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´╗┐Title: Endymion
Author: Disraeli, Benjamin, Earl of Beaconsfield, 1804-1881
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Endymion" ***

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ENDYMION

by Benjamin Disraeli, Earl Of Beaconsfield, K.G.



First Published 1880



CHAPTER I

It was a rich, warm night, at the beginning of August, when a gentleman
enveloped in a cloak, for he was in evening dress, emerged from
a club-house at the top of St. James' Street, and descended that
celebrated eminence. He had not proceeded more than half way down the
street when, encountering a friend, he stopped with some abruptness.

"I have been looking for you everywhere," he said.

"What is it?"

"We can hardly talk about it here."

"Shall we go to White's?"

"I have just left it, and, between ourselves, I would rather we should
be more alone. 'Tis as warm as noon. Let us cross the street and get
into St. James' Place. That is always my idea of solitude."

So they crossed the street, and, at the corner of St. James' Place, met
several gentlemen who had just come out of Brookes' Club-house. These
saluted the companions as they passed, and said, "Capital account
from Chiswick--Lord Howard says the chief will be in Downing Street on
Monday."

"It is of Chiswick that I am going to speak to you," said the gentleman
in the cloak, putting his arm in that of his companion as they walked
on. "What I am about to tell you is known only to three persons, and is
the most sacred of secrets. Nothing but our friendship could authorise
me to impart it to you."

"I hope it is something to your advantage," said his companion.

"Nothing of that sort; it is of yourself that I am thinking. Since our
political estrangement, I have never had a contented moment. From Christ
Church, until that unhappy paralytic stroke, which broke up a government
that had lasted fifteen years, and might have continued fifteen more, we
seemed always to have been working together. That we should again unite
is my dearest wish. A crisis is at hand. I want you to use it to your
advantage. Know then, that what they were just saying about Chiswick
is moonshine. His case is hopeless, and it has been communicated to the
King."

"Hopeless!"

"Rely upon it; it came direct from the Cottage to my friend."

"I thought he had a mission?" said his companion, with emotion; "and men
with missions do not disappear till they have fulfilled them."

"But why did you think so? How often have I asked you for your grounds
for such a conviction! There are none. The man of the age is clearly the
Duke, the saviour of Europe, in the perfection of manhood, and with an
iron constitution."

"The salvation of Europe is the affair of a past generation," said his
companion. "We want something else now. The salvation of England should
be the subject rather of our present thoughts."

"England! why when were things more sound? Except the split among our
own men, which will be now cured, there is not a cause of disquietude."

"I have much," said his friend.

"You never used to have any, Sidney. What extraordinary revelations can
have been made to you during three months of office under a semi-Whig
Ministry?"

"Your taunt is fair, though it pains me. And I confess to you that
when I resolved to follow Canning and join his new allies, I had many a
twinge. I was bred in the Tory camp; the Tories put me in Parliament
and gave me office; I lived with them and liked them; we dined and
voted together, and together pasquinaded our opponents. And yet, after
Castlereagh's death, to whom like yourself I was much attached, I had
great misgivings as to the position of our party, and the future of the
country. I tried to drive them from my mind, and at last took refuge in
Canning, who seemed just the man appointed for an age of transition."

"But a transition to what?"

"Well, his foreign policy was Liberal."

"The same as the Duke's; the same as poor dear Castlereagh's. Nothing
more unjust than the affected belief that there was any difference
between them--a ruse of the Whigs to foster discord in our ranks. And
as for domestic affairs, no one is stouter against Parliamentary Reform,
while he is for the Church and no surrender, though he may make a
harmless speech now and then, as many of us do, in favour of the
Catholic claims."

"Well, we will not now pursue this old controversy, my dear Ferrars,
particularly if it be true, as you say, that Mr. Canning now lies upon
his deathbed."

"If! I tell you at this very moment it may be all over."

"I am shaken to my very centre."

"It is doubtless a great blow to you," rejoined Mr. Ferrars, "and I wish
to alleviate it. That is why I was looking for you. The King will,
of course, send for the Duke, but I can tell you there will be a
disposition to draw back our friends that left us, at least the younger
ones of promise. If you are awake, there is no reason why you should not
retain your office."

"I am not so sure the King will send for the Duke."

"It is certain."

"Well," said his companion musingly, "it may be fancy, but I cannot
resist the feeling that this country, and the world generally, are on
the eve of a great change--and I do not think the Duke is the man for
the epoch."

"I see no reason why there should be any great change; certainly not in
this country," said Mr. Ferrars. "Here we have changed everything that
was required. Peel has settled the criminal law, and Huskisson the
currency, and though I am prepared myself still further to reduce the
duties on foreign imports, no one can deny that on this subject the
Government is in advance of public opinion."

"The whole affair rests on too contracted a basis," said his companion.
"We are habituated to its exclusiveness, and, no doubt, custom in
England is a power; but let some event suddenly occur which makes a
nation feel or think, and the whole thing might vanish like a dream."

"What can happen? Such affairs as the Luddites do not occur twice in a
century, and as for Spafields riots, they are impossible now with Peel's
new police. The country is employed and prosperous, and were it not so,
the landed interest would always keep things straight."

"It is powerful, and has been powerful for a long time; but there are
other interests besides the landed interest now."

"Well, there is the colonial interest, and the shipping interest," said
Mr. Ferrars, "and both of them thoroughly with us."

"I was not thinking of them," said his companion. "It is the increase of
population, and of a population not employed in the cultivation of the
soil, and all the consequences of such circumstances that were passing
over my mind."

"Don't you be too doctrinaire, my dear Sidney; you and I are practical
men. We must deal with the existing, the urgent; and there is nothing
more pressing at this moment than the formation of a new government.
What I want is to see you as a member of it."

"Ah!" said his companion with a sigh, "do you really think it so near as
that?"

"Why, what have we been talking of all this time, my dear Sidney? Clear
your head of all doubt, and, if possible, of all regrets; we must deal
with the facts, and we must deal with them to-morrow."

"I still think he had a mission," said Sidney with a sigh, "if it were
only to bring hope to a people."

"Well, I do not see he could have done anything more," said Mr. Ferrars,
"nor do I believe his government would have lasted during the session.
However, I must now say good-night, for I must look in at the Square.
Think well of what I have said, and let me hear from you as soon as you
can."



CHAPTER II

Zenobia was the queen of London, of fashion, and of the Tory party. When
she was not holding high festivals, or attending them, she was always
at home to her intimates, and as she deigned but rarely to honour the
assemblies of others with her presence, she was generally at her evening
post to receive the initiated. To be her invited guest under such
circumstances proved at once that you had entered the highest circle of
the social Paradise.

Zenobia was leaning back on a brilliant sofa, supported by many
cushions, and a great personage, grey-headed and blue-ribboned, who was
permitted to share the honours of the high place, was hanging on her
animated and inspiring accents. An ambassador, in an armed chair which
he had placed somewhat before her, while he listened with apparent
devotion to the oracle, now and then interposed a remark, polished
and occasionally cynical. More remote, some dames of high degree were
surrounded by a chosen band of rank and fashion and celebrity; and
now and then was heard a silver laugh, and now and then was breathed
a gentle sigh. Servants glided about the suite of summer chambers,
occasionally with sherbets and ices, and sometimes a lady entered and
saluted Zenobia, and then retreated to the general group, and sometimes
a gentleman entered, and pressed the hand of Zenobia to his lips, and
then vanished into air.

"What I want you to see," said Zenobia, "is that reaction is the law
of life, and that we are on the eve of a great reaction. Since Lord
Castlereagh's death we have had five years of revolution--nothing but
change, and every change has been disastrous. Abroad we are in league
with all the conspirators of the Continent, and if there were a general
war we should not have an ally; at home our trade, I am told, is quite
ruined, and we are deluged with foreign articles; while, thanks to Mr.
Huskisson, the country banks, which enabled Mr. Pitt to carry on the
war and saved England, are all broken. There was one thing, of which
I thought we should always be proud, and that was our laws and their
administration; but now our most sacred enactments are questioned, and
people are told to call out for the reform of our courts of judicature,
which used to be the glory of the land. This cannot last. I see, indeed,
many signs of national disgust; people would have borne a great deal
from poor Lord Liverpool--for they knew he was a good man, though
I always thought a weak one; but when it was found that his boasted
Liberalism only meant letting the Whigs into office--who, if they had
always been in office, would have made us the slaves of Bonaparte--their
eyes were opened. Depend upon it, the reaction has commenced."

"We shall have some trouble with France," said the ambassador, "unless
there is a change here."

"The Church is weary of the present men," said the great personage. "No
one really knows what they are after."

"And how can the country be governed without the Church?" exclaimed
Zenobia. "If the country once thinks the Church is in danger, the affair
will soon be finished. The King ought to be told what is going on."

"Nothing is going on," said the ambassador; "but everybody is afraid of
something."

"The King's friends should impress upon him never to lose sight of the
landed interest," said the great personage.

"How can any government go on without the support of the Church and the
land?" exclaimed Zenobia. "It is quite unnatural."

"That is the mystery," remarked the ambassador. "Here is a government,
supported by none of the influences hitherto deemed indispensable, and
yet it exists."

"The newspapers support it," said the great personage, "and the
Dissenters, who are trying to bring themselves into notice, and who are
said to have some influence in the northern counties, and the Whigs,
who are in a hole, are willing to seize the hand of the ministry to help
them out of it; and then there is always a number of people who will
support any government--and so the thing works."

"They have got a new name for this hybrid sentiment," said the
ambassador. "They call it public opinion."

"How very absurd!" said Zenobia; "a mere nickname. As if there could be
any opinion but that of the Sovereign and the two Houses of Parliament."

"They are trying to introduce here the continental Liberalism," said the
great personage. "Now we know what Liberalism means on the continent. It
means the abolition of property and religion. Those ideas would not suit
this country; and I often puzzle myself to foresee how they will attempt
to apply Liberal opinions here."

"I shall always think," said Zenobia, "that Lord Liverpool went much
too far, though I never said so in his time; for I always uphold my
friends."

"Well, we shall see what Canning will do about the Test and Corporation
Acts," said the great personage. "I understand they mean to push him."

"By the by, how is he really?" said the ambassador. "What are the
accounts this afternoon?"

"Here is a gentleman who will tell us," said Zenobia, as Mr. Ferrars
entered and saluted her.

"And what is your news from Chiswick?" she inquired.

"They say at Brookes', that he will be at Downing Street on Monday."

"I doubt it," said Zenobia, but with an expression of disappointment.

Zenobia invited Mr. Ferrars to join her immediate circle. The great
personage and the ambassador were confidentially affable to one whom
Zenobia so distinguished. Their conversation was in hushed tones, as
become the initiated. Even Zenobia seemed subdued, and listened; and to
listen, among her many talents, was perhaps her rarest. Mr. Ferrars was
one of her favourites, and Zenobia liked young men who she thought would
become Ministers of State.

An Hungarian Princess who had quitted the opera early that she might
look in at Zenobia's was now announced. The arrival of this great
lady made a stir. Zenobia embraced her, and the great personage with
affectionate homage yielded to her instantly the place of honour, and
then soon retreated to the laughing voices in the distance that had
already more than once attracted and charmed his ear.

"Mind; I see you to-morrow," said Zenobia to Mr. Ferrars as he also
withdrew. "I shall have something to tell you."



CHAPTER III

The father of Mr. Ferrars had the reputation of being the son of a once
somewhat celebrated statesman, but the only patrimony he inherited from
his presumed parent was a clerkship in the Treasury, where he
found himself drudging at an early age. Nature had endowed him with
considerable abilities, and peculiarly adapted to the scene of their
display. It was difficult to decide which was most remarkable, his
shrewdness or his capacity of labour. His quickness of perception and
mastery of details made him in a few years an authority in the office,
and a Secretary of the Treasury, who was quite ignorant of details,
but who was a good judge of human character, had the sense to appoint
Ferrars his private secretary. This happy preferment in time opened the
whole official world to one not only singularly qualified for that kind
of life, but who possessed the peculiar gifts that were then commencing
to be much in demand in those circles. We were then entering that era
of commercial and financial reform which had been, if not absolutely
occasioned, certainly precipitated, by the revolt of our colonies.
Knowledge of finance and acquaintance with tariffs were then rare gifts,
and before five years of his private secretaryship had expired, Ferrars
was mentioned to Mr. Pitt as the man at the Treasury who could do
something that the great minister required. This decided his lot. Mr.
Pitt found in Ferrars the instrument he wanted, and appreciating all his
qualities placed him in a position which afforded them full play. The
minister returned Ferrars to Parliament, for the Treasury then had
boroughs of its own, and the new member was preferred to an important
and laborious post. So long as Pitt and Grenville were in the ascendant,
Mr. Ferrars toiled and flourished. He was exactly the man they liked;
unwearied, vigilant, clear and cold; with a dash of natural sarcasm
developed by a sharp and varied experience. He disappeared from the
active world in the latter years of the Liverpool reign, when a newer
generation and more bustling ideas successfully asserted their
claims; but he retired with the solace of a sinecure, a pension, and
a privy-councillorship. The Cabinet he had never entered, nor dared to
hope to enter. It was the privilege of an inner circle even in our then
contracted public life. It was the dream of Ferrars to revenge in
this respect his fate in the person of his son, and only child. He
was resolved that his offspring should enjoy all those advantages
of education and breeding and society of which he himself had been
deprived. For him was to be reserved a full initiation in those costly
ceremonies which, under the names of Eton and Christ Church, in his time
fascinated and dazzled mankind. His son, William Pitt Ferrars, realised
even more than his father's hopes. Extremely good-looking, he was gifted
with a precocity of talent. He was the marvel of Eton and the hope
of Oxford. As a boy, his Latin verses threw enraptured tutors into
paroxysms of praise, while debating societies hailed with acclamation
clearly another heaven-born minister. He went up to Oxford about the
time that the examinations were reformed and rendered really efficient.
This only increased his renown, for the name of Ferrars figured among
the earliest double-firsts. Those were days when a crack university
reputation often opened the doors of the House of Commons to a young
aspirant; at least, after a season. But Ferrars had not to wait. His
father, who watched his career with the passionate interest with which a
Newmarket man watches the development of some gifted yearling, took care
that all the odds should be in his favour in the race of life. An old
colleague of the elder Mr. Ferrars, a worthy peer with many boroughs,
placed a seat at the disposal of the youthful hero, the moment he was
prepared to accept it, and he might be said to have left the University
only to enter the House of Commons.

There, if his career had not yet realised the dreams of his youthful
admirers, it had at least been one of progress and unbroken prosperity.
His first speech was successful, though florid, but it was on foreign
affairs, which permit rhetoric, and in those days demanded at least
one Virgilian quotation. In this latter branch of oratorical adornment
Ferrars was never deficient. No young man of that time, and scarcely any
old one, ventured to address Mr. Speaker without being equipped with a
Latin passage. Ferrars, in this respect, was triply armed. Indeed, when
he entered public life, full of hope and promise, though disciplined to
a certain extent by his mathematical training, he had read very little
more than some Latin writers, some Greek plays, and some treatises of
Aristotle. These with a due course of Bampton Lectures and some dipping
into the "Quarterly Review," then in its prime, qualified a man in
those days, not only for being a member of Parliament, but becoming a
candidate for the responsibility of statesmanship. Ferrars made his way;
for two years he was occasionally asked by the minister to speak, and
then Lord Castlereagh, who liked young men, made him a Lord of the
Treasury. He was Under-Secretary of State, and "very rising," when the
death of Lord Liverpool brought about the severance of the Tory party,
and Mr. Ferrars, mainly under the advice of zealots, resigned his office
when Mr. Canning was appointed Minister, and cast in his lot with the
great destiny of the Duke of Wellington.

The elder Ferrars had the reputation of being wealthy. It was supposed
that he had enjoyed opportunities of making money, and had availed
himself of them, but this was not true. Though a cynic, and with little
respect for his fellow-creatures, Ferrars had a pride in official
purity, and when the Government was charged with venality and
corruption, he would observe, with a dry chuckle, that he had seen a
great deal of life, and that for his part he would not much trust any
man out of Downing Street. He had been unable to resist the temptation
of connecting his life with that of an individual of birth and rank;
and in a weak moment, perhaps his only one, he had given his son
a stepmother in a still good-looking and very expensive
Viscountess-Dowager.

Mr. Ferrars was anxious that his son should make a great alliance, but
he was so distracted between prudential considerations and his desire
that in the veins of his grand-children there should flow blood of
undoubted nobility, that he could never bring to his purpose that clear
and concentrated will which was one of the causes of his success in
life; and, in the midst of his perplexities, his son unexpectedly
settled the question himself. Though naturally cold and calculating,
William Ferrars, like most of us, had a vein of romance in his being,
and it asserted itself. There was a Miss Carey, who suddenly became
the beauty of the season. She was an orphan, and reputed to be no
inconsiderable heiress, and was introduced to the world by an aunt
who was a duchess, and who meant that her niece should be the same.
Everybody talked about them, and they went everywhere--among other
places to the House of Commons, where Miss Carey, spying the senators
from the old ventilator in the ceiling of St. Stephen's Chapel, dropped
in her excitement her opera-glass, which fell at the feet of Mr.
Under-Secretary Ferrars. He hastened to restore it to its beautiful
owner, whom he found accompanied by several of his friends, and he was
not only thanked, but invited to remain with them; and the next day
he called, and he called very often afterwards, and many other things
happened, and at the end of July the beauty of the season was
married not to a Duke, but to a rising man, who Zenobia, who at first
disapproved of the match--for Zenobia never liked her male friends to
marry--was sure would one day be Prime Minister of England.

Mrs. Ferrars was of the same opinion as Zenobia, for she was ambitious,
and the dream was captivating. And Mrs. Ferrars soon gained Zenobia's
good graces, for she had many charms, and, though haughty to the
multitude, was a first-rate flatterer. Zenobia liked flattery, and
always said she did. Mr. Under-Secretary Ferrars took a mansion in Hill
Street, and furnished it with befitting splendour. His dinners were
celebrated, and Mrs. Ferrars gave suppers after the opera. The equipages
of Mrs. Ferrars were distinguished, and they had a large retinue of
servants. They had only two children, and they were twins, a brother and
a sister, who were brought up like the children of princes. Partly for
them, and partly because a minister should have a Tusculum, the Ferrars
soon engaged a magnificent villa at Wimbledon, which had the advantage
of admirable stables, convenient, as Mrs. Ferrars was fond of horses,
and liked the children too, with their fancy ponies, to be early
accustomed to riding. All this occasioned expenditure, but old Mr.
Ferrars made his son a liberal allowance, and young Mrs. Ferrars was an
heiress, or the world thought so, which is nearly the same, and then,
too, young Mr. Ferrars was a rising man, in office, and who would
always be in office for the rest of his life; at least, Zenobia said so,
because he was on the right side and the Whigs were nowhere, and never
would be anywhere, which was quite right, as they had wished to make us
the slaves of Bonaparte.

When the King, after much hesitation, send for Mr. Canning, on the
resignation of Lord Liverpool, the Zenobian theory seemed a little at
fault, and William Ferrars absolutely out of office had more than one
misgiving; but after some months of doubt and anxiety, it seemed after
all the great lady was right. The unexpected disappearance of Mr.
Canning from the scene, followed by the transient and embarrassed
phantom of Lord Goderich, seemed to indicate an inexorable destiny that
England should be ruled by the most eminent men of the age, and the most
illustrious of her citizens. William Ferrars, under the inspiration of
Zenobia, had thrown in his fortunes with the Duke, and after nine months
of disquietude found his due reward. In the January that succeeded the
August conversation in St. James' Street with Sidney Wilton, William
Ferrars was sworn of the Privy Council, and held high office, on the
verge of the Cabinet.

Mr. Ferrars had a dinner party in Hill Street on the day he had returned
from Windsor with the seals of his new office. The catastrophe of the
Goderich Cabinet, almost on the eve of the meeting of Parliament, had
been so sudden, that, not anticipating such a state of affairs, Ferrars,
among his other guests, had invited Sidney Wilton. He was rather
regretting this when, as his carriage stopped at his own door, he
observed that very gentleman on his threshold.

Wilton greeted him warmly, and congratulated him on his promotion. "I
do so at once," he added, "because I shall not have the opportunity
this evening. I was calling here in the hope of seeing Mrs. Ferrars, and
asking her to excuse me from being your guest to-day."

"Well, it is rather awkward," said Ferrars, "but I could have no idea of
this when you were so kind as to say you would come."

"Oh, nothing of that sort," said Sidney. "I am out and you are in, and
I hope you may be in for a long, long time. I dare say it may be so, and
the Duke is the man of the age, as you always said he was. I hope your
being in office is not to deprive me of your pleasant dinners; it would
be too bad to lose my place both at Whitehall and in Hill Street."

"I trust that will never happen, my dear fellow; but to-day I thought it
might be embarrassing."

"Not at all; I could endure without wincing even the triumphant glances
of Zenobia. The fact is, I have some business of the most pressing
nature which has suddenly arisen, and which demands my immediate
attention."

Ferrars expressed his regret, though in fact he was greatly relieved,
and they parted.

Zenobia did dine with the William Ferrars to-day, and her handsome
husband came with her, a knight of the garter, and just appointed to a
high office in the household by the new government. Even the excitement
of the hour did not disturb his indigenous repose. It was a dignified
serenity, quite natural, and quite compatible with easy and even cordial
manners, and an address always considerate even when not sympathetic.
He was not a loud or a long talker, but his terse remarks were full
of taste and a just appreciation of things. If they were sometimes
trenchant, the blade was of fine temper. Old Mr. Ferrars was there and
the Viscountess Edgware. His hair had become quite silvered, and
his cheek rosy as a December apple. His hazel eyes twinkled with
satisfaction as he remembered the family had now produced two privy
councillors. Lord Pomeroy was there, the great lord who had returned
William Ferrars to Parliament, a little man, quite, shy, rather
insignificant in appearance, but who observed everybody and everything;
a conscientious man, who was always doing good, in silence and secrecy,
and denounced as a boroughmonger, had never sold a seat in his life, and
was always looking out for able men of character to introduce them to
public affairs. It was not a formal party, but had grown up in great
degree out of the circumstances of the moment. There were more men than
women, and all men in office or devoted supporters of the new ministry.

Mrs. Ferrars, without being a regular beauty, had a voluptuous face and
form. Her complexion was brilliant, with large and long-lashed eyes of
blue. Her mouth was certainly too large, but the pouting richness of her
lips and the splendour of her teeth baffled criticism. She was a woman
who was always gorgeously or fantastically attired.

"I never can understand," would sometimes observe Zenobia's husband to
his brilliant spouse, "how affairs are carried on in this world. Now we
have, my dear, fifty thousand per annum; and I do not see how Ferrars
can have much more than five; and yet he lives much as we do, perhaps
better. I know Gibson showed me a horse last week that I very much
wanted, but I would not give him two hundred guineas for it. I called
there to-day to look after it again, for it would have suited me
exactly, but I was told I was too late, and it was sold to Mrs.
Ferrars."

"My dear, you know I do not understand money matters," Zenobia said in
reply. "I never could; but you should remember that old Ferrars must be
very rich, and that William Ferrars is the most rising man of the day,
and is sure to be in the Cabinet before he is forty."

Everybody had an appetite for dinner to-day, and the dinner was worthy
of the appetites. Zenobia's husband declared to himself that he never
dined so well, though he gave his _chef_ 500 pounds a year, and old Lord
Pomeroy, who had not yet admitted French wines to his own table, seemed
quite abashed with the number of his wine-glasses and their various
colours, and, as he tasted one succulent dish after another, felt a
proud satisfaction in having introduced to public life so distinguished
a man as William Ferrars.

With the dessert, not without some ceremony, were introduced the two
most remarkable guests of the entertainment, and these were the twins;
children of singular beauty, and dressed, if possible, more fancifully
and brilliantly than their mamma. They resembled each other, and had the
same brilliant complexion, rich chestnut hair, delicately arched brows,
and dark blue eyes. Though only eight years of age, a most unchildlike
self-possession distinguished them. The expression of their countenances
was haughty, disdainful, and supercilious. Their beautiful features
seemed quite unimpassioned, and they moved as if they expected
everything to yield to them. The girl, whose long ringlets were braided
with pearls, was ushered to a seat next to her father, and, like her
brother, who was placed by Mrs. Ferrars, was soon engaged in negligently
tasting delicacies, while she seemed apparently unconscious of any one
being present, except when she replied to those who addressed her with a
stare and a haughty monosyllable. The boy, in a black velvet jacket
with large Spanish buttons of silver filagree, a shirt of lace, and a
waistcoat of white satin, replied with reserve, but some condescension,
to the good-natured but half-humorous inquiries of the husband of
Zenobia.

"And when do you go to school?" asked his lordship in a kind voice and
with a laughing eye.

"I shall go to Eton in two years," replied the child without the
slightest emotion, and not withdrawing his attention from the grapes he
was tasting, or even looking at his inquirer, "and then I shall go to
Christ Church, and then I shall go into Parliament."

"Myra," said an intimate of the family, a handsome private secretary of
Mr. Ferrars, to the daughter of the house, as he supplied her plate with
some choicest delicacies, "I hope you have not forgotten your engagement
to me which you made at Wimbledon two years ago?"

"What engagement?" she haughtily inquired.

"To marry me."

"I should not think of marrying any one who was not in the House of
Lords," she replied, and she shot at him a glance of contempt.

The ladies rose. As they were ascending the stairs, one of them said to
Mrs. Ferrars, "Your son's name is very pretty, but it is very uncommon,
is it not?"

"'Tis a family name. The first Carey who bore it was a courtier of
Charles the First, and we have never since been without it. William
wanted our boy to be christened Pomeroy but I was always resolved, if I
ever had a son, that he should be named ENDYMION."



CHAPTER IV

About the time that the ladies rose from the dinner-table in Hill
Street, Mr. Sidney Wilton entered the hall of the Clarendon Hotel, and
murmured an inquiry of the porter. Whereupon a bell was rung, and soon
a foreign servant appeared, and bowing, invited Mr. Wilton to ascend the
staircase and follow him. Mr. Wilton was ushered through an ante-chamber
into a room of some importance, lofty and decorated, and obviously
adapted for distinguished guests. On a principal table a desk was open
and many papers strewn about. Apparently some person had only recently
been writing there. There were in the room several musical instruments;
the piano was open, there was a harp and a guitar. The room was rather
dimly lighted, but cheerful from the steady blaze of the fire, before
which Mr. Wilton stood, not long alone, for an opposite door opened, and
a lady advanced leading with her left hand a youth of interesting mien,
and about twelve years of age. The lady was fair and singularly thin. It
seemed that her delicate hand must really be transparent. Her cheek
was sunk, but the expression of her large brown eyes was inexpressibly
pleasing. She wore her own hair, once the most celebrated in Europe,
and still uncovered. Though the prodigal richness of the tresses had
disappeared, the arrangement was still striking from its grace. That
rare quality pervaded the being of this lady, and it was impossible not
to be struck with her carriage as she advanced to greet her guest; free
from all affectation and yet full of movement and gestures, which might
have been the study of painters.

"Ah!" she exclaimed as she gave him her hand, which he pressed to his
lips, "you are ever faithful."

Seating themselves, she continued, "You have not seen my boy since he
sate upon your knee. Florestan, salute Mr. Wilton, your mother's most
cherished friend."

"This is a sudden arrival," said Mr. Wilton.

"Well, they would not let us rest," said the lady. "Our only refuge was
Switzerland, but I cannot breathe among the mountains, and so, after
a while, we stole to an obscure corner of the south, and for a time we
were tranquil. But soon the old story: representations, remonstrances,
warnings, and threats, appeals to Vienna, and lectures from Prince
Metternich, not the less impressive because they were courteous, and
even gallant."

"And had nothing occurred to give a colour to such complaints? Or was it
sheer persecution?"

"Well, you know," replied the lady, "we wished to remain quiet and
obscure; but where the lad is, they will find him out. It often
astonishes me. I believe if we were in the centre of a forest in some
Indian isle, with no companions but monkeys and elephants, a secret
agent would appear--some devoted victim of our family, prepared to
restore our fortunes and renovate his own. I speak the truth to you
always. I have never countenanced these people; I have never encouraged
them; but it is impossible rudely to reject the sympathy of those who,
after all, are your fellow-sufferers, and some of who have given proof
of even disinterested devotion. For my own part, I have never faltered
in my faith, that Florestan would some day sit on the throne of his
father, dark as appears to be our life; but I have never much believed
that the great result could be occasioned or precipitated by intrigues,
but rather by events more powerful than man, and led on by that fatality
in which his father believed."

"And now you think of remaining here?" said Mr. Wilton.

"No," said the lady, "that I cannot do. I love everything in this
country except its climate and, perhaps, its hotels. I think of trying
the south of Spain, and fancy, if quite alone, I might vegetate there
unnoticed. I cannot bring myself altogether to quit Europe. I am, my
dear Sidney, intensely European. But Spain is not exactly the country
I should fix upon to form kings and statesmen. And this is the point
on which I wish to consult you. I want Florestan to receive an English
education, and I want you to put me in the way of accomplishing this.
It might be convenient, under such circumstances, that he should not
obtrude his birth--perhaps, that it should be concealed. He has many
honourable names besides the one which indicates the state to which he
was born. But, on all these points, we want your advice." And she seemed
to appeal to her son, who bowed his head with a slight smile, but did
not speak.

Mr. Wilton expressed his deep interest in her wishes, and promised to
consider how they might best be accomplished, and then the conversation
took a more general tone.

"This change of government in your country," said the lady, "so
unexpected, so utterly unforeseen, disturbs me; in fact, it decided my
hesitating movements. I cannot but believe that the accession of
the Duke of Wellington to power must be bad, at least, for us. It is
essentially reactionary. They are triumphing at Vienna."

"Have they cause?" said Mr. Wilton. "I am an impartial witness, for I
have no post in the new administration; but the leading colleagues of
Mr. Canning form part of it, and the conduct of foreign affairs remains
in the same hands."

"That is consoling," said the lady. "I wonder if Lord Dudley would see
me. Perhaps not. Ministers do not love pretenders. I knew him when I
was not a pretender," added the lady, with the sweetest of smiles, "and
thought him agreeable. He was witty. Ah! Sidney, those were happy days.
I look back to the past with regret, but without remorse. One might have
done more good, but one did some;" and she sighed.

"You seemed to me," said Sidney with emotion, "to diffuse benefit and
blessings among all around you."

"And I read," said the lady, a little indignant, "in some memoirs the
other day, that our court was a corrupt and dissolute court. It was
a court of pleasure, if you like; but of pleasure that animated and
refined, and put the world in good humour, which, after all, is good
government. The most corrupt and dissolute courts on the continent
of Europe that I have known," said the lady, "have been outwardly the
dullest and most decorous."

"My memory of those days," said Mr. Wilton, "is of ceaseless grace and
inexhaustible charm."

"Well," said the lady, "if I sinned I have at least suffered. And I hope
they were only sins of omission. I wanted to see everybody happy,
and tried to make them so. But let us talk no more of ourselves. The
unfortunate are always egotistical. Tell me something of Mr. Wilton;
and, above all, tell me why you are not in the new government."

"I have not been invited," said Mr. Wilton. "There are more claimants
than can be satisfied, and my claims are not very strong. It is scarcely
a disappointment to me. I shall continue in public life; but, so far as
political responsibility is concerned, I would rather wait. I have some
fancies on that head, but I will not trouble you with them. My time,
therefore, is at my command; and so," he added smilingly, "I can attend
to the education of Prince Florestan."

"Do you hear that, Florestan?" said the lady to her son; "I told you we
had a friend. Thank Mr. Wilton."

And the young Prince bowed as before, but with a more serious
expression. He, however, said nothing.

"I see you have not forgotten your most delightful pursuit," said Mr.
Wilton, and he looked towards the musical instruments.

"No," said the lady; "throned or discrowned, music has ever been the
charm or consolation of my life."

"Pleasure should follow business," said Mr. Wilton, "and we have
transacted ours. Would it be too bold if I asked again to hear those
tones which have so often enchanted me?"

"My voice has not fallen off," said the lady, "for you know it was never
first-rate. But they were kind enough to say it had some expression,
probably because I generally sang my own words to my own music. I will
sing you my farewell to Florestan," she added gaily, and took up her
guitar, and then in tones of melancholy sweetness, breaking at last into
a gushing burst of long-controlled affection, she expressed the agony
and devotion of a mother's heart. Mr. Wilton was a little agitated;
her son left the room. The mother turned round with a smiling face, and
said, "The darling cannot bear to hear it, but I sing it on purpose, to
prepare him for the inevitable."

"He is soft-hearted," said Mr. Wilton.

"He is the most affectionate of beings," replied the mother.
"Affectionate and mysterious. I can say no more. I ought to tell you his
character. I cannot. You may say he may have none. I do not know. He has
abilities, for he acquires knowledge with facility, and knows a
great deal for a boy. But he never gives an opinion. He is silent and
solitary. Poor darling! he has rarely had companions, and that may be
the cause. He seems to me always to be thinking."

"Well, a public school will rouse him from his reveries," said Mr.
Wilton.

"As he is away at this moment, I will say that which I should not care
to say before his face," said the lady. "You are about to do me a great
service, not the first; and before I leave this, we may--we must--meet
again more than once, but there is no time like the present. The
separation between Florestan and myself may be final. It is sad to think
of such things, but they must be thought of, for they are probable.
I still look in a mirror, Sidney; I am not so frightened by what has
occurred since we first met, to be afraid of that--but I never deceive
myself. I do not know what may be the magical effect of the raisins of
Malaga, but if it saves my life the grape cure will indeed achieve a
miracle. Do not look gloomy. Those who have known real grief seldom seem
sad. I have been struggling with sorrow for ten years, but I have got
through it with music and singing, and my boy. See now--he will be a
source of expense, and it will not do for you to be looking to a woman
for supplies. Women are generous, but not precise in money matters. I
have some excuse, for the world has treated me not very well. I never
got my pension regularly; now I never get it at all. So much for
the treaties, but everybody laughs at them. Here is the fortune of
Florestan, and I wish it all to be spent on his education," and she
took a case from her bosom. "They are not the crown jewels, though. The
memoirs I was reading the other day say I ran away with them. That is
false, like most things said of me. But these are gems of Golconda,
which I wish you to realise and expend for his service. They were the
gift of love, and they were worn in love."

"It is unnecessary," said Mr. Wilton, deprecating the offer by his
attitude.

"Hush!" said the lady. "I am still a sovereign to you, and I must be
obeyed."

Mr. Wilton took the case of jewels, pressed it to his lips, and then
placed it in the breast pocket of his coat. He was about to retire, when
the lady added, "I must give you this copy of my song."

"And you will write my name on it?"

"Certainly," replied the lady, as she went to the table and wrote, "For
Mr. Sidney Wilton, from AGRIPPINA."



CHAPTER V

In the meantime, power and prosperity clustered round the roof and
family of Ferrars. He himself was in the prime of manhood, with an
exalted position in the world of politics, and with a prospect of the
highest. The Government of which he was a member was not only deemed
strong, but eternal. The favour of the Court and the confidence of the
country were alike lavished upon it. The government of the Duke could
only be measured by his life, and his influence was irresistible. It was
a dictatorship of patriotism. The country, long accustomed to a strong
and undisturbed administration, and frightened by the changes and
catastrophes which had followed the retirement of Lord Liverpool, took
refuge in the powerful will and splendid reputation of a real hero.

Mrs. Ferrars was as ambitious of social distinction as her husband was
of political power. She was a woman of taste, but of luxurious taste.
She had a passion for splendour, which, though ever regulated by a fine
perception of the fitness of things, was still costly. Though her
mien was in general haughty, she flattered Zenobia, and consummately.
Zenobia, who liked handsome people, even handsome women, and persons who
were dressed beautifully, was quite won by Mrs. Ferrars, against whom
at first she was inclined to be a little prejudiced. There was an entire
alliance between them, and though Mrs. Ferrars greatly influenced and
almost ruled Zenobia, the wife of the minister was careful always to
acknowledge the Queen of Fashion as her suzerain.

The great world then, compared with the huge society of the present
period, was limited in its proportions, and composed of elements more
refined though far less various. It consisted mainly of the great landed
aristocracy, who had quite absorbed the nabobs of India, and had nearly
appropriated the huge West Indian fortunes. Occasionally, an eminent
banker or merchant invested a large portion of his accumulations in
land, and in the purchase of parliamentary influence, and was in
time duly admitted into the sanctuary. But those vast and successful
invasions of society by new classes which have since occurred, though
impending, had not yet commenced. The manufacturers, the railway kings,
the colossal contractors, the discoverers of nuggets, had not yet found
their place in society and the senate. There were then, perhaps, more
great houses open than at the present day, but there were very few
little ones. The necessity of providing regular occasions for the
assembling of the miscellaneous world of fashion led to the institution
of Almack's, which died out in the advent of the new system of
society, and in the fierce competition of its inexhaustible private
entertainments.

The season then was brilliant and sustained, but it was not flurried.
People did not go to various parties on the same night. They remained
where they were assembled, and, not being in a hurry, were more
agreeable than they are at the present day. Conversation was more
cultivated; manners, though unconstrained, were more stately; and the
world, being limited, knew itself much better. On the other hand, the
sympathies of society were more contracted than they are at present.
The pressure of population had not opened the heart of man. The world
attended to its poor in its country parishes, and subscribed and danced
for the Spitalfields weavers when their normal distress had overflowed,
but their knowledge of the people did not exceed these bounds, and the
people knew very little more about themselves. They were only half born.

The darkest hour precedes the dawn, and a period of unusual stillness
often, perhaps usually, heralds the social convulsion. At this moment
the general tranquillity and even content were remarkable. In politics
the Whigs were quite prepared to extend to the Duke the same provisional
confidence that had been accepted by Mr. Caning, and conciliation began
to be an accepted phrase, which meant in practice some share on their
part of the good things of the State. The country itself required
nothing. There was a general impression, indeed, that they had been
advancing at a rather rapid rate, and that it was as well that the reins
should be entrusted to a wary driver. Zenobia, who represented society,
was enraptured that the career of revolution had been stayed. She still
mourned over the concession of the Manchester and Liverpool Railway in a
moment of Liberal infatuation, but flattered herself that any extension
of the railway system might certainly be arrested, and on this head the
majority of society, perhaps even of the country, was certainly on her
side.

"I have some good news for you," said one of her young favourites as he
attended her reception. "We have prevented this morning the lighting of
Grosvenor Square by gas by a large majority."

"I felt confident that disgrace would never occur," said Zenobia,
triumphant. "And by a large majority! I wonder how Lord Pomeroy voted."

"Against us."

"How can one save this country?" exclaimed Zenobia. "I believe now the
story that he has ordered Lady Pomeroy not to go to the Drawing Room in
a sedan chair."

One bright May morning in the spring that followed the formation of the
government that was to last for ever, Mrs. Ferrars received the world
at a fanciful entertainment in the beautiful grounds of her Wimbledon
villa. The day was genial, the scene was flushed with roses and pink
thorns, and brilliant groups, amid bursts of music, clustered and
sauntered on the green turf of bowery lawns. Mrs. Ferrars, on a
rustic throne, with the wondrous twins in still more wonderful attire,
distributed alternate observations of sympathetic gaiety to a Russian
Grand Duke and to the serene heir of a German principality. And yet
there was really an expression on her countenance of restlessness,
not to say anxiety, which ill accorded with the dulcet tones and the
wreathed smiles which charmed her august companions. Zenobia, the great
Zenobia, had not arrived, and the hours were advancing. The Grand Duke
played with the beautiful and haughty infants, and the German Prince
inquired of Endymion whether he were destined to be one of His Majesty's
guards; but still Zenobia did not come, and Mrs. Ferrars could scarcely
conceal her vexation. But there was no real occasion for it. For even at
this moment, with avant-courier and outriders and badged postillions
on her four horses of race, the lodge-gates were opening for the
great lady, who herself appeared in the distance; and Mrs. Ferrars,
accompanied by her distinguished guests, immediately rose and advanced
to receive the Queen of Fashion. No one appreciated a royal presence
more highly than Zenobia. It was her habit to impress upon her noble
fellows of both sexes that there were relations of intimacy between
herself and the royal houses of Europe, which were not shared by her
class. She liked to play the part of a social mediator between the
aristocracy and royal houses. A German Serenity was her delight, but
a Russian Grand Duke was her embodiment of power and pomp, and sound
principles in their most authentic and orthodox form. And yet though she
addressed their highnesses with her usual courtly vivacity, and poured
forth inquiries which seemed to indicate the most familiar acquaintance
with the latest incidents from Schonbrunn or the Rhine, though she
embraced her hostess, and even kissed the children, the practised eye of
Mrs. Ferrars, whose life was a study of Zenobia, detected that her late
appearance had been occasioned by an important cause, and, what was
more, that Zenobia was anxious to communicate it to her. With feminine
tact Mrs. Ferrars moved on with her guests until the occasion offered
when she could present some great ladies to the princes; and then
dismissing the children on appropriate missions, she was not surprised
when Zenobia immediately exclaimed: "Thank heaven, we are at last
alone! You must have been surprised I was so late. Well, guess what has
happened?" and then as Mrs. Ferrars shook her head, she continued: "They
are all four out!"

"All four!"

"Yes; Lord Dudley, Lord Palmerston, and Charles Grant follow Huskisson.
I do not believe the first ever meant to go, but the Duke would not
listen to his hypocritical explanations, and the rest have followed. I
am surprised about Lord Dudley, as I know he loved his office."

"I am alarmed," said Mrs. Ferrars.

"Not the slightest cause for fear," exclaimed the intrepid Zenobia. "It
must have happened sooner or later. I am delighted at it. We shall now
have a cabinet of our own. They never would have rested till they had
brought in some Whigs, and the country hates the Whigs. No wonder, when
we remember that if they had had their way we should have been wearing
sabots at this time, with a French prefect probably in Holland House."

"And whom will they put in the cabinet?" inquired Mrs. Ferrars.

"Our good friends, I hope," said Zenobia, with an inspiring smile; "but
I have heard nothing about that yet. I am a little sorry about Lord
Dudley, as I think they have drawn him into their mesh; but as for the
other three, especially Huskisson and Lord Palmerston, I can tell you
the Duke has never had a quiet moment since they joined him. We shall
now begin to reign. The only mistake was ever to have admitted them. I
think now we have got rid of Liberalism for ever."



CHAPTER VI

Mr. Ferrars did not become a cabinet minister, but this was a vexation
rather than a disappointment, and transient. The unexpected vacancies
were filled by unexpected personages. So great a change in the frame
of the ministry, without any promotion for himself, was on the first
impression not agreeable, but reflection and the sanguine wisdom of
Zenobia soon convinced him that all was for the best, that the thought
of such rapid preferment was unreasonable, and that time and the due
season must inevitably bring all that he could desire, especially as
any term to the duration of the ministry was not now to be foreseen:
scarcely indeed possible. In short, it was shown to him that the
Tory party, renovated and restored, had entered upon a new lease of
authority, which would stamp its character on the remainder of the
nineteenth century, as Mr. Pitt and his school had marked its earlier
and memorable years.

And yet this very reconstruction of the government necessarily led to
an incident which, in its consequences, changed the whole character of
English politics, and commenced a series of revolutions which has not
yet closed.

