. He had replied by telling her that she was nasty. "No; but,
unfortunately, I cannot but see nastiness." Dolly herself was clean to
fastidiousness. Take off her coarse frock, and there the well-dressed
lady began. "Look at the heels of Sophie's boots! Give her a push, and
she'd fall off her pins as though they were stilts. They're always
asking to have a shoemaker's bill paid, and yet they won't wear stout
boots." "I'll pay the man," she said to Amelia one day, "if you'll
promise to wear what I'll buy you for the next six months." But Amelia
had only turned up her nose. These were the relatives to whom it would
become her duty to devote her life!
The next morning she started off to call in Bolsover Terrace with an
intention, not to begin her duty, but to make a struggle at the adequate
performance of it. She took with her some article of clothing intended
for one of the younger children, but which the child herself was to
complete. But when she entered the parlor she was astounded at finding
that Mr. Carroll was there. It was nearly twelve o'clock, and at that
time Mr. Carroll never was there. He was either in bed, or at
Tattersall's, or--Dolly did not care where. She had long since made up
her mind that there must be a permanent quarrel between herself and her
uncle, and her desire was generally respected. Now, unfortunately, he
was present, and with him were his wife and two elder daughters. To be
devoted, thought Dolly to herself, to such a family as this,--and without
anybody else in the world to care for! She gave her aunt a kiss, and
touched the girls' hands, and made a very distant bow to Mr. Carroll.
Then she began about the parcel in her hands, and, having given her
instructions, was preparing to depart.
But her aunt stopped her. "I think you ought to know, Dorothea."
"Certainly," said Mr. Carroll. "It is quite right that your cousin
"If you think it proper, I'm sure I can't object," said Amelia.
"She won't approve, I'm sure," said Sophie.
"Her young man has come forward and spoken," said Mr. Carroll.
"And quite in a proper spirit," said Amelia.
"Of course," said Mrs. Carroll, "we are not to expect too much. Though
we are respectable in birth, and all that, we are poor. Mr. Carroll has
got nothing to give her."
"I've been the most unfortunate man in the world," said Mr. Carroll.
"We won't talk about that now," continued Mrs. Carroll. "Here we are
"You have decent blood," said Dolly; "at any rate on one side,"--for she
did not believe in the Carrolls.
"On both,--on both," said Mr. Carroll, rising up, and putting his hand
upon his heart. "I can boast of royal blood among my ancestors."
"But here we are without anything," said Mrs. Carroll again. "Mr.
Juniper is a most respectable man."
"He has been attached to some of the leading racing establishments in
the kingdom," said Mr. Carroll. Dolly had heard of Mr. Juniper as a
trainer, though she did not accurately know what a trainer meant.
"He is almost as great a man as the owner, for the matter of that," said
Amelia, standing up for her lover.
"He is not to say young,--perhaps forty," said Mrs. Carroll, "and he has
a very decent house of his own at Newmarket." Dolly immediately began to
think whether this might be for the better or for the worse. Newmarket
was a long way off, and the girl would be taken away; and it might be a
good thing to dispose of one of such a string of daughters, even to Mr.
Juniper. Of course there would be the disagreeable nature of the
connection. But, as Dolly had once said to her father, their share of
the world's burdens had to be borne, and this was one of them. Her first
cousin must marry the trainer. She, who had spoken so enthusiastically
about gentlemen, must put up with it. She knew that Mr. Juniper was but
a small man in his own line, but she would never disown him by word of
mouth. He should be her cousin Juniper. But she did hope that she might
not be called upon to see him frequently. After all, he might be much
more respectable than Mr. Carroll.
"I am glad he has a house of his own," said Dolly.
"It is a much better house than Fulham Manor," said Amelia.
Dolly was angered, not at the comparison between the houses, but at the
ingratitude and insolence of the girl. "Very well," said she, addressing
herself to her aunt; "if her parents are contented, of course it is not
for me or for papa to be discontented. The thing to think of is the
honesty of the man and his industry,--not the excellence of the house."
"But you seemed to think that we were to live in a pigsty," said Amelia.