One of the new ministers who had been preferred to a place which Mr.
Ferrars might have filled was an Irish gentleman, and a member for one
of the most considerable counties in his country. He was a good speaker,
and the government was deficient in debating power in the House of
Commons; he was popular and influential.

The return of a cabinet minister by a large constituency was more
appreciated in the days of close boroughs than at present. There was a
rumour that the new minister was to be opposed, but Zenobia laughed
the rumour to scorn. As she irresistibly remarked at one of her evening
gatherings, "Every landowner in the county is in his favour; therefore
it is impossible." The statistics of Zenobia were quite correct, yet
the result was different from what she anticipated. An Irish lawyer,
a professional agitator, himself a Roman Catholic and therefore
ineligible, announced himself as a candidate in opposition to the new
minister, and on the day of election, thirty thousand peasants, setting
at defiance all the landowners of the county, returned O'Connell at the
head of the poll, and placed among not the least memorable of historical
events--the Clare election.

This event did not, however, occur until the end of the year 1828, for
the state of the law then prevented the writ from being moved until that
time, and during the whole of that year the Ferrars family had pursued
a course of unflagging display. Courage, expenditure, and tact combined,
had realised almost the height of that social ambition to which Mrs.
Ferrars soared. Even in the limited and exclusive circle which then
prevailed, she began to be counted among the great dames. As for the
twins, they seemed quite worthy of their beautiful and luxurious mother.
Proud, wilful, and selfish, they had one redeeming quality, an intense
affection for each other. The sister seemed to have the commanding
spirit, for Endymion was calm, but if he were ruled by his sister, she
was ever willing to be his slave, and to sacrifice every consideration
to his caprice and his convenience.

The year 1829 was eventful, but to Ferrars more agitating than anxious.
When it was first known that the head of the cabinet, whose colleague
had been defeated at Clare, was himself about to propose the
emancipation of the Roman Catholics, there was a thrill throughout the
country; but after a time the success of the operation was not doubted,
and was anticipated as a fresh proof of the irresistible fortunes of the
heroic statesman. There was some popular discontent in the country
at the proposal, but it was mainly organised and stimulated by the
Dissenters, and that section of Churchmen who most resembled them.
The High Church party, the descendants of the old connection which had
rallied round Sacheverell, had subsided into formalism, and shrank from
any very active co-operation with their evangelical brethren.

The English Church had no competent leaders among the clergy. The spirit
that has animated and disturbed our latter times seemed quite dead, and
no one anticipated its resurrection. The bishops had been selected from
college dons, men profoundly ignorant of the condition and the wants of
the country. To have edited a Greek play with second-rate success, or
to have been the tutor of some considerable patrician, was the
qualification then deemed desirable and sufficient for an office, which
at this day is at least reserved for eloquence and energy. The social
influence of the episcopal bench was nothing. A prelate was rarely seen
in the saloons of Zenobia. It is since the depths of religious
thought have been probed, and the influence of woman in the spread
and sustenance of religious feeling has again been recognised, that
fascinating and fashionable prelates have become favoured guests in the
refined saloons of the mighty, and, while apparently indulging in the
vanities of the hour, have re-established the influence which in old
days guided a Matilda or the mother of Constantine.

The end of the year 1829, however, brought a private event of moment to
the Ferrars family. The elder Mr. Ferrars died. The world observed at
the time how deeply affected his son was at this event. The relations
between father and son had always been commendable, but the world was
hardly prepared for Mr. Ferrars, junior, being so entirely overwhelmed.
It would seem that nothing but the duties of public life could have
restored him to his friends, and even these duties he relinquished
for an unusual time. The world was curious to know the amount of his
inheritance, but the proof of the will was unusually delayed, and public
events soon occurred which alike consigned the will and the will-maker
to oblivion.



CHAPTER VII

The Duke of Wellington applied himself to the treatment of the critical
circumstances of 1830 with that blended patience and quickness of
perception to which he owed the success of so many campaigns. Quite
conscious of the difficulties he had to encounter, he was nevertheless
full of confidence in his ability to control them. It is probable that
the paramount desire of the Duke in his effort to confirm his power was
to rally and restore the ranks of the Tory party, disturbed rather than
broken up by the passing of the Relief Bill. During the very heat of
the struggle it was significantly observed that the head of the powerful
family of Lowther, in the House of Commons, was never asked to resign
his office, although he himself and his following voted invariably
against the Government measure. The order the day was the utmost
courtesy to the rebels, who were treated, as some alleged, with more
consideration than the compliant. At the same time the desire of the
Whigs to connect, perhaps even to merge themselves with the ministerial
ranks, was not neglected. A Whig had been appointed to succeed
the eccentric and too uncompromising Wetherell in the office of
attorney-general, other posts had been placed at their disposal, and one
even, an old companion in arms of the Duke, had entered the cabinet.
The confidence in the Duke's star was not diminished, and under
ordinary circumstances this balanced strategy would probably have
been successful. But it was destined to cope with great and unexpected
events.

The first was the unexpected demise of the crown. The death of King
George the Fourth at the end of the month of June, according to the then
existing constitution, necessitated a dissolution of parliament, and so
deprived the minister of that invaluable quality of time, necessary
to soften and win back his estranged friends. Nevertheless, it is not
improbable, that the Duke might still have succeeded, had it not been
for the occurrence of the French insurrection of 1830, in the very heat
of the preparations for the general election in England. The Whigs who
found the Duke going to the country without that reconstruction of his
ministry on which they had counted, saw their opportunity and seized it.
The triumphant riots of Paris were dignified into "the three glorious
days," and the three glorious days were universally recognised as
the triumph of civil and religious liberty. The names of Polignac
and Wellington were adroitly connected together, and the phrase
Parliamentary Reform began to circulate.

It was Zenobia's last reception for the season; on the morrow she was
about to depart for her county, and canvass for her candidates. She was
still undaunted, and never more inspiring. The excitement of the times
was reflected in her manner. She addressed her arriving guests as they
made their obeisance to her, asked for news and imparted it before she
could be answered, declared that nothing had been more critical
since '93, that there was only one man who was able to deal with the
situation, and thanked Heaven that he was not only in England, but in
her drawing-room.

Ferrars, who had been dining with his patron, Lord Pomeroy, and had
the satisfaction of feeling, that at any rate his return to the new
parliament was certain, while helping himself to coffee could not
refrain from saying in a low tone to a gentleman who was performing the
same office, "Our Whig friends seem in high spirits, baron."

The gentleman thus addressed was Baron Sergius, a man of middle age. His
countenance was singularly intelligent, tempered with an expression
mild and winning. He had attended the Congress of Vienna to represent
a fallen party, a difficult and ungracious task, but he had shown
such high qualities in the fulfilment of his painful duties--so much
knowledge, so much self-control, and so much wise and unaffected
conciliation--that he had won universal respect, and especially with the
English plenipotentiaries, so that when he visited England, which he did
frequently, the houses of both parties were open to him, and he was as
intimate with the Whigs as he was with the great Duke, by whom he was
highly esteemed.

"As we have got our coffee, let us sit down," said the baron, and they
withdrew to a settee against the wall.

"You know I am a Liberal, and have always been a Liberal," said the
baron; "I know the value of civil and religious liberty, for I was
born in a country where we had neither, and where we have since enjoyed
either very fitfully. Nothing can be much drearier than the present lot
of my country, and it is probable that these doings at Paris may help my
friends a little, and they may again hold up their heads for a time; but
I have seen too much, and am too old, to indulge in dreams. You are a
young man and will live to see what I can only predict. The world is
thinking of something else than civil and religious liberty. Those are
phrases of the eighteenth century. The men who have won these 'three
glorious days' at Paris, want neither civilisation nor religion. They
will not be content till they have destroyed both. It is possible that
they may be parried for a time; that the adroit wisdom of the house of
Orleans, guided by Talleyrand, may give this movement the resemblance,
and even the character, of a middle-class revolution. It is no such
thing; the barricades were not erected by the middle class. I know these
people; it is a fraternity, not a nation. Europe is honeycombed with
their secret societies. They are spread all over Spain. Italy is
entirely mined. I know more of the southern than the northern nations;
but I have been assured by one who should know that the brotherhood are
organised throughout Germany and even in Russia. I have spoken to
the Duke about these things. He is not indifferent, or altogether
incredulous, but he is so essentially practical that he can only deal
with what he sees. I have spoken to the Whig leaders. They tell me that
there is only one specific, and that a complete one--constitutional
government; that with representative institutions, secret societies
cannot co-exist. I may be wrong, but it seems to me that with these
secret societies representative institutions rather will disappear."



CHAPTER VIII

What unexpectedly took place in the southern part of England, and
especially in the maritime counties, during the autumn of 1830, seemed
rather to confirm the intimations of Baron Sergius. The people in the
rural districts had become disaffected. Their discontent was generally
attributed to the abuses of the Poor Law, and to the lowness of
their wages. But the abuses of the Poor Law, though intolerable, were
generally in favour of the labourer, and though wages in some parts
were unquestionably low, it was observed that the tumultuous assemblies,
ending frequently in riot, were held in districts where this cause did
not prevail. The most fearful feature of the approaching anarchy was the
frequent acts of incendiaries. The blazing homesteads baffled the feeble
police and the helpless magistrates; and the government had reason to
believe that foreign agents were actively promoting these mysterious
crimes.

Amid partial discontent and general dejection came the crash of the
Wellington ministry, and it required all the inspiration of Zenobia
to sustain William Ferrars under the trial. But she was undaunted and
sanguine as a morning in spring. Nothing could persuade her that the
Whigs could ever form a government, and she was quite sure that the
clerks in the public offices alone could turn them out. When the Whig
government was formed, and its terrible programme announced, she laughed
it to scorn, and derided with inexhaustible merriment the idea of the
House of Commons passing a Reform Bill. She held a great assembly the
night that General Gascoyne defeated the first measure, and passed an
evening of ecstasy in giving and receiving congratulations. The morrow
brought a graver brow, but still an indomitable spirit, and through all
these tempestuous times Zenobia never quailed, though mobs burnt the
castles of dukes and the palaces of bishops.

Serious as was the state of affairs to William Ferrars, his condition
was not so desperate as that of some of his friends. His seat at least
was safe in the new parliament that was to pass a Reform Bill. As
for the Tories generally, they were swept off the board. Scarcely a
constituency, in which was a popular element, was faithful to them. The
counties in those days were the great expounders of popular principles,
and whenever England was excited, which was rare, she spoke through her
freeholders. In this instance almost every Tory knight of the shire lost
his seat except Lord Chandos, the member for Buckinghamshire, who owed
his success entirely to his personal popularity. "Never mind," said
Zenobia, "what does it signify? The Lords will throw it out."

And bravely and unceasingly she worked for this end. To assist this
purpose it was necessary that a lengthened and powerful resistance to
the measure should be made in the Commons; that the public mind should
be impressed with its dangerous principles, and its promoters cheapened
by the exposure of their corrupt arrangements and their inaccurate
details. It must be confessed that these objects were resolutely kept
in view, and that the Tory opposition evinced energy and abilities
not unworthy of a great parliamentary occasion. Ferrars particularly
distinguished himself. He rose immensely in the estimation of the House,
and soon the public began to talk of him. His statistics about the
condemned boroughs were astounding and unanswerable: he was the only man
who seemed to know anything of the elements of the new ones. He was as
eloquent too as exact,--sometimes as fervent as Burke, and always as
accurate as Cocker.

"I never thought it was in William Ferrars," said a member, musingly, to
a companion as they walked home one night; "I always thought him a good
man of business, and all that sort of thing--but, somehow or other, I
did not think this was in him."

"Well, he has a good deal at stake, and that brings it out of a fellow,"
said his friend.

It was, however, pouring water upon sand. Any substantial resistance
to the measure was from the first out of the question. Lord Chandos
accomplished the only important feat, and that was the enfranchisement
of the farmers. This perpetual struggle, however, occasioned a vast deal
of excitement, and the actors in it often indulged in the wild credulity
of impossible expectations. The saloon of Zenobia was ever thronged, and
she was never more confident than when the bill passed the Commons. She
knew that the King would never give his assent to the bill. His
Majesty had had quite enough of going down in hackney coaches to carry
revolutions. After all, he was the son of good King George, and the
court would save the country, as it had often done before. "But it will
not come to that," she added. "The Lords will do their duty."

"But Lord Waverley tells me," said Ferrars, "that there are forty of
them who were against the bill last year who will vote for the second
reading."

"Never mind Lord Waverley and such addlebrains," said Zenobia, with a
smile of triumphant mystery. "So long as we have the court, the Duke,
and Lord Lyndhurst on our side, we can afford to laugh at such conceited
poltroons. His mother was my dearest friend, and I know he used to have
fits. Look bright," she continued; "things never were better. Before a
week has passed these people will be nowhere."

"But how it is possible?"

"Trust me."

"I always do--and yet"----

"You never were nearer being a cabinet minister," she said, with a
radiant glance.

And Zenobia was right. Though the government, with the aid of the
waverers, carried the second reading of the bill, a week afterwards,
on May 7, Lord Lyndhurst rallied the waverers again to his standard and
carried his famous resolution, that the enfranchising clauses should
precede the disenfranchisement in the great measure. Lord Grey and his
colleagues resigned, and the King sent for Lord Lyndhurst. The bold
chief baron advised His Majesty to consult the Duke of Wellington, and
was himself the bearer of the King's message to Apsley House. The Duke
found the King "in great distress," and he therefore did not hesitate in
promising to endeavour to form a ministry.

"Who was right?" said Zenobia to Mr. Ferrars. "He is so busy he could
not write to you, but he told me to tell you to call at Apsley House at
twelve to-morrow. You will be in the cabinet."

"I have got it at last!" said Ferrars to himself. "It is worth living
for and at any peril. All the cares of life sink into insignificance
under such circumstances. The difficulties are great, but their very
greatness will furnish the means of their solution. The Crown cannot be
dragged in the mud, and the Duke was born for conquest."

A day passed, and another day, and Ferrars was not again summoned. The
affair seemed to hang fire. Zenobia was still brave, but Ferrars, who
knew her thoroughly, could detect her lurking anxiety. Then she told him
in confidence that Sir Robert made difficulties, "but there is nothing
in it," she added. "The Duke has provided for everything, and he means
Sir Robert to be Premier. He could not refuse that; it would be almost
an act of treason." Two days after she sent for Mr. Ferrars, early
in the morning, and received him in her boudoir. Her countenance was
excited, but serious. "Don't be alarmed," she said; "nothing will
prevent a government being formed, but Sir Robert has thrown us over;
I never had confidence in him. It is most provoking, as Mr. Baring had
joined us, and it was such a good name for the City. But the failure of
one man is the opportunity of another. We want a leader in the House of
Commons. He must be a man who can speak; of experience, who knows the
House, its forms, and all that. There is only one man indicated. You
cannot doubt about him. I told you honours would be tumbling on your
head. You are the man; you are to have one of the highest offices in the
cabinet, and lead the House of Commons."

"Peel declines," said Ferrars, speaking slowly and shaking his head.
"That is very serious."

"For himself," said Zenobia, "not for you. It makes your fortune."

"The difficulties seem too great to contend with."

"What difficulties are there? You have got the court, and you have got
the House of Lords. Mr. Pitt was not nearly so well off, for he had
never been in office, and had at the same time to fight Lord North and
that wicked Mr. Fox, the orator of the day, while you have only got Lord
Althorp, who can't order his own dinner."

"I am in amazement," said Ferrars, and he seemed plunged in thought.

"But you do not hesitate?"

"No," he said, looking up dreamily, for he had been lost in abstraction;
and speaking in a measured and hollow voice, "I do not hesitate." Then
resuming a brisk tone he said, "This is not an age for hesitation; if
asked, I will do the deed."

At this moment there was a tap at the door, and the groom of the
chambers brought in a note for Mr. Ferrars, which had been forwarded
from his own residence, and which requested his presence at Apsley
House. Having read it, he gave it to Zenobia, who exclaimed with
delight, "Do not lose a moment. I am so glad to have got rid of Sir
Robert with his doubts and his difficulties. We want new blood."

That was a wonderful walk for William Ferrars, from St. James' Square to
Apsley House. As he moved along, he was testing his courage and capacity
for the sharp trials that awaited him. He felt himself not unequal
to conjectures in which he had never previously indulged even in
imagination. His had been an ambitious, rather than a soaring spirit. He
had never contemplated the possession of power except under the aegis of
some commanding chief. Now it was for him to control senates and guide
councils. He screwed himself up to the sticking-point. Desperation is
sometimes as powerful an inspirer as genius.

The great man was alone,--calm, easy, and courteous. He had sent for
Mr. Ferrars, because having had one interview with him, in which his
co-operation had been requested in the conduct of affairs, the Duke
thought it was due to him to give him the earliest intimation of the
change of circumstances. The vote of the house of Commons on the motion
of Lord Ebrington had placed an insurmountable barrier to the formation
of a government, and his Grace had accordingly relinquished the
commission with which he had been entrusted by the King.



CHAPTER IX

Availing himself of his latch-key, Ferrars re-entered his home
unnoticed. He went at once to his library, and locked the door of the
apartment. There sitting before his desk, he buried his face in his
hands and remained in that posture for a considerable time.

They were tumultuous and awful thoughts that passed over his brain.
The dreams of a life were dissipated, and he had to encounter the stern
reality of his position--and that was Ruin. He was without hope and
without resource. His debts were vast; his patrimony was a fable; and
the mysterious inheritance of his wife had been tampered with. The
elder Ferrars had left an insolvent estate; he had supported his son
liberally, but latterly from his son's own resources. The father had
made himself the principal trustee of the son's marriage settlement. His
colleague, a relative of the heiress, had died, and care was taken that
no one should be substituted in his stead. All this had been discovered
by Ferrars on his father's death, but ambition, and the excitement of
a life of blended elation and peril, had sustained him under the
concussion. One by one every chance had vanished: first his private
means and then his public prospects; he had lost office, and now he was
about to lose parliament. His whole position, so long, and carefully,
and skilfully built up, seemed to dissolve and dissipate into
insignificant fragments. And now he had to break the situation to his
wife. She was to become the unprepared partner of the secret which had
gnawed at his heart for years, during which to her his mien had often
been smiling and always serene. Mrs. Ferrars was at home, and alone,
in her luxurious boudoir, and he went to her at once. After years
of dissimulation, now that all was over, Ferrars could not bear the
suspense of four-and-twenty hours.

It was difficult to bring her into a mood of mind capable of
comprehending a tithe of of what she had to learn; and yet the darkest
part of the tale she was never to know. Mrs. Ferrars, though singularly
intuitive, shrank from controversy, and settled everything by
contradiction and assertion. She maintained for a long time that what
her husband communicated to her could not be; that it was absurd and
even impossible. After a while, she talked of selling her diamonds
and reducing her equipage, sacrificing which she assumed would put
everything right. And when she found her husband still grave and still
intimating that the sacrifices must be beyond all this, and that they
must prepare for the life and habits of another social sphere, she
became violent, and wept and declared her wrongs; that she had been
deceived and outraged and infamously treated.

Remembering how long and with what apparent serenity in her presence he
had endured his secret woes, and how one of the principal objects of his
life had ever been to guard her even from a shade of solicitude, even
the restrained Ferrars was affected; his countenance changed and his
eyes became suffused. When she observed this, she suddenly threw her
arms round his neck and with many embraces, amid sighs and tears,
exclaimed, "O William! if we love each other, what does anything
signify?"

And what could anything signify under such circumstances and on such
conditions? As Ferrars pressed his beautiful wife to his heart, he
remembered only his early love, which seemed entirely to revive.
Unconsciously to himself, too, he was greatly relieved by this burst of
tenderness on her part, for the prospect of this interview had been most
distressful to him. "My darling," he said, "ours is not a case of common
imprudence or misfortune. We are the victims of a revolution, and we
must bear our lot as becomes us under such circumstances. Individual
misfortunes are merged in the greater catastrophe of the country."

"That is the true view," said his wife; "and, after all, the poor King
of France is much worse off than we are. However, I cannot now buy the
Duchesse of Sevres' lace, which I had promised her to do. It is rather
awkward. However, the best way always is to speak the truth. I must tell
the duchess I am powerless, and that we are the victims of a revolution,
like herself."

Then they began to talk quite cosily together over their prospects, he
sitting on the sofa by her side and holding her hand. Mrs. Ferrars would
not hear of retiring to the continent. "No," she said, with all her
sanguine vein returning, "you always used to say I brought you luck, and
I will bring you luck yet. There must be a reaction. The wheel will turn
and bring round our friends again. Do not let us then be out of the way.
Your claims are immense. They must do something for you. They ought to
give you India, and if we only set our mind upon it, we shall get it.
Depend upon it, things are not so bad as they seem. What appear to be
calamities are often the sources of fortune. I would much sooner that
you should be Governor-General than a cabinet minister. That odious
House of Commons is very wearisome. I am not sure any constitution
can bear it very long. I am not sure whether I would not prefer being
Governor-General of India even to being Prime-Minister."



CHAPTER X

In consequence of the registration under the Reform Act it was not
possible for parliament to be dissolved, and an appeal made to the new
constituency, until the end of the year. This was advantageous to Mr.
Ferrars, and afforded him six months of personal security to arrange his
affairs. Both husband and wife were proud, and were anxious to quit the
world with dignity. All were so busy about themselves at that period,
and the vicissitudes of life between continental revolutions and English
reform so various and extensive, that it was not difficult to avoid the
scrutiny of society. Mrs. Ferrars broke to Zenobia that, as her husband
was no longer to be in parliament, they had resolved to retire for some
time to a country life, though, as Mr. Ferrars had at length succeeded
in impressing on his wife that their future income was to be counted by
hundreds, rather than thousands, it was difficult for her to realise a
rural establishment that should combine dignity and economy. Without,
however, absolutely alleging the cause, she contrived to baffle the
various propositions of this kind which the energetic Zenobia made to
her, and while she listened with apparent interest to accounts of deer
parks, and extensive shooting, and delightful neighbourhoods, would just
exclaim, "Charming! but rather more, I fancy, than we require, for we
mean to be very quiet till my girl is presented."

That young lady was now thirteen, and though her parents were careful
to say nothing in her presence which would materially reveal their real
situation, for which they intended very gradually to prepare her, the
scrutinising powers with which nature had prodigally invested their
daughter were not easily baffled. She asked no questions, but nothing
seemed to escape the penetrative glance of that large dark blue eye,
calm amid all the mystery, and tolerating rather than sharing the
frequent embrace of her parents. After a while her brother came home
from Eton, to which he was never to return. A few days before this
event she became unusually restless, and even agitated. When he arrived,
neither Mr. nor Mrs. Ferrars was at home. He knocked gaily at the
door, a schoolboy's knock, and was hardly in the hall when his name
was called, and he caught the face of his sister, leaning over the
balustrade of the landing-place. He ran upstairs with wondrous speed,
and was in an instant locked in her arms. She kissed him and kissed him
again, and when he tried to speak, she stopped his mouth with kisses.
And then she said, "Something has happened. What it is I cannot make
out, but we are to have no more ponies."



CHAPTER XI

At the foot of the Berkshire downs, and itself on a gentle elevation,
there is an old hall with gable ends and lattice windows, standing in
grounds which once were stately, and where there are yet glade-like
terraces of yew trees, which give an air of dignity to a neglected
scene. In the front of the hall huge gates of iron, highly wrought, and
bearing an ancient date as well as the shield of a noble house, opened
on a village green, round which were clustered the cottages of the
parish with only one exception, and that was the vicarage house, a
modern building, not without taste, and surrounded by a small but
brilliant garden. The church was contiguous to the hall, and had been
raised by the lord on a portion of his domain. Behind the hall and its
enclosure, the country was common land but picturesque. It had once
been a beech forest, and though the timber had been greatly cleared,
the green land was still occasionally dotted, sometimes with groups and
sometimes with single trees, while the juniper which here abounded, and
rose to a great height, gave a rich wildness to the scene, and sustained
its forest character.

Hurstley had for many years been deserted by the family to which it
belonged. Indeed, it was rather difficult to say to whom it did belong.
A dreary fate had awaited an ancient, and, in its time, even not
immemorable home. It had fallen into chancery, and for the last
half-century had either been uninhabited or let to strangers. Mr.
Ferrars' lawyer was in the chancery suit, and knew all about it.
The difficulty of finding a tenant for such a place, never easy, was
increased by its remoteness from any railway communication, which was
now beginning to figure as an important element in such arrangements.
The Master in Chancery would be satisfied with a nominal rent, provided
only he could obtain a family of consideration to hold under him. Mr.
Ferrars was persuaded to go down alone to reconnoitre the place. It
pleased him. It was aristocratic, yet singularly inexpensive. The house
contained an immense hall, which reached the roof, and which would have
become a baronial mansion, and a vast staircase in keeping; but the
living rooms were moderate, even small, in dimensions, and not numerous.
The land he was expected to take consisted only of a few meadows,
which he could let if necessary, and a single labourer could manage the
garden.

Mrs. Ferrars was so delighted with the description of the galleried
hall, that she resolved on their taking Hurstley without even her
previously visiting it. The only things she cared for in the country
were a hall and a pony-chair.

All the carriages were sold, and all the servants discharged. Two or
three maid-servants and a man who must be found in the country, who
could attend them at table, and valet alike his master and the pony, was
the establishment which was to succeed the crowd of retainers who had
so long lounged away their lives in the saloons of Hill Street, and the
groves and gardens of Wimbledon.

Mr. and Mrs. Ferrars and their daughter travelled down to Hurstley in a
post-chaise; Endymion, with the servants, was sent by the stage-coach,
which accomplished the journey of sixty miles in ten hours. Myra said
little during the journey, but an expression of ineffable contempt and
disgust seemed permanent on her countenance. Sometimes she shrugged her
shoulders, sometimes she raised her eyebrows, and sometimes she turned
up her nose. And then she gave a sigh; but it was a sigh not of sorrow,
but of impatience. Her parents lavished attentions on her which she
accepted without recognition, only occasionally observing that she
wished she had gone with Endymion.

It was dusk when they arrived at Hurstley, and the melancholy hour did
not tend to raise their spirits. However, the gardener's wife had lit a
good fire of beechwood in the drawing-room, and threw as they entered
a pannier of cones upon the logs, which crackled and cheerfully blazed
away. Even Myra seemed interested by the novelty of the wood fire and
the iron dogs. She remained by their side, looking abstractedly on the
expiring logs, while her parents wandered about the house and examined
or prepared the requisite arrangements. While they were yet absent,
there was some noise and a considerable bustle in the hall. Endymion
and his retinue had arrived. Then Myra immediately roused herself, and
listened like a startled deer. But the moment she caught his voice, an
expression of rapture suffused her countenance. It beamed with vivacity
and delight. She rushed away, pushed through the servants and the
luggage, embraced him and said, "We will go over the house and see our
rooms together."

Wandering without a guide and making many mistakes, fortunately they
soon met their parents. Mrs. Ferrars good-naturedly recommenced her
labours of inspection, and explained all her plans. There was a very
pretty room for Endymion, and to-morrow it was to be very comfortable.
He was quite pleased. Then they were shown Myra's room, but she said
nothing, standing by with a sweet scoff, as it were, lingering on her
lips, while her mother disserted on all the excellences of the chamber.
Then they were summoned to tea. The gardener's wife was quite a leading
spirit, and had prepared everything; the curtains were drawn, and the
room lighted; an urn hissed; there were piles of bread and butter and a
pyramid of buttered toast. It was wonderful what an air of comfort had
been conjured up in this dreary mansion, and it was impossible for
the travellers, however wearied or chagrined, to be insensible to the
convenience and cheerfulness of all around them.

When the meal was over, the children sate together in whispering tattle.
Mrs. Ferrars had left the room to see if all was ready for their hour of
retirement, and Mr. Ferrars was walking up and down the room, absorbed
in thought.

"What do you think of it all, Endymion?" whispered Myra to her twin.

"I rather like it," he said.

She looked at him with a glance of blended love and mockery, and then
she said in his ear, "I feel as if we had fallen from some star."



CHAPTER XII

The morrow brought a bright autumnal morn, and every one woke, if not
happy, interested. There was much to see and much to do. The dew was so
heavy that the children were not allowed to quit the broad gravel walk
that bounded one side of the old house, but they caught enticing vistas
of the gleamy glades, and the abounding light and shade softened and
adorned everything. Every sight and sound too was novel, and from
the rabbit that started out of the grove, stared at them and then
disappeared, to the jays chattering in the more distant woods, all was
wonderment at least for a week. They saw squirrels for the first time,
and for the first time beheld a hedgehog. Their parents were busy in
the house; Mr. Ferrars unpacking and settling his books, and his wife
arranging some few articles of ornamental furniture that had been saved
from the London wreck, and rendering their usual room of residence as
refined as was in her power. It is astonishing how much effect a woman
of taste can produce with a pretty chair or two full of fancy and
colour, a table clothed with a few books, some family miniatures, a
workbag of rich material, and some toys that we never desert. "I have
not much to work with," said Mrs. Ferrars, with a sigh, "but I think the
colouring is pretty."

On the second day after their arrival, the rector and his wife made them
a visit. Mr. Penruddock was a naturalist, and had written the history of
his parish. He had escaped being an Oxford don by being preferred early
to this college living, but he had married the daughter of a don, who
appreciated the grand manners of their new acquaintances, and who, when
she had overcome their first rather awe-inspiring impression, became
communicative and amused them much with her details respecting the
little world in which they were now to live. She could not conceal
her wonderment at the beauty of the twins, though they were no longer
habited in those dresses which had once astonished even Mayfair.

Part of the scheme of the new life was the education of the children
by their parents. Mr. Ferrars had been a distinguished scholar, and was
still a good one. He was patient and methodical, and deeply interested
in his contemplated task. So far as disposition was concerned the pupil
was not disappointing. Endymion was of an affectionate disposition and
inclined to treat his father with deference. He was gentle and docile;
but he did not acquire knowledge with facility, and was remarkably
deficient in that previous information on which his father counted. The
other pupil was of a different temperament. She learned with a glance,
and remembered with extraordinary tenacity everything she had acquired.
But she was neither tender nor deferential, and to induce her to study
you could not depend on the affections, but only on her intelligence.
So she was often fitful, capricious, or provoking, and her mother,
who, though accomplished and eager, had neither the method nor the
self-restraint of Mr. Ferrars, was often annoyed and irritable. Then
there were scenes, or rather ebullitions on one side, for Myra was
always unmoved and enraging from her total want of sensibility.
Sometimes it became necessary to appeal to Mr. Ferrars, and her manner
to her father, though devoid of feeling, was at least not contemptuous.
Nevertheless, on the whole the scheme, as time went on, promised to be
not unsuccessful. Endymion, though not rapidly, advanced surely, and
made some amends for the years that had been wasted in fashionable
private schools and the then frivolity of Eton. Myra, who,
notwithstanding her early days of indulgence, had enjoyed the advantage
of admirable governesses, was well grounded in more than one modern
language, and she soon mastered them. And in due time, though much after
the period on which we are now touching, she announced her desire to
become acquainted with German, in those days a much rarer acquirement
than at present. Her mother could not help her in this respect, and that
was perhaps an additional reason for the study of this tongue, for Myra
was impatient of tuition, and not unjustly full of self-confidence.
She took also the keenest interest in the progress of her brother, made
herself acquainted with all his lessons, and sometimes helped him in
their achievement.

Though they had absolutely no acquaintance of any kind except the rector
and his family, life was not dull. Mr. Ferrars was always employed, for
besides the education of his children, he had systematically resumed
a habit in which he had before occasionally indulged, and that was
political composition. He had in his lofty days been the author of more
than one essay, in the most celebrated political publication of the
Tories, which had commanded attention and obtained celebrity. Many a
public man of high rank and reputation, and even more than one Prime
Minister, had contributed in their time to its famous pages, but never
without being paid. It was the organic law of this publication, that
gratuitous contributions should never be admitted. And in this principle
there was as much wisdom as pride. Celebrated statesmen would point with
complacency to the snuff-box or the picture which had been purchased by
their literary labour, and there was more than one bracelet on the arm
of Mrs. Ferrars, and more than one genet in her stable, which had been
the reward of a profound or a slashing article by William.

What had been the occasional diversion of political life was now to
be the source of regular income. Though living in profound solitude,
Ferrars had a vast sum of political experience to draw upon, and though
his training and general intelligence were in reality too exclusive and
academical for the stirring age which had now opened, and on which he
had unhappily fallen, they nevertheless suited the audience to which
they were particularly addressed. His Corinthian style, in which the
Maenad of Mr. Burke was habited in the last mode of Almack's, his
sarcasms against the illiterate and his invectives against the low, his
descriptions of the country life of the aristocracy contrasted with
the horrors of the guillotine, his Horatian allusions and his Virgilian
passages, combined to produce a whole which equally fascinated and
alarmed his readers.

These contributions occasioned some communications with the editor or
publisher of the Review, which were not without interest. Parcels came
down by the coach, enclosing not merely proof sheets, but frequently new
books--the pamphlet of the hour before it was published, or a volume
of discoveries in unknown lands. It was a link to the world they had
quitted without any painful associations. Otherwise their communications
with the outside world were slight and rare. It is difficult for us,
who live in an age of railroads, telegraphs, penny posts and penny
newspapers, to realise how uneventful, how limited in thought and
feeling, as well as in incident, was the life of an English family of
retired habits and limited means, only forty years ago. The whole world
seemed to be morally, as well as materially, "adscripti glebae."

Mr. and Mrs. Ferrars did not wish to move, but had they so wished, it
would have been under any circumstances for them a laborious and costly
affair. The only newspaper they saw was the "Evening Mail," which
arrived three times a week, and was the "Times" newspaper with all its
contents except its advertisements. As the "Times" newspaper had the
credit of mainly contributing to the passing of Lord Grey's Reform Bill,
and was then whispered to enjoy the incredible sale of twelve thousand
copies daily, Mr. Ferrars assumed that in its columns he would trace
the most authentic intimations of coming events. The cost of postage
was then so heavy, that domestic correspondence was necessarily very
restricted. But this vexatious limitation hardly applied to the Ferrars.
They had never paid postage. They were born and had always lived in
the franking world, and although Mr. Ferrars had now himself lost
the privilege, both official and parliamentary, still all their
correspondents were frankers, and they addressed their replies without
compunction to those who were free. Nevertheless, it was astonishing
how little in their new life they cared to avail themselves of this
correspondence. At first Zenobia wrote every week, almost every day, to
Mrs. Ferrars, but after a time Mrs. Ferrars, though at first pleased
by the attention, felt its recognition a burthen. Then Zenobia, who
at length, for the first time in her life, had taken a gloomy view of
affairs, relapsed into a long silence, and in fact had nearly forgotten
the Ferrars, for as she herself used to say, "How can one recollect
people whom one never meets?"

In the meantime, for we have been a little anticipating in our last
remarks, the family at Hurstley were much pleased with the country they
now inhabited. They made excursions of discovery into the interior of
their world, Mrs. Ferrars and Myra in the pony-chair, her husband
and Endymion walking by their side, and Endymion sometimes taking his
sister's seat against his wish, but in deference to her irresistible
will. Even Myra could hardly be insensible to the sylvan wildness of the
old chase, and the romantic villages in the wooded clefts of the downs.
As for Endymion he was delighted, and it seemed to him, perhaps he
unconsciously felt it, that this larger and more frequent experience of
nature was a compensation for much which they had lost.

After a time, when they had become a little acquainted with simple
neighbourhood, and the first impression of wildness and novelty had
worn out, the twins were permitted to walk together alone, though within
certain limits. The village and its vicinity was quite free, but they
were not permitted to enter the woods, and not to wander on the chase
out of sight of the mansion. These walks alone with Endymion were the
greatest pleasure of his sister. She delighted to make him tell her of
his life at Eton, and if she ever sighed it was when she lamented that
his residence there had been so short. Then they found an inexhaustible
fund of interest and sympathy in the past. They wondered if they ever
should have ponies again. "I think not," said Myra, "and yet how merry
to scamper together over this chase!"

"But they would not let us go," said Endymion, "without a groom."

"A groom!" exclaimed Myra, with an elfish laugh; "I believe, if the
truth were really known, we ought to be making our own beds and washing
our own dinner plates."

"And are you sorry, Myra, for all that has happened?" asked Endymion.

"I hardly know what has happened. They keep it very close. But I am too
astonished to be sorry. Besides, what is the use of whimpering?"

"I cried very much one day," said Endymion.

"Ah, you are soft, dear darling. I never cried in my life, except once
with rage."

At Christmas a new character appeared on the stage, the rector's son,
Nigel. He had completed a year with a private tutor, and was on the
eve of commencing his first term at Oxford, being eighteen, nearly
five years older than the twins. He was tall, with a countenance
of remarkable intelligence and power, though still softened by the
innocence and bloom of boyhood. He was destined to be a clergyman. The
twins were often thrown into his society, for though too old to be their
mere companion, his presence was an excuse for Mrs. Penruddock more
frequently joining them in their strolls, and under her auspices their
wanderings had no limit, except the shortness of the days; but they
found some compensation for this in their frequent visits to the
rectory, which was a cheerful and agreeable home, full of stuffed birds,
and dried plants, and marvellous fishes, and other innocent trophies and
triumphs over nature.



CHAPTER XIII

The tenant of the Manor Farm was a good specimen of his class; a
thorough Saxon, ruddy and bright visaged, with an athletic though rather
bulky frame, hardened by exposure to the seasons and constant exercise.
Although he was the tenant of several hundred acres, he had an eye to
the main chance in little things, which is a characteristic of farmers,
but he was good-natured and obliging, and while he foraged their pony,
furnished their woodyard with logs and faggots, and supplied them from
his dairy, he gratuitously performed for the family at the hall many
other offices which tended to their comfort and convenience, but which
cost him nothing.

Mr. Ferrars liked to have a chat every now and then with Farmer
Thornberry, who had a shrewd and idiomatic style of expressing his
limited, but in its way complete, experience of men and things, which
was amusing and interesting to a man of the world whose knowledge of
rural life was mainly derived from grand shooting parties at great
houses.

The pride and torment of Farmer Thornberry's life was his only child,
Job.

"I gave him the best of educations," said the farmer; "he had a much
better chance than I had myself, for I do not pretend to be a scholar,
and never was; and yet I cannot make head or tail of him. I wish you
would speak to him some day, sir. He goes against the land, and yet we
have been on it for three generations, and have nothing to complain of;
and he is a good farmer, too, is Job, none better; a little too fond of
experimenting, but then he is young. But I am very much afraid he will
leave me. I think it is this new thing the big-wigs have set up in
London that has put him wrong, for he is always reading their papers."

"And what is that?" said Mr. Ferrars.

"Well, they call themselves the Society for the Diffusion of Knowledge,
and Lord Brougham is at the head of it."

"Ah! he is a dangerous man," said Mr. Ferrars.

"Do you know, I think he is," said Farmer Thornberry, very seriously,
"and by this token, he says a knowledge of chemistry is necessary for
the cultivation of the soil."

"Brougham is a man who would say anything," said Mr. Ferrars, "and of
one thing you may be quite certain, that there is no subject which Lord
Brougham knows thoroughly. I have proved that, and if you ever have time
some winter evening to read something on the matter, I will lend you a
number of the 'Quarterly Review,' which might interest you."

"I wish you would lend it to Job," said the farmer.

Mr. Ferrars found Job not quite so manageable in controversy as his
father. His views were peculiar, and his conclusions certain. He had
more than a smattering too of political economy, a kind of knowledge
which Mr. Ferrars viewed with suspicion; for though he had himself been
looked upon as enlightened in this respect in the last years of Lord
Liverpool, when Lord Wallace and Mr. Huskisson were astonishing the
world, he had relapsed, after the schism of the Tory party, into
orthodoxy, and was satisfied that the tenets of the economists were mere
theories, or could only be reduced into practice by revolution.

"But it is a pleasant life, that of a farmer," said Mr. Ferrars to Job.

"Yes, but life should be something more than pleasant," said Job, who
always looked discontented; "an ox in a pasture has a pleasant life."

"Well, and why should it not be a profitable one, too?" said Mr.
Ferrars.

"I do not see my way to that," said Job moodily; "there is not much to
be got out of the land at any time, and still less on the terms we hold
it."

"But you are not high-rented!"

"Oh, rent is nothing, if everything else were right, but nothing is
right," said Job. "In the first place, a farmer is the only trader who
has no security for his capital."

"Ah! you want a lease?"

"I should be very sorry to have a lease like any that I have seen,"
replied Job. "We had one once in our family, and we keep it as a
curiosity. It is ten skins long, and more tyrannical nonsense was never
engrossed by man."

"But your family, I believe, has been on this estate for generations
now," said Ferrars, "and they have done well."

"They have done about as well as their stock. They have existed," said
Job; "nothing more."

"Your father always gives me quite the idea of a prosperous man," said
Mr. Ferrars.

"Whether he be or not I am sure I cannot say," said Job; "for as neither
he nor any of his predecessors ever kept any accounts, it is rather
difficult to ascertain their exact condition. So long as he has money
enough in his pocket to pay his labourers and buy a little stock, my
father, like every British farmer, is content. The fact is, he is a serf
as much as his men, and until we get rid of feudalism he will remain
so."

"These are strong opinions," said Mr. Ferrars, drawing himself up and
looking a little cold.

"Yes, but they will make their way," said Job. "So far as I myself am
concerned, I do not much care what happens to the land, for I do not
mean to remain on it; but I care for the country. For the sake of the
country I should like to see the whole thing upset."

"What thing?" asked Mr. Ferrars.

"Feudalism," said Job. "I should like to see this estate managed on the
same principles as they do their great establishments in the north
of England. Instead of feudalism, I would substitute the commercial
principle. I would have long leases without covenants; no useless
timber, and no game."

"Why, you would destroy the country," said Mr. Ferrars.

"We owe everything to the large towns," said Job.

"The people in the large towns are miserable," said Mr. Ferrars.

"They cannot be more miserable than the people in the country," said
Job.

"Their wretchedness is notorious," said Mr. Ferrars. "Look at their
riots."

"Well, we had Swing in the country only two or three years ago."

Mr. Ferrars looked sad. The reminiscence was too near and too fatal.
After a pause he said with an air of decision, and as if imparting a
state secret, "If it were not for the agricultural districts, the King's
army could not be recruited."

"Well, that would not break my heart," said Job.

"Why, my good fellow, you are a Radical!"

"They may call me what they like," said Job; "but it will not alter
matters. However, I am going among the Radicals soon, and then I shall
know what they are."

"And can you leave your truly respectable parent?" said Mr. Ferrars
rather solemnly, for he remembered his promise to Farmer Thornberry to
speak seriously to his son.

"Oh! my respectable parent will do very well without me, sir. Only let
him be able to drive into Bamford on market day, and get two or three
linendrapers to take their hats off to him, and he will be happy enough,
and always ready to die for our glorious Constitution."



CHAPTER XIV

Eighteen hundred and thirty-two, the darkest and most distressing year
in the life of Mr. Ferrars, closed in comparative calm and apparent
content. He was himself greatly altered, both in manner and appearance.
He was kind and gentle, but he was silent and rarely smiled. His hair
was grizzled, and he began to stoop. But he was always employed, and was
interested in his labours.