"Mr. Juniper stands very high on the turf," said Mr. Carroll. "Mr.
Leadabit's horses have always run straight, and Mousetrap won the
Two-year-old Trial Stakes last spring, giving two pounds to
Box-and-Cox. A good-looking, tall fellow. You remember seeing him here
once last summer." This was addressed to Miss Grey; but Miss Grey had
made up her mind never to exchange a word with Mr. Carroll.
"When is it to be, my dear?" said Miss Grey, turning to the ladies, but
intending to address herself to Amelia. She had already made up her mind
to forgive the girl for her insolence about the house. If the girl was
to be taken away, there was so much the more reason for forgiving her
that and other things.
"Oh! I thought that you did not mean to speak to me at all," said
Amelia. "I supposed the cut was to be extended from papa to me."
"Amelia, how can you be so silly?" said the mother.
"If you think I'm going to put up with that kind of thing, you're
mistaken," said Amelia. She had got not only a lover but a husband in
prospect, and was much superior to her cousin,--who had neither one or
the other, as far as she was aware. "Mr. Juniper, with an excellent
house and a plentiful income, is quite good enough for me, though he
hasn't got any regal ancestors." She did not intend to laugh at her
father, but was aware that something had been said about ancestors by
her cousin. "A gentleman who has the management of horses is almost the
same as owning them."
"But when is it to be?" again asked Dolly.
"That depends a little upon my brother," said Mrs. Carroll, in a voice
hardly above a whisper. "Mr. Juniper has spoken about a day."
"Then it will depend chiefly on himself and the young lady, I suppose?"
"Well, Dorothea, there are money difficulties. There's no denying it."
"I wish I could shower gold into her lap," said Mr. Carroll, "only for
the accursed conventionalities of the world."
"Bother, papa!" said Sophia.
"It will be the last of it, as far as I am concerned," said Amelia.
"Mr. Juniper has said something about a few hundred pounds," said Mrs.
Carroll. "It isn't much that he wants."
Then Miss Grey spoke in a severe tone. "You must speak to my father
"I am not to have your good word, I suppose," said Amelia. Human flesh
and blood could not but remember all that had been done, and always with
her consent. "Five hundred pounds is not a great deal for portioning off
a girl when that is to be the last that she is ever to have." One of
six nieces whose father and mother were maintained, and that without the
slightest claim! It was so that Dorothy argued; but her arguments were
kept to her own bosom. "But I must trust to my dear uncle. I see that I
am not to have a word from you."
The matter was now becoming serious. Here was the eldest girl, one of
six daughters, putting in her claim for five hundred pounds portion.
This would amount to three thousand pounds for the lot, and, as the
process of marrying them went on, they would all have to be maintained
as at present. What with their school expenses and their clothes, the
necessary funds for the Carroll family amounted to six hundred pounds a
year. That was the regular allowance, and there were others whenever Mr.
Carroll wanted a pair of trousers. And Dolly's acerbation was aroused by
a belief on her part that the money asked for trousers took him
generally to race-courses. And now five hundred pounds was boldly
demanded so as to induce a groom to make one of the girls his wife! She
almost regretted that in former years she had promised to assist her
father in befriending the Carroll relations. "Perhaps, Dorothea, you
won't mind stepping into my bedroom with me, just for a moment." This
was said by Mrs. Carroll, and Dolly most unwillingly followed her aunt
"Of course I know all that you've got to say," began Mrs. Carroll.
"Then, aunt, why bring me in here?"
"Because I wish to explain things a little. Don't be ill-natured,
"I won't if I can help it."
"I know your nature, how good it is." Here Dorothy shook her head. "Only
think of me and of my sufferings! I haven't come to this without
suffering." Then the poor woman began to cry.
"I feel for you through it all,--I do," said Dolly.
"That poor man! To have to be always with him, and always doing my best
to keep him out of mischief!"
"A man who will do nothing else must do harm."
"Of course he must. But what can he do now? And the children! I can
see--of course I know that they are not all that they ought to be. But
with six of them, and nobody but myself, how can I do it all? And they
are his children as well as mine." Dolly's heart was filled with pity as
she heard this, which she knew to be so true! "In answering you they
have uppish, bad ways. They don't like to submit to one so near their
"Not a word that has come from the mouth of one of them addressed to
myself has ever done them any harm with my father. That is what you
"No,--but with yourself."
"I do not take anger--against them--out of the room with me."
"Now, about Mr. Juniper."
"The question is one much too big for me. Am I to tell my father?"
"I was thinking that--if you would do so!"
"I cannot tell him that he ought to find five hundred pounds for Mr.
"Perhaps four would do."
"Nor can I ask him to drive a bargain."
"How much would he give her--to be married?"
"Why should he give her anything? He feeds her and gives her clothes. It
is only fit that the truth should be explained to you. Girls so
circumstanced, when they are clothed and fed by their own fathers, must
be married without fortunes or must remain unmarried. As Sophie, and
Georgina, and Minna, and Brenda come up, the same requests will be
"Poor Potsey!" said the mother. For Potsey was a plain girl.
"If this be done for Amelia, must it not be done for all of them? Papa
is not a rich man, but he has been very generous. Is it fair to ask him
for five hundred pounds to give to--Mr. Juniper?"
"A gentleman nowadays does not like not to get something."
"Then a gentleman must go where something is to be got. The truth has to
be told, Aunt Carroll. My father is willing enough to do what he can for
you and the girls, but I do not think that he will give five hundred
pounds to Mr. Juniper."
"It is once for all. Four hundred pounds, perhaps, would do."
"I do not think that he can make a bargain, nor that he will pay any sum
to Mr. Juniper."
"To get one of them off would be so much! What is to become of them? To
have one married would be the way for others. Oh, Dorothy, if you would
only think of my condition! I know your papa will do what you tell him."
Dolly felt that her father would be more likely to do it if she were
not to interfere at all; but she could not say that. She did feel the
request to be altogether unreasonable. She struggled to avert from her
own mind all feeling of dislike for the girl, and to look at it as she
might have done if Amelia had been her special friend.
"Aunt Carroll," she said, "you had better go up to London and see my
father there--in his chambers. You will catch him if you go at once."
"Yes, alone. Tell him about the girl's marriage, and let him judge what
he ought to do."
"Could not you come with me?"
"No. You don't understand. I have to think of his money. He can say what
he will do with his own."
"He will never give it without coming to you."
"He never will if he does come to me. You may prevail with him. A man
may throw away his own money as he pleases. I cannot tell him that he
ought to do it. You may say that you have told me, and that I have sent
you to him. And tell him, let him do what he will, that I shall find no
fault with him. If you can understand me and him you will know that I
can do nothing for you beyond that." Then Dolly took her leave and went
The mother, turning it all over in her mind, did understand something of
her niece, and went off to London as quick as the omnibus could take
her. There she did see her brother, and he came back, in consequence, to
dinner a little earlier than usual.
"Why did you send my sister to me?" were the first words which he said to
"Because it was your business, and not mine."
"How dare you separate my business and yours? What do you think I have
"Given the young lady five hundred pounds down on the nail."
"Worse than that."
"Much worse. But why did you send my sister to my chambers?"
"But what have you done, papa? You don't mean that you have given the
shark more than he demands?"
"I don't know that he's a shark. Why shouldn't the man want five hundred
pounds with his wife? Mr. Barry would want much more with you, and would
be entitled to ask for much more."
"You are my father."
"Yes; but those poor girls have been taught to look upon me almost as
"But what have you done?"
"I have promised them each three hundred and fifty pounds on their
wedding day,--three hundred pounds to go to their husbands, and fifty
pounds for wedding expenses,--on condition that they marry with my
approval. I shall not be so hard to please for them as for you."
"And you have approved of Mr. Juniper?"
"I have already set on foot inquiries down at Newmarket; and I have made
an exception in favor of Mr. Juniper. He is to have four hundred and
fifty pounds. Jane only asked four hundred pounds to begin with. You are
not to find fault with me."
"No; that is part of the bargain. I wonder whether my aunt knew what a
thoroughly good-natured thing I did. We must have no more puddings now,
and you must come down by the omnibus."