His sanguine wife bore up against their misfortunes with far more
animation. She was at first amused with her new life, and when she was
accustomed to it, she found a never-failing resource in her conviction
of a coming reaction. Mrs. Ferrars possessed most feminine qualities,
and many of them in excess. She could not reason, but her intuition was
remarkable. She was of opinion that "these people never could go on,"
and that they must necessarily be succeeded by William and his friends.
In vain her husband, when she pressed her views and convictions on him,
would shake his head over the unprecedented majority of the government,
and sigh while he acknowledged that the Tories absolutely did not now
command one fifth of the House of Commons; his shakes and sighs were
equally disregarded by her, and she persisted in her dreams of riding
upon elephants.

After all Mrs. Ferrars was right. There is nothing more remarkable in
political history than the sudden break-up of the Whig party after their
successful revolution of 1832. It is one of the most striking instances
on record of all the elements of political power being useless without a
commanding individual will. During the second year of their exile in the
Berkshire hills, affairs looked so black that it seemed no change could
occur except further and more calamitous revolution. Zenobia went to
Vienna that she might breathe the atmosphere of law and order, and
hinted to Mrs. Ferrars that probably she should never return--at least
not until Parliament met, when she trusted the House of Lords, if they
were not abolished in the interval, would save the country. And yet at
the commencement of the following year an old colleague of Mr. Ferrars
apprised him, in the darkest and deepest confidence, that "there was a
screw loose," and he must "look out for squalls."

In the meantime Mr. Ferrars increased and established his claims on his
party, if they ever did rally, by his masterly articles in their great
Review, which circumstances favoured and which kept up that increasing
feeling of terror and despair which then was deemed necessary for the
advancement of Conservative opinions.

At home a year or more had elapsed without change. The occasional
appearance of Nigel Penruddock was the only event. It was to all a
pleasing, and to some of the family a deeply interesting one. Nigel,
though a student and devoted to the holy profession for which he was
destined, was also a sportsman. His Christianity was muscular, and
Endymion, to whom he had taken a fancy, became the companion of his
pastimes. All the shooting of the estate was at Nigel's command, but as
there were no keepers, it was of course very rough work. Still it was a
novel and animating life for Endymion; and though the sport was slight,
the pursuit was keen. Then Nigel was a great fisherman, and here their
efforts had a surer return, for they dwelt in a land of trout streams,
and in their vicinity was a not inconsiderable river. It was an
adventure of delight to pursue some of these streams to their source,
throwing, as they rambled on, the fly in the rippling waters. Myra, too,
took some pleasure in these fishing expeditions, carrying their luncheon
and a German book in her wallet, and sitting quietly on the bank for
hours, when they had fixed upon some favoured pool for a prolonged
campaign.

Every time that Nigel returned home, a difference, and a striking
difference, was observed in him. His person, of course, became more
manly, his manner more assured, his dress more modish. It was impossible
to deny that he was extremely good-looking, interesting in his
discourse, and distinguished in his appearance. Endymion idolised him.
Nigel was his model. He imitated his manner, caught the tone of his
voice, and began to give opinions on subjects, sacred and profane.

After a hard morning's march, one day, as they were lolling on the turf
amid the old beeches and the juniper, Nigel said--

"What does Mr. Ferrars mean you to be, Endymion?"

"I do not know," said Endymion, looking perplexed.

"But I suppose you are to be something?"

"Yes; I suppose I must be something; because papa has lost his fortune."

"And what would you like to be?"

"I never thought about it," said Endymion.

"In my opinion there is only one thing for a man to be in this age,"
said Nigel peremptorily; "he should go into the Church."

"The Church!" said Endymion.

"There will soon be nothing else left," said Nigel. "The Church must
last for ever. It is built upon a rock. It was founded by God; all other
governments have been founded by men. When they are destroyed, and the
process of destruction seems rapid, there will be nothing left to govern
mankind except the Church."

"Indeed!" said Endymion; "papa is very much in favour of the Church,
and, I know, is writing something about it."

"Yes, but Mr. Ferrars is an Erastian," said Nigel; "you need not tell
him I said so, but he is one. He wants the Church to be the servant of
the State, and all that sort of thing, but that will not do any longer.
This destruction of the Irish bishoprics has brought affairs to a
crisis. No human power has the right to destroy a bishopric. It is a
divinely-ordained office, and when a diocese is once established, it is
eternal."

"I see," said Endymion, much interested.

"I wish," continued Nigel, "you were two or three years older, and Mr.
Ferrars could send you to Oxford. That is the place to understand these
things, and they will soon be the only things to understand. The rector
knows nothing about them. My father is thoroughly high and dry, and has
not the slightest idea of Church principles."

"Indeed!" said Endymion.

"It is quite a new set even at Oxford," continued Nigel; "but their
principles are as old as the Apostles, and come down from them,
straight."

"That is a long time ago," said Endymion.

"I have a great fancy," continued Nigel, without apparently attending to
him, "to give you a thorough Church education. It would be the making
of you. You would then have a purpose in life, and never be in doubt or
perplexity on any subject. We ought to move heaven and earth to induce
Mr. Ferrars to send you to Oxford."

"I will speak to Myra about it," said Endymion.

"I said something of this to your sister the other day," said Nigel,
"but I fear she is terribly Erastian. However, I will give you something
to read. It is not very long, but you can read it at your leisure,
and then we will talk over it afterwards, and perhaps I may give you
something else."

Endymion did not fail to give a report of this conversation and similar
ones to his sister, for he was in the habit of telling her everything.
She listened with attention, but not with interest, to his story. Her
expression was kind, but hardly serious. Her wondrous eyes gave him a
glance of blended mockery and affection. "Dear darling," she said, "if
you are to be a clergyman, I should like you to be a cardinal."



CHAPTER XV

The dark deep hints that had reached Mr. Ferrars at the beginning of
1834 were the harbingers of startling events. In the spring it began to
be rumoured among the initiated, that the mighty Reform Cabinet with its
colossal majority, and its testimonial goblets of gold, raised by the
penny subscriptions of the grateful people, was in convulsions, and
before the month of July had elapsed Lord Grey had resigned, under
circumstances which exhibited the entire demoralisation of his party.
Except Zenobia, every one was of the opinion that the King acted wisely
in entrusting the reconstruction of the Whig ministry to his late
Secretary of State, Lord Melbourne. Nevertheless, it could no longer be
concealed, nay, it was invariably admitted, that the political situation
had been largely and most unexpectedly changed, and that there was a
prospect, dim, perhaps, yet not undefinable, of the conduct of
public affairs again falling to the alternate management of two rival
constitutional parties.

Zenobia was so full of hope, and almost of triumph, that she induced
her lord in the autumn to assemble their political friends at one of his
great seats, and Mr. and Mrs. Ferrars were urgently invited to join the
party. But, after some hesitation, they declined this proposal. Had Mr.
Ferrars been as sanguine as his wife, he would perhaps have overcome
his strong disinclination to re-enter the world, but though no longer
despairing of a Tory revival, he was of opinion that a considerable
period, even several years, must elapse before its occurrence. Strange
to say, he found no difficulty in following his own humour through any
contrary disposition on the part of Mrs. Ferrars. With all her ambition
and passionate love of society, she was unwilling to return to that
stage, where she once had blazed, in a subdued and almost subordinate
position. In fact, it was an affair of the wardrobe. The queen of
costumes, whose fanciful and gorgeous attire even Zenobia was wont to
praise, could not endure a reappearance in old dresses. "I do not so
much care about my jewels, William," she said to her husband, "but one
must have new dresses."

It was a still mild day in November, a month which in the country, and
especially on the light soils, has many charms, and the whole Ferrars
family were returning home after an afternoon ramble on the chase. The
leaf had changed but had not fallen, and the vast spiral masses of the
dark green juniper effectively contrasted with the rich brown foliage of
the beech, varied occasionally by the scarlet leaves of the wild cherry
tree, that always mingles with these woods. Around the house were some
lime trees of large size, and at this period of the year their foliage,
still perfect, was literally quite golden. They seemed like trees in
some fairy tale of imprisoned princesses or wandering cavaliers, and
such they would remain, until the fatal night that brings the first
frost.

"There is a parcel from London," said the servant to Mr. Ferrars, as
they entered the house. "It is on your desk."

A parcel from London was one of the great events of their life. What
could it be? Perhaps some proofs, probably some books. Mr. Ferrars
entered his room alone. It was a very small brown paper parcel,
evidently not books. He opened it hastily, and disencumbered its
contents of several coverings. The contents took the form of a letter--a
single letter.

The handwriting was recognised, and he read the letter with an agitated
countenance, and then he opened the door of his room, and called loudly
for his wife, who was by his side in a few moments.

"A letter, my love, from Barron," he cried. "The King has dismissed
Lord Melbourne and sent for the Duke of Wellington, who has accepted the
conduct of affairs."

"You must go to town directly," said his wife. "He offered you the
Cabinet in 1832. No person has such a strong claim on him as you have."

"It does not appear that he is exactly prime minister," said Mr.
Ferrars, looking again at the letter. "They have sent for Peel, who is
at Rome, but the Duke is to conduct the government till he arrives."

"You must go to town immediately," repeated Mrs. Ferrars. "There is not
a moment to be lost. Send down to the Horse Shoe and secure an inside
place in the Salisbury coach. It reaches this place at nine to-morrow
morning. I will have everything ready. You must take a portmanteau and
a carpet-bag. I wonder if you could get a bedroom at the Rodneys'. It
would be so nice to be among old friends; they must feel for you. And
then it will be near the Carlton, which is a great thing. I wonder how
he will form his cabinet. What a pity he is not here!"

"It is a wonderful event, but the difficulties must be immense,"
observed Ferrars.

"Oh! you always see difficulties. I see none. The King is with us, the
country is disgusted. It is what I always said would be; the reaction is
complete."

"Well, we had better now go and tell the children," said Ferrars. "I
leave you all here for the first time," and he seemed to sigh.

"Well, I hope we shall soon join you," said Mrs. Ferrars. "It is the
very best time for hiring a house. What I have set my heart upon is the
Green Park. It will be near your office and not too near. I am sure I
could not live again in a street."

The children were informed that public events of importance had
occurred, that the King had changed his ministry, and that papa must go
up to town immediately and see the Duke of Wellington. The eyes of Mrs.
Ferrars danced with excitement as she communicated to them all this
intelligence, and much more, with a volubility in which of late years
she had rarely indulged. Mr. Ferrars looked grave and said little.
Then he patted Endymion on the head, and kissed Myra, who returned his
embrace with a warmth unusual with her.

The whole household soon became in a state of bustle with the
preparations for the early departure of Mr. Ferrars. It seemed difficult
to comprehend how filling a portmanteau and a carpet-bag could induce
such excited and continuous exertions. But then there was so much to
remember, and then there was always something forgotten. Mrs. Ferrars
was in her bedroom surrounded by all her maids; Mr. Ferrars was in his
study looking out some papers which it was necessary to take with him.
The children were alone.

"I wonder if we shall be restored to our greatness," said Myra to
Endymion.

"Well, I shall be sorry to leave the old place; I have been happy here."

"I have not," said Myra; "and I do not think I could have borne this
life had it not been for you."

"It will be a wonderful change," said Endymion.

"If it comes; I fear papa is not daring enough. However, if we get out
of this hole, it will be something."

Tea-time brought them all together again, but when the meal was over,
none of the usual occupations of the evening were pursued; no work, no
books, no reading aloud. Mr. Ferrars was to get up very early, and that
was a reason for all retiring soon. And yet neither the husband nor
the wife really cared to sleep. Mrs. Ferrars sate by the fire in his
dressing-room, speculating on all possible combinations, and infusing
into him all her suggestions and all her schemes. She was still prudent,
and still would have preferred a great government--India if possible;
but had made up her mind that he must accept the cabinet. Considering
what had occurred in 1832, she thought he was bound in honour to do so.
Her husband listened rather than conversed, and seemed lost in thought.
At last he rose, and, embracing her with much affection, said, "You
forget I am to rise with the lark. I shall write to you every day.
Best and dearest of women, you have always been right, and all my good
fortune has come from you."



CHAPTER XVI

It was a very tedious journey, and it took the whole day to accomplish
a distance which a rapid express train now can achieve in an hour. The
coach carried six inside passengers, and they had to dine on the road.
All the passengers were strangers to Mr. Ferrars, and he was by them
unknown; one of them purchased, though with difficulty, a second
edition of the "Times" as they approached London, and favoured his
fellow-travellers with the news of the change of ministry. There was
much excitement, and the purchaser of the paper gave it as his opinion,
"that it was an intrigue of the Court and the Tories, and would never
do." Another modestly intimated that he thought there was a decided
reaction. A third announced that England would never submit to be
governed by O'Connell.

As the gloom of evening descended, Mr. Ferrars felt depressed. Though
his life at Hurstley had been pensive and melancholy, he felt now the
charm and the want of that sweet domestic distraction which had often
prevented his mind from over-brooding, and had softened life by sympathy
in little things. Nor was it without emotion that he found himself again
in London, that proud city where once he had himself been so proud. The
streets were lighted, and seemed swarming with an infinite population,
and the coach finally stopped at a great inn in the Strand, where Mr.
Ferrars thought it prudent to secure accommodation for the night. It
was too late to look after the Rodneys, but in deference to the strict
injunction of Mrs. Ferrars, he paid them a visit next morning on his way
to his political chief.

In the days of the great modistes, when an English lady might absolutely
be dressed in London, the most celebrated mantua-maker in that city was
Madame Euphrosyne. She was as fascinating as she was fashionable.
She was so graceful, her manners were so pretty, so natural, and so
insinuating! She took so lively an interest in her clients--her very
heart was in their good looks. She was a great favourite of Mrs.
Ferrars, and that lady of Madame Euphrosyne. She assured Mrs. Ferrars
that she was prouder of dressing Mrs. Ferrars than all the other fine
ladies in London together, and Mrs. Ferrars believed her. Unfortunately,
while in the way of making a large fortune, Madame Euphrosyne, who was
romantic, fell in love with, and married, a very handsome and worthless
husband, whose good looks had obtained for him a position in the
company of Drury Lane Theatre, then a place of refined resort, which his
abilities did not justify. After pillaging and plundering his wife for
many years, he finally involved her in such engagements, that she had
to take refuge in the Bankruptcy Court. Her business was ruined, and her
spirit was broken, and she died shortly after of adversity and chagrin.
Her daughter Sylvia was then eighteen, and had inherited with the grace
of her mother the beauty of her less reputable parent. Her figure
was slight and undulating, and she was always exquisitely dressed. A
brilliant complexion set off to advantage her delicate features, which,
though serene, were not devoid of a certain expression of archness. Her
white hands were delicate, her light eyes inclined to merriment, and her
nose quite a gem, though a little turned up.

After their ruin, her profligate father told her that her face was her
fortune, and that she must provide for herself, in which she would find
no difficulty. But Sylvia, though she had never enjoyed the advantage of
any training, moral or religious, had no bad impulses even if she had
no good ones, was of a rather cold character, and extremely prudent. She
recoiled from the life of riot, and disorder, and irregularity, in
which she had unwittingly passed her days, and which had terminated so
tragically, and she resolved to make an effort to secure for herself
a different career. She had heard that Mrs. Ferrars was in want of an
attendant, and she determined to apply for the post. As one of the
chief customers of her mother, Sylvia had been in the frequent habit of
waiting on that lady, with whom she had become a favourite. She was
so pretty, and the only person who could fit Mrs. Ferrars. Her appeal,
therefore, was not in vain; it was more than successful. Mrs. Ferrars
was attracted by Sylvia. Mrs. Ferrars was magnificent, generous, and
she liked to be a patroness and surrounded by favourites. She determined
that Sylvia should not sink into a menial position; she adopted her as a
humble friend, and one who every day became more regarded by her. Sylvia
arranged her invitations to her receptions, a task which required finish
and precision; sometimes wrote her notes. She spoke and wrote French
too, and that was useful, was a musician, and had a pretty voice. Above
all, she was a first-rate counsellor in costume; and so, looking also
after Mrs. Ferrars' dogs and birds, she became almost one of the family;
dined with them often when they were alone, and was frequently Mrs.
Ferrars' companion in her carriage.

Sylvia, though not by nature impulsive, really adored her patroness. She
governed her manners and she modelled her dress on that great original,
and, next to Mrs. Ferrars, Sylvia in time became nearly the finest lady
in London. There was, indeed, much in Mrs. Ferrars to captivate a
person like Sylvia. Mrs. Ferrars was beautiful, fashionable, gorgeous,
wonderfully expensive, and, where her taste was pleased, profusely
generous. Her winning manner was not less irresistible because it was
sometimes uncertain, and she had the art of being intimate without being
familiar.

When the crash came, Sylvia was really broken-hearted, or believed she
was, and implored that she might attend the deposed sovereigns into
exile; but that was impossible, however anxious they might be as to
the future of their favourite. Her destiny was sooner decided than they
could have anticipated. There was a member of the household, or rather
family, in Hill Street, who bore almost the same relation to Mr. Ferrars
as Sylvia to his wife. This was Mr. Rodney, a remarkably good-looking
person, by nature really a little resembling his principal, and
completing the resemblance by consummate art. The courtiers of Alexander
of Macedonia could not study their chief with more devotion, or more
sedulously imitate his mien and carriage, than did Mr. Rodney that
distinguished individual of whom he was the humble friend, and who he
was convinced was destined to be Prime Minister of England. Mr. Rodney
was the son of the office-keeper of old Mr. Ferrars, and it was the
ambition of the father that his son, for whom he had secured a sound
education, should become a member of the civil service. It had become an
apothegm in the Ferrars family that something must be done for Rodney,
and whenever the apparent occasion failed, which was not unfrequent, old
Mr. Ferrars used always to add, "Never mind; so long as I live, Rodney
shall never want a home." The object of all this kindness, however, was
little distressed by their failures in his preferment. He had implicit
faith in the career of his friend and master, and looked forward to the
time when it might not be impossible that he himself might find a haven
in a commissionership. Recently Mr. Ferrars had been able to confer
on him a small post with duties not too engrossing, and which did not
prevent his regular presence in Hill Street, where he made himself
generally useful.

If there were anything confidential to be accomplished in their domestic
life, everything might be trusted to his discretion and entire devotion.
He supervised the establishment without injudiciously interfering with
the house-steward, copied secret papers for Mr. Ferrars, and when that
gentleman was out of office acted as his private secretary. Mr. Rodney
was the most official person in the ministerial circle. He considered
human nature only with reference to office. No one was so intimately
acquainted with all the details of the lesser patronage as himself,
and his hours of study were passed in the pages of the "Peerage" and in
penetrating the mysteries of the "Royal Calendar."

The events of 1832, therefore, to this gentleman were scarcely a less
severe blow than to the Ferrars family itself. Indeed, like his chief,
he looked upon himself as the victim of a revolution. Mr. Rodney had
always been an admirer of Sylvia, but no more. He had accompanied her
to the theatre, and had attended her to the park, but this was quite
understood on both sides only to be gallantry; both, perhaps, in their
prosperity, with respect to the serious step of life, had indulged in
higher dreams. But the sympathy of sorrow is stronger than the sympathy
of prosperity. In the darkness of their lives, each required comfort: he
murmured some accents of tender solace, and Sylvia agreed to become Mrs.
Rodney.

When they considered their position, the prospect was not free from
anxiety. To marry and then separate is, where there is affection,
trying. His income would secure them little more than a roof, but how to
live under that roof was a mystery. For her to become a governess, and
for him to become a secretary, and to meet only on an occasional Sunday,
was a sorry lot. And yet both possessed accomplishments or acquirements
which ought in some degree to be productive. Rodney had a friend, and he
determined to consult him.

That friend was no common person; he was Mr. Vigo, by birth a
Yorkshireman, and gifted with all the attributes, physical and
intellectual, of that celebrated race. At present he was the most
fashionable tailor in London, and one whom many persons consulted.
Besides being consummate in his art, Mr. Vigo had the reputation
of being a man of singularly good judgment. He was one who obtained
influence over all with whom he came in contact, and as his business
placed him in contact with various classes, but especially with the
class socially most distinguished, his influence was great. The golden
youth who repaired to his counters came there not merely to obtain
raiment of the best material and the most perfect cut, but to see and
talk with Mr. Vigo, and to ask his opinion on various points. There
was a spacious room where, if they liked, they might smoke a cigar, and
"Vigo's cigars" were something which no one could rival. If they liked
to take a glass of hock with their tobacco, there was a bottle ready
from the cellars of Johannisberg. Mr. Vigo's stable was almost as famous
as its master; he drove the finest horses in London, and rode the
best hunters in the Vale of Aylesbury. With all this, his manners were
exactly what they should be. He was neither pretentious nor servile, but
simple, and with becoming respect for others and for himself. He never
took a liberty with any one, and such treatment, as is generally the
case, was reciprocal.

Mr. Vigo was much attached to Mr. Rodney, and was proud of his intimate
acquaintance with him. He wanted a friend not of his own order, for that
would not increase or improve his ideas, but one conversant with the
habits and feelings of a superior class, and yet he did not want a fine
gentleman for an intimate, who would have been either an insolent patron
or a designing parasite. Rodney had relations with the aristocracy,
with the political world, and could feel the pulse of public life. His
appearance was engaging, his manners gentle if not gentlemanlike, and
he had a temper never disturbed. This is a quality highly appreciated
by men of energy and fire, who may happen not to have a complete
self-control.

When Rodney detailed to his friend the catastrophe that had occurred and
all its sad consequences, Mr. Vigo heard him in silence, occasionally
nodding his head in sympathy or approbation, or scrutinising a statement
with his keen hazel eye. When his visitor had finished, he said--

"When there has been a crash, there is nothing like a change of scene. I
propose that you and Mrs. Rodney should come and stay with me a week at
my house at Barnes, and there a good many things may occur to us."

And so, towards the end of the week, when the Rodneys had exhausted
their whole programme of projects, against every one of which there
seemed some invincible objection, their host said, "You know I rather
speculate in houses. I bought one last year in Warwick Street. It is a
large roomy house in a quiet situation, though in a bustling quarter,
just where members of parliament would like to lodge. I have put it in
thorough repair. What I propose is that you should live there, let the
first and second floors--they are equally good--and live on the ground
floor yourselves, which is amply convenient. We will not talk about
rent till the year is over and we see how it answers. The house is
unfurnished, but that is nothing. I will introduce you to a friend of
mine who will furnish it for you solidly and handsomely, you paying
a percentage on the amount expended. He will want a guarantee, but of
course I will be that. It is an experiment, but try it. Try it for
a year; at any rate you will be a householder, and you will have the
opportunity of thinking of something else."

Hitherto the Rodneys had been successful in their enterprise, and the
soundness of Mr. Vigo's advice had been proved. Their house was full,
and of the best tenants. Their first floor was taken by a distinguished
M.P., a county member of repute whom Mr. Rodney had known before the
"revolution," and who was so pleased with his quarters, and the comfort
and refinement of all about him, that to ensure their constant enjoyment
he became a yearly tenant. Their second floor, which was nearly as good
as their first, was inhabited by a young gentleman of fashion, who took
them originally only by the week, and who was always going to give
them up, but never did. The weekly lodger went to Paris, and he went
to German baths, and he went to country houses, and he was frequently
a long time away, but he never gave up his lodgings. When therefore Mr.
Ferrars called in Warwick Street, the truth is the house was full and
there was no vacant room for him. But this the Rodneys would not admit.
Though they were worldly people, and it seemed impossible that anything
more could be gained from the ruined house of Hurstley, they had,
like many other people, a superstition, and their superstition was an
adoration of the family of Ferrars. The sight of their former master,
who, had it not been for the revolution, might have been Prime Minister
of England, and the recollection of their former mistress and all her
splendour, and all the rich dresses which she used to give so profusely
to her dependent, quite overwhelmed them. Without consultation this
sympathising couple leapt to the same conclusion. They assured Mr.
Ferrars they could accommodate him, and that he should find everything
prepared for him when he called again, and they resigned to him, without
acknowledging it, their own commodious and well-furnished chamber, which
Mrs. Rodney prepared for him with the utmost solicitude, arranging his
writing-table and materials as he used to have them in Hill Street, and
showing by a variety of modes she remembered all his ways.



CHAPTER XVII

After securing his room in Warwick Street, Mr. Ferrars called on his
political chiefs. Though engrossed with affairs, the moment his card was
exhibited he was seen, cordially welcomed, and addressed in confidence.
Not only were his claims acknowledged without being preferred, but an
evidently earnest hope was expressed that they might be fully satisfied.
No one had suffered more for the party and no one had worked harder
or more effectively for it. But at present nothing could be done and
nothing more could be said. All depended on Peel. Until he arrived
nothing could be arranged. Their duties were limited to provisionally
administering the affairs of the country until his appearance.

It was many days, even weeks, before that event could happen. The
messenger would travel to Rome night and day, but it was calculated that
nearly three weeks must elapse before his return. Mr. Ferrars then went
to the Carlton Club, which he had assisted in forming three or four
years before, and had established in a house of modern dimensions in
Charles Street, St. James. It was called then the Charles Street gang,
and none but the thoroughgoing cared to belong to it. Now he found it
flourishing in a magnificent mansion on Carlton Terrace, while in very
sight of its windows, on a plot of ground in Pall Mall, a palace was
rising to receive it. It counted already fifteen hundred members, who
had been selected by an omniscient and scrutinising committee, solely
with reference to their local influence throughout the country, and the
books were overflowing with impatient candidates of rank, and wealth,
and power.

Three years ago Ferrars had been one of the leading spirits of this
great confederacy, and now he entered the superb chamber, and it seemed
to him that he did not recognise a human being. Yet it was full to
overflowing, and excitement and anxiety and bustle were impressed on
every countenance. If he had heard some of the whispers and remarks,
as he entered and moved about, his self-complacency would scarcely have
been gratified.

"Who is that?" inquired a young M.P. of a brother senator not much more
experienced.

"Have not the remotest idea; never saw him before. Barron is speaking to
him; he will tell us. I say, Barron, who is your friend?"

"That is Ferrars!"

"Ferrars! who is he?"

"One of our best men. If all our fellows had fought like him against the
Reform Bill, that infernal measure would never have been carried."

"Oh! ah! I remember something now," said the young M.P., "but anything
that happened before the election of '32 I look upon as an old
almanack."

However, notwithstanding the first and painful impression of strangers
and strangeness, when a little time had elapsed Ferrars found many
friends, and among the most distinguished present. Nothing could be more
hearty than their greeting, and he had not been in the room half an hour
before he had accepted an invitation to dine that very day with Lord
Pomeroy.

It was a large and rather miscellaneous party, but all of the right
kidney. Some men who had been cabinet ministers, and some who expected
to be; several occupiers in old days of the secondary offices; both the
whips, one noisy and the other mysterious; several lawyers of repute
who must be brought into parliament, and some young men who had
distinguished themselves in the reformed house and whom Ferrars had
never seen before. "It is like old days," said the husband of Zenobia to
Ferrars, who sate next to him; "I hope it will float, but we shall know
nothing till Peel comes."

"He will have difficulty with his cabinet so far as the House of Commons
is concerned," said an old privy councillor "They must have seats, and
his choice is very limited."

"He will dissolve," said the husband of Zenobia. "He must."

"Wheugh!" said the privy councillor, and he shrugged his shoulders.

"The old story will not do," said the husband of Zenobia. "We must have
new blood. Peel must reconstruct on a broad basis."

"Well, they say there is no lack of converts," said the old privy
councillor.

All this, and much more that he heard, made Ferrars ponder, and
anxiously. No cabinet without parliament. It was but reasonable. A
dissolution was therefore in his interest. And yet, what a prospect!
A considerable expenditure, and yet with a considerable expenditure a
doubtful result. Then reconstruction on a broad basis--what did that
mean? Neither more nor less than rival candidates for office. There was
no lack of converts. He dare say not. A great deal had developed since
his exile at Hurstley--things which are not learned by newspapers, or
even private correspondence. He spoke to Barron after dinner. He had
reason to believe Barron was his friend. Barron could give no opinion
about dissolution; all depended on Peel. But they were acting, and had
been acting for some time, as if dissolution were on the cards. Ferrars
had better call upon him to-morrow, and go over the list, and see what
would be done for him. He had every claim.

The man with every claim called on Barron on the morrow, and saw his
secret list, and listened to all his secret prospects and secret plans.
There was more than one manufacturing town where there was an opening;
decided reaction, and a genuine Conservative feeling. Barron had no
doubt that, although a man might not get in the first time he stood, he
would ultimately. Ultimately was not a word which suited Mr. Ferrars.
There were several old boroughs where the freemen still outnumbered the
ten-pounders, and where the prospects were more encouraging; but the
expense was equal to the goodness of the chance, and although Ferrars
had every claim, and would no doubt be assisted, still one could not
shut one's eyes to the fact that the personal expenditure must be
considerable. The agricultural boroughs must be fought, at least this
time, by local men. Something might be done with an Irish borough;
expense, comparatively speaking inconsiderable, but the politics deeply
Orange.

Gloom settled on the countenance of this spoiled child of politics, who
had always sate for a close borough, and who recoiled from a contest
like a woman, when he pictured to himself the struggle and exertion and
personal suffering he would have to encounter and endure, and then with
no certainty of success. The trained statesman, who had anticipated
the mass of his party on Catholic emancipation, to become an Orange
candidate! It was worse than making speeches to ten-pounders and
canvassing freemen!

"I knew things were difficult," said Ferrars; "but I was in hopes that
there were yet some seats that we might command."

"No doubt there are," said Mr. Barron; "but they are few, and they are
occupied--at least at present. But, after all, a thousand things may
turn up, and you may consider nothing definitely arranged until Sir
Robert arrives. The great thing is to be on the spot."

Ferrars wrote to his wife daily, and kept her minutely acquainted with
the course of affairs. She agreed with Barron that the great thing was
to be on the spot. She felt sure that something would turn up. She was
convinced that Sir Robert would send for him, offer him the cabinet, and
at the same time provide him with a seat. Her own inclination was still
in favour of a great colonial or foreign appointment. She still hankered
after India; but if the cabinet were offered, as was certain, she did
not consider that William, as a man of honour, could refuse to accept
the trust and share the peril.

So Ferrars remained in London under the roof of the Rodneys. The
feverish days passed in the excitement of political life in all its
manifold forms, grave council and light gossip, dinners with only one
subject of conversation, and that never palling, and at last, even
evenings spent again under the roof of Zenobia, who, the instant her
winter apartments were ready to receive the world, had hurried up to
London and raised her standard in St. James' Square. "It was like old
days," as her husband had said to Ferrars when they met after a long
separation.

Was it like old days? he thought to himself when he was alone. Old days,
when the present had no care, and the future was all hope; when he was
proud, and justly proud, of the public position he had achieved, and of
all the splendid and felicitous circumstances of life that had clustered
round him. He thought of those away, and with whom during the last three
years he had so continuously and intimately lived. And his hired home
that once had been associated only in his mind with exile, imprisonment,
misfortune, almost disgrace, became hallowed by affection, and in the
agony of the suspense which now involved him, and to encounter which he
began to think his diminished nerve unequal, he would have bargained for
the rest of his life to pass undisturbed in that sweet solitude, in the
delights of study and the tranquillity of domestic love.

A little not unamiable weakness this, but it passed off in the morning
like a dream, when Mr. Ferrars heard that Sir Robert had arrived.



CHAPTER XVIII

It was a dark December night when Mr. Ferrars returned to Hurstley. His
wife, accompanied by the gardener with a lantern, met him on the green.
She embraced him, and whispered, "Is it very bad, love? I fear you have
softened it to me?"

"By no means bad, and I told you the truth: not all, for had I, my
letter would have been too late. He said nothing about the cabinet, but
offered me a high post in his government, provided I could secure my
seat. That was impossible. During the month I was in town I had realised
that. I thought it best, therefore, at once to try the other tack, and
nothing could be more satisfactory."

"Did you say anything about India?" she said in a very low voice.

"I did not. He is an honourable man, but he is cold, and my manner is
not distinguished for _abandon_. I thought it best to speak generally,
and leave it to him. He acknowledged my claim, and my fitness for such
posts, and said if his government lasted it would gratify him to meet my
wishes. Barron says the government will last. They will have a majority,
and if Stanley and Graham had joined them, they would have had not an
inconsiderable one. But in that case I should probably not have had the
cabinet, if indeed he meant to offer it to me now."

"Of course he did," said his wife. "Who has such claims as you have?
Well, now we must hope and watch. Look cheerful to the children, for
they have been very anxious."

With this hint the meeting was not unhappy, and the evening passed with
amusement and interest. Endymion embraced his father with warmth, and
Myra kissed him on both cheeks. Mr. Ferrars had a great deal of gossip
which interested his wife, and to a certain degree his children. The
latter of course remembered Zenobia, and her sayings and doings were
always amusing. There were anecdotes, too, of illustrious persons which
always interest, especially when in the personal experience of those
with whom we are intimately connected. What the Duke, or Sir Robert, or
Lord Lyndhurst said to papa seemed doubly wiser or brighter than if
it had been said to a third person. Their relations with the world
of power, and fashion, and fame, seemed not to be extinct, at least
reviving from their torpid condition. Mr. Ferrars had also brought a
German book for Myra; and "as for you, Endymion," he said, "I have been
much more successful for you than for your father, though I hope I shall
not have myself in the long run to complain. Our friends are faithful to
us, and I have got you put down on the private list for a clerkship both
in the Foreign Office and the Treasury. They are the two best things,
and you will have one of the first vacancies that will occur in either
department. I know your mother wishes you to be in the Foreign
Office. Let it be so if it come. I confess, myself, remembering your
grandfather's career, I have always a weakness for the Treasury, but so
long as I see you well planted in Whitehall, I shall be content. Let
me see, you will be sixteen in March. I could have wished you to wait
another year, but we must be ready when the opening occurs."

The general election in 1834-5, though it restored the balance of
parties, did not secure to Sir Robert Peel a majority, and the anxiety
of the family at Hurstley was proportionate to the occasion. Barron was
always sanguine, but the vote on the Speakership could not but alarm
them. Barron said it did not signify, and that Sir Robert had resolved
to go on and had confidence in his measures. His measures were
excellent, and Sir Robert never displayed more resource, more energy,
and more skill, than he did in the spring of 1835. But knowledge of
human nature was not Sir Robert Peel's strong point, and it argued some
deficiency in that respect, to suppose that the fitness of his measures
could disarm a vindictive opposition. On the contrary, they rather
whetted their desire of revenge, and they were doubly loth that he
should increase his reputation by availing himself of an opportunity
which they deemed the Tory party had unfairly acquired.

After the vote on the Speakership, Mr. Ferrars was offered a
second-class West Indian government. His wife would not listen to it. If
it were Jamaica, the offer might be considered, though it could scarcely
be accepted without great sacrifice. The children, for instance, must be
left at home. Strange to say, Mr. Ferrars was not disinclined to accept
the inferior post. Endymion he looked upon as virtually provided for,
and Myra, he thought, might accompany them; if only for a year. But he
ultimately yielded, though not without a struggle, to the strong feeling
of his wife.

"I do not see why I also should not be left behind," said Myra to her
brother in one of their confidential walks. "I should like to live in
London in lodgings with you."

The approaching appointment of her brother filled her from the first
with the greatest interest. She was always talking of it when they were
alone--fancying his future life, and planning how it might be happier
and more easy. "My only joy in life is seeing you," she sometimes said,
"and yet this separation does not make me unhappy. It seems a chance
from heaven for you. I pray every night it may be the Foreign Office."

The ministry were still sanguine as to their prospects in the month
of March, and they deemed that public opinion was rallying round Sir
Robert. Perhaps Lord John Russell, who was the leader of the opposition,
felt this, in some degree, himself, and he determined to bring affairs
to a crisis by notice of a motion respecting the appropriation of the
revenues of the Irish Church. Then Barron wrote to Mr. Ferrars that
affairs did not look so well, and advised him to come up to town, and
take anything that offered. "It is something," he remarked, "to have
something to give up. We shall not, I suppose, always be out of office,
and they get preferred more easily whose promotion contributes to
patronage, even while they claim its exercise."

The ministry were in a minority on the Irish Church on April 2, the
day on which Mr. Ferrars arrived in town. They did not resign, but
the attack was to be repeated in another form on the 6th. During the
terrible interval Mr. Ferrars made distracted visits to Downing Street,
saw secretaries of state, who sympathised with him not withstanding
their own chagrin, and was closeted daily and hourly with
under-secretaries, parliamentary and permanent, who really alike wished
to serve him. But there was nothing to be had. He was almost meditating
taking Sierra Leone, or the Gold Coast, when the resignation of Sir
Robert Peel was announced. At the last moment, there being, of course,
no vacancy in the Foreign Office, or the Treasury, he obtained from
Barron an appointment for Endymion, and so, after having left Hurstley
five months before to become Governor-General of India, this man, "who
had claims," returned to his mortified home with a clerkship for his son
in a second-rate government office.



CHAPTER XIX

Disappointment and distress, it might be said despair, seemed fast
settling again over the devoted roof of Hurstley, after a three years'
truce of tranquillity. Even the crushing termination of her worldly
hopes was forgotten for the moment by Mrs. Ferrars in her anguish at the
prospect of separation from Endymion. Such a catastrophe she had never
for a moment contemplated. True it was she had been delighted with
the scheme of his entering the Foreign Office, but that was on the
assumption that she was to enter office herself, and that, whatever
might be the scene of the daily labours of her darling child, her roof
should be his home, and her indulgent care always at his command. But
that she was absolutely to part with Endymion, and that, at his tender
age, he was to be launched alone into the wide world, was an idea that
she could not entertain, or even comprehend. Who was to clothe him, and
feed him, and tend him, and save him from being run over, and guide and
guard him in all the difficulties and dangers of this mundane existence?
It was madness, it was impossible. But Mr. Ferrars, though gentle,
was firm. No doubt it was to be wished that the event could have
been postponed for a year; but its occurrence, unless all prospect of
establishment in life were surrendered, was inevitable, and a slight
delay would hardly render the conditions under which it happened less
trying. Though Endymion was only sixteen, he was tall and manly beyond
his age, and during the latter years of his life, his naturally sweet
temper and genial disposition had been schooled in self-discipline and
self-sacrifice. He was not to be wholly left to strangers; Mr. Ferrars
had spoken to Rodney about receiving him, at least for the present, and
steps would be taken that those who presided over his office would be
influenced in his favour. The appointment was certainly not equal to
what had been originally anticipated; but still the department, though
not distinguished, was highly respectable, and there was no reason on
earth, if the opportunity offered, that Endymion should not be removed
from his present post to one in the higher departments of the state. But
if this opening were rejected, what was to be the future of their son?
They could not afford to send him to the University, nor did Mr. Ferrars
wish him to take refuge in the bosom of the Church. As for the army,
they had now no interest to acquire commissions, and if they could
succeed so far, they could not make him an allowance, which would permit
him to maintain himself as became his rank. The civil service remained,
in which his grandfather had been eminent, and in which his own parent,
at any rate, though the victim of a revolution, had not disgraced
himself. It seemed, under the circumstances, the natural avenue for
their child. At least, he thought it ought to be tried. He wished
nothing to be settled without the full concurrence of Endymion himself.
The matter should be put fairly and clearly before him, "and for this
purpose," concluded Mr. Ferrars, "I have just sent for him to my room;"
and he retired.

The interview between the father and the son was long. When Endymion
left the room his countenance was pale, but its expression was firm and
determined. He went forth into the garden, and there he saw Myra. "How
long you have been!" she said; "I have been watching for you. What is
settled?"

He took her arm, and in silence led her away into one of the glades Then
he said: "I have settled to go, and I am resolved, so long as I live,
that I will never cost dear papa another shilling. Things here are very
bad, quite as bad as you have sometimes fancied. But do not say anything
to poor mamma about them."

Mr. Ferrars resolved that Endymion should go to London immediately, and
the preparations for his departure were urgent. Myra did everything.
If she had been the head of a family she could not have been more
thoughtful or apparently more experienced. If she had a doubt, she
stepped over to Mrs. Penruddock and consulted her. As for Mrs. Ferrars,
she had become very unwell, and unable to attend to anything. Her
occasional interference, fitful and feverish, and without adequate
regard to circumstances, only embarrassed them. But, generally speaking,
she kept to her own room, and was always weeping.

The last day came. No one pretended not to be serious and grave. Mrs.
Ferrars did not appear, but saw Endymion alone. She did not speak, but
locked him in her arms for many minutes, and then kissed him on the
forehead, and, by a gentle motion, intimating that he should retire, she
fell back on her sofa with closed eyes. He was alone for a short time
with his father after dinner. Mr. Ferrars said to him: "I have treated
you in this matter as a man, and I have entire confidence in you. Your
business in life is to build up again a family which was once honoured."

Myra was still copying inventories when he returned to the drawing-room.
"These are for myself," she said, "so I shall always know what you ought
to have. Though you go so early, I shall make your breakfast to-morrow,"
and, leaning back on the sofa, she took his hand. "Things are dark, and
I fancy they will be darker; but brightness will come, somehow or other,
to you, darling, for you are born for brightness. You will find friends
in life, and they will be women."

It was nearly three years since Endymion had travelled down to Hurstley
by the same coach that was now carrying him to London. Though apparently
so uneventful, the period had not been unimportant in the formation,
doubtless yet partial, of his character. And all its influences had been
beneficial to him. The crust of pride and selfishness with which large
prosperity and illimitable indulgence had encased a kind, and far from
presumptuous, disposition had been removed; the domestic sentiments
in their sweetness and purity had been developed; he had acquired some
skills in scholarship and no inconsiderable fund of sound information;
and the routine of religious thought had been superseded in his instance
by an amount of knowledge and feeling on matters theological, unusual
at his time of life. Though apparently not gifted with any dangerous
vivacity, or fatal facility of acquisition, his mind seemed clear
and painstaking, and distinguished by common sense. He was brave and
accurate.

Mr. Rodney was in waiting for him at the inn. He seemed a most
distinguished gentleman. A hackney coach carried them to Warwick Street,
where he was welcomed by Mrs. Rodney, who was exquisitely dressed. There
was also her sister, a girl not older than Endymion, the very image of
Mrs. Rodney, except that she was a brunette--a brilliant brunette. This
sister bore the romantic name of Imogene, for which she was indebted
to her father performing the part of the husband of the heroine in
Maturin's tragedy of the "Castle of St. Aldobrand," and which, under the
inspiration of Kean, had set the town in a blaze about the time of her
birth. Tea was awaiting him, and there was a mixture in their several
manners of not ungraceful hospitality and the remembrance of past
dependence, which was genuine and not uninteresting, though Endymion was
yet too inexperienced to observe all this.

Mrs. Rodney talked very much of Endymion's mother; her wondrous beauty,
her more wondrous dresses; the splendour of her fetes and equipages.
As she dilated on the past, she seemed to share its lustre and its
triumphs. "The first of the land were always in attendance on her," and
for Mrs. Rodney's part, she never saw a real horsewoman since her dear
lady. Her sister did not speak, but listened with rapt attention to the
gorgeous details, occasionally stealing a glance at Endymion--a glance
of deep interest, of admiration mingled as it were both with reverence
and pity.

Mr. Rodney took up the conversation if his wife paused. He spoke of
all the leading statesmen who had been the habitual companions of Mr.
Ferrars, and threw out several anecdotes respecting them from personal
experience. "I knew them all," continued Mr. Rodney, "I might say
intimately;" and then he told his great anecdote, how he had been so
fortunate as perhaps even to save the Duke's life during the Reform
Bill riots. "His Grace has never forgotten it, and only the day before
yesterday I met him in St. James' Street walking with Mr. Arbuthnot, and
he touched his hat to me."

All this gossip and good nature, and the kind and lively scene, saved
Endymion from the inevitable pang, or at least greatly softened it,
which accompanies our first separation from home. In due season, Mrs.
Rodney observed that she doubted not Mr. Endymion, for so they ever
called him, must be wearied with his journey, and would like to retire
to his room; and her husband, immediately lighting a candle, prepared to
introduce their new lodger to his quarters.

It was a tall house, which had recently been renovated, with a story
added to it, and on this story was Endymion's chamber; not absolutely
a garret, but a modern substitute for that sort of apartment. "It is
rather high," said Mr. Rodney, half apologising for the ascent, "but Mr.
Ferrars himself chose the room. We took the liberty of lighting a fire
to-night."

And the cheerful blaze was welcome. It lit up a room clean and not
uncomfortable. Feminine solicitude had fashioned a toilette-table for
him, and there was a bunch of geraniums in a blue vase on its sparkling
dimity garniture. "I suppose you have in your bag all that you want at
present?" said Mr. Rodney. "To-morrow we will unpack your trunks and
arrange your things in their drawers; and after breakfast, if you
please, I will show you your way to Somerset House."

Somerset House! thought Endymion, as he stood before the fire alone.
Is it so near as that? To-morrow, and I am to be at Somerset House! And
then he thought of what they were doing at Hurstley--of that terrible
parting with his mother, which made him choke--and of his father's last
words. And then he thought of Myra, and the tears stole down his cheek.
And then he knelt down by his bedside and prayed.



CHAPTER XX

Mr. Rodney would have accompanied Endymion to Somerset House under any
circumstances, but it so happened that he had reasons of his own for a
visit to that celebrated building. He had occasion to see a gentleman
who was stationed there. "Not," as he added to Endymion, "that I know
many here, but at the Treasury and in Downing Street I have several
acquaintances."

They separated at the door in the great quadrangle which led to the
department to which Endymion was attached, and he contrived in due time
to deliver to a messenger a letter addressed to his future chief. He was
kept some time in a gloomy and almost unfurnished waiting-room, and his
thoughts in a desponding mood were gathering round the dear ones who
were distant, when he was summoned, and, following the messenger down
a passage, was ushered into a lively apartment on which the sun was
shining, and which, with its well-lined book-shelves, and tables covered
with papers, and bright noisy clock, and general air of habitation and
business, contrasted favourably with the room he had just quitted. A
good-natured-looking man held out his hand and welcomed him cordially,
and said at once, "I served, Mr. Ferrars, under your grandfather at the
Treasury, and I am glad to see you here." Then he spoke of the duties
which Endymion would have at present to discharge. His labours at first
would be somewhat mechanical; they would require only correctness and
diligence; but the office was a large one, and promotion not only sure,
but sometimes rapid, and as he was so young, he might with attention
count on attaining, while yet in the prime of life, a future of very
responsible duties and of no inconsiderable emolument. And while he was
speaking he rang the bell and commanded the attendance of a clerk,
under whose care Endymion was specially placed. This was a young man of
pleasant address, who invited Endymion with kindness to accompany him,
and leading him through several chambers, some capacious, and all full
of clerks seated on high stools and writing at desks, finally ushered
him into a smaller chamber where there were not above six or eight at
work, and where there was a vacant seat. "This is your place," he said,
"and now I will introduce you to your future comrades. This is Mr.
Jawett, the greatest Radical of the age, and who, when he is President
of the Republic, will, I hope, do a job for his friends here. This is
Mr. St. Barbe, who, when the public taste has improved, will be the most
popular author of the day. In the meantime he will give you a copy of
his novel, which has not sold as it ought to have done, and in which we
say he has quizzed all his friends. This is Mr. Seymour Hicks, who, as
you must perceive, is a man of fashion." And so he went on, with what
was evidently accustomed raillery. All laughed, and all said something
courteous to Endymion, and then after a few minutes they resumed their
tasks, Endymion's work being to copy long lists of figures, and routine
documents of public accounts.

In the meantime, Mr. St. Barbe was busy in drawing up a public document
of a different but important character, and which was conceived
something in this fashion:--

"We, the undersigned, highly approving of the personal appearance and
manners of our new colleague, are unanimously of opinion that he should
be invited to join our symposium to-day at the immortal Joe's."

This was quietly passed round and signed by all present, and then given
to Mr. Trenchard, who, all unconsciously to the copying Endymion, wrote
upon it, like a minister of state, "Approved," with his initial.

Joe's, more technically known as "The Blue Posts," was a celebrated
chop-house in Naseby Street, a large, low-ceilinged, wainscoted room,
with the floor strewn with sawdust, and a hissing kitchen in the centre,
and fitted up with what were called boxes, these being of various sizes,
and suitable to the number of the guests requiring them. About this time
the fashionable coffee-houses, George's and the Piazza, and even the
coffee-rooms of Stevens' or Long's, had begun to feel the injurious
competition of the new clubs that of late years had been established;
but these, after all, were limited, and, comparatively speaking,
exclusive societies. Their influence had not touched the chop-houses,
and it required another quarter of a century before their cheerful and
hospitable roofs and the old taverns of London, so full, it ever
seemed, of merriment and wisdom, yielded to the gradually increasing but
irresistible influence of those innumerable associations, which, under
classic names, or affecting to be the junior branches of celebrated
confederacies, have since secured to the million, at cost price, all
the delicacies of the season, and substituted for the zealous energy
of immortal JOES the inexorable but frigid discipline of managing
committees.

"You are our guest to-day," said Mr. Trenchard to Endymion. "Do not be
embarrassed. It is a custom with us, but not a ruinous one. We dine off
the joint, but the meat is first-rate, and you may have as much as you
like, and our tipple is half-and-half. Perhaps you do not know it. Let
me drink to your health."

They ate most heartily; but when their well-earned meal was despatched,
their conversation, assisted by a moderate portion of some celebrated
toddy, became animated, various, and interesting. Endymion was highly
amused; but being a stranger, and the youngest present, his silence was
not unbecoming, and his manner indicated that it was not occasioned by
want of sympathy. The talk was very political. They were all what are
called Liberals, having all of them received their appointments since
the catastrophe of 1830; but the shades in the colour of their opinions
were various and strong. Jawett was uncompromising; ruthlessly logical,
his principles being clear, he was for what he called "carrying them
out" to their just conclusions. Trenchard, on the contrary, thought
everything ought to be a compromise, and that a public man ceased to be
practical the moment he was logical. St. Barbe believed that literature
and the arts, and intellect generally, had as little to hope for from
one party as from the other; while Seymour Hicks was of opinion that
the Tories never would rally, owing to their deficiency in social
influences. Seymour Hicks sometimes got an invitation to a ministerial
soiree.

The vote of the House of Commons in favour of an appropriation of
the surplus revenues of the Irish Church to the purposes of secular
education--a vote which had just changed the government and expelled
the Tories--was much discussed. Jawett denounced it as a miserable
subterfuge, but with a mildness of manner and a mincing expression,
which amusingly contrasted with the violence of his principles and the
strength of his language.

"The whole of the revenues of the Protestant Church should be at once
appropriated to secular education, or to some other purpose of general
utility," he said. "And it must come to this."

Trenchard thought the ministry had gone as far in this matter as
they well could, and Seymour Hicks remarked that any government which
systematically attacked the Church would have "society" against it.
Endymion, who felt very nervous, but who on Church questions had strong
convictions, ventured to ask why the Church should be deprived of its
property.

"In the case of Ireland," replied Jawett, quite in a tone of
conciliatory condescension, "because it does not fulfil the purpose for
which it was endowed. It has got the property of the nation, and it
is not the Church of the people. But I go further than that. I would
disendow every Church. They are not productive institutions. There is no
reason why they should exist. There is no use in them."

"No use in the Church!" said Endymion, reddening; but Mr. Trenchard, who
had tact, here interfered, and said, "I told you our friend Jawett is
a great Radical; but he is in a minority among us on these matters.
Everybody, however, says what he likes at Joe's."

Then they talked of theatres, and critically discussed the articles in
the daily papers and the last new book, and there was much discussion
respecting a contemplated subscription boat; but still, in general,
it was remarkable how they relapsed into their favourite
subject--speculation upon men in office, both permanent and
parliamentary, upon their characters and capacity, their habits and
tempers. One was a good administrator, another did nothing; one had no
detail, another too much; one was a screw, another a spendthrift; this
man could make a set speech, but could not reply; his rival, capital at
a reply but clumsy in a formal oration.

At this time London was a very dull city, instead of being, as it is
now, a very amusing one. Probably there never was a city in the world,
with so vast a population, which was so melancholy. The aristocracy
probably have always found amusements adapted to the manners of the time
and the age in which they lived. The middle classes, half a century
ago, had little distraction from their monotonous toil and melancholy
anxieties, except, perhaps, what they found in religious and
philanthropic societies. Their general life must have been very dull.
Some traditionary merriment always lingered among the working classes of
England. Both in town and country they had always their games and fairs
and junketing parties, which have developed into excursion trains and
colossal pic-nics. But of all classes of the community, in the days
of our fathers, there was none so unfortunate in respect of public
amusements as the bachelors about town. There were, one might almost
say, only two theatres, and they so huge, that it was difficult to see
or hear in either. Their monopolies, no longer redeemed by the stately
genius of the Kembles, the pathos of Miss O'Neill, or the fiery passion
of Kean, were already menaced, and were soon about to fall; but the
crowd of diminutive but sparkling substitutes, which have since taken
their place, had not yet appeared, and half-price at Drury Lane or
Covent Garden was a dreary distraction after a morning of desk work.
There were no Alhambras then, and no Cremornes, no palaces of crystal in
terraced gardens, no casinos, no music-halls, no aquaria, no promenade
concerts. Evans' existed, but not in the fulness of its modern
development; and the most popular place of resort was the barbarous
conviviality of the Cider Cellar.

Mr. Trenchard had paid the bill, collected his quotas and rewarded the
waiter, and then, as they all rose, said to Endymion, "We are going to
the Divan. Do you smoke?"

Endymion shook his head; but Trenchard added, "Well, you will some day;
but you had better come with us. You need not smoke; you can order a cup
of coffee, and then you may read all the newspapers and magazines. It is
a nice lounge."

So, emerging from Naseby Street into the Strand, they soon entered
a tobacconist's shop, and passing through it were admitted into a
capacious saloon, well lit and fitted up with low, broad sofas, fixed
against the walls, and on which were seated, or reclining, many persons,
chiefly smoking cigars, but some few practising with the hookah and
other oriental modes. In the centre of the room was a table covered with
newspapers and publications of that class. The companions from Joe's
became separated after their entrance, and St. Barbe, addressing
Endymion, said, "I am not inclined to smoke to-day. We will order some
coffee, and you will find some amusement in this;" and he placed in his
hands a number of "SCARAMOUCH."

"I hope you will like your new life," said St. Barbe, throwing down a
review on the Divan, and leaning back sipping his coffee. "One thing may
be said in favour of it: you will work with a body of as true-hearted
comrades as ever existed. They are always ready to assist one. Thorough
good-natured fellows, that I will say for them. I suppose it is
adversity," he continued, "that develops the kindly qualities of our
nature. I believe the sense of common degradation has a tendency to make
the degraded amiable--at least among themselves. I am told it is found
so in the plantations in slave-gangs."

"But I hope we are not a slave-gang," said Endymion.

"It is horrible to think of gentlemen, and men of education, and perhaps
first-rate talents--who knows?--reduced to our straits," said St. Barbe.
"I do not follow Jawett in all his views, for I hate political economy,
and never could understand it; and he gives it you pure and simple, eh?
eh?--but, I say, it is something awful to think of the incomes that some
men are making, who could no more write an article in 'SCARAMOUCH' than
fly."

"But our incomes may improve," said Endymion. "I was told to-day that
promotion was even rapid in our office."

"Our incomes may improve when we are bent and grey," said St. Barbe,
"and we may even retire on a pension about as good as a nobleman
leaves to his valet. Oh, it is a horrid world! Your father is a privy
councillor, is not he?"

"Yes, and so was my grandfather, but I do not think I shall ever be
one."

"It is a great thing to have a father a privy councillor," said St.
Barbe, with a glance of envy. "If I were the son of a privy councillor,
those demons, Shuffle and Screw, would give me 500 pounds for my novel,
which now they put in their beastly magazine and print in small type,
and do not pay me so much as a powdered flunkey has in St. James'
Square. I agree with Jawett: the whole thing is rotten."

"Mr. Jawett seems to have very strange opinions," said Endymion. "I
did not like to hear what he said at dinner about the Church, but Mr.
Trenchard turned the conversation, and I thought it best to let it
pass."

"Trenchard is a sensible man, and a good fellow," said St. Barbe; "you
like him?"

"I find him kind."

"Do you know," said St. Barbe, in a whisper, and with a distressed and
almost vindictive expression of countenance, "that man may come any day
into four thousand a year. There is only one life between him and
the present owner. I believe it is a good life," he added, in a more
cheerful voice, "but still it might happen. Is it not horrible? Four
thousand a year! Trenchard with four thousand a year, and we receiving
little more than the pay of a butler!"

"Well, I wish, for his sake, he might have it," said Endymion, "though I
might lose a kind friend."

"Look at Seymour Hicks," said St. Barbe; "he has smoked his cigar, and
he is going. He never remains. He is going to a party, I'll be found.
That fellow gets about in a most extraordinary manner. Is it not
disgusting? I doubt whether he is asked much to dinner though, or I
think we should have heard of it. Nevertheless, Trenchard said the other
day that Hicks had dined with Lord Cinque-Ports. I can hardly believe
it; it would be too disgusting. No lord ever asked me to dinner. But the
aristocracy of this country are doomed!"

"Mr. Hicks," said Endymion, "probably lays himself out for society."

"I suppose you will," said St. Barbe, with a scrutinising air. "I should
if I were the son of a privy councillor. Hicks is nothing; his father
kept a stable-yard and his mother was an actress. We have had several
dignitaries of the Church in my family and one admiral. And yet Hicks
dines with Lord Cinque-Ports! It is positively revolting! But the things
he does to get asked!--sings, rants, conjures, ventriloquises, mimics,
stands on his head. His great performance is a parliamentary debate. We
will make him do it for you. And yet with all this a dull dog--a very
dull dog, sir. He wrote for 'Scaramouch' some little time, but they can
stand it no more. Between you and me, he has had notice to quit. That
I know; and he will probably get the letter when he goes home from
his party to-night. So much for success in society! I shall now say
good-night to you."



CHAPTER XXI

It was only ten o'clock when Endymion returned to Warwick Street, and
for the first time in his life used a pass-key, with which Mr. Rodney
had furnished him in the morning, and re-entered his new home. He
thought he had used it very quietly, and was lighting his candle and
about to steal up to his lofty heights, when from the door of the
parlour, which opened into the passage, emerged Miss Imogene, who took
the candlestick from his hand and insisted on waiting upon him.

"I thought I heard something," she said; "you must let me light you up,
for you can hardly yet know your way. I must see too if all is right;
you may want something."

So she tripped up lightly before him, showing, doubtless without
premeditation, as well-turned an ankle and as pretty a foot as could
fall to a damsel's fortunate lot. "My sister and Mr. Rodney have gone to
the play," she said, "but they left strict instructions with me to see
that you were comfortable, and that you wanted for nothing that we could
supply."

"You are too kind," said Endymion, as she lighted the candles on his
dressing-table, "and, to tell you the truth, these are luxuries I am not
accustomed to, and to which I am not entitled."

"And yet," she said, with a glance of blended admiration and pity, "they
tell me time was when gold was not good enough for you, and I do not
think it could be."

"Such kindness as this," said Endymion, "is more precious than gold."

"I hope you will find your things well arranged. All your clothes are in
these two drawers; the coats in the bottom one, and your linen in those
above. You will not perhaps be able to find your pocket-handkerchiefs
at first. They are in this sachet; my sister made it herself. Mr. Rodney
says you are to be called at eight o'clock and breakfast at nine. I
think everything is right. Good-night, Mr. Endymion."

The Rodney household was rather a strange one. The first two floors, as
we have mentioned, were let, and at expensive rates, for the apartments
were capacious and capitally furnished, and the situation, if not
distinguished, was extremely convenient--quiet from not being a
thoroughfare, and in the heart of civilisation. They only kept a couple
of servants, but their principal lodgers had their personal attendants.
And yet after sunset the sisters appeared and presided at their
tea-table, always exquisitely dressed; seldom alone, for Mr. Rodney
had many friends, and lived in a capacious apartment, rather finely
furnished, with a round table covered with gaudy print-books, a
mantelpiece crowded with vases of mock Dresden, and a cottage piano, on
which Imogene could accompany her more than pleasing voice.

Somehow or other, the process is difficult to trace, Endymion not
unfrequently found himself at Mrs. Rodney's tea-table. On the first
occasion or so, he felt himself a little shy and embarrassed, but it
soon became natural to him, and he would often escape from the symposia
at Joe's, and, instead of the Divan, find in Warwick Street a more
congenial scene. There were generally some young men there, who seemed
delighted with the ladies, listened with enthusiasm to Imogene's
singing, and were allowed to smoke. They were evidently gentlemen, and
indeed Mr. Rodney casually mentioned to Endymion that one of the most
frequent guests might some day even be a peer of the realm. Sometimes
there was a rubber of whist, and, if wanted, Mrs. Rodney took a hand in
it; Endymion sitting apart and conversing with her sister, who amused
him by her lively observations, indicating even flashes of culture; but
always addressed him without the slightest pretence and with the utmost
naturalness. This was not the case with Mr. Rodney; pretence with him
was ingrained, and he was at first somewhat embarrassed by the presence
of Endymion, as he could hardly maintain before his late patron's son
his favourite character of the aristocratic victim of revolution. And
yet this drawback was more than counterbalanced by the gratification of
his vanity in finding a Ferrars his habitual guest. Such a luxury seemed
a dangerous indulgence, but he could not resist it, and the moth was
always flying round the candle. There was no danger, however, and that
Mr. Rodney soon found out. Endymion was born with tact, and it came to
him as much from goodness of heart as fineness of taste. Mr. Rodney,
therefore, soon resumed his anecdotes of great men and his personal
experience of their sayings, manners, and customs, with which he was
in the habit of enlivening or ornamenting the whist table; occasionally
introducing Endymion to the notice of the table by mentioning in a low
tone, "That is Mr. Ferrars, in a certain sense under my care; his father
is a privy councillor, and had it not been for the revolution--for I
maintain, and always will, the Reform Bill was neither more nor less
than a revolution--would probably have been Prime Minister. He was my
earliest and my best friend."

When there were cards, there was always a little supper: a lobster and
a roasted potato and that sort of easy thing, and curious drinks, which
the sisters mixed and made, and which no one else, at least all said so,
could mix and make. On fitting occasions a bottle of champagne appeared,
and then the person for whom the wine was produced was sure with
wonderment to say, "Where did you get this champagne, Rodney? Could you
get me some?" Mr. Rodney shook his head and scarcely gave a hope,
but subsequently, when the praise in consequence had continued and
increased, would observe, "Do you really want some? I cannot promise,
but I will try. Of course they will ask a high figure."

"Anything they like, my dear Rodney."

And in about a week's time the gentleman was so fortunate as to get his
champagne.

There was one subject in which Mr. Rodney appeared to be particularly
interested, and that was racing. The turf at that time had not developed
into that vast institution of national demoralisation which it now
exhibits. That disastrous character may be mainly attributed to the
determination of our legislators to put down gaming-houses, which,
practically speaking, substituted for the pernicious folly of a
comparatively limited class the ruinous madness of the community. There
were many influences by which in the highest classes persons might
be discouraged or deterred from play under a roof; and in the great
majority of cases such a habit was difficult, not to say impossible, to
indulge. But in shutting up gaming-houses, we brought the gaming-table
into the street, and its practices became the pursuit of those who
would otherwise have never witnessed or even thought of them. No doubt
Crockford's had its tragedies, but all its disasters and calamities
together would hardly equal a lustre of the ruthless havoc which has
ensued from its suppression.

Nevertheless, in 1835 men made books, and Mr. Rodney was not inexpert
in a composition which requires no ordinary qualities of character
and intelligence; method, judgment, self-restraint, not too much
imagination, perception of character, and powers of calculation. All
these qualities were now in active demand and exercise; for the Derby
was at hand, and the Rodney family, deeply interested in the result,
were to attend the celebrated festival.

One of the young gentlemen, who sometimes smoked a cigar and sometimes
tasted a lobster in their parlour, and who seemed alike and equally
devoted to Mrs. Rodney and her sister, insisted upon taking them to
Epsom in his drag, and they themselves were to select the party to
accompany them. That was not difficult, for they were naturally all
friends of their munificent host with one exception. Imogene stipulated
that Endymion should be asked, and Mr. Rodney supported the suggestion.
"He is the son of the privy councillor the Right Hon. William Pitt
Ferrars, my earliest and my best friend, and in a certain sense is under
my care."

The drive to the Derby was not then shorn of its humours and glories. It
was the Carnival of England, with equipages as numerous and various,
and with banter not less quick and witty. It was a bright day--a day, no
doubt, of wild hopes and terrible fears, but yet, on the whole, of joy
and exultation. And no one was happier and prouder than pretty Mrs.
Rodney, exquisitely dressed and sitting on the box of a patrician
drag, beside its noble owner. On the seat behind them was Imogene, with
Endymion on one side, and on the other the individual "who might one
day be a peer." Mr. Rodney and some others, including Mr. Vigo, faced
a couple of grooms, who sat with folded arms and unmoved countenances,
fastidiously stolid amid all the fun, and grave even when they opened
the champagne.

The right horse won. Mr. Rodney and his friends pocketed a good stake,
and they demolished their luncheon of luxuries with frantic gaiety.

"It is almost as happy as our little suppers in Warwick Street,"
whispered their noble driver to his companion.

"Oh! much more than anything you can find there," simpered Mrs. Rodney.

"I declare to you, some of the happiest hours of my life have been
passed in Warwick Street," gravely murmured her friend.

"I wish I could believe that," said Mrs. Rodney.

As for Endymion, he enjoyed himself amazingly. The whole scene was new
to him--he had never been at a race before, and this was the most famous
of races. He did not know he had betted, but he found he too had won a
little money, Mr. Rodney having put him on something, though what that
meant he had not the remotest idea. Imogene, however, assured him it was
all right--Mr. Rodney constantly put her on something. He enjoyed
the luncheon too; the cold chicken, and the French pies, the wondrous
salads, and the iced champagne. It seemed that Imogene was always
taking care that his plate or his glass should be filled. Everything was
delightful, and his noble host, who, always courteous, had hitherto been
reserved, called him "Ferrars."

What with the fineness of the weather, the inspirations of the excited
and countless multitude, the divine stimulus of the luncheon, the
kindness of his charming companions, and the general feeling of
enjoyment and success that seemed to pervade his being, Endymion felt
as he were almost acting a distinguished part in some grand triumph of
antiquity, as returning home, the four splendid dark chestnuts swept
along, two of their gay company playing bugles, and the grooms sitting
with folded arms of haughty indifference.

Just at this moment his eye fell upon an omnibus full, inside and out,
of clerks in his office. There was a momentary stoppage, and while he
returned the salute of several of them, his quick eye could not avoid
recognising the slightly surprised glance of Trenchard, the curious
amazement of Seymour Hicks, and the indignant astonishment of St. Barbe.

"Our friend Ferrars seems in tiptop company," said Trenchard.

"That may have been a countess on the box," said Seymour Hicks, "for I
observed an earl's coronet on the drag. I cannot make out who it is."

"There is no more advantage in going with four horses than with two,"
said St. Barbe; "indeed, I believe you go slower. It is mere pride;
puffed-up vanity. I should like to send those two grooms with their
folded arms to the galleys--I hate those fellows. For my part, I never
was behind four horses except in a stage-coach. No peer of the realm
ever took me on his drag. However, a day of reckoning will come; the
people won't stand this much longer."

Jawett was not there, for he disapproved of races.



CHAPTER XXII

Endymion had to encounter a rather sharp volley when he went to the
office next morning. After some general remarks as to the distinguished
party which he had accompanied to the races, Seymour Hicks could not
resist inquiring, though with some circumlocution, whether the lady was
a countess. The lady was not a countess. Who was the lady? The lady was
Mrs. Rodney. Who was Mrs. Rodney? She was the wife of Mr. Rodney, who
accompanied her. Was Mr. Rodney a relation of Lord Rodney? Endymion
believed he was not a relation of Lord Rodney. Who was Mr. Rodney then?

"Mr. Rodney is an old friend of my father."

This natural solution of doubts and difficulties arrested all further
inquiry. Generally speaking, the position of Endymion in his new life
was satisfactory. He was regular and assiduous in his attendance at
office, was popular with his comrades, and was cherished by his chief,
who had even invited him to dinner. His duties were certainly at present
mechanical, but they were associated with an interesting profession;
and humble as was his lot, he began to feel the pride of public life. He
continued to be a regular guest at Joe's, and was careful not to seem
to avoid the society of his fellow-clerks in the evenings, for he had
an instinctive feeling that it was as well they should not become
acquainted with his circle in Warwick Street. And yet to him the
attractions of that circle became daily more difficult to resist. And
often when he was enduring the purgatory of the Divan, listening to the
snarls of St. Barbe over the shameful prosperity of everybody in this
world except the snarler, or perhaps went half-price to the pit of Drury
Lane with the critical Trenchard, he was, in truth, restless and absent,
and his mind was in another place, indulging in visions which he did not
care to analyse, but which were very agreeable.

One evening, shortly after the expedition to Epsom, while the rest were
playing a rubber, Imogene said to him, "I wish you to be friends with
Mr. Vigo; I think he might be of use to you."

Mr. Vigo was playing whist at this moment; his partner was Sylvia, and
they were playing against Mr. Rodney and Waldershare.

Waldershare was a tenant of the second floor. He was the young gentleman
"who might some day be a peer." He was a young man of about three or
four and twenty years; fair, with short curly brown hair and blue eyes;
not exactly handsome, but with a countenance full of expression, and the
index of quick emotions, whether of joy or of anger. Waldershare was the
only child of a younger son of a patrician house, and had inherited from
his father a moderate but easy fortune. He had been the earliest lodger
of the Rodneys, and, taking advantage of the Tory reaction, had just
been returned to the House of Commons.

What he would do there was a subject of interesting speculation to his
numerous friends, and it may be said admirers. Waldershare was one of
those vivid and brilliant organisations which exercise a peculiarly
attractive influence on youth. He had been the hero of the debating club
at Cambridge, and many believed in consequence that he must become
prime minister. He was witty and fanciful, and, though capricious and
bad-tempered, could flatter and caress. At Cambridge he had introduced
the new Oxford heresy, of which Nigel Penruddock was a votary.
Waldershare prayed and fasted, and swore by Laud and Strafford. He took,
however, a more eminent degree at Paris than at his original Alma Mater,
and becoming passionately addicted to French literature, his views
respecting both Church and State became modified--at least in private.
His entrance into English society had been highly successful, and as he
had a due share of vanity, and was by no means free from worldliness,
he had enjoyed and pursued his triumphs. But his versatile nature, which
required not only constant, but novel excitement, became palled, even
with the society of duchesses. There was a monotony in the splendour of
aristocratic life which wearied him, and for some time he had persuaded
himself that the only people who understood the secret of existence were
the family under whose roof he lodged.

Waldershare was profligate, but sentimental; unprincipled, but romantic;
the child of whim, and the slave of an imagination so freakish and
deceptive, that it was always impossible to foretell his course. He was
alike capable of sacrificing all his feelings to worldly considerations
or of forfeiting the world for a visionary caprice. At present his
favourite scheme, and one to which he seemed really attached, was to
educate Imogene. Under his tuition he had persuaded himself that she
would turn out what he styled "a great woman." An age of vast change,
according to Waldershare, was impending over us. There was no male
career in which one could confide. Most men of mark would probably be
victims, but "a great woman" must always make her way. Whatever the
circumstances, she would adapt herself to them; if necessary, would
mould and fashion them. His dream was that Imogene should go forth
and conquer the world, and that in the sunset of life he should find a
refuge in some corner of her palace.

Imogene was only a child when Waldershare first became a lodger. She
used to bring his breakfast to his drawing-room and arrange his table.
He encountered her one day, and he requested her to remain, and always
preside over his meal. He fell in love with her name, and wrote her a
series of sonnets, idealising her past, panegyrising her present,
and prophetic of her future life. Imogene, who was neither shy nor
obtrusive, was calm amid all his vagaries, humoured his fancies, even
when she did not understand them, and read his verses as she would a
foreign language which she was determined to master.

Her culture, according to Waldershare, was to be carried on chiefly by
conversations. She was not to read, or at least not to read much, until
her taste was formed and she had acquired the due share of previous
knowledge necessary to profitable study. As Waldershare was eloquent,
brilliant, and witty, Imogene listened to him with wondering interest
and amusement, even when she found some difficulty in following him; but
her apprehension was so quick and her tact so fine, that her progress,
though she was almost unconscious of it, was remarkable. Sometimes in
the evening, while the others were smoking together or playing whist,
Waldershare and Imogene, sitting apart, were engaged in apparently
the most interesting converse. It was impossible not to observe the
animation and earnestness of Waldershare, and the great attention with
which his companion responded to his representations. Yet all this time
he was only giving her a lecture on Madame de Sevigne.

Waldershare used to take Imogene to the National Gallery and Hampton
Court, and other delightful scenes of popular education, but of late
Mrs. Rodney had informed her sister that she was no longer young enough
to permit these expeditions. Imogene accepted the announcement without
a murmur, but it occasioned Waldershare several sonnets of heartrending
remonstrance. Imogene continued, however, to make his breakfast, and
kept his Parliamentary papers in order, which he never could manage,
but the mysteries of which Imogene mastered with feminine quickness and
precision. Whenever Waldershare was away he always maintained a constant
correspondence with Imogene. In this he communicated everything to her
without the slightest reserve; describing everything he saw, almost
everything he heard, pages teeming with anecdotes of a world of which
she could know nothing--the secrets of courts and coteries, memoirs of
princes and ministers, of dandies and dames of fashion. "If anything
happens to me," Waldershare would say to Imogene, "this correspondence
may be worth thousands to you, and when it is published it will connect
your name with mine, and assist my grand idea of your becoming 'a great
woman.'"

"But I do not know Mr. Vigo," whispered Endymion to Imogene.

"But you have met him here, and you went together to Epsom. It is
enough. He is going to ask you to dine with him on Saturday. We shall
be there, and Mr. Waldershare is going. He has a beautiful place, and
it will be very pleasant." And exactly as Imogene had anticipated,
Mr. Vigo, in the course of the evening, did ask Endymion to do him the
honour of being his guest.

The villa of Mr. Vigo was on the banks of the Thames, and had once
belonged to a noble customer. The Palladian mansion contained a suite of
chambers of majestic dimensions--lofty ceilings, rich cornices, and
vast windows of plate glass; the gardens were rich with the products of
conservatories which Mr. Vigo had raised with every modern improvement,
and a group of stately cedars supported the dignity of the scene and
gave to it a name. Beyond, a winding walk encircled a large field
which Mr. Vigo called the park, and which sparkled with gold and silver
pheasants, and the keeper lived in a newly-raised habitation at the
extreme end, which took the form of a Swiss cottage.

The Rodney family, accompanied by Mr. Waldershare and Endymion, went to
the Cedars by water. It was a delightful afternoon of June, the river
warm and still, and the soft, fitful western breeze occasionally rich
with the perfume of the gardens of Putney and Chiswick. Waldershare
talked the whole way. It was a rhapsody of fancy, fun, knowledge,
anecdote, brilliant badinage--even passionate seriousness. Sometimes
he recited poetry, and his voice was musical; and, then, when he had
attuned his companions to a sentimental pitch, he would break into
mockery, and touch with delicate satire every mood of human feeling.
Endymion listened to him in silence and admiration. He had never heard
Waldershare talk before, and he had never heard anybody like him. All
this time, what was now, and ever, remarkable in Waldershare were his
manners. They were finished, even to courtliness. Affable and winning,
he was never familiar. He always addressed Sylvia as if she were one of
those duchesses round whom he used to linger. He would bow deferentially
to her remarks, and elicit from some of her casual observations an acute
or graceful meaning, of which she herself was by no means conscious. The
bow of Waldershare was a study. Its grace and ceremony must have been
organic; for there was no traditionary type in existence from which he
could have derived or inherited it. He certainly addressed Imogene and
spoke to her by her Christian name; but this was partly because he was
in love with the name, and partly because he would persist in still
treating her as a child. But his manner to her always was that of tender
respect. She was almost as silent as Endymion during their voyage, but
not less attentive to her friend. Mr. Rodney was generally silent, and
never opened his mouth on this occasion except in answer to an inquiry
from his wife as to whom a villa might belong, and it seemed always that
he knew every villa, and every one to whom they belonged.

The sisters were in demi-toilette, which seemed artless, though in
fact it was profoundly devised. Sylvia was the only person who really
understood the meaning of "simplex munditiis," and this was one of
the secrets of her success. There were some ladies, on the lawn of the
Cedars when they arrived, not exactly of their school, and who were
finely and fully dressed. Mrs. Gamme was the wife of a sporting attorney
of Mr. Vigo, and who also, having a villa at hand, was looked upon as
a country neighbour. Mrs. Gamme was universally recognised to be a
fine woman, and she dressed up to her reputation. She was a famous
whist-player at high points, and dealt the cards with hands covered with
diamond rings. Another country neighbour was the chief partner in the
celebrated firm of Hooghley, Dacca, and Co., dealers in Indian and other
shawls. Mr. Hooghley had married a celebrated actress, and was proud and
a little jealous of his wife. Mrs. Hooghley had always an opportunity
at the Cedars of meeting some friends in her former profession, for Mr.
Vigo liked to be surrounded by genius and art. "I must have talent," he
would exclaim, as he looked round at the amusing and motley multitude
assembled at his splendid entertainments. And to-day upon his lawn might
be observed the first tenor of the opera and a prima-donna who had just
arrived, several celebrated members of the English stage of both sexes,
artists of great reputation, whose principal works already adorned the
well-selected walls of the Cedars, a danseuse or two of celebrity, some
literary men, as Mr. Vigo styled them, who were chiefly brethren of the
political press, and more than one member of either House of Parliament.

Just as the party were preparing to leave the lawn and enter the
dining-room arrived, breathless and glowing, the young earl who had
driven the Rodneys to the Derby.

"A shaver, my dear Vigo! Only returned to town this afternoon, and
found your invitation. How fortunate!" And then he looked around, and
recognising Mrs. Rodney, was immediately at her side. "I must have the
honour of taking you into dinner. I got your note, but only by this
morning's post."

The dinner was a banquet,--a choice bouquet before every guest, turtle
and venison and piles of whitebait, and pine-apples of prodigious size,
and bunches of grapes that had gained prizes. The champagne seemed to
flow in fountains, and was only interrupted that the guests might quaff
Burgundy or taste Tokay. But what was more delightful than all was the
enjoyment of all present, and especially of their host. That is a rare
sight. Banquets are not rare, nor choice guests, nor gracious hosts; but
when do we ever see a person enjoy anything? But these gay children of
art and whim, and successful labour and happy speculation, some of them
very rich and some of them without a sou, seemed only to think of the
festive hour and all its joys. Neither wealth nor poverty brought them
cares. Every face sparkled, every word seemed witty, and every sound
seemed sweet. A band played upon the lawn during the dinner, and were
succeeded, when the dessert commenced, by strange choruses from singers
of some foreign land, who for the first time aired their picturesque
costumes on the banks of the Thames.

When the ladies had withdrawn to the saloon, the first comic singer of
the age excelled himself; and when they rejoined their fair friends, the
primo-tenore and the prima-donna gave them a grand scene, succeeded by
the English performers in a favourite scene from a famous farce. Then
Mrs. Gamme had an opportunity of dealing with her diamond rings, and
the rest danced--a waltz of whirling grace, or merry cotillon of jocund
bouquets.

"Well, Clarence," said Waldershare to the young earl, as they stood for
a moment apart, "was I right?"

"By Jove! yes. It is the only life. You were quite right. We should
indeed be fools to sacrifice ourselves to the conventional."

The Rodney party returned home in the drag of the last speaker. They
were the last to retire, as Mr. Vigo wished for one cigar with his noble
friend. As he bade farewell, and cordially, to Endymion, he said, "Call
on me to-morrow morning in Burlington Street in your way to your office.
Do not mind the hour. I am an early bird."



CHAPTER XXIII

"It is no favour," said Mr. Vigo; "it is not even an act of
friendliness; it is a freak, and it is my freak; the favour, if there be
one, is conferred by you."

"But I really do not know what to say," said Endymion, hesitating and
confused.

"I am not a classical scholar," said Mr. Vigo, "but there are two things
which I think I understand--men and horses. I like to back them both
when I think they ought to win."

"But I am scarcely a man," said Endymion, rather piteously, "and I
sometimes think I shall never win anything."

"That is my affair," replied Mr. Vigo; "you are a yearling, and I have
formed my judgment as to your capacity. What I wish to do in your case
is what I have done in others, and some memorable ones. Dress does
not make a man, but it often makes a successful one. The most precious
stone, you know, must be cut and polished. I shall enter your name in my
books for an unlimited credit, and no account to be settled till you are
a privy councillor. I do not limit the credit, because you are a man of
sense and a gentleman, and will not abuse it. But be quite as careful
not to stint yourself as not to be needlessly extravagant. In the first
instance, you would be interfering with my experiment, and that would
not be fair."

This conversation took place in Mr. Vigo's counting-house the morning
after the entertainment at his villa. Endymion called upon Mr. Vigo in
his way to his office, as he had been requested to do, and Mr. Vigo
had expressed his wishes and intentions with regard to Endymion, as
intimated in the preceding remarks.

"I have known many an heiress lost by her suitor being ill-dressed,"
said Mr. Vigo. "You must dress according to your age, your pursuits,
your object in life; you must dress too, in some cases, according to
your set. In youth a little fancy is rather expected, but if
political life be your object, it should be avoided, at least after
one-and-twenty. I am dressing two brothers now, men of considerable
position; one is a mere man of pleasure, the other will probably be a
minister of state. They are as like as two peas, but were I to dress
the dandy and the minister the same, it would be bad taste--it would be
ridiculous. No man gives me the trouble which Lord Eglantine does;
he has not made up his mind whether he will be a great poet or prime
minister. 'You must choose, my lord,' I tell him. 'I cannot send you out
looking like Lord Byron if you mean to be a Canning or a Pitt.' I have
dressed a great many of our statesmen and orators, and I always dressed
them according to their style and the nature of their duties. What all
men should avoid is the 'shabby genteel.' No man ever gets over it. I
will save you from that. You had better be in rags."



CHAPTER XXIV

When the twins had separated, they had resolved on a system of
communication which had been, at least on the part of Myra, scrupulously
maintained. They were to interchange letters every week, and each letter
was to assume, if possible, the shape of a journal, so that when they
again met no portion of the interval should be a blank in their past
lives. There were few incidents in the existence of Myra; a book, a
walk, a visit to the rectory, were among the chief. The occupations of
their father were unchanged, and his health seemed sustained, but that
of her mother was not satisfactory. Mrs. Ferrars had never rallied since
the last discomfiture of her political hopes, and had never resumed her
previous tenour of life. She was secluded, her spirits uncertain, moods
of depression succeeded by fits of unaccountable excitement, and, on
the whole, Myra feared a general and chronic disturbance of her nervous
system. His sister prepared Endymion for encountering a great change in
their parent when he returned home. Myra, however, never expatiated on
the affairs of Hurstley. Her annals in this respect were somewhat dry.
She fulfilled her promise of recording them, but no more. Her pen was
fuller and more eloquent in her comments on the life of her brother, and
of the new characters with whom he had become acquainted. She delighted
to hear about Mr. Jawett, and especially about Mr. St. Barbe, and was
much pleased that he had been to the Derby, though she did not exactly
collect who were his companions. Did he go with that kind Mr. Trenchant?
It would seem that Endymion's account of the Rodney family had been
limited to vague though earnest acknowledgments of their great civility
and attention, which added much to the comfort of his life. Impelled
by some of these grateful though general remarks, Mrs. Ferrars, in a
paroxysm of stately gratitude, had sent a missive to Sylvia, such as
a sovereign might address to a deserving subject, at the same time
acknowledging and commending her duteous services. Such was the old
domestic superstition of the Rodneys, that, with all their worldliness,
they treasured this effusion as if it had really emanated from the
centre of power and courtly favour.

Myra, in her anticipation of speedily meeting her brother, was doomed to
disappointment. She had counted on Endymion obtaining some holidays in
the usual recess, but in consequence of having so recently joined the
office, Endymion was retained for summer and autumnal work, and not
until Christmas was there any prospect of his returning home.

The interval between midsummer and that period, though not devoid of
seasons of monotony and loneliness, passed in a way not altogether
unprofitable to Endymion. Waldershare, who had begun to notice him,
seemed to become interested in his career. Waldershare knew all about
his historic ancestor, Endymion Carey. The bubbling imagination of
Waldershare clustered with a sort of wild fascination round a living
link with the age of the cavaliers. He had some Stuart blood in his
veins, and his ancestors had fallen at Edgehill and Marston Moor.
Waldershare, whose fancies alternated between Stafford and St. Just,
Archbishop Laud and the Goddess of Reason, reverted for the moment to
his visions on the banks of the Cam, and the brilliant rhapsodies of
his boyhood. His converse with Nigel Penruddock had prepared Endymion in
some degree for these mysteries, and perhaps it was because Waldershare
found that Endymion was by no means ill-informed on these matters, and
therefore there was less opportunity of dazzling and moulding him, which
was a passion with Waldershare, that he soon quitted the Great Rebellion
for pastures new, and impressed upon his pupil that all that had
occurred before the French Revolution was ancient history. The French
Revolution had introduced the cosmopolitan principle into human affairs
instead of the national, and no public man could succeed who did not
comprehend and acknowledge that truth. Waldershare lent Endymion books,
and book with which otherwise he would not have become acquainted.
Unconsciously to himself, the talk of Waldershare, teeming with
knowledge, and fancy, and playfulness, and airy sarcasm of life, taught
him something of the art of conversation--to be prompt without being
stubborn, to refute without argument, and to clothe grave matters in a
motley garb.