"It is not quite so bad as that, Dolly."
"When one has given away one's money extravagantly one ought to be made
to feel the pinch one's self. But dear, dear, darling old man! why
shouldn't you give away your money as you please? I don't want it. I am
not in the least afraid but what there will be plenty for me. But when
the girl talks about her five hundred pounds so glibly, as though she
had a right to expect it, and spoke of this jockey with such inward
pride of heart--"
"A girl ought to be proud of her husband."
"Your niece ought not to be proud of marrying a groom. But she angered
me, and so did my aunt,--though I pitied her. Then I reflected that they
could get nothing from me in my anger,--not even a promise of a good
word. So I sent her to you. It was, at any rate, the best thing I could
do for them." Mr. Grey thought that it was.
MR. BARRY AND MR. JUNIPER.
The joy in Bolsover Terrace was intense when Mrs. Carroll returned home.
"We are all to have three hundred and fifty pound fortunes when we get
husbands!" said Georgina, anticipating at once the pleasures of
"I am to have four hundred and fifty," said Amelia. "I do think he might
have made it five hundred pounds. If I had it to give away, I never
would show the cloven foot about the last fifty pounds!"
"But he's only to have four hundred pounds," said Sophia. "Your things
are to be bought with the other fifty pounds."
"I never can do it for fifty pounds," said Amelia. "I did not expect
that I was to find my own trousseau out of my own fortune."
"Girls, how can you be so ungrateful?" said their mother.
"I'm not ungrateful, mamma," said Potsey. "I shall be very much obliged
when I get my three hundred and fifty pounds. How long will it be?"
"You've got to find the young man first, Potsey. I don't think you'll
ever do that," said Georgina, who was rather proud of her own good
This took place on the evening of the day on which Mrs. Carroll had gone
to London, where Mr. Carroll was about attending to some of those duties
of conviviality in the performance of which he was so indefatigable. On
the following morning at twelve o'clock he was still in bed. It was a
well-known fact in the family that on such an occasion he would lie in
bed, and that before twelve o'clock he would have managed to extract
from his wife's little hoardings at any rate two bottles of soda-water
and two glasses of some alcoholic mixture which was generally called
brandy. "I'll have a gin-and-potash, Sophie," he had said on this
occasion, with reference to the second dose, "and do make haste. I wish
you'd go yourself, because that girl always drinks some of the
"What! go to the gin-shop?"
"It's a most respectable publican's,--just round the corner."
"Indeed, I shall do nothing of the kind. You've no feeling about your
daughters at all!" But Sophie went on her errand, and in order to
protect her father's small modicum of "sperrits" she slipped on her
cloak and walked out so as to be able to watch the girl. Still, I think
that the maiden managed to get a sip as she left the bar. The father, in
the mean-time with his head between his hands, was ruminating on the
"cocked-up way which girls have who can't do a turn for their father."
But with the gin-and-potash, and with Sophie, Mr. Juniper made his
appearance. He was a well-featured, tall man, but he looked the stable
and he smelled of it. His clothes, no doubt, were decent, but they were
made by some tailor who must surely work for horsey men and no others.
There is a class of men who always choose to show by their outward
appearance that they belong to horses, and they succeed. Mr. Juniper was
one of them. Though good-looking he was anything but young, verging by
appearance on fifty years.
"So he has been at it again, Miss Sophie," said Juniper. Sophie, who did
not like being detected in the performance of her filial duties, led the
way in silence into the house, and disappeared up-stairs with the
gin-and-potash. Mr. Juniper turned into the parlor, where was Mrs.
Carroll with the other girls. She was still angry, as angry as she could
be, with her husband, who on being informed that morning of what his
wife had done had called her brother "a beastly, stingy old beau,"
because he had cut Amelia off with four hundred and fifty instead of
five hundred pounds. Mr. Carroll probably knew that Mr. Juniper would
not take his daughter without the entirety of the sum stipulated, and
would allow no portion of it to be expended on wedding-dresses.