But in August Waldershare disappeared, and at the beginning of
September, even the Rodneys had gone to Margate. St. Barbe was the only
clerk left in Endymion's room. They dined together almost every day, and
went on the top of an omnibus to many a suburban paradise. "I tell
you what," said St. Barbe, as they were watching one day together
the humours of the world in the crowded tea-garden and bustling
bowling-green of Canonbury Tavern; "a fellow might get a good chapter
out of this scene. I could do it, but I will not. What is the use of
lavishing one's brains on an ungrateful world? Why, if that fellow Gushy
were to write a description of this place, which he would do like a
penny-a-liner drunk with ginger beer, every countess in Mayfair would be
reading him, not knowing, the idiot, whether she ought to smile or shed
tears, and sending him cards with 'at home' upon them as large as life.
Oh! it is disgusting! absolutely disgusting. It is a nefarious world,
sir. You will find it out some day. I am as much robbed by that fellow
Gushy as men are on the highway. He is appropriating my income, and
the income of thousands of honest fellows. And then he pretends he is
writing for the people! The people! What does he know about the people?
Annals of the New Cut and Saffron Hill. He thinks he will frighten some
lord, who will ask him to dinner. And that he calls Progress. I hardly
know which is the worst class in this country--the aristocracy, the
middle class, or what they call the people. I hate them all."

About the fall of the leaf the offices were all filled again, and among
the rest Trenchard returned. "His brother has been ill," said St. Barbe.
"They say that Trenchard is very fond of him. Fond of a brother who
keeps him out of four thousand pounds per annum! What will man not
say? And yet I could not go and congratulate Trenchard on his brother's
death. It would be 'bad taste.' Trenchard would perhaps never speak to
me again, though he had been lying awake all night chuckling over the
event. And Gushy takes an amiable view of this world of hypocrisy and
plunder. And that is why Gushy is so popular!"

There was one incident at the beginning of November, which eventually
exercised no mean influence on the life of Endymion. Trenchard offered
one evening to introduce him as a guest to a celebrated debating
society, of which Trenchard was a distinguished member. This society had
grown out of the Union at Cambridge, and was originally intended to have
been a metropolitan branch of that famous association. But in process
of time it was found that such a constitution was too limited to ensure
those numbers and that variety of mind desirable in such an institution.
It was therefore opened to the whole world duly qualified. The
predominant element, however, for a long time consisted of Cambridge
men.

This society used to meet in a large room, fitted up as much like the
House of Commons as possible, and which was in Freemason's Tavern, in
Great Queen Street. Some hundred and fifty members were present when
Endymion paid his first visit there, and the scene to Endymion was novel
and deeply interesting. Though only a guest, he was permitted to sit in
the body of the chamber, by the side of Trenchard, who kindly gave
him some information, as the proceedings advanced, as to the principal
personages who took part in them.

The question to-night was, whether the decapitation of Charles the First
were a justifiable act, and the debate was opened in the affirmative
by a young man with a singularly sunny face and a voice of music.
His statement was clear and calm. Though nothing could be more
uncompromising than his opinions, it seemed that nothing could be fairer
than his facts.

"That is Hortensius," said Trenchard; "he will be called this term. They
say he did nothing at the university, and is too idle to do anything at
the bar; but I think highly of him. You should hear him in reply."

The opening speech was seconded by a very young man, in a most
artificial style, remarkable for its superfluity of intended sarcasm,
which was delivered in a highly elaborate tone, so that the speaker
seemed severe without being keen.

"'Tis the new Cambridge style," whispered Trenchard, "but it will not go
down here."

The question having been launched, Spruce arose, a very neat speaker;
a little too mechanical, but plausible. Endymion was astonished at
the dexterous turns in his own favour which he gave to many of the
statements of Hortensius, and how he mangled and massacred the seconder,
who had made a mistake in a date.

"He is the Tory leader," said Trenchard. "There are not twenty Tories in
our Union, but we always listen to him. He is sharp, Jawett will answer
him."

And, accordingly, that great man rose. Jawett, in dulcet tones of
philanthropy, intimated that he was not opposed to the decapitation of
kings; on the contrary, if there were no other way of getting rid of
them, he would have recourse to such a method. But he did not think the
case before them was justifiable.

"Always crotchety," whispered Trenchard.

Jawett thought the whole conception of the opening speech erroneous. It
proceeded on the assumption that the execution of Charles was the act of
the people; on the contrary, it was an intrigue of Cromwell, who was the
only person who profited by it.

Cromwell was vindicated and panegyrised in a flaming speech by Montreal,
who took this opportunity of denouncing alike kings and bishops, Church
and State, with powerful invective, terminating his address by the
expression of an earnest hope that he might be spared to witness the
inevitable Commonwealth of England.

"He only lost his election for Rattleton by ten votes," said Trenchard.
"We call him the Lord Protector, and his friends here think he will be
so."

The debate was concluded, after another hour, by Hortensius, and
Endymion was struck by the contrast between his first and second
manner. Safe from reply, and reckless in his security, it is not easy
to describe the audacity of his retorts, or the tumult of his eloquence.
Rapid, sarcastic, humorous, picturesque, impassioned, he seemed to carry
everything before him, and to resemble his former self in nothing
but the music of his voice, which lent melody to scorn, and sometimes
reached the depth of pathos.

Endymion walked home with Mr. Trenchard, and in a musing mood. "I
should not care how lazy I was," said Endymion, "if I could speak like
Hortensius."



CHAPTER XXV

The snow was falling about the time when the Swindon coach, in which
Endymion was a passenger, was expected at Hurstley, and the snow had
been falling all day. Nothing had been more dreary than the outward
world, or less entitled to the merry epithet which is the privilege of
the season. The gardener had been despatched to the village inn, where
the coach stopped, with a lantern and cloaks and umbrellas. Within the
house the huge blocks of smouldering beech sent forth a hospitable heat,
and, whenever there was a sound, Myra threw cones on the inflamed mass,
that Endymion might be welcomed with a blaze. Mrs. Ferrars, who had
appeared to-day, though late, and had been very nervous and excited,
broke down half an hour before her son could arrive, and, murmuring that
she would reappear, had retired. Her husband was apparently reading, but
his eye wandered and his mind was absent from the volume.

The dogs barked, Mr. Ferrars threw down his book, Myra forgot her cones;
the door burst open, and she was in her brother's arms.

"And where is mamma?" said Endymion, after he had greeted his father.

"She will be here directly," said Mr. Ferrars. "You are late, and the
suspense of your arrival a little agitated her."

Three quarters of a year had elapsed since the twins had parted, and
they were at that period of life when such an interval often produces
no slight changes in personal appearance. Endymion, always tall for
his years, had considerably grown; his air, and manner, and dress were
distinguished. But three quarters of a year had produced a still greater
effect upon his sister. He had left her a beautiful girl: her beauty was
not less striking, but it was now the beauty of a woman. Her mien was
radiant but commanding, and her brow, always remarkable, was singularly
impressive.

They stood in animated converse before the fire, Endymion between his
father and his sister and retaining of each a hand, when Mr. Ferrars
nodded to Myra and said, "I think now;" and Myra, not reluctantly, but
not with happy eagerness, left the room.

"She is gone for your poor mother," said Mr. Ferrars; "we are uneasy
about her, my dear boy."

Myra was some time away, and when she returned, she was alone. "She says
she must see him first in her room," said Myra, in a low voice, to her
father; "but that will never do; you or I must go with him."

"You had better go," said Mr. Ferrars.

She took her brother's hand and led him away. "I go with you, to prevent
dreadful scenes," said his sister on the staircase. "Try to behave just
as in old times, and as if you saw no change."

Myra went into the chamber first, to give to her mother, if possible,
the keynote of the interview, and of which she had already furnished the
prelude. "We are all so happy to see Endymion again, dear mamma. Papa is
quite gay."

And then when Endymion, answering his sister's beckon, entered, Mrs.
Ferrars rushed forward with a sort of laugh, and cried out, "Oh! I am so
happy to see you again, my child. I feel quite gay."

He embraced her, but he could not believe it was his mother. A visage at
once haggard and bloated had supplanted that soft and rich countenance
which had captivated so many. A robe concealed her attenuated frame;
but the lustrous eyes were bleared and bloodshot, and the accents of the
voice, which used to be at once melodious and a little drawling, hoarse,
harsh, and hurried.

She never stopped talking; but it was all in one key, and that the
prescribed one--her happiness at his arrival, the universal gaiety it
had produced, and the merry Christmas they were to keep. After a
time she began to recur to the past, and to sigh; but instantly Myra
interfered with "You know, mamma, you are to dine downstairs to-day,
and you will hardly have time to dress;" and she motioned to Endymion to
retire.

Mrs. Ferrars kept the dinner waiting a long time, and, when she entered
the room, it was evident that she was painfully excited. She had a cap
on, and had used some rouge.

"Endymion must take me in to dinner," she hurriedly exclaimed as she
entered, and then grasped her son's arm.

It seemed a happy and even a merry dinner, and yet there was something
about it forced and constrained. Mrs. Ferrars talked a great deal, and
Endymion told them a great many anecdotes of those men and things which
most interested them, and Myra seemed to be absorbed in his remarks and
narratives, and his mother would drink his health more than once, when
suddenly she went into hysterics, and all was anarchy. Mr. Ferrars
looked distressed and infinitely sad; and Myra, putting her arm round
her mother, and whispering words of calm or comfort, managed to lead her
out of the room, and neither of them returned.

"Poor creature!" said Mr. Ferrars, with a sigh. "Seeing you has been too
much for her."

The next morning Endymion and his sister paid a visit to the rectory,
and there they met Nigel, who was passing his Christmas at home. This
was a happy meeting. The rector had written an essay on squirrels, and
showed them a glass containing that sportive little animal in all its
frolic forms. Farmer Thornberry had ordered a path to be cleared on
the green from the hall to the rectory; and "that is all," said Mrs.
Penruddock, "we have to walk upon, except the high road. The snow has
drifted to such a degree that it is impossible to get to the Chase. I
went out the day before yesterday with Carlo as a guide. When I did not
clearly make out my way, I sent him forward, and sometimes I could only
see his black head emerging from the snow. So I had to retreat."

Mrs. Ferrars did not appear this day. Endymion visited her in her room.
He found her flighty and incoherent. She seemed to think that he had
returned permanently to Hurstley, and said she never had any good
opinion of the scheme of his leaving them. If it had been the Foreign
Office, as was promised, and his father had been in the Cabinet, which
was his right, it might have been all very well. But, if he were to
leave home, he ought to have gone into the Guards, and it was not too
late. And then they might live in a small house in town, and look after
him. There were small houses in Wilton Crescent, which would do very
well. Besides, she herself wanted change of air. Hurstley did not agree
with her. She had no appetite. She never was well except in London, or
Wimbledon. She wished that, as Endymion was here, he would speak to his
father on the subject. She saw no reason why they should not live at
their place at Wimbledon as well as here. It was not so large a house,
and, therefore, would not be so expensive.

Endymion's holiday was only to last a week, and Myra seemed jealous
of his sparing any portion of it to Nigel; yet the rector's son was
sedulous in his endeavours to enjoy the society of his former companion.
There seemed some reason for his calling at the hall every day. Mr.
Ferrars broke through his habits, and invited Nigel to dine with them;
and after dinner, saying that he would visit Mrs. Ferrars, who was
unwell, left them alone. It was the only time they had yet been alone.
Endymion found that there was no change in the feelings and views of
Nigel respecting Church matters, except that his sentiments and opinions
were more assured, and, if possible, more advanced. He would not
tolerate any reference to the state of the nation; it was the state of
the Church which engrossed his being. No government was endurable that
was not divine. The Church was divine, and on that he took his stand.

Nigel was to take his degree next term, and orders as soon as possible.
He looked forward with confidence, after doubtless a period of
disturbance, confusion, probably violence, and even anarchy, to the
establishment of an ecclesiastical polity that would be catholic
throughout the realm. Endymion just intimated the very contrary opinions
that Jawett held upon these matters, and mentioned, though not as an
adherent, some of the cosmopolitan sentiments of Waldershare.

"The Church is cosmopolitan," said Nigel; "the only practicable means by
which you can attain to identity of motive and action."

Then they rejoined Myra, but Nigel soon returned to the absorbing theme.
His powers had much developed since he and Endymion used to wander
together over Hurstley Chase. He had great eloquence, his views were
startling and commanding, and his expressions forcible and picturesque.
All was heightened, too, by his striking personal appearance and the
beauty of his voice. He seemed something between a young prophet and an
inquisitor; a remarkable blending of enthusiasm and self-control.

A person more experienced in human nature than Endymion might have
observed, that all this time, while Nigel was to all appearance chiefly
addressing himself to Endymion, he was, in fact, endeavouring to impress
his sister. Endymion knew, from the correspondence of Myra, that Nigel
had been, especially in the summer, much at Hurstley; and when he was
alone with his sister, he could not help remarking, "Nigel is as strong
as ever in his views."

"Yes," she replied; "he is very clever and very good-looking. It is a
pity he is going into the Church. I do not like clergymen."

On the third day of the visit, Mrs. Ferrars was announced to be unwell,
and in the evening very unwell; and Mr. Ferrars sent to the nearest
medical man, and he was distant, to attend her. The medical man did
not arrive until past midnight, and, after visiting his patient, looked
grave. She had fever, but of what character it was difficult to decide.
The medical man had brought some remedies with him, and he stayed
the night at the hall. It was a night of anxiety and alarm, and the
household did not retire until nearly the break of dawn.

The next day it seemed that the whole of the Penruddock family were in
the house. Mrs. Penruddock insisted on nursing Mrs. Ferrars, and her
husband looked as if he thought he might be wanted. It was unreasonable
that Nigel should be left alone. His presence, always pleasing, was a
relief to an anxious family, and who were beginning to get alarmed. The
fever did not subside. On the contrary, it increased, and there were
other dangerous symptoms. There was a physician of fame at Oxford, whom
Nigel wished they would call in. Matters were too pressing to wait for
the posts, and too complicated to trust to an ordinary messenger. Nigel,
who was always well mounted, was in his saddle in an instant. He seemed
to be all resource, consolation, and energy: "If I am fortunate, he will
be here in four hours; at all events, I will not return alone."

Four terrible hours were these: Mr. Ferrars, restless and sad, and
listening with a vacant air or an absent look to the kind and unceasing
talk of the rector; Myra, silent in her mother's chamber; and Endymion,
wandering about alone with his eyes full of tears. This was the Merrie
Christmas he had talked of, and this his long-looked-for holiday. He
could think of nothing but his mother's kindness; and the days gone
by, when she was so bright and happy, came back to him with painful
vividness. It seemed to him that he belonged to a doomed and unhappy
family. Youth and its unconscious mood had hitherto driven this thought
from his mind; but it occurred to him now, and would not be driven away.

Nigel was fortunate. Before sunset he returned to Hurstley in a
postchaise with the Oxford physician, whom he had furnished with an able
and accurate diagnosis of the case. All that art could devise, and all
that devotion could suggest, were lavished on the sufferer, but in
vain; and four days afterwards, the last day of Endymion's long-awaited
holiday, Mr. Ferrars closed for ever the eyes of that brilliant being,
who, with some weaknesses, but many noble qualities, had shared with no
unequal spirit the splendour and the adversity of his existence.



CHAPTER XXVI

Nigel took a high degree and obtained first-class honours. He was
ordained by the bishop of the diocese as soon after as possible. His
companions, who looked up to him with every expectation of his eminence
and influence, were disappointed, however, in the course of life on
which he decided. It was different from that which he had led them to
suppose it would be. They had counted on his becoming a resident light
of the University, filling its highest offices, and ultimately reaching
the loftiest stations in the Church. Instead of that he announced that
he had resolved to become a curate to his father, and that he was about
to bury himself in the solitude of Hurstley.

It was in the early summer following the death of Mrs. Ferrars that he
settled there. He was frequently at the hall, and became intimate with
Mr. Ferrars. Notwithstanding the difference of age, there was between
them a sympathy of knowledge and thought. In spite of his decided mind,
Nigel listened to Mr. Ferrars with deference, soliciting his judgment,
and hanging, as it were, on his accents of wise experience and refined
taste. So Nigel became a favourite with Mr. Ferrars; for there are few
things more flattering than the graceful submission of an accomplished
intellect, and, when accompanied by youth, the spell is sometimes
fascinating.

The death of his wife seemed to have been a great blow to Mr. Ferrars.
The expression of his careworn, yet still handsome, countenance became,
if possible, more saddened. It was with difficulty that his daughter
could induce him to take exercise, and he had lost altogether that
seeming interest in their outer world which once at least he affected to
feel. Myra, though ever content to be alone, had given up herself much
to her father since his great sorrow; but she felt that her efforts to
distract him from his broodings were not eminently successful, and
she hailed with a feeling of relief the establishment of Nigel in the
parish, and the consequent intimacy that arose between him and her
father.

Nigel and Myra were necessarily under these circumstances thrown much
together. As time advanced he passed his evenings generally at the hall,
for he was a proficient in the only game which interested Mr. Ferrars,
and that was chess. Reading and writing all day, Mr. Ferrars required
some remission of attention, and his relaxation was chess. Before the
games, and between the games, and during delightful tea-time, and for
the happy quarter of an hour which ensued when the chief employment of
the evening ceased, Nigel appealed much to Myra, and endeavoured to draw
out her mind and feelings. He lent her books, and books that favoured,
indirectly at least, his own peculiar views--volumes of divine poesy
that had none of the twang of psalmody, tales of tender and sometimes
wild and brilliant fancy, but ever full of symbolic truth.

Chess-playing requires complete abstraction, and Nigel, though he was
a double first, occasionally lost a game from a lapse in that condensed
attention that secures triumph. The fact is, he was too frequently
thinking of something else besides the moves on the board, and his ear
was engaged while his eye wandered, if Myra chanced to rise from her
seat or make the slightest observation.

The woods were beginning to assume the first fair livery of autumn,
when it is beautiful without decay. The lime and the larch had not yet
dropped a golden leaf, and the burnished beeches flamed in the sun.
Every now and then an occasional oak or elm rose, still as full of deep
green foliage as if it were midsummer; while the dark verdure of
the pines sprang up with effective contrast amid the gleaming and
resplendent chestnuts.

There was a glade at Hurstley, bounded on each side with masses of
yew, their dark green forms now studded with crimson berries. Myra was
walking one morning in this glade when she met Nigel, who was on one of
his daily pilgrimages, and he turned round and walked by her side.

"I am sure I cannot give you news of your brother," he said, "but I have
had a letter this morning from Endymion. He seems to take great interest
in his debating club."

"I am so glad he has become a member of it," said Myra. "That kind Mr.
Trenchard, whom I shall never see to thank him for all his goodness to
Endymion, proposed him. It occupies his evenings twice a week, and then
it gives him subjects to think of and read up in the interval."

"Yes; it is a good thing," said Nigel moodily; "and if he is destined
for public life, which perhaps he may be, no contemptible discipline."

"Dear boy!" said Myra, with a sigh. "I do not see what public life he is
destined to, except slaving at a desk. But sometimes one has dreams."

"Yes; we all have dreams," said Nigel, with an air of abstraction.

"It is impossible to resist the fascination of a fine autumnal morn,"
said Myra; "but give me the long days of summer and its rich leafy joys.
I like to wander about, and dine at nine o'clock."

"Delightful, doubtless, with a sympathising companion."

"Endymion was such a charming companion," said Myra.

"But he has left us," said Nigel; "and you are alone."

"I am alone," said Myra; "but I am used to solitude, and I can think of
him."

"Would I were Endymion," said Nigel, "to be thought of by you!"

Myra looked at him with something of a stare; but he continued--

"All seasons would be to me fascination, were I only by your side. Yes;
I can no longer repress the irresistible confusion of my love. I am
here, and I am here only, because I love you. I quitted Oxford and
all its pride that I might have the occasional delight of being your
companion. I was not presumptuous in my thoughts, and believed that
would content me; but I can no longer resist the consummate spell, and I
offer you my heart and my life."

"I am amazed; I am a little overwhelmed," said Myra. "Pardon me, dear
Mr. Penruddock--dear Nigel--you speak of things of which I have not
thought."

"Think of them! I implore you to think of them, and now!"

"We are a fallen family," said Myra, "perhaps a doomed one. We are not
people to connect yourself with. You have witnessed some of our sorrows,
and soothed them. I shall be ever grateful to you for the past. But I
sometimes feel our cup is not yet full, and I have long resolved to bear
my cross alone. But, irrespective of all other considerations, I can
never leave my father."

"I have spoken to your father," said Nigel, "and he approved my suit."

"While my father lives I shall not quit him," said Myra; "but, let me
not mislead you, I do not live for my father--I live for another."

"For another?" inquired Nigel, with anxiety.

"For one you know. My life is devoted to Endymion. There is a mystic
bond between us, originating, perhaps, in the circumstance of our birth;
for we are twins. I never mean to embarrass him with a sister's love,
and perhaps hereafter may see less of him even than I see now; but I
shall be in the world, whatever be my lot, high or low--the active,
stirring world--working for him, thinking only of him. Yes; moulding
events and circumstances in his favour;" and she spoke with fiery
animation. "I have brought myself, by long meditation, to the conviction
that a human being with a settled purpose must accomplish it, and
that nothing can resist a will that will stake even existence for its
fulfilment."



CHAPTER XXVII

Endymion had returned to his labours, after the death of his mother,
much dispirited. Though young and hopeful, his tender heart could not be
insensible to the tragic end. There is anguish in the recollection that
we have not adequately appreciated the affection of those whom we have
loved and lost. It tortured him to feel that he had often accepted with
carelessness or indifference the homage of a heart that had been to him
ever faithful in its multiplied devotion. Then, though he was not of a
melancholy and brooding nature, in this moment of bereavement he could
not drive from his mind the consciousness that there had long been
hanging over his home a dark lot, as it were, of progressive adversity.
His family seemed always sinking, and he felt conscious how the sanguine
spirit of his mother had sustained them in their trials. His father had
already made him the depositary of his hopeless cares; and if anything
happened to that father, old and worn out before his time, what would
become of Myra?

Nigel, who in their great calamity seemed to have thought of everything,
and to have done everything, had written to the chief of his office, and
also to Mr. Trenchard, explaining the cause of the absence of Endymion
from his duties. There were no explanations, therefore, necessary when
he reappeared; no complaints, but only sympathy and general kindness.
In Warwick Street there was unaffected sorrow; Sylvia wept and went into
the prettiest mourning for her patroness, and Mr. Rodney wore a crape
on his hat. "I never saw her," said Imogene, "but I am told she was
heavenly."

Waldershare was very kind to Endymion, and used to take him to the House
of Commons on interesting evenings, and, if he succeeded in getting
Endymion a place under the gallery, would come and talk to him in the
course of the night, and sometimes introduce him to the mysteries of
Bellamy's, where Endymion had the satisfaction of partaking of a steak
in the presence of statesmen and senators.

"You are in the precincts of public life," said Waldershare; "and if you
ever enter it, which I think you will," he would add thoughtfully,
"it will be interesting for you to remember that you have seen these
characters, many of whom will then have passed away. Like the shades of
a magic lantern," he added, with something between a sigh and a smile.
"One of my constituents send me a homily this morning, the burthen
of which was, I never thought of death. The idiot! I never think of
anything else. It is my weakness. One should never think of death. One
should think of life. That is real piety."

This spring and summer were passed tranquilly by Endymion, but not
unprofitably. He never went to any place of public amusement, and,
cherishing his sorrow, declined those slight openings to social life
which occasionally offered themselves even to him; but he attended his
debating club with regularity, and, though silent, studied every subject
which was brought before it. It interested him to compare their sayings
and doings with those of the House of Commons, and he found advantage in
the critical comparison. Though not in what is styled society, his
mind did not rust from the want of intelligent companions. The clear
perception, accurate knowledge, and unerring judgment of Trenchard, the
fantastic cynicism of St. Barbe, and all the stores of the exuberant
and imaginative Waldershare, were brought to bear on a young and plastic
intelligence, gifted with a quick though not a too profound sensibility
which soon ripened into tact, and which, after due discrimination, was
tenacious of beneficial impressions.

In the autumn, Endymion returned home for a long visit and a happy one.
He found Nigel settled at Hurstley, and almost domesticated at the hall;
his father more cheerful than his sister's earlier letters had led him
to suppose; and she herself so delighted by the constant companionship
of her brother that she seemed to have resumed all her original pride of
life.

Nearly two years' acquaintance, however limited, with the world,
had already exercised a ripening influence over Endymion. Nigel soon
perceived this, though, with a native tact which circumstances had
developed, Endymion avoided obtruding his new conclusions upon his
former instructor. But that deep and eager spirit, unwilling ever to let
a votary escape, and absorbed intellectually by one vast idea, would not
be baffled. Nigel had not renounced the early view of Endymion taking
orders, and spoke of his London life as an incident which, with his
youth, he might in time only look upon as an episode in his existence.

"I trust I shall ever be a devoted son of the Church," said Endymion;
"but I confess I feel no predisposition to take orders, even if I had
the opportunity, which probably I never shall have. If I were to choose
my career it would be public life. I am on the last step of the ladder,
and I do not suppose that I can ever be anything but a drudge. But even
that would interest me. It brings one in contact with those who are
playing the great game. One at least fancies one comprehends something
of the government of mankind. Mr. Waldershare takes me often to the
House of Commons, and I must say, I am passionately fond of it."

After Endymion's return to London that scene occurred between Nigel and
Myra, in the glade at Hurstley, which we have noticed in the preceding
chapter. In the evening of that day Nigel did not pay his accustomed
visit to the hall, and the father and the daughter were alone. Then it
was, notwithstanding evident agitation, and even with some degree of
solemnity, that Mr. Ferrars broke to his daughter that there was a
subject on which he wished seriously to confer with her.

"Is it about Nigel?" she inquired with calmness.

"It is about Nigel."

"I have seen him, and he has spoken to me."

"And what have you replied?"

"What I fear will not be satisfactory to you, sir, but what is
irrevocable."

"Your union would give me life and hope," said Mr. Ferrars; and then,
as she remained silent, he continued after a pause: "For its happiness
there seems every security. He is of good family, and with adequate
means, and, I firmly believe, no inconsiderable future. His abilities
are already recognised; his disposition is noble. As for his personal
qualities, you are a better judge than I am; but, for my part, I never
saw a countenance that more became the beauty and nobility of his
character."

"I think him very good-looking," said Myra, "and there is no doubt he is
clever, and he has shown himself, on more than one occasion, amiable."

"Then what more can you require?" said Mr. Ferrars.

"I require nothing; I do not wish to marry."

"But, my daughter, my dearest daughter," said Mr. Ferrars, "bear with
the anxiety of a parent who is at least devoted to you. Our separation
would be my last and severest sorrow, and I have had many; but there is
no necessity to consider that case, for Nigel is content, is more than
content, to live as your husband under this roof."

"So he told me."

"And that removed one objection that you might naturally feel?"

"I certainly should never leave you, sir," said Myra, "and I told Nigel
so; but that contingency had nothing to do with my decision. I declined
his offer, because I have no wish to marry."

"Women are born to be married," said Mr. Ferrars.

"And yet I believe most marriages are unhappy," said Myra.

"Oh! if your objection to marry Nigel arises from an abstract objection
to marriage itself," said Mr. Ferrars, "it is a subject which we might
talk over calmly, and perhaps remove your prejudices."

"I have no objection against marriage," rejoined Myra. "It is likely
enough that I may marry some day, and probably make an unhappy marriage;
but that is not the question before us. It is whether I should marry
Nigel. That cannot be, my dear father, and he knows it. I have assured
him so in a manner which cannot be mistaken."

"We are a doomed family!" exclaimed the unhappy Mr. Ferrars, clasping
his hands.

"So I have long felt," said Myra. "I can bear our lot; but I want no
strangers to be introduced to share its bitterness, and soothe us with
their sympathy."

"You speak like a girl," said Mr. Ferrars, "and a headstrong girl, which
you always have been. You know not what you are talking about. It is a
matter of life or death. Your decorous marriage would have saved us from
absolute ruin."

"Alone, I can meet absolute ruin," said Myra. "I have long contemplated
such a contingency, and am prepared for it. My marriage with Nigel could
hardly save you, sir, from such a visitation, if it be impending. But
I trust in that respect, if in no other, you have used a little of
the language of exaggeration. I have never received, and I have never
presumed to seek, any knowledge of your affairs; but I have assumed,
that for your life, somehow or other, you would be permitted to exist
without disgrace. If I survive you, I have neither care nor fear."



CHAPTER XXVIII

In the following spring a vexatious incident occurred in Warwick Street.
The highly-considered county member, who was the yearly tenant of Mr.
Rodney's first floor, and had been always a valuable patron, suddenly
died. An adjourned debate, a tough beefsteak, a select committee still
harder, and an influenza caught at three o'clock in the morning in an
imprudent but irresistible walk home with a confidential Lord of the
Treasury, had combined very sensibly to affect the income of Mr. Rodney.
At first he was sanguine that such a desirable dwelling would soon find
a suitable inhabitant, especially as Mr. Waldershare assured him that he
would mention the matter to all his friends. But time rolled on, and the
rooms were still vacant; and the fastidious Rodneys, who at first would
only listen to a yearly tenant, began to reduce their expectations.
Matters had arrived at such a pass in May, that, for the first time in
their experience, they actually condescended to hoist an announcement of
furnished apartments.

In this state of affairs a cab rattled up to the house one morning, out
of which a young gentleman jumped briskly, and, knocking at the
door, asked, of the servant who opened it, whether he might see the
apartments. He was a young man, apparently not more than one or two and
twenty, of a graceful figure, somewhat above the middle height, fair,
with a countenance not absolutely regular, but calm and high-bred. His
dress was in the best taste, but to a practised eye had something of a
foreign cut, and he wore a slight moustache.

"The rooms will suit me," he said, "and I have no doubt the price you
ask for them is a just one;" and he bowed with high-bred courtesy to
Sylvia, who was now in attendance on him, and who stood with her pretty
hands in the pretty pockets of her pretty apron.

"I am glad to hear that," said Sylvia. "We have never let them before,
except to a yearly tenant."

"And if we suit each other," said the gentleman, "I should have no great
objection to becoming such."

"In these matters," said Sylvia, after a little hesitation, "we give and
receive references. Mr. Rodney is well known in this neighbourhood and
in Westminster generally; but I dare say," she adroitly added, "he has
many acquaintances known to you, sir."

"Not very likely," replied the young gentleman; "for I am a foreigner,
and only arrived in England this morning;" though he spoke English
without the slightest accent.

Sylvia looked a little perplexed; but he continued: "It is quite just
that you should be assured to whom you are letting your lodgings. The
only reference I can give you is to my banker, but he is almost too
great a man for such matters. Perhaps," he added, pulling out a case
from his breast pocket, and taking out of it a note, which he handed to
Sylvia, "this may assure you that your rent will be paid."

Sylvia took a rapid glance at the hundred-pound-note, and twisting it
into her little pocket with apparent _sangfroid_, though she held it
with a tight grasp, murmured that it was quite unnecessary, and then
offered to give her new lodger an acknowledgment of it.

"That is really unnecessary," he replied. "Your appearance commands from
me that entire confidence which on your part you very properly refuse to
a stranger and a foreigner like myself."

"What a charming young man!" thought Sylvia, pressing with emotion her
hundred-pound-note.

"Now," continued the young gentleman, "I will return to the station to
release my servant, who is a prisoner there with my luggage. Be pleased
to make him at home. I shall myself not return probably till the
evening; and in the meantime," he added, giving Sylvia his card, "you
will admit anything that arrives here addressed to Colonel Albert."

The settlement of Colonel Albert in Warwick Street was an event of
no slight importance. It superseded for a time all other topics of
conversation, and was discussed at length in the evenings, especially
with Mr. Vigo. Who was he? And in what service was he colonel? Mr.
Rodney, like a man of the world, assumed that all necessary information
would in time be obtained from the colonel's servant; but even men of
the world sometimes miscalculate. The servant, who was a Belgian, had
only been engaged by the colonel at Brussels a few days before his
departure for England, and absolutely knew nothing of his master, except
that he was a gentleman with plenty of money and sufficient luggage.
Sylvia, who was the only person who had seen the colonel, was strongly
in his favour. Mr. Rodney looked doubtful, and avoided any definite
opinion until he had had the advantage of an interview with his new
lodger. But this was not easy to obtain. Colonel Albert had no wish
to see the master of the house, and, if he ever had that desire, his
servant would accordingly communicate it in the proper quarter. At
present he was satisfied with all the arrangements, and wished neither
to make nor to receive remarks. The habits of the new lodger were
somewhat of a recluse. He was generally engaged in his rooms the whole
day, and seldom left them till the evening, and nobody, as yet, had
called upon him. Under these circumstances, Imogene was instructed
to open the matter to Mr. Waldershare when she presided over his
breakfast-table; and that gentleman said he would make inquiries about
the colonel at the Travellers' Club, where Waldershare passed a great
deal of his time. "If he be anybody," said Mr. Waldershare, "he is sure
in time to be known there, for he will be introduced as a visitor." At
present, however, it turned out that the "Travellers'" knew nothing of
Colonel Albert; and time went on, and Colonel Albert was not introduced
as a visitor there.

After a little while there was a change in the habits of the colonel.
One morning, about noon, a groom, extremely well appointed, and having
under his charge a couple of steeds of breed and beauty, called at
Warwick Street, and the colonel rode out, and was long absent, and after
that, every day, and generally at the same hour, mounted his horse.
Mr. Rodney was never wearied of catching a glimpse of his distinguished
lodger over the blinds of the ground-floor room, and of admiring the
colonel's commanding presence in his saddle, distinguished as his seat
was alike by its grace and vigour.

In the course of a little time, another incident connected with the
colonel occurred which attracted notice and excited interest. Towards
the evening a brougham, marked, but quietly, with a foreign coronet,
stopped frequently at Mr. Rodney's house, and a visitor to the colonel
appeared in the form of a middle-aged gentleman who never gave his name,
and evaded, it seemed with practised dexterity, every effort, however
adroit, to obtain it. The valet was tried on this head also, and replied
with simplicity that he did not know the gentleman's name, but he was
always called the Baron.

In the middle of June a packet arrived one day by the coach, from the
rector of Hurstley, addressed to Endymion, announcing his father's
dangerous illness, and requesting him instantly to repair home. Myra was
too much occupied to write even a line.



CHAPTER XXIX

It was strange that Myra did not write, were it only a line. It was so
unlike her. How often this occurred to Endymion during his wearisome and
anxious travel! When the coach reached Hurstley, he found Mr. Penruddock
waiting for him. Before he could inquire after his father, that
gentleman said, "Myra is at the rectory; you are to come on there."

"And my father?"----

"Matters are critical," said Mr. Penruddock, as it were avoiding a
direct answer, and hastening his pace.

It was literally not a five minutes' walk from the village inn to the
rectory, and they walked in silence. The rector took Endymion at once
into his study; for we can hardly call it a library, though some shelves
of books were there, and many stuffed birds.

The rector closed the door with care, and looked distressed; and,
beckoning to Endymion to be seated, he said, while still standing and
half turning away his head, "My dear boy, prepare yourself for the
worst."

"Ah! he is gone then! my dear, dear father!" and Endymion burst into
passionate tears, and leant on the table, his face hid in his hands.

The rector walked up and down the room with an agitated countenance. He
could not deny, it would seem, the inference of Endymion; and yet he did
not proffer those consolations which might be urged, and which it became
one in his capacity peculiarly to urge.

"I must see Myra," said Endymion eagerly, looking up with a wild air and
streaming eyes.

"Not yet," said the rector; "she is much disturbed. Your poor father is
no more; it is too true; but," and here the rector hesitated, "he did
not die happily."

"What do you mean?" said Endymion.

"Your poor father had much to try him," said the rector. "His life,
since he was amongst us here, was a life, for him, of adversity--perhaps
of great adversity--yet he bore up against it with a Christian spirit;
he never repined. There was much that was noble and exalted in his
character. But he never overcame the loss of your dear mother. He was
never himself afterwards. He was not always master of himself. I could
bear witness to that," said the rector, talking, as it were, to himself.
"Yes; I could conscientiously give evidence to that effect"----

"What effect?" asked Endymion, with a painful scrutiny.

"I could show," said the rector, speaking slowly, and in a low voice,
"and others could show, that he was not master of himself when he
committed the rash act."

"O Mr. Penruddock!" exclaimed Endymion, starting from his chair, and
seizing the rector by the arm. "What is all this?"

"That a great sorrow has come upon you, and your sister, and all of us,"
said Mr. Penruddock; "and you, and she, and all of us must bow before
the Divine will in trembling, though in hope. Your father's death was
not natural."

Such was the end of William Pitt Ferrars, on whom nature, opportunity,
and culture appeared to have showered every advantage. His abilities
were considerable, his ambition greater. Though intensely worldly, he
was not devoid of affections. He found refuge in suicide, as many do,
from want of imagination. The present was too hard for him, and his
future was only a chaotic nebula.

Endymion did not see his sister that evening. She was not made aware
of his arrival, and was alone with Mrs. Penruddock, who never left her
night or day. The rector took charge of her brother, and had a sofa-bed
made for him in the kind man's room. He was never to be alone. Never
the whole night did Endymion close his eyes; and he was almost as much
agitated about the impending interview with Myra, as about the dark
event of terror that had been disclosed to him.

Yet that dreaded interview must take place; and, about noon, the rector
told him that Myra was in the drawing-room alone, and would receive him.
He tottered as he crossed the hall; grief and physical exhaustion had
unmanned him; his eyes were streaming with tears; he paused for a moment
with his hand upon the door; he dreaded the anguish of her countenance.

She advanced and embraced him with tenderness; her face was grave, and
not a tear even glistened.

"I have been living in a tragedy for years," said Myra, in a low, hollow
voice; "and the catastrophe has now arrived."

"Oh, my dear father!" exclaimed Endymion; and he burst into a renewed
paroxysm of grief.

"Yes; he was dear to us, and we were dear to him," said Myra; "but the
curtain has fallen. We have to exert ourselves. Energy and self-control
were never more necessary to two human beings than to us. Here are his
keys; his papers must be examined by no one but ourselves. There is a
terrible ceremony taking place, or impending. When it is all over, we
must visit the hall at least once more."

The whole neighbourhood was full of sorrow for the event, and of
sympathy for those bereft. It was universally agreed that Mr. Ferrars
had never recovered the death of his wife; had never been the same man
after it; had become distrait, absent, wandering in his mind, and the
victim of an invincible melancholy. Several instances were given of his
inability to manage his affairs. The jury, with Farmer Thornberry for
foreman, hesitated not in giving a becoming verdict. In those days
information travelled slowly. There were no railroads then, and no
telegraphs, and not many clubs. A week elapsed before the sad occurrence
was chronicled in a provincial paper, and another week before the report
was reproduced in London, and then in an obscure corner of the journal,
and in small print. Everything gets about at last, and the world began
to stare and talk; but it passed unnoticed to the sufferers, except by
a letter from Zenobia, received at Hurstley after Myra had departed from
her kind friends. Zenobia was shocked, nay, overwhelmed, by what she had
heard; wanted to know if she could be of use; offered to do anything;
begged Myra to come and stay with her in St. James' Square; and assured
her that, if that were not convenient, when her mourning was over
Zenobia would present her at court, just the same as if she were her own
daughter.

When the fatal keys were used, and the papers of Mr. Ferrars examined,
it turned out worse than even Myra, in her darkest prescience, had
anticipated. Her father had died absolutely penniless. As executor of
his father, the funds settled on his wife had remained under his sole
control, and they had entirely disappeared. There was a letter addressed
to Myra on this subject. She read it with a pale face, said nothing,
and without showing it to Endymion, destroyed it. There was to be an
immediate sale of their effects at the hall. It was calculated that the
expenses of the funeral and all the country bills might be defrayed by
its proceeds.

"And there will be enough left for me," said Myra. "I only want ten
pounds; for I have ascertained that there is no part of England where
ten pounds will not take me."

Endymion sighed and nearly wept when she said these things. "No," he
would add; "we must never part."

"That would ensure our common ruin," said Myra. "No; I will never
embarrass you with a sister. You can only just subsist; for you could
not well live in a garret, except at the Rodneys'. I see my way," said
Myra; "I have long meditated over this--I can draw, I can sing, I can
speak many tongues: I ought to be able to get food and clothing; I may
get something more. And I shall always be content; for I shall always be
thinking of you. However humble even my lot, if my will is concentrated
on one purpose, it must ultimately effect it. That is my creed," she
said, "and I hold it fervently. I will stay with these dear people for
a little while. They are not exactly the family on which I ought to
trespass. But never mind. You will be a great man some day, Endymion,
and you will remember the good Penruddocks."



CHAPTER XXX

One of the most remarkable families that have ever flourished in England
were the NEUCHATELS. Their founder was a Swiss, who had established
a banking house of high repute in England in the latter part of the
eighteenth century, and, irrespective of a powerful domestic connection,
had in time pretty well engrossed the largest and best portion of
foreign banking business. When the great French Revolution occurred,
all the emigrants deposited their jewels and their treasure with the
Neuchatels. As the disturbance spread, their example was followed by
the alarmed proprietors and capitalists of the rest of Europe; and,
independently of their own considerable means, the Neuchatels thus had
the command for a quarter of a century, more or less, of adventitious
millions. They were scrupulous and faithful stewards, but they were
doubtless repaid for their vigilance, their anxiety, and often their
risk, by the opportunities which these rare resources permitted them to
enjoy. One of the Neuchatels was a favourite of Mr. Pitt, and assisted
the great statesman in his vast financial arrangements. This Neuchatel
was a man of large capacity, and thoroughly understood his period.
The minister wished to introduce him to public life, would have opened
Parliament to him, and no doubt have showered upon him honours and
titles. But Neuchatel declined these overtures. He was one of those
strong minds who will concentrate their energies on one object; without
personal vanity, but with a deep-seated pride in the future. He was
always preparing for his posterity. Governed by this passion, although
he himself would have been content to live for ever in Bishopsgate
Street, where he was born, he had become possessed of a vast
principality, and which, strange to say, with every advantage of
splendour and natural beauty, was not an hour's drive from Whitechapel.

HAINAULT HOUSE had been raised by a British peer in the days when nobles
were fond of building Palladian palaces. It was a chief work of Sir
William Chambers, and in its style, its beauty, and almost in its
dimensions, was a rival of Stowe or Wanstead. It stood in a deer park,
and was surrounded by a royal forest. The family that had raised it wore
out in the earlier part of this century. It was supposed that the place
must be destroyed and dismantled. It was too vast for a citizen, and the
locality was no longer sufficiently refined for a conscript father.
In this dilemma, Neuchatel stepped in and purchased the whole
affair--palace, and park, and deer, and pictures, and halls, and
galleries of statue and bust, and furniture, and even wines, and all the
farms that remained, and all the seigneurial rights in the royal forest.
But he never lived there. Though he spared nothing in the maintenance
and the improvement of the domain, except on a Sunday he never visited
it, and was never known to sleep under its roof. "It will be ready for
those who come after me," he would remark, with a modest smile.

Those who came after him were two sons, between whom his millions were
divided; and Adrian, the eldest, in addition to his share, was made the
lord of Hainault. Adrian had inherited something more, and something
more precious, than his father's treasure--a not inferior capacity,
united, in his case, with much culture, and with a worldly ambition to
which his father was a stranger. So long as that father lived, Adrian
had been extremely circumspect. He seemed only devoted to business, and
to model his conduct on that of his eminent sire. That father who had
recognised with pride and satisfaction his capacity, and who was without
jealousy, had initiated his son during his lifetime in all the secrets
of his wondrous craft, and had entrusted him with a leading part in
their affairs. Adrian had waited in Downing Street on Lord Liverpool, as
his father years before had waited on Mr. Pitt.

The elder Neuchatel departed this life a little before the second French
Revolution of 1830, which had been so fatal to Mr. Ferrars. Adrian, who
had never committed himself in politics, further than sitting a short
time for a reputed Tory borough, for which he paid a rent of a thousand
a year to the proprietor, but who was known to have been nurtured in the
school of Pitt and Wellington, astonished the world by voting for Lord
Grey's Reform Bill, and announcing himself as a Liberal. This was a
large fish for the new Liberal Treasury to capture; their triumph was
great, and they determined to show that they appreciated the power and
the influence of their new ally. At the dissolution of 1831, Adrian
Neuchatel was a candidate for a popular constituency, and was elected
at the head of the poll. His brother, Melchior, was also returned, and
a nephew. The Liberals were alarmed by a subscription of fabulous
dimensions said to have been collected by the Tories to influence the
General Election; and the undoubted contribution of a noble duke was
particularly mentioned, which alone appalled the heart of Brooks'. The
matter was put before Neuchatel, as he entered the club, to which he
had been recently elected with acclamation. "So you are a little
frightened," he said, with a peculiarly witching smile which he had,
half mockery and half good nature; as much as to say, "I will do what
you wish, but I see through you and everybody else." "So you are a
little frightened. Well; we City men must see what we can do against the
dukes. You may put me down for double his amount."

Adrian purchased a very fine mansion in Portland Place, and took up his
residence formally at Hainault. He delighted in the place, and to dwell
there in a manner becoming the scene had always been one of his dreams.
Now he lived there with unbounded expenditure. He was passionately fond
of horses, and even in his father's lifetime had run some at Newmarket
in another name. The stables at Hainault had been modelled on those at
Chantilly, and were almost as splendid a pile as the mansion itself.
They were soon full, and of first-rate animals in their different ways.
With his choice teams Adrian could reach Bishopsgate from Hainault,
particularly if there were no stoppages in Whitechapel, in much under an
hour.

If he had fifty persons in his stables, there were certainly as many in
his park and gardens. These latter were most elaborate. It seemed there
was nothing that Hainault could not produce: all the fruits and flowers
of the tropics. The conservatories and forcing-houses looked, in the
distance, like a city of glass. But, after all, the portion of this
immense establishment which was most renowned, and perhaps, on the
whole, best appreciated, was the establishment of the kitchen. The chef
was the greatest celebrity of Europe; and he had no limit to his staff,
which he had selected with the utmost scrutiny, maintained with becoming
spirit, and winnowed with unceasing vigilance. Every day at Hainault
was a banquet. What delighted Adrian was to bring down without notice a
troop of friends, conscious they would be received as well as if there
had been a preparation of weeks. Sometimes it was a body from the Stock
Exchange, sometimes a host from the House of Commons, sometimes a board
of directors with whom he had been transacting business in the morning.
It delighted Adrian to see them quaffing his burgundy, and stuffing down
his truffles, and his choice pies from Strasbourg, and all the delicate
dishes which many of them looked at with wonder, and tasted with
timidity. And then he would, with his particular smile, say to a brother
bank director, whose mouth was full, and who could only answer him with
his eyes, "Business gives one an appetite; eh, Mr. Trodgits?"

Sunday was always a great day at Hainault. The Royal and the Stock
Exchanges were both of them always fully represented; and then they
often had an opportunity, which they highly appreciated, of seeing and
conferring with some public characters, M.P.'s of note or promise, and
occasionally a secretary of the Treasury, or a privy councillor. "Turtle
makes all men equal," Adrian would observe. "Our friend Trodgits seemed
a little embarrassed at first, when I introduced him to the Right
Honourable; but when they sate next each other at dinner, they soon got
on very well."

On Sunday the guests walked about and amused themselves. No one was
allowed to ride or drive; Mrs. Neuchatel did not like riding and driving
on Sundays. "I see no harm in it," said Adrian, "but I like women to
have their way about religion. And you may go to the stables and see
the horses, and that might take up the morning. And then there are
the houses; they will amuse you. For my part, I am for a stroll in
the forest;" and then he would lead his companions, after a delightful
ramble, to some spot of agrestic charm, and, looking at it with delight,
would say, "Pretty, is it not? But then they say this place is not
fashionable. It will do, I think, for us City men."

Adrian had married, when very young, a lady selected by his father.
The selection seemed a good one. She was the daughter of a most eminent
banker, and had herself, though that was of slight importance, a large
portion. She was a woman of abilities, highly cultivated. Nothing had
ever been spared that she should possess every possible accomplishment,
and acquire every information and grace that it was desirable to attain.
She was a linguist, a fine musician, no mean artist; and she threw out,
if she willed it, the treasures of her well-stored and not unimaginative
mind with ease and sometimes eloquence. Her person, without being
absolutely beautiful, was interesting. There was even a degree of
fascination in her brown velvet eyes. And yet Mrs. Neuchatel was not a
contented spirit; and though she appreciated the great qualities of her
husband, and viewed him even with reverence as well as affection, she
scarcely contributed to his happiness as much as became her. And for
this reason. Whether it were the result of physical organisation, or
whether it were the satiety which was the consequence of having been
born, and bred, and lived for ever, in a society of which wealth was the
prime object of existence, and practically the test of excellence, Mrs.
Neuchatel had imbibed not merely a contempt for money, but absolutely
a hatred of it. The prosperity of her house depressed her. The stables
with their fifty grooms, and the grounds with their fifty gardeners,
and the daily visit of the head cook to pass the bill of fare, were
incidents and circumstances that made her melancholy. She looked upon
the Stock Exchange coming down to dinner as she would on an invasion
of the Visigoths, and endured the stiff observations or the cumbrous
liveliness of the merchants and bank directors with gloomy grace.
Something less material might be anticipated from the members of
Parliament. But whether they thought it would please the genius of the
place, or whether Adrian selected his friends from those who sympathised
with his pursuits, the members of Parliament seemed wonderfully to
accord with the general tone of the conversation, or varied it only by
indulging in technical talk of their own. Sometimes she would make a
desperate effort to change the elements of their society; something in
this way: "I see M. Arago and M. Mignet have arrived here, Adrian. Do
not you think we ought to invite them here? And then you might ask Mr.
Macaulay to meet them. You said you wished to ask Mr. Macaulay."

In one respect the alliance between Adrian and his wife was not an
unfortunate one. A woman, and a woman of abilities, fastidious, and
inclined to be querulous, might safely be counted on as, in general,
ensuring for both parties in their union an unsatisfactory and unhappy
life. But Adrian, though kind, generous, and indulgent, was so absorbed
by his own great affairs, was a man at the same time of so serene a
temper and so supreme a will, that the over-refined fantasies of his
wife produced not the slightest effect on the course of his life. Adrian
Neuchatel was what very few people are--master in his own house. With
a rich varnish of graciousness and favour, he never swerved from his
purpose; and, though willing to effect all things by smiles and sweet
temper, he had none of that morbid sensibility which allows some men
to fret over a phrase, to be tortured by a sigh, or to be subdued by a
tear.

There had been born of this marriage only one child, the greatest
heiress in England. She had been christened after her father, ADRIANA.
She was now about seventeen; and, had she not been endowed with the
finest disposition and the sweetest temper in the world, she must have
been spoiled, for both her parents idolised her. To see her every day
was for Adrian a reward for all his labours, and in the midst of his
greatest affairs he would always snatch a moment to think how he could
contribute to her pleasure or her happiness. All that was rare and
delightful and beautiful in the world was at her command. There was
no limit to the gratification of her wishes. But, alas! this favoured
maiden wished for nothing. Her books interested her, and a beautiful
nature; but she liked to be alone, or with her mother. She was impressed
with the horrible and humiliating conviction, that she was courted and
admired only for her wealth.

"What my daughter requires," said Adrian, as he mused over these
domestic contrarieties, "is a companion of her own age. Her mother is
the very worst constant companion she could have. She requires somebody
with charm, and yet of a commanding mind; with youthful sympathy, and
yet influencing her in the right way. It must be a person of birth and
breeding and complete self-respect. I do not want to have any parasites
in my house, or affected fine ladies. That would do no good. What I do
want is a thing very difficult to procure. And yet they say everything
is to be obtained. At least, I have always thought so, and found it so.
I have the greatest opinion of an advertisement in the 'Times.' I
got some of my best clerks by advertisements in the 'Times.' If I had
consulted friends, there would have been no end of jobbing for such
patronage. One could not trust, in such matters, one's own brother. I
will draw up an advertisement and insert it in the 'Times,' and have
the references to my counting-house. I will think over the wording as I
     drive to town." This was the wording:--ADVERTISEMENT

     A Banker and his Wife require a Companion for their only child, a
     young lady whose accomplishments and acquirements are already
     considerable. The friend that they would wish for her must be of
     about the same age as herself, and in every other respect their
     lots will be the same. The person thus desired will be received
     and treated as a daughter of the house, will be allowed her own
     suite of apartments, her own servants and equipage. She must be a
     person of birth, breeding, and entire self-respect; with a mind
     and experience capable of directing conduct, and with manners
     which will engage sympathy.--Apply to H. H., 45 Bishopsgate Street
     Within.

This advertisement met the eye of Myra at Hurstley Rectory about a
month after her father's death, and she resolved to answer it. Her
reply pleased Mr. Neuchatel. He selected it out of hundreds, and placed
himself in communication with Mr. Penruddock. The result was, that Miss
Ferrars was to pay a visit to the Neuchatels; and if, on experience,
they liked each other, the engagement was to take place.

In the meantime the good rector of Hurstley arrived on the previous
evening with his precious charge at Hainault House; and was rewarded for
his kind exertions, not only by the prospect of assisting Myra, but by
some present experience of a splendid and unusual scene.



CHAPTER XXXI

"What do you think of her, mamma?" said Adriana, with glistening eyes,
as she ran into Mrs. Neuchatel's dressing-room for a moment before
dinner.

"I think her manners are perfect," replied Mrs. Neuchatel; "and as there
can be no doubt, after all we have heard, of her principles, I think we
are most fortunate. But what do you think of her, Adriana? For, after
all, that is the main question."

"I think she is divine," said Adriana; "but I fear she has no heart."

"And why? Surely it is early to decide on such a matter as that!"

"When I took her to her room," said Adriana, "I suppose I was nervous;
but I burst into tears, and threw my arms round her neck and embraced
her, but she did not respond. She touched my forehead with her lips, and
withdrew from my embrace."

"She wished, perhaps, to teach you to control your emotions," said Mrs.
Neuchatel. "You have known her only an hour, and you could not have done
more to your own mother."

It had been arranged that there should be no visitors to-day; only a
nephew and a foreign consul-general, just to break the formality of the
meeting. Mr. Neuchatel placed Myra next to himself at the round table,
and treated her with marked consideration--cordial but courteous, and
easy, with a certain degree of deference. His wife, who piqued herself
on her perception of character, threw her brown velvet eyes on her
neighbour, Mr. Penruddock, and cross-examined him in mystical whispers.
She soon recognised his love of nature; and this allowed her to dissert
on the subject, at once sublime and inexhaustible, with copiousness
worthy of the theme. When she found he was an entomologist, and that it
was not so much mountains as insects which interested him, she shifted
her ground, but treated it with equal felicity. Strange, but nature is
never so powerful as in insect life. The white ant can destroy fleets
and cities, and the locusts erase a province. And then, how beneficent
they are! Man would find it difficult to rival their exploits: the bee,
that gives us honey; the worm, that gives us silk; the cochineal, that
supplies our manufactures with their most brilliant dye.

Mr. Penruddock did not seem to know much about manufactures, but always
recommended his cottagers to keep bees.

"The lime-tree abounds in our village, and there is nothing the bees
love more than its blossoms."

This direct reference to his village led Mrs. Neuchatel to an inquiry as
to the state of the poor about Hurstley, and she made the inquiry in a
tone of commiseration.

"Oh! we do pretty well," said Mr. Penruddock.

"But how can a family live on ten or twelve shillings a week?" murmured
Mrs. Neuchatel.

"There it is," said Mr. Penruddock. "A family has more than that. With a
family the income proportionately increases."

Mrs. Neuchatel sighed. "I must say," she said, "I cannot help feeling
there is something wrong in our present arrangements. When I sit down
to dinner every day, with all these dishes, and remember that there are
millions who never taste meat, I cannot resist the conviction that it
would be better if there were some equal division, and all should have,
if not much, at least something."

"Nonsense, Emily!" said Mr. Neuchatel, who had an organ like Fine-ear,
and could catch, when necessary, his wife's most mystical revelations.
"My wife, Mr. Penruddock, is a regular Communist. I hope you are not,"
he added, with a smile, turning to Myra.

"I think life would be very insipid," replied Myra, "if all our lots
were the same."

When the ladies withdrew, Adriana and Myra walked out together
hand-in-hand. Mr. Neuchatel rose and sate next to Mr. Penruddock, and
began to talk politics. His reverend guest could not conceal his alarm
about the position of the Church and spoke of Lord John Russell's
appropriation clause with well-bred horror.

"Well, I do not think there is much to be afraid of," said Mr.
Neuchatel. "This is a liberal age, and you cannot go against it. The
people must be educated, and where are the funds to come from? We must
all do something, and the Church must contribute its share. You know I
am a Liberal, but I am not for any rash courses. I am not at all sorry
that Sir Robert Peel gained so much at the last general election. I like
parties to be balanced. I am quite content with affairs. My friends, the
Liberals, are in office, and, being there, they can do very little. That
is the state of things, is it not, Melchior?" he added, with a smile to
his nephew, who was an M.P. "A balanced state of parties, and the house
of Neuchatel with three votes--that will do. We poor City men get a
little attention paid to us now, but before the dissolution three votes
went for nothing. Now, shall we go and ask my daughter to give us a
song?"

Mrs. Neuchatel accompanied her daughter on the piano, and after a time
not merely on the instrument. The organ of both was fine and richly
cultivated. It was choice chamber music. Mr. Neuchatel seated himself
by Myra. His tone was more than kind, and his manner gentle. "It is a
little awkward the first day," he said, "among strangers, but that will
wear off. You must bring your mind to feel that this is your home, and
we shall all of us do everything in our power to convince you of it. Mr.
Penruddock mentioned to me your wish, under present circumstances, to
enter as little as possible into society, and this is a very social
house. Your feeling is natural, and you will be in this matter entirely
your own mistress. We shall always be glad to see you, but if you are
not present we shall know and respect the cause. For my own part, I am
one of those who would rather cherish affection than indulge grief, but
every one must follow their mood. I hear you have a brother, to whom
you are much attached; a twin, too, and they tell me strongly resembling
you. He is in a public office, I believe? Now, understand this; your
brother can come here whenever he likes, without any further invitation.
Ask him whenever you please. We shall always be glad to see him. No
sort of notice is necessary. This is not a very small house, and we can
always manage to find a bed and a cutlet for a friend."



CHAPTER XXXII

Nothing could be more successful than the connection formed between
the Neuchatel family and Myra Ferrars. Both parties to the compact were
alike satisfied. Myra had "got out of that hole" which she always hated;
and though the new life she had entered was not exactly the one she
had mused over, and which was founded on the tradition of her early
experience, it was a life of energy and excitement, of splendour and
power, with a total absence of petty vexations and miseries, affording
neither time nor cause for the wearing chagrin of a monotonous and
mediocre existence. But the crowning joy of her emancipation was the
prospect it offered of frequent enjoyment of the society of her brother.

With regard to the Neuchatels, they found in Myra everything they could
desire. Mrs. Neuchatel was delighted with a companion who was not the
daughter of a banker, and whose schooled intellect not only comprehended
all her doctrines, however abstruse or fanciful, but who did not
hesitate, if necessary, to controvert or even confute them. As for
Adriana, she literally idolised a friend whose proud spirit and clear
intelligence were calculated to exercise a strong but salutary influence
over her timid and sensitive nature. As for the great banker himself,
who really had that faculty of reading character which his wife
flattered herself she possessed, he had made up his mind about Myra from
the first, both from her correspondence and her conversation. "She has
more common sense than any woman I ever knew, and more," he would add,
"than most men. If she were not so handsome, people would find it
out; but they cannot understand that so beautiful a woman can have
a headpiece, that, I really believe, could manage the affairs in
Bishopsgate Street."

In the meantime life at Hainault resumed its usual course; streams
of guests, of all parties, colours, and classes, and even nations.
Sometimes Mr. Neuchatel would say, "I really must have a quiet day that
Miss Ferrars may dine with us, and she shall ask her brother. How glad I
shall be when she goes into half-mourning! I scarcely catch a glimpse of
her." And all this time his wife and daughter did nothing but quote her,
which was still more irritating, for, as he would say, half-grumbling
and half-smiling, "If it had not been for me she would not have been
here."

At first Adriana would not dine at table without Myra, and insisted on
sharing her imprisonment. "It does not look like a cell," said Myra,
surveying, not without complacency, her beautiful little chamber,
beautifully lit, with its silken hangings and carved ceiling and bright
with books and pictures; "besides, there is no reason why you should be
a prisoner. You have not lost a father, and I hope never will."

"Amen!" said Adriana; "that would indeed be the unhappiest day of my
life."

"You cannot be in society too much in the latter part of the day," said
Myra. "The mornings should be sacred to ourselves, but for the rest of
the hours people are to see and to be seen, and," she added, "to like
and be liked."

Adriana shook her head; "I do not wish any one to like me but you."

"I am sure I shall always like you, and love you," said Myra, "but I am
equally sure that a great many other people will do the same."

"It will not be myself that they like or love," said Adriana with a
sigh.

"Now, spare me that vein, dear Adriana; you know I do not like it. It is
not agreeable, and I do not think it is true. I believe that women are
loved much more for themselves than is supposed. Besides, a woman should
be content if she is loved; that is the point; and she is not to inquire
how far the accidents of life have contributed to the result. Why should
you not be loved for yourself? You have an interesting appearance. I
think you very pretty. You have choice accomplishments and agreeable
conversation and the sweetest temper in the world. You want a little
self-conceit, my dear. If I were you and admired, I should never think
of my fortune."

"If you were the greatest heiress in the world, Myra, and were married,
nobody would suppose for a moment that it was for your fortune."

"Go down to dinner and smile upon everybody, and tell me about your
conquests to-morrow. And say to your dear papa, that as he is so kind as
to wish to see me, I will join them after dinner."

And so, for the first two months, she occasionally appeared in the
evening, especially when there was no formal party. Endymion came and
visited her every Sunday, but he was also a social recluse, and though
he had been presented to Mrs. Neuchatel and her daughter, and been most
cordially received by them, it was some considerable time before he made
the acquaintance of the great banker.

About September Myra may be said to have formally joined the circle at
Hainault. Three months had elapsed since the terrible event, and
she felt, irrespective of other considerations, her position hardly
justified her, notwithstanding all the indulgent kindness of the family,
in continuing a course of life which she was conscious to them
was sometimes an inconvenience and always a disappointment. It was
impossible to deny that she was interested and amused by the world which
she now witnessed--so energetic, so restless, so various; so full of
urgent and pressing life; never thinking of the past and quite heedless
of the future, but worshipping an almighty present that sometimes seemed
to roll on like the car of Juggernaut. She was much diverted by the
gentlemen of the Stock Exchange, so acute, so audacious, and differing
so much from the merchants in the style even of their dress, and in the
ease, perhaps the too great facility, of their bearing. They called each
other by their Christian names, and there were allusions to practical
jokes which intimated a life something between a public school and
a garrison. On more solemn days there were diplomatists and men in
political office; sometimes great musical artists, and occasionally a
French actor. But the dinners were always the same; dishes worthy of the
great days of the Bourbons, and wines of rarity and price, which could
not ruin Neuchatel, for in many instances the vineyards belonged to
himself.

One morning at breakfast, when he rarely encountered them, but it was
a holiday in the City, Mr. Neuchatel said, "There are a few gentlemen
coming to dine here to-day whom you know, with one exception. He is a
young man, a very nice young fellow. I have seen a good deal of him of
late on business in the City, and have taken a fancy to him. He is a
foreigner, but he was partly educated in this country and speaks English
as well as any of us."

"Then I suppose he is not a Frenchman," said Mrs. Neuchatel, "for they
never speak English."

"I shall not say what he is. You must all find out; I dare say Miss
Ferrars will discover him; but, remember, you must all of you pay him
great attention, for he is not a common person, I can assure you."

"You are mysterious, Adrian," said his wife, "and quite pique our
curiosity."

"Well, I wish somebody would pique mine," said the banker. "These
holidays in the City are terrible things. I think I will go after
breakfast and look at the new house, and I dare say Miss Ferrars will be
kind enough to be my companion."

Several of the visitors, fortunately for the banker whose time hung
rather heavily on his hands, arrived an hour or so before dinner, that
they might air themselves in the famous gardens and see some of the new
plants. But the guest whom he most wished to greet, and whom the ladies
were most curious to welcome, did not arrive. They had all entered the
house and the critical moment was at hand, when, just as dinner
was about to be announced, the servants ushered in a young man of
distinguished appearance, and the banker exclaimed, "You have arrived
just in time to take Mrs. Neuchatel in to dinner," and he presented to
her--COLONEL ALBERT.



CHAPTER XXXIII

The ladies were much interested by Colonel Albert. Mrs. Neuchatel
exercised on him all the unrivalled arts by which she so unmistakably
discovered character. She threw on him her brown velvet eyes with a
subdued yet piercing beam, which would penetrate his most secret and
even undeveloped intelligence. She asked questions in a hushed mystical
voice, and as the colonel was rather silent and somewhat short in
his replies, though ever expressed in a voice of sensibility and with
refined deference of manner, Mrs. Neuchatel opened her own peculiar
views on a variety of subjects of august interest, such as education,
high art, the influence of women in society, the formation of character,
and the distribution of wealth, on all of which this highly gifted
lady was always in the habit of informing her audience, by way of
accompaniment, that she was conscious that the views she entertained
were peculiar. The views of Mrs. Neuchatel were peculiar, and therefore
not always, or even easily, comprehended. That indeed she felt was
rather her fate in life, but a superior intelligence like hers has a
degree of sublimated self-respect which defies destiny.

When she was alone with the ladies, the bulletin of Mrs. Neuchatel was
not so copious as had been expected. She announced that Colonel Albert
was sentimental, and she suspected a poet. But for the rest she had
discovered nothing, not even his nationality. She had tried him both
in French and German, but he persisted in talking English, although he
spoke of himself as a foreigner. After dinner he conversed chiefly
with the men, particularly with the Governor of the Bank, who seemed
to interest him much, and a director of one of the dock companies, who
offered to show him over their establishment, an offer which Colonel
Albert eagerly accepted. Then, as if he remembered that homage was
due at such a moment to the fairer sex, he went and seated himself
by Adriana, and was playful and agreeable, though when she was
cross-examined afterwards by her friends as to the character of his
conversation, she really could not recall anything particular except
that he was fond of horses, and said that he should like very much to
take a ride with her. Just before he took his departure, Colonel Albert
addressed Myra, and in a rather strange manner. He said, "I have been
puzzling myself all dinner, but I cannot help feeling that we have met
before."

Myra shook her head and said, "I think that is impossible."

"Well," said the colonel with a look a little perplexed and not
altogether satisfied, "I suppose then it was a dream. May dreams so
delightful," and he bowed, "never be wanting!"

"So you think he is a poet, Emily," said Mr. Neuchatel when they had all
gone. "We have got a good many of his papers in Bishopsgate Street, but
I have not met with any verses in them yet."

The visit of Colonel Albert was soon repeated, and he became a rather
frequent guest at Hainault. It was evident that he was a favourite with
Mr. Neuchatel. "He knows very few people," he would say, "and I wish him
to make some friends. Poor young fellow: he has had rather a hard
life of it, and seen some service for such a youth. He is a perfect
gentleman, and if he be a poet, Emily, that is all in your way. You like
literary people, and are always begging that I should ask them. Well,
next Saturday you will have a sort of a lion--one of the principal
writers in 'Scaramouch.' He is going to Paris as the foreign
correspondent of the 'Chuck-Farthing,' with a thousand a year, and one
of my friends in the Stock Exchange, who is his great ally, asked me to
give him some letters. So he came to Bishopsgate Street--they all come
to Bishopsgate Street--and I asked him to dine here on Saturday. By the
by, Miss Ferrars, ask your brother to come on the same day and stay with
us till Monday. I will take him up to town with me quite in time for his
office."

This was the first time that Endymion had remained at Hainault. He
looked forward to the visit with anticipation of great pleasure.
Hainault, and all the people there, and everything about it, delighted
him, and most of all the happiness of his sister and the consideration,
and generosity, and delicate affection with which she was treated. One
morning, to his astonishment, Myra had insisted upon his accepting from
her no inconsiderable sum of money. "It is no part of my salary," she
said, when he talked of her necessities. "Mr. Neuchatel said he gave it
to me for outfit and to buy gloves. But being in mourning I want to
buy nothing, and you, dear darling, must have many wants. Besides, Mrs.
Neuchatel has made me so many presents that I really do not think that I
shall ever want to buy anything again."

It was rather a grand party at Hainault, such as Endymion had little
experience of. There was a cabinet minister and his wife, not only
an ambassador, but an ambassadress who had been asked to meet them,
a nephew Neuchatel, the M.P. with a pretty young wife, and several
apparently single gentlemen of note and position. Endymion was nervous
when he entered, and more so because Myra was not in the room. But
his trepidation was absorbed in his amazement when in the distance he
observed St. Barbe, with a very stiff white cravat, and his hair
brushed into unnatural order, and his whole demeanour forming a singular
contrast to the rollicking cynicisms of Joe's and the office.

Mr. Neuchatel presented St. Barbe to the lady of the mansion. "Here is
one of our greatest wits," said the banker, "and he is going to Paris,
which is the capital of wits." The critical moment prevented prolonged
conversation, but the lady of the mansion did contrive to convey to St.
Barbe her admiring familiarity with some of his effusions, and threw out
a phrase which proved how finely she could distinguish between wit and
humour.

Endymion at dinner sate between two M.P.'s, whom his experience at the
House of Commons allowed him to recognise. As he was a young man whom
neither of them knew, neither of them addressed him, but with delicate
breeding carried on an active conversation across him, as if in fact he
were not present. As Endymion had very little vanity, this did not at
all annoy him. On the contrary, he was amused, for they spoke of matters
with which he was not unacquainted, though he looked as if he knew or
heard nothing. Their conversation was what is called "shop:" all
about the House and office; criticisms on speakers, speculations as to
preferment, what Government would do about this, and how well Government
got out of that.

Endymion was amused by seeing Myra, who was remote from him, sitting
by St. Barbe, who, warmed by the banquet, was evidently holding forth
without the slightest conception that his neighbour whom he addressed
had long become familiar with his characteristics.

After dinner St. Barbe pounced upon Endymion. "Only think of our meeting
here!" he said. "I wonder why they asked you. You are not going to
Paris, and you are not a wit. What a family this is!" he said; "I had
no idea of wealth before! Did you observe the silver plate? I could not
hold mine with one hand, it was so heavy. I do not suppose there are
such plates in the world. It gives one an idea of the galleons and
Anson's plunder. But they deserve their wealth," he added, "nobody
grudges it to them. I declare when I was eating that truffle, I felt a
glow about my heart that, if it were not indigestion, I think must have
been gratitude; though that is an article I had not believed in. He is
a wonderful man, that Neuchatel. If I had only known him a year ago! I
would have dedicated my novel to him. He is a sort of man who would have
given you a cheque immediately. He would not have read it, to be sure,
but what of that? If you had dedicated it to a lord, the most he would
have done would have been to ask you to dinner, and then perhaps cut up
your work in one of the Quality reviews, and taken money for doing it
out of our pockets! Oh! it's too horrid! There are some topsawyers here
to-day, Ferrars! It would make Seymour Hicks' mouth water to be here. We
should have had it in the papers, and he would have left us out of
the list, and called us, etc. Now I dare say that ambassador has been
blundering all his life, and yet there is something in that star and
ribbon; I do not know you feel, but I could almost go down on my knees
to him. And there is a cabinet minister; well, we know what he is; I
have been squibbing him for these two years, and now that I meet him I
feel like a snob. Oh! there is an immense deal of superstition left in
the world. I am glad they are going to the ladies. I am to be honoured
by some conversation with the mistress of the house. She seems a
first-rate woman, familiar with the glorious pages of a certain classic
work, and my humble effusions. She praised one she thought I wrote,
but between ourselves it was written by that fellow Seymour Hicks, who
imitates me; but I would not put her right, as dinner might have been
announced every moment. But she is a great woman, sir,--wonderful eyes!
They are all great women here. I sat next to one of the daughters,
or daughters-in-law, or nieces, I suppose. By Jove! it was tierce and
quart. If you had been there, you would have been run through in a
moment. I had to show my art. Now they are rising. I should not be
surprised if Mr. Neuchatel were to present me to some of the grandees. I
believe them to be all impostors, but still it is pleasant to talk to a
man with a star.

"'Ye stars, which are the poetry of heaven,'

"Byron wrote; a silly line; he should have written,

"'Ye stars, which are the poetry of dress.'"



CHAPTER XXXIV

St. Barbe was not disappointed in his hopes. It was an evening of
glorious success for him. He had even the honour of sitting for a time
by the side of Mrs. Neuchatel, and being full of good claret, he, as he
phrased it, showed his paces; that is to say, delivered himself of some
sarcastic paradoxes duly blended with fulsome flattery. Later in the
evening, he contrived to be presented both to the ambassador and the
cabinet minister, and treated them as if they were demigods; listened
to them as if with an admiration which he vainly endeavoured to repress;
never spoke except to enforce and illustrate the views which they had
condescended to intimate; successfully conveyed to his excellency that
he was conversing with an enthusiast for his exalted profession; and
to the minister that he had met an ardent sympathiser with his noble
career. The ambassador was not dissatisfied with the impression he had
made on one of the foreign correspondents of the "Chuck-Farthing," and
the minister flattered himself that both the literary and the graphic
representations of himself in "Scaramouch" might possibly for the future
be mitigated.

"I have done business to-night," said St. Barbe to Endymion, towards the
close of the evening. "You did not know I had left the old shop? I kept
it close. I could stand it no longer. One has energies, sir, though not
recognised--at least not recognised much," he added thoughtfully. "But
who knows what may happen? The age of mediocrity is not eternal. You see
this thing offered, and I saw an opening. It has come already. You
saw the big-wigs all talking to me? I shall go to Paris now with some
_eclat_. I shall invent a new profession; the literary diplomatist. The
bore is, I know nothing about foreign politics. My line has been the
other way. Never mind; I will read the 'Debats' and the 'Revue des Deux
Mondes,' and make out something. Foreign affairs are all the future, and
my views may be as right as anybody else's; probably more correct, not
so conventional. What a fool I was, Ferrars! I was asked to remain here
to-night and refused! The truth is, I could not stand those powdered
gentlemen, and I should have been under their care. They seem so haughty
and supercilious. And yet I was wrong. I spoke to one of them very
rudely just now, when he was handing coffee, to show I was not afraid,
and he answered me like a seraph. I felt remorse."

"Well, I have made the acquaintance of Mr. St. Barbe," said Myra to
Endymion. "Strange as he is, he seemed quite familiar to me, and he was
so full of himself that he never found me out. I hope some day to know
Mr. Trenchard and Mr. Waldershare. Those I look upon as your chief
friends."

On the following afternoon, Adriana, Myra, and Endymion took a long
walk together in the forest. The green glades in the autumnal woods were
inviting, and sometimes they stood before the vast form of some doddered
oak. The air was fresh and the sun was bright. Adriana was always gay
and happy in the company of her adored Myra, and her happiness and her
gaiety were not diminished by the presence of Myra's brother. So it was
a lively and pleasant walk.

At the end of a long glade they observed a horseman followed by a groom
approaching them. Endymion was some little way behind, gathering wild
flowers for Adriana. Cantering along, the cavalier soon reached them,
and then he suddenly pulled up his horse. It was Colonel Albert.

"You are walking, ladies? Permit me to join you," and he was by their
side. "I delight in forests and in green alleys," said Colonel Albert.
"Two wandering nymphs make the scene perfect."

"We are not alone," said Adriana, "but our guardian is picking some wild
flowers for us, which we fancied. I think it is time to return. You are
going to Hainault, I believe, Colonel Albert, so we can all walk home
together."

So they turned, and Endymion with his graceful offering in a moment met
them. Full of his successful quest, he offered with eager triumph the
flowers to Adriana, without casting a glance at her new companion.

"Beautiful!" exclaimed Adriana, and she stopped to admire and arrange
them. "See, dear Myra, is not this lovely? How superior to anything in
our glass-houses!"

Myra took the flower and examined it. Colonel Albert, who was silent,
was watching all this time Endymion with intentness, who now looked
up and encountered the gaze of the new comer. Their eyes met, their
countenances were agitated, they seemed perplexed, and then it seemed
that at the same time both extended their hands.

"It is a long time since we met," said Colonel Albert, and he retained
the hand of Endymion with affection. But Endymion, who was apparently
much moved, said nothing, or rather only murmured an echo to the remarks
of his new friend. And then they all walked on, but Myra fell a little
back and made a signal to Endymion to join her.

"You never told me, darling, that you knew Colonel Albert."

"Colonel Albert!" said Endymion, looking amazed, and then he added, "Who
is Colonel Albert?"

"That gentleman before us," said Myra.

"That is the Count of Otranto, whose fag I was at Eton."

"The Count of Otranto!"



CHAPTER XXXV

Colonel Albert from this day became an object of increased and deeper
interest to Myra. His appearance and manners had always been attractive,
and the mystery connected with him was not calculated to diminish
curiosity in his conduct or fate. But when she discovered that he was
the unseen hero of her childhood, the being who had been kind to her
Endymion in what she had ever considered the severest trial of her
brother's life, had been his protector from those who would have
oppressed him, and had cherished him in the desolate hour of his
delicate and tender boyhood, her heart was disturbed. How often had they
talked together of the Count of Otranto, and how often had they wondered
who he was! His memory had been a delightful mystery to them in their
Berkshire solitude, and Myra recalled with a secret smile the numberless
and ingenious inquiries by which she had endeavoured to elicit from her
brother some clue as to his friend, or to discover some detail which
might guide her to a conclusion. Endymion had known nothing, and was
clear always that the Count of Otranto must have been, and was, an
English boy. And now the Count of Otranto called himself Colonel Albert,
and though he persisted in speaking English, had admitted to Mrs.
Neuchatel that he was a foreigner.

Who was he? She resolved, when she had an opportunity, to speak to the
great banker on the subject.

"Do you know, Mr. Neuchatel," she said, "that Endymion, my brother, was
at school with Colonel Albert?"

"Ah, ah!" said Mr. Neuchatel.

"But when he was at school he had another name," said Myra.

"Oh, oh!" said Mr. Neuchatel.

"He was then called the Count of Otranto."

"That is a very pretty name," said Mr. Neuchatel.

"But why did he change it?" asked Myra.

"The great world often change their names," said Mr. Neuchatel. "It is
only poor City men like myself who are always called Mr., and bear the
same name as their fathers."

"But when a person is called a count when he is a boy, he is seldom
called only a colonel when he is a man," said Myra. "There is a great
mystery in all this."

"I should not be surprised," said Mr. Neuchatel, "if he were to change
his name again before this time year."

"Why?" asked Myra.

"Well, when I have read all his papers in Bishopsgate Street, perhaps I
shall be able to tell you," said Mr. Neuchatel, and Myra felt that she
could pursue the theme no further.

She expected that Endymion would in time be able to obtain this
information, but it was not so. In their first private conversation
after their meeting in the forest, Endymion had informed Colonel Albert
that, though they had met now for the first time since his return, they
had been for some time lodgers in London under the same roof. Colonel
Albert smiled when Endymion told him this; then falling into thought,
he said; "I hope we may often meet, but for the moment it may be as well
that the past should be known only to ourselves. I wish my life for the
present to be as private as I can arrange it. There is no reason why we
should not be sometimes together--that is, when you have leisure. I had
the pleasure of making your acquaintance at my banker's."

Parliament had been dissolved through the demise of the crown in the
summer of this year (1837), and London society had been prematurely
broken up. Waldershare had left town early in July to secure his
election, in which he was successful, with no intention of settling
again in his old haunts till the meeting of the new House of Commons,
which was to be in November. The Rodneys were away at some Kentish
watering-place during August and September, exhibiting to an admiring
world their exquisitely made dresses, and enjoying themselves amazingly
at balls and assemblies at the public rooms. The resources of private
society also were not closed to them. Mr. and Mrs. Gamme were also there
and gave immense dinners, and the airy Mrs. Hooghley, who laughed a
little at the Gammes' substantial gatherings and herself improvised
charming pic-nics. So there was really little embarrassment in the
social relations between Colonel Albert and Endymion. They resolved
themselves chiefly into arranging joint expeditions to Hainault.
Endymion had a perpetual invitation there, and it seemed that the
transactions between Mr. Neuchatel and the colonel required much
conference, for the banker always expected him, although it was well
known that they met not unfrequently in Bishopsgate Street in the course
of the week. Colonel Albert and Endymion always stayed at Hainault from
Saturday till Monday. It delighted the colonel to mount Endymion on one
of his choice steeds, and his former fag enjoyed all this amazingly.

Colonel Albert became domiciled at Hainault. The rooms which were
occupied by him when there were always reserved for him. He had a
general invitation, and might leave his luggage and books and papers
behind him. It was evident that the family pleased him. Between Mr.
Neuchatel and himself there were obviously affairs of great interest;
but it was equally clear that he liked the female members of the
family--all of them; and all liked him. And yet it cannot be said that
he was entertaining, but there are some silent people who are more
interesting than the best talkers. And when he did speak he always
said the right thing. His manners were tender and gentle; he had an
unobtrusive sympathy with all they said or did, except, indeed, and that
was not rarely, when he was lost in profound abstraction.

"I delight in your friend the colonel, Adrian," said Mrs. Neuchatel,
"but I must say he is very absent."

"He has a good deal to think about," said Mr. Neuchatel.

"I wonder what it can be," thought Myra.

"He has a claim to a great estate," said Mr. Neuchatel, "and he has to
think of the best mode of establishing it; and he has been deprived of
great honours, and he believes unjustly, and he wishes to regain them."

"No wonder, then, he is absent," said Mrs. Neuchatel. "If he only knew
what a burthen great wealth is, I am sure he would not wish to possess
it, and as for honours I never could make out why having a title or a
ribbon could make any difference in a human being."

"Nonsense, my dear Emily," said Mr. Neuchatel. "Great wealth is a
blessing to a man who knows what to do with it, and as for honours, they
are inestimable to the honourable."

"Well, I ardently hope Colonel Albert may succeed," said Myra, "because
he was so kind to my brother at Eton. He must have a good heart."

"They say he is the most unscrupulous of living men," said Mr.
Neuchatel, with his peculiar smile.

"Good heavens!" exclaimed Mrs. Neuchatel.

"How terrible!" said Adriana. "It cannot be true."

"Perhaps he is the most determined," said Myra. "Moral courage is the
rarest of qualities, and often maligned."

"Well, he has got a champion," said Mr. Neuchatel.

"I ardently wish him success," said Myra, "in all his undertakings. I
only wish I knew what they were."

"Has not he told your brother, Miss Ferrars?" asked Mr. Neuchatel, with
laughing eyes.

"He never speaks of himself to Endymion," said Myra.

"He speaks a good deal of himself to me," said Mr. Neuchatel; "and he is
going to bring a friend here to-morrow who knows more about his affairs
even than I do. So you will have a very good opportunity, Miss Ferrars,
of making yourself acquainted with them, particularly if you sit next to
him at dinner, and are very winning."

The friend of Colonel Albert was Baron Sergius, the baron who used to
visit him in London at twilight in a dark brougham. Mrs. Neuchatel
was greatly taken by his appearance, by the calmness of his mien, his
unstudied politeness, and his measured voice. He conversed with her
entirely at dinner on German philosophy, of which he seemed a complete
master, explained to her the different schools, and probably the
successful ones, and imparted to her that precise knowledge which she
required on the subject, and which she had otherwise been unable
to obtain. It seemed, too, that he personally knew all the famous
professors, and he intimated their doctrines not only with profound
criticism, but described their persons and habits with vividness and
picturesque power, never, however, all this time, by any chance raising
his voice, the tones of which were ever distinct and a little precise.

"Is this the first visit of your friend to this country?" asked Myra of
Colonel Albert.

"Oh no; he has been here often--and everywhere," added Colonel Albert.

"Everywhere! he must be a most interesting companion then."

"I find him so: I never knew any one whom I thought equal to him. But
perhaps I am not an impartial judge, for I have known him so long and
so intimately. In fact, I had never been out of his sight till I was
brought over to this country to be placed at Eton. He is the counsellor
of our family, and we all of us have ever agreed that if his advice had
been always followed we should never have had a calamity."

"Indeed, a gifted person! Is he a soldier?"

"No; Baron Sergius has not followed the profession of arms."

"He looks a diplomatist."

"Well, he is now nothing but my friend," said the colonel. "He might
have been anything, but he is a peculiarly domestic character, and is
devoted to private life."

"You are fortunate in such a friend."

"Well, I am glad to be fortunate in something," said Colonel Albert.

"And are you not fortunate in everything?"

"I have not that reputation; but I shall be more than fortunate if I
have your kind wishes."

"Those you have," said Myra, rather eagerly. "My brother taught me, even
as a child, to wish nothing but good for you. I wish I knew only what I
was to wish for."

"Wish that my plans may succeed," said Colonel Albert, looking round to
her with interest.

"I will more than wish," said Myra; "I will believe that they will
succeed, because I think you have resolved to succeed."

"I shall tell Endymion when I see him," said Colonel Albert, "that his
sister is the only person who has read my character."



CHAPTER XXXVI

Colonel Albert and Baron Sergius drove up in their landau from Hainault
while Endymion was at the door in Warwick Street, returning home. The
colonel saluted him cordially, and said, "The baron is going to take
a cup of coffee with me; join us." So they went upstairs. There was
a packet on the table, which seemed to catch the colonel's eye
immediately, and he at once opened it with eagerness. It contained many
foreign newspapers. Without waiting for the servant who was about to
bring candles, the colonel lighted a taper on the table with a lucifer,
and then withdrew into the adjoining chamber, opening, however, with
folding doors to the principal and spacious apartment.

"A foreign newspaper always interests our friend," said the baron,
taking his coffee.

"Well, it must always be interesting to have news from home, I suppose,"
said Endymion.

"Home!" said the baron. "News is always interesting, whether it come
from home or not."

"To public men," said Endymion.

"To all men if they be wise," said the baron; "as a general rule, the
most successful man in life is the man who has the best information."

"But what a rare thing is success in life!" said Endymion. "I often
wonder whether I shall ever be able to step out of the crowd."

"You may have success in life without stepping out of the crowd," said
the baron.

"A sort of success," said Endymion; "I know what you mean. But what I
mean is real success in life. I mean, I should like to be a public man."

"Why?" asked the baron.

"Well, I should like to have power," said Endymion, blushing.

"The most powerful men are not public men," said the baron. "A public
man is responsible, and a responsible man is a slave. It is private life
that governs the world. You will find this out some day. The world talks
much of powerful sovereigns and great ministers; and if being talked
about made one powerful, they would be irresistible. But the fact is,
the more you are talked about the less powerful you are."