"Oh, Dick, is this you?" said Amelia. "I suppose you've come for your
news." (Mr. Juniper's Christian-name was Richard.) On this occasion he
showed no affectionate desire to embrace his betrothed.
"Yes, it's me," he said, and then gave his hand all round, first to Mrs.
Carroll and then to the girls.
"I've seen Mr. Grey," said Mrs. Carroll. But Dick Juniper held his
tongue and sat down and twiddled his hat.
"Where have you come from?" asked Georgina.
"From the Brompton Road. I come down on a 'bus."
"You've come from Tattersall's, young man!" said Amelia.
"Then I just didn't!" But to tell the truth he had come from
Tattersall's, and it might be difficult to follow up the workings of his
mind and find out why he had told the lie. Of course it was known that
when in London much of his business was done at Tattersall's. But the
horsey man is generally on the alert to take care that no secret of his
trade escapes from him unawares. And it may be that he was thus prepared
for a gratuitous lie.
"Uncle's gone a deal father than ever I expected," said Amelia.
"He's been most generous to all the girls," said Mrs. Carroll, moved
nearly to tears.
Mr. Juniper did not care very much about "all the girls," thinking that
the uncle's affection at the present moment should be shown to the one
girl who had found a husband, and thinking also that if the husband was
to be secured, the proper way of doing so would be by liberality to him.
Amelia had said that her uncle had gone farther than she expected. Mr.
Juniper concluded from this that he had not gone as far as he had been
asked, and boldly resolved, at the spur of the moment, to stand by his
demand. "Five hundred pounds ain't much," he said.
"Dick, don't make a beast of yourself!" said Amelia. Upon this Dick only
He continually twiddled his hat for three or four minutes, and then rose
up straight. "I suppose," said he, "I had better go up-stairs and talk
to the old man. I seed Miss Sophie taking a pick-up to him, so I suppose
he'll be able to talk."
"Why shouldn't he talk?" said Mrs. Carroll. But she quite understood
what Mr. Juniper's words were intended to imply.
"It don't always follow," said Juniper, as he walked out of the room.
"Now there'll be a row in the house;--you see if there isn't!" said
Amelia. But Mrs. Carroll expressed her opinion that the man must be the
most ungrateful of creatures if he kicked up a row on the present
occasion. "I don't know so much about that, mamma," said Amelia.
Mr. Juniper walked up-stairs with heavy, slow steps, and knocked at the
door of the marital chamber. There are men who can't walk up-stairs as
though to do so were an affair of ordinary life. They perform the task
as though they walked up-stairs once in three years. It is to be
presumed that such men always sleep on the ground-floor, though where
they find their bed-rooms it is hard to say. Mr. Juniper was admitted by
Sophie, who stepped out as he went in. "Well, old fellow! B.--and--S.,
and plenty of it. That's the ticket, eh?"
"I did have a little headache this morning. I think it was the cigars."
"Very like,--and the stuff as washed 'em down. You haven't got any more
of the same, have you?"
"I'm uncommonly sorry," said the sick man, rising up on his elbow, "but
I'm afraid there is not. To tell the truth, I had the deuce of a job to
get this from the old woman."
"It don't matter," said the impassive Mr. Juniper, "only I have been
down among the 'orses at the yard till my throat is full of dust. So
your lady has been and seen her brother?"
"Yes; she's done that."
"He ain't altogether a bad un--isn't old Grey. Of course he's an
"I never think much of them chaps."
"There's good and bad, Juniper. No doubt my brother-in-law has made a
"A pot of it,--if all they say's true."
"But all they say isn't true. All they say never is true."
"I suppose he's got something?"
"Yes, he's got something."
"And how is it to be?"
"He's given the girl four hundred pounds on the nail,"--upon this Mr.
Juniper turned up his nose,--"and fifty pounds for her wedding-clothes."
"He'd better let me have that."
"Girls think so much of it,"--Mr. Juniper only shook his head,--"and, upon
my word, it's more than she had a right to expect."
"It ain't what she had a right to expect; but I,"--here Mr. Carroll shook
his head,--"I said five hundred pounds out, and I means to hold by it.
That's about it. If he wants to get the girl married, why--he must open
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