"But surely King Luitbrand is a powerful monarch; they say he is the
wisest of men. And the Emperor Harold, who has succeeded in everything.
And as for ministers, who is a great man if it be not Prince
Wenceslaus?"

"King Luitbrand is governed by his doctor, who is capable of governing
Europe, but has no ambition that way; the Emperor Harold is directed by
his mistress, who is a woman of a certain age with a vast sagacity,
but who also believes in sorcery; and as for Prince Wenceslaus, he is
inspired by an individual as obscure as ourselves, and who, for aught I
know, may be, at this moment, like ourselves, drinking a cup of coffee
in a hired lodging."

"What you say about public life amazes me," said Endymion musingly.

"Think over it," said the baron. "As an Englishman, you will have
difficulty in avoiding public life. But at any rate do not at present
be discontented that you are unknown. It is the first condition of real
power. When you have succeeded in life according to your views, and I
am inclined to believe you will so succeed, you will, some day, sigh
for real power, and denounce the time when you became a public man, and
belonged to any one but yourself. But our friend calls me. He has found
something startling. I will venture to say, if there be anything in it,
it has been brought about by some individual of whom you never heard."



CHAPTER XXXVII

With the assembling of parliament in November recommenced the sittings
of the Union Society, of which Endymion had for some time been a member,
and of whose meetings he was a constant and critical, though
silent, attendant. There was a debate one night on the government
of dependencies, which, although all reference to existing political
circumstances was rigidly prohibited, no doubt had its origin in
the critical state of one of our most important colonies, then much
embarrassing the metropolis. The subject was one which Endymion had
considered, and on which he had arrived at certain conclusions. The
meeting was fully attended, and the debate had been conducted with a
gravity becoming the theme. Endymion was sitting on a back bench, and
with no companion near him with whom he was acquainted, when he rose
and solicited the attention of the president. Another and a well-known
speaker had also risen, and been called, but there was a cry of "new
member," a courteous cry, borrowed from the House of Commons, and
Endymion for the first time heard his own voice in public. He has since
admitted, though he has been through many trying scenes, that it was
the most nervous moment of his life. "After Calais," as a wise wit said,
"nothing surprises;" and the first time a man speaks in public, even if
only at a debating society, is also the unequalled incident in its way.
The indulgence of the audience supported him while the mist cleared
from his vision, and his palpitating heart subsided into comparative
tranquillity. After a few pardonable incoherencies, he was launched into
his subject, and spoke with the thoughtful fluency which knowledge alone
can sustain. For knowledge is the foundation of eloquence.

"What a good-looking young fellow!" whispered Mr. Bertie Tremaine to his
brother Mr. Tremaine Bertie. The Bertie Tremaines were the two greatest
swells of the Union, and had a party of their own. "And he speaks well."

"Who is he?" inquired Mr. Tremaine Bertie of their other neighbour.

"He is a clerk in the Treasury, I believe, or something of that sort,"
was the reply.

"I never saw such a good-looking young fellow," said Mr. Bertie
Tremaine. "He is worth getting hold of. I shall ask to be introduced to
him when we break up."

Accordingly, Mr. Bertie Tremaine, who was always playing at politics,
and who, being two-and-twenty, was discontented he was not Chancellor
of the Exchequer like Mr. Pitt, whispered to a gentleman who sate behind
him, and was, in short, the whip of his section, and signified, as a
minister of state would, that an introduction to Mr. Ferrars should be
arranged.

So when the meeting broke up, of which Mr. Ferrars' maiden speech was
quite the event, and while he was contemplating, not without some fair
self-complacency, walking home with Trenchard, Endymion found himself
encompassed by a group of bowing forms and smiling countenances, and,
almost before he was aware of it, had made the acquaintance of the great
Mr. Bertie Tremaine, and received not only the congratulations of that
gentleman, but an invitation to dine with him on the morrow; "quite
_sans facon_."

Mr. Bertie Tremaine, who had early succeeded to the family estate, lived
in Grosvenor Street, and in becoming style. His house was furnished with
luxury and some taste. The host received his guests in a library, well
stored with political history and political science, and adorned with
the busts of celebrated statesmen and of profound political sages.
Bentham was the philosopher then affected by young gentleman of
ambition, and who wished to have credit for profundity and hard heads.
Mr. Bertie Tremaine had been the proprietor of a close borough, which
for several generations had returned his family to parliament, the
faithful supporters of Pitt, and Perceval, and Liverpool, and he had
contemplated following the same line, though with larger and higher
objects than his ancestors. Being a man of considerable and versatile
ability, and of ample fortune, with the hereditary opportunity which
he possessed, he had a right to aspire, and, as his vanity more than
equalled his talents, his estimate of his own career was not mean.
Unfortunately, before he left Harrow, he was deprived of his borough,
and this catastrophe eventually occasioned a considerable change in the
views and conduct of Mr. Bertie Tremaine. In the confusion of parties
and political thought which followed the Reform Act of Lord Grey, an
attempt to govern the country by the assertion of abstract principles,
and which it was now beginning to be the fashion to call Liberalism,
seemed the only opening to public life; and Mr. Bertie Tremaine, who
piqued himself on recognising the spirit of the age, adopted Liberal
opinions with that youthful fervour which is sometimes called
enthusiasm, but which is a heat of imagination subsequently discovered
to be inconsistent with the experience of actual life. At Cambridge
Mr. Bertie Tremaine was at first the solitary pupil of Bentham, whose
principles he was prepared to carry to their extreme consequences, but
being a man of energy and in possession of a good estate, he soon found
followers, for the sympathies of youth are quick, and, even with an
original bias, it is essentially mimetic. When Mr. Bertie Tremaine left
the university he found in the miscellaneous elements of the London
Union many of his former companions of school and college, and from
them, and the new world to which he was introduced, it delighted him to
form parties and construct imaginary cabinets. His brother Augustus, who
was his junior only by a year, and was destined to be a diplomatist, was
an efficient assistant in these enterprises, and was one of the guests
who greeted Endymion when he arrived next day in Grosvenor Street
according to his engagement. The other three were Hortensius, the whip
of the party, and Mr. Trenchard.

The dinner was refined, for Mr. Bertie Tremaine combined the Sybarite
with the Utilitarian sage, and it secretly delighted him to astonish or
embarrass an austere brother republican by the splendour of his
family plate or the polished appointments of his household. To-day the
individual to be influenced was Endymion, and the host, acting up to his
ideal of a first minister, addressed questions to his companions on the
subjects which were peculiarly their own, and, after eliciting their
remarks, continued to complete the treatment of the theme with adequate
ability, though in a manner authoritative, and, as Endymion thought,
a little pompous. What amused him most in this assemblage of youth was
their earnest affectation of public life. The freedom of their comments
on others was only equalled by their confidence in themselves. Endymion,
who only spoke when he was appealed to, had casually remarked in answer
to one of the observations which his host with elaborate politeness
occasionally addressed to him, that he thought it was unpatriotic to
take a certain course. Mr. Bertie Tremaine immediately drew up, and
said, with a deep smile, "that he comprehended philanthropy, but
patriotism he confessed he did not understand;" and thereupon delivered
himself of an address on the subject which might have been made in the
Union, and which communicated to the astonished Endymion that patriotism
was a false idea, and entirely repugnant to the principles of the new
philosophy. As all present were more or less impregnated with these
tenets, there was no controversy on the matter. Endymion remained
discreetly silent, and Augustus--Mr. Bertie Tremaine's brother--who sate
next to him, and whose manners were as sympathising as his brother's
were autocratic, whispered in a wheedling tone that it was quite true,
and that the idea of patriotism was entirely relinquished except by a
few old-fashioned folks who clung to superstitious phrases. Hortensius,
who seemed to be the only one of the company who presumed to meet Mr.
Bertie Tremaine in conversation on equal terms, and who had already
astonished Endymion by what that inexperienced youth deemed the extreme
laxity of his views, both social and political, evinced, more than once,
a disposition to deviate into the lighter topics of feminine character,
and even the fortunes of the hazard-table; but the host looked severe,
and was evidently resolved that the conversation to-day should resemble
the expression of his countenance. After dinner they returned to the
library, and most of them smoked, but Mr. Bertie Tremaine, inviting
Endymion to seat himself by his side on a sofa at the farther end of the
room, observed, "I suppose you are looking to parliament?"

"Well, I do not know," said the somewhat startled Endymion; "I have not
thought much about it, and I have not yet reached a parliamentary age."

"A man cannot enter parliament too soon," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine;
"I hope to enter this session. There will be a certain vacancy on a
petition, and I have arranged to have the seat."

"Indeed!" said Endymion. "My father was in parliament, and so was my
grandfather, but I confess I do not very well see my way there."

"You must connect yourself with a party," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine, "and
you will soon enter; and being young, you should connect yourself with
the party of the future. The country is wearied with the present men,
who have no philosophical foundation, and are therefore perpetually
puzzled and inconsistent, and the country will not stand the old men, as
it is resolved against retrogression. The party of the future and of the
speedy future has its headquarters under this roof, and I should like to
see you belong to it."

"You are too kind," murmured Endymion.

"Yes, I see in you the qualities adapted to public life, and which may
be turned to great account. I must get you into parliament as soon as
you are eligible," continued Mr. Bertie Tremaine in a musing tone. "This
death of the King was very inopportune. If he had reigned a couple
of years more, I saw my way to half a dozen seats, and I could have
arranged with Lord Durham."

"That was unfortunate," said Endymion.

"What do you think of Hortensius?" inquired Mr. Bertie Tremaine.

"I think him the most brilliant speaker I know," said Endymion. "I never
met him in private society before; he talks well."

"He wants conduct," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine. "He ought to be my
Lord Chancellor, but there is a tone of levity about him which is
unfortunate. Men destined to the highest places should beware of
badinage."

"I believe it is a dangerous weapon."

"All lawyers are loose in their youth, but an insular country subject
to fogs, and with a powerful middle class, requires grave statesmen. I
attribute a great deal of the nonsense called Conservative Reaction to
Peel's solemnity. The proper minister for England at this moment would
be Pitt. Extreme youth gives hope to a country; coupled with ceremonious
manners, hope soon assumes the form of confidence."

"Ah!" murmured Endymion.

"I had half a mind to ask Jawett to dinner to-day. His powers are
unquestionable, but he is not a practical man. For instance, I think
myself our colonial empire is a mistake, and that we should disembarrass
ourselves of its burthen as rapidly as is consistent with the dignity of
the nation; but were Jawett in the House of Commons to-morrow, nothing
would satisfy him but a resolution for the total and immediate abolition
of the empire, with a preamble denouncing the folly of our fathers in
creating it. Jawett never spares any one's self-love."

"I know him very well," said Endymion; "he is in my office. He is very
uncompromising."

"Yes," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine musingly; "if I had to form a
government, I could hardly offer him the cabinet." Then speaking more
rapidly, he added, "The man you should attach yourself to is my brother
Augustus--Mr. Tremaine Bertie. There is no man who understands foreign
politics like Augustus, and he is a thorough man of the world."



CHAPTER XXXVIII

When parliament reassembled in February, the Neuchatels quitted Hainault
for their London residence in Portland Place. Mrs. Neuchatel was
sadly troubled at leaving her country home, which, notwithstanding its
distressing splendour, had still some forms of compensatory innocence
in its flowers and sylvan glades. Adriana sighed when she called to mind
the manifold and mortifying snares and pitfalls that awaited her, and
had even framed a highly practical and sensible scheme which would
permit her parents to settle in town and allow Myra and herself to
remain permanently in the country; but Myra brushed away the project
like a fly, and Adriana yielding, embraced her with tearful eyes.

The Neuchatel mansion in Portland Place was one of the noblest in that
comely quarter of the town, and replete with every charm and convenience
that wealth and taste could provide. Myra, who, like her brother, had a
tenacious memory, was interested in recalling as fully and as accurately
as possible her previous experience of London life. She was then indeed
only a child, but a child who was often admitted to brilliant circles,
and had enjoyed opportunities of social observation which the very
youthful seldom possess. Her retrospection was not as profitable as she
could have desired, and she was astonished, after a severe analysis of
the past, to find how entirely at that early age she appeared to
have been engrossed with herself and with Endymion. Hill Street and
Wimbledon, and all their various life, figured as shadowy scenes; she
could realise nothing very definite for her present guidance; the past
seemed a phantom of fine dresses, and bright equipages, and endless
indulgence. All that had happened after their fall was distinct and full
of meaning. It would seem that adversity had taught Myra to feel and
think.

Forty years ago the great financiers had not that commanding, not to say
predominant, position in society which they possess at present, but
the Neuchatels were an exception to this general condition. They were
a family which not only had the art of accumulating wealth, but of
expending it with taste and generosity--an extremely rare combination.
Their great riches, their political influence, their high integrity and
their social accomplishments, combined to render their house not only
splendid, but interesting and agreeable, and gave them a great hold upon
the world. At first the fine ladies of their political party called on
them as a homage of condescending gratitude for the public support which
the Neuchatel family gave to their sons and husbands, but they soon
discovered that this amiable descent from their Olympian heights on
their part did not amount exactly to the sacrifice or service which they
had contemplated. They found their host as refined as themselves, and
much more magnificent, and in a very short time it was not merely the
wives of ambassadors and ministers of state that were found at the
garden fetes of Hainault, or the balls, and banquets, and concerts
of Portland Place, but the fitful and capricious realm of fashion
surrendered like a fair country conquered as it were by surprise. To
visit the Neuchatels became the mode; all solicited to be their guests,
and some solicited in vain.

Although it was only February, the world began to move, and some of the
ministers' wives, who were socially strong enough to venture on such a
step, received their friends. Mr. Neuchatel particularly liked this
form of society. "I cannot manage balls," he used to say, "but I like a
ministerial reception. There is some chance of sensible conversation and
doing a little business. I like talking with ambassadors after dinner.
Besides, in this country you meet the leaders of the opposition,
because, as they are not invited by the minister, but by his wife,
anybody can come without committing himself."

Myra, faithful to her original resolution, not to enter society while
she was in mourning, declined all the solicitudes of her friends to
accompany them to these assemblies. Mrs. Neuchatel always wished Myra
should be her substitute, and it was only at Myra's instance that
Adriana accompanied her parents. In the meantime, Myra saw much of
Endymion. He was always a welcome guest by the family, and could call
upon his sister at all the odds and ends of time that were at his
command, and chat with her at pleasant ease in her pretty room.
Sometimes they walked out together, and sometimes they went together to
see some exhibition that everybody went to see. Adriana became almost
as intimate with Endymion as his sister, and altogether the Neuchatel
family became by degrees to him as a kind of home. Talking with
Endymion, Myra heard a good deal of Colonel Albert, for he was her
brother's hero--but she rarely saw that gentleman. She was aware from
her brother, and from some occasional words of Mr. Neuchatel, that the
great banker still saw Colonel Albert and not unfrequently, but the
change of residence from Hainault to London made a difference in their
mode of communication. Business was transacted in Bishopsgate Street,
and no longer combined with a pleasant ride to an Essex forest. More
than once Colonel Albert had dined in Portland Place, but at irregular
and miscellaneous parties. Myra observed that he was never asked to
meet the grand personages who attended the celebrated banquets of Mr.
Neuchatel. And why not? His manners were distinguished, but his whole
bearing that of one accustomed to consideration. The irrepressible
curiosity of woman impelled her once to feel her way on the subject with
Mr. Neuchatel, but with the utmost dexterity and delicacy.

"No," said Mr. Neuchatel with a laughing eye, and who saw through
everybody's purpose, though his own manner was one of simplicity
amounting almost to innocence, "I did not say Colonel Albert was going
to dine here on Wednesday; I have asked him to dine here on Sunday. On
Wednesday I am going to have the premier and some of his colleagues.
I must insist upon Miss Ferrars dining at table. You will meet Lord
Roehampton; all the ladies admire him and he admires all the ladies. It
will not do to ask Colonel Albert to meet such a party, though perhaps,"
added Mr. Neuchatel with a merry smile, "some day they may be asked to
meet Colonel Albert. Who knows, Miss Ferrars? The wheel of Fortune turns
round very strangely."

"And who then is Colonel Albert?" asked Myra with decision.

"Colonel Albert is Colonel Albert, and nobody else, so far as I know,"
replied Mr. Neuchatel; "he has brought a letter of credit on my house
in that name, and I am happy to honour his drafts to the amount in
question, and as he is a foreigner, I think it is but kind and courteous
occasionally to ask him to dinner."

Miss Ferrars did not pursue the inquiry, for she was sufficiently
acquainted with Mr. Neuchatel to feel that he did not intend to gratify
her curiosity.

The banquet of the Neuchatels to the premier, and some of the principal
ambassadors and their wives, and to those of the premier's colleagues
who were fashionable enough to be asked, and to some of the dukes and
duchesses and other ethereal beings who supported the ministry, was the
first event of the season. The table blazed with rare flowers and rarer
porcelain and precious candelabra of sculptured beauty glittering with
light; the gold plate was less remarkable than the delicate ware that
had been alike moulded and adorned for a Du Barri or a Marie Antoinette,
and which now found a permanent and peaceful home in the proverbial
land of purity and order; and amid the stars and ribbons, not the least
remarkable feature of the whole was Mr. Neuchatel himself, seated at
the centre of his table, alike free from ostentation or over-deference,
talking to the great ladies on each side of him, as if he had nothing to
do in life but whisper in gentle ears, and partaking of his own dainties
as if he were eating bread and cheese at a country inn.

Perhaps Mrs. Neuchatel might have afforded a companion picture. Partly
in deference to their host, and partly because this evening the first
dance of the season was to be given, the great ladies in general wore
their diamonds, and Myra was amused as she watched their dazzling tiaras
and flashing rivieres, while not a single ornament adorned the graceful
presence of their hostess, who was more content to be brilliant only by
her conversation. As Mr. Neuchatel had only a few days before presented
his wife with another diamond necklace, he might be excused were he
slightly annoyed. Nothing of the sort; he only shrugged his shoulders,
and said to his nephew, "Your aunt must feel that I give her diamonds
from love and not from vanity, as she never lets me have the pleasure
of seeing them." The sole ornament of Adriana was an orchid, which had
arrived that morning from Hainault, and she had presented its fellow to
Myra.

There was one lady who much attracted the attention of Myra, interested
in all she observed. This lady was evidently a person of importance, for
she sate between an ambassador and a knight of the garter, and they vied
in homage to her. They watched her every word, and seemed delighted with
all she said. Without being strictly beautiful, there was an expression
of sweet animation in her physiognomy which was highly attractive: her
eye was full of summer lightning, and there was an arch dimple in her
smile, which seemed to irradiate her whole countenance. She was quite a
young woman, hardly older than Myra. What most distinguished her was the
harmony of her whole person; her graceful figure, her fair and finely
moulded shoulders, her pretty teeth, and her small extremities, seemed
to blend with and become the soft vivacity of her winning glance.

"Lady Montfort looks well to-night," said the neighbour of Myra.

"And is that Lady Montfort? Do you know, I never saw her before."

"Yes; that is the famous Berengaria, the Queen of Society, and the
genius of Whiggism."

In the evening, a great lady, who was held to have the finest voice in
society, favoured them with a splendid specimen of her commanding skill,
and then Adriana was induced to gratify her friends with a song, "only
one song," and that only on condition that Myra should accompany her.
Miss Neuchatel had a sweet and tender voice, and it had been finely
cultivated; she would have been more than charming if she had only taken
interest in anything she herself did, or believed for a moment that
she could interest others. When she ceased, a gentleman approached
the instrument and addressed her in terms of sympathy and deferential
praise. Myra recognised the knight of the garter who had sat next to
Lady Montfort. He was somewhat advanced in middle life, tall and of a
stately presence, with a voice more musical even than the tones which
had recently enchanted every one. His countenance was impressive,
a truly Olympian brow, but the lower part of the face indicated not
feebleness, but flexibility, and his mouth was somewhat sensuous. His
manner was at once winning; natural, and singularly unaffected, and
seemed to sympathise entirely with those whom he addressed.

"But I have never been at Hainault," said the gentleman, continuing
a conversation, "and therefore could not hear the nightingales. I am
content you have brought one of them to town."

"Nightingales disappear in June," said Miss Ferrars; "so our season will
be short."

"And where do they travel to?" asked the gentleman.

"Ah! that is a mystery," said Myra. "You must ask Miss Neuchatel."

"But she will not tell me," said the gentleman, for in truth Miss
Neuchatel, though he had frequently addressed her, had scarcely opened
her lips.

"Tell your secret, Adriana," said Miss Ferrars, trying to force her to
converse.

"Adriana!" said the gentleman. "What a beautiful name! You look with
that flower, Miss Neuchatel, like a bride of Venice."

"Nay," said Myra; "the bride of Venice was a stormy ocean."

"And have you a Venetian name?" asked the gentleman.

There was a pause, and then Miss Neuchatel, with an effort, murmured,
"She has a very pretty name. Her name is Myra."

"She seems to deserve it," said the gentleman.

"So you like my daughter's singing," said Mr. Neuchatel, coming up to
them. "She does not much like singing in public, but she is a very good
girl, and always gives me a song when I come home from business."


"Fortunate man!" said the gentleman. "I wish somebody would sing to me
when I come home from business."

"You should marry, my lord," said Mr. Neuchatel, "and get your wife to
sing to you. Is it not so, Miss Ferrars? By the by, I ought to introduce
you to--Lord Roehampton."



CHAPTER XXXIX

The Earl of Roehampton was the strongest member of the government,
except, of course, the premier himself. He was the man from whose
combined force and flexibility of character the country had confidence
that in all their councils there would be no lack of courage, yet
tempered with adroit discretion. Lord Roehampton, though an Englishman,
was an Irish peer, and was resolved to remain so, for he fully
appreciated the position, which united social distinction with the power
of a seat in the House of Commons. He was a very ambitious, and, as it
was thought, worldly man, deemed even by many to be unscrupulous, and
yet he was romantic. A great favourite in society, and especially
with the softer sex, somewhat late in life, he had married suddenly
a beautiful woman, who was without fortune, and not a member of the
enchanted circle in which he flourished. The union had been successful,
for Lord Roehampton was gifted with a sweet temper, and, though people
said he had no heart, with a winning tenderness of disposition, or at
least of manner, which at the same time charmed and soothed. He had been
a widower for two years, and the world was of opinion that he ought to
marry again, and form this time a becoming alliance. In addition to his
many recommendations he had now the inestimable reputation, which no one
had ever contemplated for him, of having been a good husband.

Berengaria, Countess of Montfort, was a great friend of Lord Roehampton.
She was accustomed to describe herself as "the last of his conquests,"
and though Lord Roehampton read characters and purposes with a glance,
and was too sagacious to be deceived by any one, even by himself,
his gratified taste, for he scarcely had vanity, cherished the bright
illusion of which he was conscious, and he responded to Lady Montfort
half sportively, half seriously, with an air of flattered devotion. Lord
Roehampton had inherited an ample estate, and he had generally been in
office; for he served his apprenticeship under Perceval and Liverpool,
and changed his party just in time to become a member of the Cabinet of
1831. Yet with all these advantages, whether it were the habit of his
life, which was ever profuse, or that neglect of his private interests
which almost inevitably accompanies the absorbing duties of public life,
his affairs were always somewhat confused, and Lady Montfort, who
wished to place him on a pinnacle, had resolved that he should marry
an heiress. After long observation and careful inquiry and prolonged
reflection, the lady she had fixed upon was Miss Neuchatel; and she
it was who had made Lord Roehampton cross the room and address Adriana
after her song.

"He is not young," reasoned Lady Montfort to herself, "but his mind and
manner are young, and that is everything. I am sure I meet youth every
day who, compared with Lord Roehampton, could have no chance with my
sex--men who can neither feel, nor think, nor converse. And then he is
famous, and powerful, and fashionable, and knows how to talk to women.
And this must all tell with a banker's daughter, dying, of course, to
be a _grande dame_. It will do. He may not be young, but he is
irresistible. And the father will like it, for he told me in confidence,
at dinner, that he wished Lord Roehampton to be prime minister; and with
this alliance he will be."

The plot being devised by a fertile brain never wanting in expedients,
its development was skilfully managed, and its accomplishment
anticipated with confidence. It was remarkable with what dexterity the
Neuchatel family and Lord Roehampton were brought together. Berengaria's
lord and master was in the country, which he said he would not quit; but
this did not prevent her giving delightful little dinners and holding
select assemblies on nights when there was no dreadful House of Commons,
and Lord Roehampton could be present. On most occasions, and especially
on these latter ones, Lady Montfort could not endure existence without
her dear Adriana. Mr. Neuchatel, who was a little in the plot, who at
least smiled when Berengaria alluded to her enterprise, was not wanting
in his contributions to its success. He hardly ever gave one of his
famous banquets to which Lord Roehampton was not invited, and, strange
to say, Lord Roehampton, who had the reputation of being somewhat
difficult on this head, always accepted the invitations. The crowning
social incident, however, was when Lord Roehampton opened his own house
for the first time since his widowhood, and received the Neuchatels at
a banquet not inferior to their own. This was a great triumph for Lady
Montfort, who thought the end was at hand.

"Life is short," she said to Lord Roehampton that evening. "Why not
settle it to-night?"

"Well," said Lord Roehampton, "you know I never like anything
precipitate. Besides, why should the citadel surrender when I have
hardly entered on my first parallel?"

"Ah! those are old-fashioned tactics," said Lady Montfort.

"Well, I suppose I am an old-fashioned man."

"Be serious, now. I want it settled before Easter. I must go down to my
lord then, and even before; and I should like to see this settled before
we separate."

"Why does not Montfort come up to town?" said Lord Roehampton. "He is
wanted."

"Well," said Lady Montfort, with half a sigh, "it is no use talking
about it. He will not come. Our society bores him, and he must be
amused. I write to him every day, and sometimes twice a day, and pass my
life in collecting things to interest him. I would never leave him for a
moment, only I know then that he would get wearied of me; and he thinks
now--at least, he once said so--that he has never had a dull moment in
my company."

"How can he find amusement in the country?" said Lord Roehampton. "There
is no sport now, and a man cannot always be reading French novels."

"Well, I send amusing people down to him," said Berengaria. "It
is difficult to arrange, for he does not like toadies, which is so
unreasonable, for I know many toadies who are very pleasant. Treeby is
with him now, and that is excellent, for Treeby contradicts him, and is
scientific as well as fashionable, and gives him the last news of the
Sun as well as of White's. I want to get this great African traveller to
go down to him; but one can hardly send a perfect stranger as a guest.
I wanted Treeby to take him, but Treeby refused--men are so selfish.
Treeby could have left him there, and the traveller might have remained
a week, told all he had seen, and as much more as he liked. My lord
cannot stand Treeby more than two days, and Treeby cannot stand my lord
for a longer period, and that is why they are such friends."

"A sound basis of agreement," said Lord Roehampton. "I believe absence
is often a great element of charm."

"But, _a nos moutons_," resumed Lady Montfort. "You see now why I am so
anxious for a conclusion of our affair. I think it is ripe?"

"Why do you?" said Lord Roehampton.

"Well, she must be very much in love with you."

"Has she told you so?"

"No; but she looks in love."

"She has never told me so," said Lord Roehampton.

"Have you told her?"

"Well, I have not," said her companion. "I like the family--all of them.
I like Neuchatel particularly. I like his house and style of living.
You always meet nice people there, and bear the last thing that has been
said or done all over the world. It is a house where you are sure not to
be dull."

"You have described a perfect home," said Lady Montfort, "and it awaits
you."

"Well, I do not know," said Lord Roehampton. "Perhaps I am fastidious,
perhaps I am content; to be noticed sometimes by a Lady Montfort should,
I think, satisfy any man."

"Well, that is gallant, but it is not business, my dear lord. You can
count on my devotion even when you are married; but I want to see you on
a pinnacle, so that if anything happens there shall be no question who
is to be the first man in this country."



CHAPTER XL

The meeting of parliament caused also the return of Waldershare to
England, and brought life and enjoyment to our friends in Warwick
Street. Waldershare had not taken his seat in the autumn session. After
the general election, he had gone abroad with Lord Beaumaris, the young
nobleman who had taken them to the Derby, and they had seen and
done many strange things. During all their peregrinations, however,
Waldershare maintained a constant correspondence with Imogene,
occasionally sending her a choice volume, which she was not only to
read, but to prove her perusal of it by forwarding to him a criticism of
its contents.

Endymion was too much pleased to meet Waldershare again, and told him of
the kind of intimacy he had formed with Colonel Albert and all about
the baron. Waldershare was much interested in these details, and it was
arranged that an opportunity should be taken to make the colonel and
Waldershare acquainted.

This, however, was not an easy result to bring about, for Waldershare
insisted on its not occurring formally, and as the colonel maintained
the utmost reserve with the household, and Endymion had no room of
reception, weeks passed over without Waldershare knowing more of Colonel
Albert personally than sometimes occasionally seeing him mount his
horse.

In the meantime life in Warwick Street, so far as the Rodney family were
concerned, appeared to have re-assumed its pleasant, and what perhaps
we are authorised in styling its normal condition. They went to the
play two or three times a week, and there Waldershare or Lord Beaumaris,
frequently both, always joined them; and then they came home to supper,
and then they smoked; and sometimes there was a little singing, and
sometimes a little whist. Occasionally there was only conversation, that
is to say, Waldershare held forth, dilating on some wondrous theme,
full of historical anecdote, and dazzling paradox, and happy phrase. All
listened with interest, even those who did not understand him. Much of
his talk was addressed really to Beaumaris, whose mind he was forming,
as well as that of Imogene. Beaumaris was an hereditary Whig, but had
not personally committed himself, and the ambition of Waldershare was
to transform him not only into a Tory, but one of the old rock, a
real Jacobite. "Is not the Tory party," Waldershare would exclaim, "a
succession of heroic spirits, 'beautiful and swift,' ever in the van,
and foremost of their age?--Hobbes and Bolingbroke, Hume and Adam Smith,
Wyndham and Cobham, Pitt and Grenville, Canning and Huskisson?--Are not
the principles of Toryism those popular rights which men like Shippen
and Hynde Cotton flung in the face of an alien monarch and his mushroom
aristocracy?--Place bills, triennial bills, opposition to standing
armies, to peerage bills?--Are not the traditions of the Tory party the
noblest pedigree in the world? Are not its illustrations that glorious
martyrology, that opens with the name of Falkland and closes with the
name of Canning?"

"I believe it is all true," whispered Lord Beaumaris to Sylvia, who had
really never heard of any of these gentlemen before, but looked most
sweet and sympathetic.

"He is a wonderful man--Mr. Waldershare," said Mr. Vigo to Rodney, "but
I fear not practical."

One day, not very long after his return from his travels, Waldershare
went to breakfast with his uncle, Mr. Sidney Wilton, now a
cabinet minister, still unmarried, and living in Grosvenor Square.
Notwithstanding the difference of their politics, an affectionate
intimacy subsisted between them; indeed Waldershare was a favourite of
his uncle, who enjoyed the freshness of his mind, and quite appreciated
his brilliancy of thought and speech, his quaint reading and
effervescent imagination.

"And so you think we are in for life, George," said Mr. Wilson, taking a
piece of toast. "I do not."

"Well, I go upon this," said Waldershare. "It is quite clear that Peel
has nothing to offer the country, and the country will not rally round a
negation. When he failed in '34 they said there had not been sufficient
time for the reaction to work. Well, now, since then, it has had nearly
three years, during which you fellows have done everything to outrage
every prejudice of the constituency, and yet they have given you a
majority."

"Yes, that is all very well," replied Mr. Wilton, "but we are the
Liberal shop, and we have no Liberal goods on hand; we are the party
of movement, and must perforce stand still. The fact is, all the great
questions are settled. No one will burn his fingers with the Irish
Church again, in this generation certainly not, probably in no other;
you could not get ten men together in any part of the country to
consider the corn laws; I must confess I regret it. I still retain my
opinion that a moderate fixed duty would be a wise arrangement, but
I quite despair in my time of any such advance of opinion; as for
the ballot, it is hardly tolerated in debating societies. The present
government, my dear George, will expire from inanition. I always told
the cabinet they were going on too fast. They should have kept back
municipal reform. It would have carried us on for five years. It was our
only _piece de resistance_."

"I look upon the House of Commons as a mere vestry," said Waldershare.
"I believe it to be completely used up. Reform has dished it. There are
no men, and naturally, because the constituencies elect themselves, and
the constituencies are the most mediocre of the nation. The House of
Commons now is like a spendthrift living on his capital. The business
is done and the speeches are made by men formed in the old school.
The influence of the House of Commons is mainly kept up by old social
traditions. I believe if the eldest sons of peers now members would
all accept the Chiltern hundreds, and the House thus cease to be
fashionable, before a year was past, it would be as odious and as
contemptible as the Rump Parliament."

"Well, you are now the eldest son of a peer," said Sidney Wilton,
smiling. "Why do you not set an example, instead of spending your
father's substance and your own in fighting a corrupt borough?"

"I am _vox clamantis_," said Waldershare. "I do not despair of its being
done. But what I want is some big guns to do it. Let the eldest son of
a Tory duke and the eldest son of a Whig duke do the same thing on
the same day, and give the reason why. If Saxmundham, for example, and
Harlaxton would do it, the game would be up."

"On the contrary," said Mr. Wilton, "Saxmundham, I can tell you, will be
the new cabinet minister."

"Degenerate land!" exclaimed Waldershare. "Ah! in the eighteenth
century there was always a cause to sustain the political genius of the
country,--the cause of the rightful dynasty."

"Well, thank God, we have got rid of all those troubles," said Mr.
Wilton.

"Rid of them! I do not know that. I saw a great deal of the Duke of
Modena this year, and tried as well as I could to open his mind to the
situation."

"You traitor!" exclaimed Mr. Wilton. "If I were Secretary of State, I
would order the butler to arrest you immediately, and send you to the
Tower in a hack cab; but as I am only a President of a Board and your
uncle, you will escape."

"Well, I should think all sensible men," said Waldershare, "of all
parties will agree, that before we try a republic, it would be better to
give a chance to the rightful heir."

"Well, I am not a republican," said Mr. Wilton, "and I think Queen
Victoria, particularly if she make a wise and happy marriage, need not
much fear the Duke of Modena."

"He is our sovereign lord, all the same," said Waldershare. "I wish he
were more aware of it himself. Instead of looking to a restoration to
his throne, I found him always harping on the fear of French invasion. I
could not make him understand that France was his natural ally, and that
without her help, Charlie was not likely to have his own again."

"Well, as you admire pretenders, George, I wish you were in my shoes
this morning, for I have got one of the most disagreeable interviews on
hand which ever fell to my lot."

"How so, my dear uncle?" said Waldershare, in a tone of sympathy, for he
saw that the countenance of Mr. Wilton was disturbed.

"My unhappy ward," said Mr. Wilton; "you know, of course, something
about him."

"Well, I was at school and college," said Waldershare, "when it all
happened. But I have just heard that you had relations with him."

"The most intimate; and there is the bitterness. There existed between
his mother Queen Agrippina and myself ties of entire friendship. In her
last years and in her greatest adversity she appealed to me to be the
guardian of her son. He inherited all her beauty and apparently all her
sweetness of disposition. I took the greatest pains with him. He was at
Eton, and did well there. He was very popular; I never was so deceived
in a boy in my life. I though him the most docile of human beings, and
that I had gained over him an entire influence. I am sure it would have
been exercised for his benefit. In short, I may say it now, I looked
upon him as a son, and he certainly would have been my heir; and yet
all this time, from his seventeenth year, he was immersed in political
intrigue, and carrying on plots against the sovereign of his country,
even under my own roof."

"How very interesting!" said Waldershare.

"It may be interesting to you; I know what it cost me. The greatest
anxiety and sorrow, and even nearly compromised my honour. Had I not
a large-hearted chief and a true man of the world to deal with, I must
have retired from the government."

"How could he manage it?" said Waldershare.

"You have no conception of the devices and resources of the secret
societies of Europe," said Mr. Wilton. "His drawing-master, his
fencing-master, his dancing-master, all his professors of languages, who
delighted me by their testimony to his accomplishments and their praises
of his quickness and assiduity, were active confederates in bringing
about events which might have occasioned an European war. He left me
avowedly to pay a visit in the country, and I even received letters from
him with the postmark of the neighbouring town; letters all prepared
beforehand. My first authentic information as to his movements was to
learn, that he had headed an invading force, landed on the shores which
he claimed as his own, was defeated and a prisoner."

"I remember it," said Waldershare. "I had just then gone up to St.
John's, and I remember reading it with the greatest excitement."

"All this was bad enough," said Mr. Wilton, "but this is not my sorrow.
I saved him from death, or at least a dreadful imprisonment. He was
permitted to sail to America on his parole that he would never return
to Europe, and I was required, and on his solemn appeal I consented, to
give my personal engagement that the compact should be sacred. Before
two years had elapsed, supported all this time, too, by my bounty, there
was an attempt, almost successful, to assassinate the king, and my ward
was discovered and seized in the capital. This time he was immured, and
for life, in the strongest fortress of the country; but secret societies
laugh at governments, and though he endured a considerable imprisonment,
the world has recently been astounded by hearing that he had escaped.
Yes; he is in London and has been here, though in studied obscurity,
for some little time. He has never appealed to me until within these
few days, and now only on the ground that there are some family affairs
which cannot be arranged without my approval. I had great doubts
whether I should receive him. I feel I ought not to have done so. But I
hesitated, and I know not what may be the truth about women, but of this
I am quite sure, the man who hesitates is lost."

"How I should like to present at the interview, my dear uncle!" said
Waldershare.

"And I should not be sorry to have a witness," said Mr. Wilton, "but it
is impossible. I am ashamed to say how unhinged I feel; no person, and
no memories, ought to exercise such an influence over one. To tell you
the truth, I encouraged your pleasant gossip at breakfast by way of
distraction at this moment, and now"----

At this moment, the groom of the chambers entered and announced "His
royal highness, Prince Florestan."

Mr. Wilton, who was too agitated to speak, waved his hand to Waldershare
to retire, and his nephew vanished. As Waldershare was descending the
staircase, he drew back on a landing-place to permit the prince to
advance undisturbed. The prince apparently did not observe him, but when
Waldershare caught the countenance of the visitor, he started.



CHAPTER XLI

"I know, sir, you are prejudiced against me," said Prince Florestan,
bowing before Mr. Wilton with a sort of haughty humility, "and therefore
I the more appreciate your condescension in receiving me."

"I have no wish to refer to the past," said Mr. Wilton somewhat sternly.
"You mentioned in your letter that my co-operation was necessary with
reference to your private affairs, of which I once was a trustee, and
under those circumstances I felt it my duty to accede to your request. I
wish our communication to be limited to that business."

"It shall be so strictly," said the prince; "you may remember, sir, that
at the unhappy period when we were deprived of our throne, the name
of Queen Agrippina was inscribed on the great book of the state for a
considerable sum, for which the credit of the state was pledged to her.
It was strictly her private property, and had mainly accrued through
the sale of the estates of her ancestors. This sum was confiscated, and
several other amounts, which belonged to members of our house and to our
friends. It was an act of pure rapine, so gross, that as time revolved,
and the sense of justice gradually returned to the hearts of men,
restitution was made in every instance except my own, though I have
reason to believe that individual claim was the strongest. My bankers,
the house of Neuchatel, who have much interested themselves in this
matter, and have considerable influence with the government that
succeeded us, have brought things to this pass, that we have reason to
believe our claim would be conceded, if some of the foreign governments,
and especially the government of this country, would signify that the
settlement would not be disagreeable to them." And the prince ceased,
and raising his eyes, which were downcast as he spoke, looked Mr. Wilton
straight in the face.

"Before such a proposal could even be considered by Her Majesty's
Government," said Mr. Wilton with a reddening cheek, "the intimation
must be made to them by authority. If the minister of your country has
such an intimation to make to ours, he should address himself to the
proper quarter, to Lord Roehampton."

"I understand," said Prince Florestan; "but governments, like
individuals, sometimes shrink from formality. The government of my
country will act on the intimation, but they do not care to make it an
affair of despatches."

"There is only one way of transacting business," said Mr. Wilton
frigidly, and as if, so far as he was concerned, the interview was
ended.

"I have been advised on high authority," said Prince Florestan, speaking
very slowly, "that if any member of the present cabinet will mention in
conversation to the representative of my country here, that the act of
justice would not be disagreeable to the British Government, the affair
is finished."

"I doubt whether any one of my colleagues would be prepared to undertake
a personal interference of that kind with a foreign government," said
Mr. Wilton stiffly. "For my own part, I have had quite enough of such
interpositions never to venture on them again."

"The expression of feeling desired would involve no sort of engagement,"
said the imperturbable prince.

"That depends on the conscience of the individual who interferes. No
man of honour would be justified in so interposing if he believed he was
thus furnishing arms against the very government of which he solicited
the favour."

"But why should he believe this?" asked the prince with great calmness.

"I think upon reflection," said Mr. Wilton, taking up at the same time
an opened letter which was before him, as if he wished to resume the
private business on which he had been previously engaged, "that your
royal highness might find very adequate reasons for the belief."

"I would put this before you with great deference, sir," said the
prince. "Take my own case; is it not more likely that I should lead that
life of refined retirement, which I really desire, were I in possession
of the means to maintain such a position with becoming dignity, than if
I were distressed, and harassed, and disgusted, every day, with sights
and incidents which alike outrage my taste and self-respect? It is not
prosperity, according to common belief, that makes conspirators."

"You _were_ in a position, and a refined position," rejoined Mr. Wilton
sharply; "you had means adequate to all that a gentleman could desire,
and might have been a person of great consideration, and you wantonly
destroyed all this."

"It might be remembered that I was young."

"Yes, you were young, very young, and your folly was condoned. You
might have begun life again, for to the world at least you were a man of
honour. You had not deceived the world, whatever you might have done to
others."

"If I presume to make another remark," said the prince calmly, but pale,
"it is only, believe me, sir, from the profound respect I feel for you.
Do not misunderstand these feelings, sir. They are not unbecoming the
past. Now that my mother has departed, there is no one to whom I am
attached except yourself. I have no feeling whatever towards any other
human being. All my thought and all my sentiment are engrossed by my
country. But pardon me, dear sir, for so let me call you, if I venture
to say that, in your decision on my conduct, you have never taken into
consideration the position which I inherited."

"I do not follow you, sir."

"You never will remember that I am the child of destiny," said Prince
Florestan. "That destiny will again place me on the throne of my
fathers. That is as certain as I am now speaking to you. But destiny for
its fulfilment ordains action. Its decrees are inexorable, but they are
obscure, and the being whose career it directs is as a man travelling
in a dark night; he reaches his goal even without the aid of stars or
moon."

"I really do not understand what destiny means," said Mr. Wilton.
"I understand what conduct means, and I recognise that it should be
regulated by truth and honour. I think a man had better have nothing to
do with destiny, particularly if it is to make him forfeit his parole."

"Ah! sir, I well know that on that head you entertain a great prejudice
in my respect. Believe me it is not just. Even lawyers acknowledge
that a contract which is impossible cannot be violated. My return from
America was inevitable. The aspirations of a great people and of many
communities required my presence in Europe. My return was the natural
development of the inevitable principle of historical necessity."

"Well, that principle is not recognised by Her Majesty's Ministers,"
said Mr. Wilton, and both himself and the prince seemed to rise at the
same time.

"I thank you, sir, for this interview," said his royal highness. "You
will not help me, but what I require will happen by some other means. It
is necessary, and therefore it will occur."

The prince remounted his horse, and rode off quickly till he reached
the Strand, where obstacles to rapid progress commenced, and though
impatient, it was some time before he reached Bishopsgate Street. He
entered the spacious courtyard of a noble mansion, and, giving his
horse to the groom, inquired for Mr. Neuchatel, to whom he was at
once ushered,--seated in a fine apartment at a table covered with many
papers.

"Well, my prince," said Mr. Neuchatel with a smiling eye, "what brings
such a great man into the City to-day? Have you seen your great friend?"
And then Prince Florestan gave Mr. Neuchatel a succinct but sufficient
summary of his recent interview.

"Ah!" said Mr. Neuchatel, "so it is, so it is; I dare say if you
were received at St. James', Mr. Sidney Wilton would not be so very
particular; but we must take things as we find them. If our fine friends
will not help us, you must try us poor business men in the City. We can
manage things here sometimes which puzzle them at the West End. I saw
you were disturbed when you came in. Put on a good countenance. Nobody
should ever look anxious except those who have no anxiety. I dare say
you would like to know how your account is. I will send for it. It is
not so bad as you think. I put a thousand pounds to it in the hope that
your fine friend would help us, but I shall not take it off again. My
Louis is going to-night to Paris, and he shall call upon the ministers
and see what can be done. In the meantime, good appetite, sir. I am
going to luncheon, and there is a place for you. And I will show you
my Gainsborough that I have just bought, from a family for whom it was
painted. The face is divine, very like our Miss Ferrars. I am going to
send the picture down to Hainault. I won't tell you what I gave for it,
because perhaps you would tell my wife and she would be very angry. She
would want the money for an infant school. But I think she has schools
enough. Now to lunch."

On the afternoon of this day there was a half-holiday at the office, and
Endymion had engaged to accompany Waldershare on some expedition. They
had been talking together in his room where Waldershare was finishing
his careless toilette, which however was never finished, and they had
just opened the house door and were sallying forth when Colonel Albert
rode up. He gave a kind nod to Endymion, but did not speak, and the
companions went on. "By the by, Ferrars," said Waldershare, pressing his
arm and bubbling with excitement, "I have found out who your colonel is.
It is a wondrous tale, and I will tell it all to you as we go on."



CHAPTER XLII

Endymion had now passed three years of his life in London, and
considering the hard circumstances under which he had commenced
this career, he might on the whole look back to those years without
dissatisfaction. Three years ago he was poor and friendless, utterly
ignorant of the world, and with nothing to guide him but his own good
sense. His slender salary had not yet been increased, but with the
generosity and aid of his sister and the liberality of Mr. Vigo, he was
easy in his circumstances. Through the Rodneys, he had become acquainted
with a certain sort of miscellaneous life, a knowledge of which is
highly valuable to a youth, but which is seldom attained without risk.
Endymion, on the contrary, was always guarded from danger. Through
his most unexpected connection with the Neuchatel family, he had seen
something of life in circles of refinement and high consideration, and
had even caught glimpses of that great world of which he read so much
and heard people talk more, the world of the Lord Roehamptons and the
Lady Montforts, and all those dazzling people whose sayings and doings
form the taste, and supply the conversation, and leaven the existence of
admiring or wondering millions.

None of these incidents, however, had induced any change in the scheme
of his existence. Endymion was still content with his cleanly and airy
garret; still dined at Joe's; was still sedulous at his office, and
always popular with his fellow clerks. Seymour Hicks, indeed, who
studied the "Morning Post" with intentness, had discovered the name
of Endymion in the elaborate lists of attendants on Mrs. Neuchatel's
receptions, and had duly notified the important event to his colleagues;
but Endymion was not severely bantered on the occasion, for, since the
withdrawal of St. Barbe from the bureau, the stock of envy at Somerset
House was sensibly diminished.

His lodging at the Rodneys', however, had brought Endymion something
more valuable than an innocuous familiarity with their various and
suggestive life. In the friendship of Waldershare he found a rich
compensation for being withdrawn from his school and deprived of his
university. The care of his father had made Endymion a good classical
scholar, and he had realised a degree of culture which it delighted
the brilliant and eccentric Waldershare to enrich and to complete.
Waldershare guided his opinions, and directed his studies, and formed
his taste. Alone at night in his garret, there was no solitude, for he
had always some book or some periodical, English or foreign, with which
Waldershare had supplied him, and which he assured Endymion it was
absolutely necessary that he should read and master.

Nor was his acquaintance with Baron Sergius less valuable, or less
fruitful of results. He too became interested in Endymion, and poured
forth to him, apparently without reserve, all the treasures of his vast
experience of men and things, especially with reference to the conduct
of external affairs. He initiated him in the cardinal principles of the
policies of different nations; he revealed to him the real character
of the chief actors in the scene. "The first requisite," Baron Sergius
would say, "in the successful conduct of public affairs is a personal
acquaintance with the statesmen engaged. It is possible that events
may not depend now, so much as they did a century ago, on individual
feeling, but, even if prompted by general principles, their application
and management are always coloured by the idiosyncrasy of the chief
actors. The great advantage which your Lord Roehampton, for example, has
over all his colleagues in _la haute politique_, is that he was one of
your plenipotentiaries at the Congress of Vienna. There he learned to
gauge the men who govern the world. Do you think a man like that, called
upon to deal with a Metternich or a Pozzo, has no advantage over an
individual who never leaves his chair in Downing Street except to kill
grouse? Pah! Metternich and Pozzo know very well that Lord Roehampton
knows them, and they set about affairs with him in a totally different
spirit from that with which they circumvent some statesman who has
issued from the barricades of Paris."

Nor must it be forgotten that his debating society and the acquaintance
which he had formed there, were highly beneficial to Endymion. Under
the roof of Mr. Bertie Tremaine he enjoyed the opportunity of forming
an acquaintance with a large body of young men of breeding, of high
education, and full of ambition, that was a substitute for the society,
becoming his youth and station, which he had lost by not going to the
university.

With all these individuals, and with all their circles, Endymion was a
favourite. No doubt his good looks, his mien--which was both cheerful
and pensive--his graceful and quiet manners, all told in his favour,
and gave him a good start, but further acquaintance always sustained
the first impression. He was intelligent and well-informed, without any
alarming originality, or too positive convictions. He listened not only
with patience but with interest to all, and ever avoided controversy.
Here are some of the elements of a man's popularity.

What was his intellectual reach, and what his real character, it was
difficult at this time to decide. He was still very young, only on
the verge of his twentieth year; and his character had no doubt been
influenced, it might be suppressed, by the crushing misfortunes of his
family. The influence of his sister was supreme over him. She had never
reconciled herself to their fall. She had existed only on the solitary
idea of regaining their position, and she had never omitted an occasion
to impress upon him that he had a great mission, and that, aided by her
devotion, he would fulfil it. What his own conviction on this subject
was may be obscure. Perhaps he was organically of that cheerful and easy
nature, which is content to enjoy the present, and not brood over the
past. The future may throw light upon all these points; at present it
may be admitted that the three years of seemingly bitter and mortifying
adversity have not been altogether wanting in beneficial elements in the
formation of his character and the fashioning of his future life.



CHAPTER XLIII

Lady Montfort heard with great satisfaction from Mr. Neuchatel that Lord
Roehampton was going to pay a visit to Hainault at Easter, and that he
had asked himself. She playfully congratulated Mrs. Neuchatel on the
subject, and spoke as if the affair was almost concluded. That lady,
however, received the intimation with a serious, not to say distressed
countenance. She said that she should be grieved to lose Adriana under
any circumstances; but if her marriage in time was a necessity, she
trusted she might be united to some one who would not object to becoming
a permanent inmate of their house. What she herself desired for her
daughter was a union with some clergyman, and if possible, the rector
of their own parish. But it was too charming a dream to realise. The
rectory at Hainault was almost in the Park, and was the prettiest house
in the world, with the most lovely garden. She herself much preferred it
to the great mansion--and so on.

Lady Montfort stared at her with impatient astonishment, and then said,
"Your daughter, Mrs. Neuchatel, ought to make an alliance which would
place her at the head of society."

"What a fearful destiny," said Mrs. Neuchatel, "for any one, but
overwhelming for one who must feel the whole time that she occupies a
position not acquired by her personal qualities!"

"Adriana is pretty," said Lady Montfort. "I think her more than pretty;
she is highly accomplished and in every way pleasing. What can you
mean, then, my dear madam, by supposing she would occupy a position not
acquired by her personal qualities?"

Mrs. Neuchatel sighed and shook her head, and then said, "We need not
have any controversy on this subject. I have no reason to believe there
is any foundation for my fears. We all like and admire Lord Roehampton.
It is impossible not to admire and like him. So great a man, and yet so
gentle and so kind, so unaffected--I would say, so unsophisticated; but
he has never given the slightest intimation, either to me or her father,
that he seriously admired Adriana, and I am sure if he had said anything
to her she would have told us."

"He is always here," said Lady Montfort, "and he is a man who used to go
nowhere except for form. Besides, I know that he admires her, that he is
in love with her, and I have not a doubt that he has invited himself to
Hainault in order to declare his feelings to her."

"How very dreadful!" exclaimed Mrs. Neuchatel. "What are we to do?"

"To do!" said Lady Montfort; "why, sympathise with his happiness, and
complete it. You will have a son-in-law of whom you may well be proud,
and Adriana a husband who, thoroughly knowing the world, and women, and
himself, will be devoted to her; will be a guide and friend, a guide
that will never lecture, and a friend who will always charm, for there
is no companion in the world like him, and I think I ought to know,"
added Lady Montfort, "for I always tell him that I was the last of his
conquests, and I shall ever be grateful to him for his having spared to
me so much of his society."

"Adriana on this matter will decide for herself," said Mrs. Neuchatel,
in a serious tone, and with a certain degree of dignity. "Neither Mr.
Neuchatel, nor myself, have ever attempted to control her feelings in
this respect."

"Well, I am now about to see Adriana," said Lady Montfort; "I know she
is at home. If I had not been obliged to go to Princedown, I would have
asked you to let me pass Easter at Hainault myself."

On this very afternoon, when Myra, who had been walking in Regent's Park
with her brother, returned home, she found Adriana agitated, and really
in tears.

"What is all this, dearest?" inquired her friend.

"I am too unhappy," sobbed Adriana, and then she told Myra that she had
had a visit from Lady Montfort, and all that had occurred in it. Lady
Montfort had absolutely congratulated her on her approaching alliance
with Lord Roehampton, and when she altogether disclaimed it, and
expressed her complete astonishment at the supposition, Lady Montfort
had told her she was not justified in giving Lord Roehampton so
much encouragement and trifling with a man of his high character and
position.

"Fancy my giving encouragement to Lord Roehampton!" exclaimed Adriana,
and she threw her arms round the neck of the friend who was to console
her.

"I agree with Lady Montfort," said Myra, releasing herself with
gentleness from her distressed friend. "It may have been unconsciously
on your part, but I think you have encouraged Lord Roehampton. He is
constantly conversing with you, and he is always here, where he never
was before, and, as Lady Montfort says, why should he have asked himself
to pass the Easter at Hainault if it were not for your society?"

"He invited himself to Hainault, because he is so fond of papa," said
Adriana.

"So much the better, if he is to be your husband. That will be an
additional element of domestic happiness."

"O Myra! that you should say such things!" exclaimed Adriana.

"What things?"

"That I should marry Lord Roehampton."

"I never said anything of the kind. Whom you should marry is a question
you must decide for yourself. All that I said was, that if you marry
Lord Roehampton, it is fortunate he is so much liked by Mr. Neuchatel."

"I shall not marry Lord Roehampton," said Adriana with some
determination, "and if he has condescended to think of marrying me," she
continued, "as Lady Montfort says, I think his motives are so
obvious that if I felt for him any preference it would be immediately
extinguished."

"Ah! now you are going to ride your hobby, my dear Adriana. On that
subject we never can agree; were I an heiress, I should have as little
objection to be married for my fortune as my face. Husbands, as I have
heard, do not care for the latter too long. Have more confidence in
yourself, Adriana. If Lord Roehampton wishes to marry you, it is that he
is pleased with you personally, that he appreciates your intelligence,
your culture, your accomplishments, your sweet disposition, and your
gentle nature. If in addition to these gifts you have wealth, and even
great wealth, Lord Roehampton will not despise it, will not--for I
wish to put it frankly--be uninfluenced by the circumstances, for Lord
Roehampton is a wise man; but he would not marry you if he did not
believe that you would make for him a delightful companion in life, that
you would adorn his circle and illustrate his name."

"Ah! I see you are all in the plot against me," said Adriana. "I have no
friend."

"My dear Adriana, I think you are unreasonable; I could say even
unkind."

"Oh! pardon me, dear Myra," said Adriana, "but I really am so very
unhappy."

"About what? You are your own mistress in this matter. If you do not
like to marry Lord Roehampton, nobody will attempt to control you. What
does it signify what Lady Montfort says? or anybody else, except your
own parents, who desire nothing but your happiness? I should never have
mentioned Lord Roehampton to you had you not introduced the subject
yourself. And all that I meant to say was, what I repeat, that your
creed that no one can wish to marry you except for your wealth is a
morbid conviction, and must lead to unhappiness; that I do not believe
that Lord Roehampton is influenced in his overture, if he make one, by
any unworthy motive, and that any woman whose heart is disengaged should
not lightly repudiate such an advance from such a man, by which, at all
events, she should feel honoured."

"But my heart is engaged," said Adriana in an almost solemn tone.

"Oh! that is quite a different thing!" said Myra, turning pale.

"Yes!" said Adriana; "I am devoted to one whose name I cannot now
mention, perhaps will never mention, but I am devoted to him. Yes!"
she added with fire, "I am not altogether so weak a thing as the Lady
Montforts and some other persons seem to think me--I can feel and decide
for myself, and it shall never be said of me that I purchased love."



CHAPTER XLIV

There was to be no great party at Hainault; Lord Roehampton particularly
wished that there should be no fine folks asked, and especially no
ambassadors. All that he wanted was to enjoy the fresh air, and to
ramble in the forest, of which he had heard so much, with the young
ladies.

"And, by the by, Miss Ferrars," said Mr. Neuchatel, "we must let what
we were talking about the other day drop. Adriana has been with me quite
excited about something Lady Montfort said to her. I soothed her and
assured her she should do exactly as she liked, and that neither I nor
her mother had any other wishes on such a subject than her own. The fact
is, I answered Lady Montfort originally only half in earnest. If the
thing might have happened, I should have been content--but it really
never rested on my mind, because such matters must always originate with
my daughter. Unless they come from her, with me they are mere fancies.
But now I want you to help me in another matter, if not more grave, more
businesslike. My lord must be amused, although it is a family party.
He likes his rubber; that we can manage. But there must be two or three
persons that he is not accustomed to meet, and yet who will interest
him. Now, do you know, Miss Ferrars, whom I think of asking?"

"Not I, my dear sir."

"What do you think of the colonel?" said Mr. Neuchatel, looking in her
face with a rather laughing eye.

"Well, he is very agreeable," said Myra, "and many would think
interesting, and if Lord Roehampton does not know him, I think he would
do very well."

"Well, but Lord Roehampton knows all about him," said Mr. Neuchatel.

"Well, that is an advantage," said Myra.

"I do not know," said Mr. Neuchatel. "Life is a very curious thing, eh,
Miss Ferrars? One cannot ask one person to meet another even in one's
own home, without going through a sum of moral arithmetic."

"Is it so?" said Myra.

"Well, Miss Ferrars," said Mr. Neuchatel, "I want your advice and I want
your aid; but then it is a long story, at which I am rather a bad hand,"
and Mr. Neuchatel hesitated. "You know," he said, suddenly resuming,
"you once asked me who Colonel Albert was."

"But I do not ask you now," said Myra, "because I know."

"Hah, hah!" exclaimed Mr. Neuchatel, much surprised.

"And what you want to know is," continued Myra, "whether Lord Roehampton
would have any objection to meet Prince Florestan?"

"That is something; but that is comparatively easy. I think I can manage
that. But when they meet--that is the point. But, in the first place,
I should like very much to know how you became acquainted with the
secret."

"In a very natural way; my brother was my information," she replied.

"Ah! now you see," continued Mr. Neuchatel, with a serious air, "a word
from Lord Roehampton in the proper quarter might be of vast importance
to the prince. He has a large inheritance, and he has been kept out of
it unjustly. Our house has done what we could for him, for his mother,
Queen Agrippina, was very kind to my father, and the house of Neuchatel
never forgets its friends. But we want something else, we want the
British Government to intimate that they will not disapprove of the
restitution of the private fortune of the prince. I have felt my way
with the premier; he is not favourable; he is prejudiced against the
prince; and so is the cabinet generally; and yet all difficulties would
vanish at a word from Lord Roehampton."

"Well, this is a good opportunity for you to speak to him," said Myra.

"Hem!" said Mr. Neuchatel, "I am not so sure about that. I like Lord
Roehampton, and, between ourselves, I wish he were first minister. He
understands the Continent, and would keep things quiet. But, do you
know, Miss Ferrars, with all his playful, good-tempered manner, as if he
could not say a cross word or do an unkind act, he is a very severe man
in business. Speak to him on business, and he is completely changed.
His brows knit, he penetrates you with the terrible scrutiny of that
deep-set eye; he is more than stately, he is austere. I have been up to
him with deputations--the Governor of the Bank, and all the first men in
the City, half of them M.P.s, and they trembled before him like aspens.
No, it will not do for me to speak to him, it will spoil his visit. I
think the way will be this; if he has no objection to meet the prince,
we must watch whether the prince makes a favourable impression on him,
and if that is the case, and Lord Roehampton likes him, what we must do
next is this--_you_ must speak to Lord Roehampton."

"I!"

"Yes, Miss Ferrars, you. Lord Roehampton likes ladies. He is never
austere to them, even if he refuses their requests, and sometimes he
grants them. I thought first of Mrs. Neuchatel speaking to him, but my
wife will never interfere in anything in which money is concerned; then
I thought Adriana might express a hope when they were walking in the
garden, but now that is all over; and so you alone remain. I have great
confidence in you," added Mr. Neuchatel, "I think you would do it very
well. Besides, my lord rather likes you, for I have observed him often
go and sit by you at parties, at our house."

"Yes, he is very high-bred in that," said Myra, gravely and rather
sadly; "and the fact of my being a dependent, I have no doubt,
influences him."

"We are all dependents in this house," said Mr. Neuchatel with his
sweetest smile; "and I depend upon Miss Ferrars."

Affairs on the whole went on in a promising manner. The weather was
delightful, and Lord Roehampton came down to Hainault just in time for
dinner, the day after their arrival, and in the highest spirits. He
seemed to be enjoying a real holiday; body and mind were in a like state
of expansion; he was enchanted with the domain; he was delighted with
the mansion, everything pleased and gratified him, and he pleased and
gratified everybody. The party consisted only of themselves, except one
of the nephews, with whom indeed Lord Roehampton was already acquainted;
a lively youth, a little on the turf, not too much, and this suited Lord
Roehampton, who was a statesman of the old aristocratic school, still
bred horses, and sometimes ran one, and in the midst of an European
crisis could spare an hour to Newmarket. Perhaps it was his only
affectation.

Mrs. Neuchatel, by whom he was seated, had the happy gift of
conversation; but the party was of that delightful dimension, that it
permitted talk to be general. Myra sate next to Lord Roehampton, and
he often addressed her. He was the soul of the feast, and yet it is
difficult to describe his conversation; it was a medley of graceful
whim, interspersed now and then with a very short anecdote of a very
famous person, or some deeply interesting reminiscence of some critical
event. Every now and then he appealed to Adriana, who sate opposite to
him in the round table, and she trusted that her irrepressible smiles
would not be interpreted into undue encouragement.

Lord Roehampton had no objection to meet Prince Florestan, provided
there were no other strangers, and the incognito was observed. He rather
welcomed the proposal, observing he liked to know public men personally;
so, you can judge of their calibre, which you never can do from books
and newspapers, or the oral reports of their creatures or their enemies.
And so on the next day Colonel Albert was expected.

Lord Roehampton did not appear till luncheon; he had received so many
boxes from Downing Street which required his attention. "Business will
follow one," he said; "yesterday I thought I had baffled it. I do not
like what I shall do without my secretaries. I think I shall get you
young ladies to assist me."

"You cannot have better secretaries," said Mr. Neuchatel; "Miss Ferrars
often helps me."

Then what was to be done after luncheon? Would he ride, or would he
drive? And where should they drive and ride to? But Lord Roehampton did
not much care to drive, and was tired of riding. He would rather walk
and ramble about Hainault. He wanted to see the place, and the forest
and the fern, and perhaps hear one of those nightingales that they had
talked of in Portland Place. But Mrs. Neuchatel did not care to walk,
and Mr. Neuchatel, though it was a holiday in the City, had a great many
letters to write, and so somehow or other it ended in Lord Roehampton
and the two young ladies walking out together, and remaining so long
and so late, that Mrs. Neuchatel absolutely contemplated postponing the
dinner hour.

"We shall just be in time, dear Mrs. Neuchatel," said Myra; "Lord
Roehampton has gone up to his rooms. We have heard a nightingale, and
Lord Roehampton insisted upon our sitting on the trunk of a tree till it
ceased--and it never ceased."

Colonel Albert, who had arrived, was presented to Lord Roehampton before
dinner. Lord Roehampton received him with stately courtesy. As Myra
watched, not without interest, the proceeding, she could scarcely
believe, as she marked the lofty grace and somewhat haughty mien of Lord
Roehampton, that it could be the same being of frolic and fancy, and
even tender sentiment, with whom she had been passing the preceding
hours.

Colonel Albert sate next to Myra at dinner, and Lord Roehampton between
Mrs. Neuchatel and her daughter. His manner was different to-day, not
less pleased and pleasing, but certainly more restrained. He encouraged
Mrs. Neuchatel to occupy the chief part in conversation, and whispered
to Adriana, who became somewhat uneasy; but the whispers mainly
consisted of his delight in their morning adventures. When he remarked
that it was one of the most agreeable days of his life, she became a
little alarmed. Then he addressed Colonel Albert across the table, and
said that he had heard from Mr. Neuchatel that the colonel had been in
America, and asked some questions about public men, which brought him
out. Colonel Albert answered with gentleness and modesty, never at any
length, but in language which indicated, on all the matters referred to,
thought and discrimination.

"I suppose their society is like the best society in Manchester?" said
Lord Roehampton.

"It varies in different cities," said Colonel Albert. "In some there is
considerable culture, and then refinement of life always follows."

"Yes, but whatever they may be, they will always be colonial. What
is colonial necessarily lacks originality. A country that borrows its
language, its laws, and its religion, cannot have its inventive powers
much developed. They got civilised very soon, but their civilisation was
second-hand."

"Perhaps their inventive powers may develop themselves in other ways,"
said the prince. "A nation has a fixed quantity of invention, and it
will make itself felt."

"At present," said Lord Roehampton, "the Americans, I think, employ
their invention in imaginary boundary lines. They are giving us plenty
of trouble now about Maine."

After dinner they had some music; Lord Roehampton would not play whist.
He insisted on comparing the voices of his companions with that of the
nightingales of the morning. He talked a great deal to Adriana, and
Colonel Albert, in the course of the evening much to Myra, and about her
brother. Lord Roehampton more than once had wished to tell her, as he
had already told Miss Neuchatel, how delightful had been their morning;
but on every occasion he had found her engaged with the colonel.

"I rather like your prince," he had observed to Mr. Neuchatel, as they
came from the dining-room. "He never speaks without thinking; very
reserved, I apprehend. They say, an inveterate conspirator."

"He has had enough of that," said Mr. Neuchatel. "I believe he wants to
be quiet."

"That class of man is never quiet," said Lord Roehampton.

"But what can he do?" said Mr. Neuchatel.

"What can he not do? Half Europe is in a state of chronic conspiracy."

"You must keep us right, my dear lord. So long as you are in Downing
Street I shall sleep at nights."

"Miss Ferrars," said Lord Roehampton abruptly to Mr. Neuchatel, "must
have been the daughter of William Ferrars, one of my great friends in
old days. I never knew it till to-day, and she did not tell me, but it
flashed across me from something she said."

"Yes, she is his daughter, and is in mourning for him at this moment.
She has had sorrows," said Mr. Neuchatel. "I hope they have ceased. It
was one of the happiest days of my life when she entered this family."

"Ah!" said Lord Roehampton.

The next day, after they had examined the famous stud and stables, there
was a riding party, and in the evening Colonel Albert offered to perform
some American conjuring tricks, of which he had been speaking in the
course of the day. This was a most wonderful performance, and surprised
and highly amused everybody. Colonel Albert was the last person who they
expected would achieve such marvels; he was so quiet, not to say grave.
They could hardly credit that he was the same person as he poured floods
of flowers over Myra from her own borrowed pocket-handkerchief, and
without the slightest effort or embarrassment, robbed Lord Roehampton of
his watch, and deposited it in Adriana's bosom. It was evident that he
was a complete master of slight-of-hand.

"Characteristic!" murmured Lord Roehampton to himself.

It was the day after this, that Myra being in the music room and alone,
Lord Roehampton opened the door, looked in, and then said, "Where is
Miss Neuchatel?"

"I think she is on the terrace."

"Let us try to find her, and have one of our pleasant strolls. I sadly
want one, for I have been working very hard all this morning, and half
the night."

"I will be with you, Lord Roehampton, in a moment."

"Do not let us have anybody else," he said, as she left the room.

They were soon on the terrace, but Adriana was not there.

"We must find her," said Lord Roehampton; "you know her haunts. Ah! what
a delight it is to be in this air and this scene after those dreadful
boxes! I wish they would turn us out. I think they must soon."

"Now for the first time," said Myra, "Lord Roehampton is not sincere."

"Then you think me always sincere?" he replied.

"I have no reason to think you otherwise."

"That is very true," said Lord Roehampton, "truer perhaps than you
imagine." Then rather abruptly he said, "You know Colonel Albert very
well?"

"Pretty well. I have seen him here frequently, and he is also a friend
of my brother."

"Ah! a friend of your brother." Then, after a slight pause, he said, "He
is an interesting man."

"I think so," said Myra. "You know all about him, of course."

"Very good-looking."

"Well, he looks unhappy, I think, and worn."

"One is never worn when one is young," said Lord Roehampton.

"He must have great anxieties and great sorrows," said Myra. "I cannot
imagine a position more unfortunate than that of an exiled prince."

"I can," said Lord Roehampton. "To have the feelings of youth and the
frame of age."

Myra was silent, one might say dumbfounded. She had just screwed herself
up to the task which Mr. Neuchatel had imposed on her, and was about to
appeal to the good offices of Lord Roehampton in favour of the prince,
when he had indulged in a remark which was not only somewhat strange,
but from the manner in which it was introduced hardly harmonised with
her purpose.

"Yes, I would give up everything," said Lord Roehampton. "I would even
be an exile to be young; to hear that Miss Ferrars deems me interesting
and good-looking, though worn."

"What is going to happen?" thought Myra. "Will the earth open to receive
me?"

"You are silent," said Lord Roehampton. "You will not speak, you will
not sigh, you will not give a glance of consolation or even pity. But I
have spoken too much not to say more. Beautiful, fascinating being, let
me at least tell you of my love."

Myra could not speak, but put her left hand to her face. Gently taking
her other hand, Lord Roehampton pressed it to his lips. "From the first
moment I met you, my heart was yours. It was love at first sight; indeed
I believe in no other. I was amused with the projects of my friend,
and I availed myself of them, but not unfairly. No one can accuse me of
trifling with the affections of your sweet companion, and I must do
her the justice to say that she did everything to convince me that she
shrank from my attentions. But her society was an excuse to enjoy yours.
I was an habitual visitor in town that I might cherish my love, and,
dare I say it, I came down here to declare it. Do not despise it,
dearest of women; it is not worthy of you, but it is not altogether
undeserving. It is, as you kindly believed it,--it is sincere!"



CHAPTER XLV

On the following day, Mr. Neuchatel had good-naturedly invited Endymion
down to Hainault, and when he arrived there, a servant informed him that
Miss Ferrars wished to see him in her room.

It was a long interview and an agitated one, and when she had told her
tale, and her brother had embraced her, she sat for a time in silence,
holding his hand, and intimating, that, for a while, she wished that
neither of them should speak. Suddenly, she resumed, and said, "Now you
know all, dear darling; it is so sudden, and so strange, that you must
be almost as much astounded as gratified. What I have sighed for,
and prayed for--what, in moments of inspiration, I have sometimes
foreseen--has happened. Our degradation is over. I seem to breathe for
the first time for many years. I see a career, ay, and a great one; and
what is far more important, I see a career for you."

"At this moment, dear Myra, think only of yourself."

"You are myself," she replied, rather quickly, "never more so than at
this moment;" and then she said in a tone more subdued, and even tender,
"Lord Roehampton has every quality and every accident of life that I
delight in; he has intellect, eloquence, courage, great station and
power; and, what I ought perhaps more to consider, though I do not,
a sweet disposition and a tender heart. There is every reason why we
should be happy--yes, very happy. I am sure I shall sympathise with him;
perhaps, I may aid him; at least, he thinks so. He is the noblest
of men. The world will talk of the disparity of our years; but Lord
Roehampton says that he is really the younger of the two, and I think he
is right. My pride, my intense pride, never permitted to me any levity
of heart."

"And when is it to happen?" inquired Endymion.

"Not immediately. I could not marry till a year had elapsed after our
great sorrow; and it is more agreeable, even to him, that our union
should be delayed till the session is over. He wants to leave England;
go abroad; have a real holiday. He has always had a dream of travelling
in Spain; well, we are to realise the dream. If we could get off at the
end of July, we might go to Paris, and then to Madrid, and travel in
Andalusia in the autumn, and then catch the packet at Gibraltar, and get
home just in time for the November cabinets."

"Dear Myra! how wonderful it all seems!" involuntarily exclaimed
Endymion.

"Yes, but more wonderful things will happen. We have now got a lever
to move the world. Understand, my dear Endymion, that nothing is to
be announced at present. It will be known only to this family, and the
Penruddocks. I am bound to tell them, even immediately; they are friends
that never can be forgotten. I have always kept up my correspondence
with Mrs. Penruddock. Besides, I shall tell her in confidence, and she
is perfectly to be depended on. I am going to ask my lord to let Mr.
Penruddock marry us."

"Oh! that will be capital," said Endymion.

"There is another person, by the by, who must know it, at least my lord
says so," said Myra, "and that is Lady Montfort; you have heard of that
lady and her plans. Well, she must be told--at least, sooner or later.
She will be annoyed, and she will hate me. I cannot help it; every one
is hated by somebody."

During the three months that had to elapse before the happy day, several
incidents occurred that ought to be noted. In the first place, Lady
Montfort, though disappointed and very much astonished, bore the
communication from Lord Roehampton more kindly than he had anticipated.
Lord Roehampton made it by letter, and his letters to women were more
happy even than his despatches to ministers, and they were unrivalled.
He put the matter in the most skilful form. Myra had been born in a
social position not inferior to his own, and was the daughter of one of
his earliest political friends. He did not dilate too much on her charms
and captivating qualities, but sufficiently for the dignity of her
who was to become his wife. And then he confessed to Lady Montfort how
completely his heart and happiness were set on Lady Roehampton being
welcomed becomingly by his friends; he was well aware, that in these
matters things did not always proceed as one could wish, but this was
the moment, and this the occasion, to test a friend, and he believed he
had the dearest, the most faithful, the most fascinating, and the most
powerful in Lady Montfort.

"Well, we must put the best face upon it," exclaimed that lady; "he was
always romantic. But, as he says, or thinks, what is the use of friends
if they do not help you in a scrape?"

So Lady Montfort made the acquaintance of Myra, and welcomed her
new acquaintance cordially. She was too fine a judge of beauty and
deportment not to appreciate them, even when a little prejudice lurked
behind. She was amused also, and a little gratified, by being in the
secret; presented Myra with a rare jewel, and declared that she should
attend the wedding; though when the day arrived, she was at Princedown,
and could not, unfortunately, leave her lord.

About the end of June, a rather remarkable paragraph appeared in the
journal of society:

"We understand that His Royal Highness Prince Florestan, who has been
for some little time in this country, has taken the mansion in Carlton
Gardens, recently occupied by the Marquis of Katterfelto. The mansion is
undergoing very considerable repairs, but it is calculated that it will
be completed in time for the reception of His Royal Highness by the
end of the autumn; His Royal Highness has taken the extensive moors of
Dinniewhiskie for the coming season."

In the earlier part of July, the approaching alliance of the Earl
of Roehampton with Miss Ferrars, the only daughter of the late Right
Honourable William Pitt Ferrars, of Hurstley Hall, in the county of
Berks, was announced, and great was the sensation, and innumerable the
presents instantly ordered.

But on no one did the announcement produce a greater effect than
on Zenobia; that the daughter of her dearest friend should make
so interesting and so distinguished an alliance was naturally most
gratifying to her. She wrote to Myra a most impassioned letter, as if
they had only separated yesterday, and a still longer and more fervent
one to Lord Roehampton; Zenobia and he had been close friends in other
days, till he wickedly changed his politics, and was always in office
and Zenobia always out. This was never to be forgiven. But the bright
lady forgot all this now, and sent to Myra the most wondrous bracelet
of precious stones, in which the word "Souvenir" was represented in
brilliants, rubies, and emeralds.

"For my part," said Myra to Endymion, "my most difficult task are
the bridesmaids. I am to have so many, and know so few. I feel like a
recruiting sergeant. I began to Adriana, but my lord helps me very much
out of his family, and says, when we have had a few family dinners, all
will be right."

Endymion did not receive the banter he expected at the office. The event
was too great for a jest. Seymour Hicks, with a serious countenance,
said Ferrars might get anywhere now,--all the ministerial receptions of
course. Jawett said there would be no ministerial receptions soon;
they were degrading functions. Clear-headed Trenchard congratulated him
quietly, and said, "I do not think you will stay much longer among us,
but we shall always remember you with interest."

At last the great day arrived, and at St. George's, Hanover Square,
the Right Honourable the Earl of Roehampton, K.G., was united to Miss
Ferrars. Mr. Penruddock joined their hands. His son Nigel had been
invited to assist him, but did not appear, though Myra had written to
him. The great world assembled in force, and Endymion observed Mr. and
Mrs. Rodney and Imogene in the body of the church. After the ceremony
there was an entertainment in Portland Place, and the world ate
ortolans and examined the presents. These were remarkable for number and
splendour. Myra could not conceal her astonishment at possessing so many
friends; but it was the fashion for all Lord Roehampton's acquaintance
to make him offerings, and to solicit his permission to present gifts
to his bride. Mr. Neuchatel placed on her brow a diamond tiara, and
Mrs. Neuchatel encircled her neck with one of her diamond necklaces.
"I should like to give the other one to Adriana," she observed, "but
Adriana says that nothing will ever induce her to wear jewels." Prince
Florestan presented Lady Roehampton with a vase which had belonged to
his mother, and which had been painted by Boucher for Marie Antoinette.
It was matchless, and almost unique.

Not long after this, Lord Beaumaris, with many servants and many guns,
took Waldershare and Endymion down with him to Scotland.



CHAPTER XLVI

The end of the season is a pang to society. More hopes have been baffled
than realised. There is something melancholy in the last ball, though
the music ever seems louder, and the lights more glaring than usual. Or
it may be, the last entertainment is that hecatomb they call a wedding
breakfast, which celebrates the triumph of a rival. That is pleasant.
Society, to do it justice, struggles hard to revive in other scenes the
excitement that has expired. It sails to Cowes, it scuds to bubbling
waters in the pine forests of the continent, it stalks even into
Scotland; but it is difficult to restore the romance that has been
rudely disturbed, and to gather again together the threads of the
intrigue that have been lost in the wild flight of society from that
metropolis, which is now described as "a perfect desert"--that is to
say, a park or so, two or three squares, and a dozen streets where
society lives; where it dines, and dances, and blackballs, and bets, and
spouts.

But to the world in general, the mighty million, to the professional
classes, to all men of business whatever, the end of the season is the
beginning of carnival. It is the fulfilment of the dream over which they
have been brooding for ten months, which has sustained them in toil,
lightened anxiety, and softened even loss. It is air, it is health,
it is movement, it is liberty, it is nature--earth, sea, lake, moor,
forest, mountain, and river. From the heights of the Engadine to
Margate Pier, there is equal rapture, for there is an equal cessation of
routine.

Few enjoy a holiday more than a young clerk in a public office, who has
been bred in a gentle home, and enjoyed in his boyhood all the pastimes
of gentlemen. Now he is ever toiling, with an uncertain prospect of
annual relaxation, and living hardly. Once on a time, at the paternal
hall, he could shoot, or fish, or ride, every day of his life, as a
matter of course; and now, what would he not give for a good day's
sport? Such thoughts had frequently crossed the mind of Endymion when
drudging in London during the autumn, and when all his few acquaintances
were away. It was, therefore, with no ordinary zest that he looked
forward to the unexpected enjoyment of an unstinted share of some of the
best shooting in the United Kingdom. And the relaxation and the
pastime came just at the right moment, when the reaction, from all the
excitement attendant on the marvellous change in his sister's position,
would have made him, deprived of her consoling society, doubly sensible
of his isolated position.

It so happened that the moors of Lord Beaumaris were contiguous to
the celebrated shootings of Dinniewhiskie, which were rented by Prince
Florestan, and the opportunity now offered which Waldershare desired
of making the acquaintance of the prince in an easy manner. Endymion
managed this cleverly. Waldershare took a great fancy to the prince.
He sympathised with him, and imparted to Endymion his belief that they
could not do a better thing than devote their energies to a restoration
of his rights. Lord Beaumaris, who hated foreigners, but who was always
influenced by Waldershare, also liked the prince, and was glad to be
reminded by his mentor that Florestan was half an Englishman, not to say
a whole one, for he was an Eton boy. What was equally influential
with Lord Beaumaris was, that the prince was a fine shot, and indeed a
consummate sportsman, and had in his manners that calm which is rather
unusual with foreigners, and which is always pleasing to an English
aristocrat. So in time they became intimate, sported much together, and
visited each other at their respective quarters. The prince was never
alone. What the county paper described as distinguished foreigners were
perpetually paying him visits, long or short, and it did not generally
appear that these visits were influenced by a love of sport. One
individual, who arrived shortly after the prince, remained, and, as was
soon known, was to remain permanently. This was a young gentleman, short
and swarthy, with flashing eyes and a black moustache, known by the
name of the Duke of St. Angelo, but who was really only a cadet of that
illustrious house. The Duke of St. Angelo took the management of the
household of the prince--was evidently the controller; servants trembled
at his nod, and he rode any horse he liked; he invited guests, and
arranged the etiquette of the interior. He said one day very coolly to
Waldershare: "I observe that Lord Beaumaris and his friends never rise
when the prince moves."

"Why should we?"

"His rank is recognised and guaranteed by the Treaty of Vienna," said
the Duke of St. Angelo, with an arrogant air.

"His princely rank," replied Waldershare, "but not his royalty."

"That is a mere refinement," said the duke contemptuously.

"On the contrary, a clear distinction, and specifically made in the
treaty. I do not think the prince himself would desire such a ceremony,
and let me recommend you, duke," added Waldershare, "not to go out of
your way to insist on these points. They will not increase the prince's
popularity."

"The time will come, and before long, when the Treaty of Vienna, with
its clear distinctions, will be at the bottom of the Red Sea," said the
Duke of St. Angelo, "and then no one will sit when His Majesty rises."

"Amen!" said Waldershare. "All diplomacy since the Treaty of Utrecht
seems to me to be fiddle-faddle, and the country rewarded the great man
who made that treaty by an attainder."

Endymion returned to town towards the end of September, Waldershare went
to Paris, and Lord Beaumaris and the prince, who had become intimate,
repaired together to Conington, the seat of Lord Beaumaris, to kill
pheasants. Even the Rodneys, who had gone to the Rhine this year, had
not returned. Endymion had only the society of his fellow clerks. He
liked Trenchard, who was acute, full of official information, and of
gentle breeding. Still it must be confessed that Endymion felt the
change in his society. Seymour Hicks was hardly a fit successor
to Waldershare, and Jawett's rabid abstractions on government were
certainly not so interesting as _la haute politique_ of the Duke of St.
Angelo. Were it not for the letters which he constantly received from
his sister, he would have felt a little despondent. As it was, he
renewed his studies in his pleasant garret, trained himself in French
and German, and got up several questions for the Union.

The month seemed very long, but it was not unprofitably spent. The
Rodneys were still absent. They had not returned as they had intended
direct to England, but had gone to Paris to meet Mr. Waldershare.

At the end of October there was a semi-official paragraph announcing the
approaching meeting of the Cabinet, and the movements of its members.
Some were in the north, and some were in the south; some were killing
the last grouse, and some, placed in green ridings, were blazing in
battues. But all were to be at their post in ten days, and there was a
special notification that intelligence had been received of the arrival
of Lord and Lady Roehampton at Gibraltar.



CHAPTER XLVII

Lady Roehampton, in her stately mansion in St. James' Square, found life
very different from what she had experienced in her Andalusian dream.
For three months she had been the constant companion of one of the most
fascinating of men, whose only object had been to charm and delight her.
And in this he had entirely succeeded. From the moment they arrived in
London, however, they seemed to be separated, and although when they
met, there was ever a sweet smile and a kind and playful word for her,
his brow, if not oppressed with care, was always weighty with thought.
Lord Roehampton was little at his office; he worked in a spacious
chamber on the ground floor of his private residence, and which was
called the Library, though its literature consisted only of Hansard,
volumes of state papers, shelves of treatises, and interminable folios
of parliamentary reports. He had not been at home a week before the
floor of the apartment was literally covered with red boxes, all
containing documents requiring attention, and which messengers were
perpetually bringing or carrying away. Then there were long meetings of
the Cabinet almost daily, and daily visits from ambassadors and foreign
ministers, which prevented the transaction of the current business, and
rendered it necessary that Lord Roehampton should sit up late in his
cabinet, and work sometimes nearly till the hours of dawn. There had
been of course too some arrears of business, for secretaries of state
cannot indulge with impunity in Andalusian dreams, but Lord Roehampton
was well served. His under-secretaries of state were capable and
experienced men, and their chief had not been altogether idle in his
wanderings. He had visited Paris, and the capital of France in those
days was the capital of diplomacy. The visit of Lord Roehampton had
settled some questions which might have lingered for years, and had
given him that opportunity of personal survey which to a statesman is
invaluable.

Although it was not the season, the great desert had, comparatively
speaking, again become peopled. There were many persons in town, and
they all called immediately on Lady Roehampton. The ministerial families
and the diplomatic corps alone form a circle, but there is also a
certain number of charming people who love London in November, and lead
there a wondrous pleasant life of real amusement, until their feudal
traditions and their domestic duties summon them back to their Christmas
homes.

Lord and Lady Roehampton gave constant dinners, and after they had tried
two or three, he expressed his wish to his wife that she should hold a
small reception after these dinners. He was a man of great tact, and he
wished to launch his wife quietly and safely on the social ocean. "There
is nothing like practising before Christmas, my love," he would say;
"you will get your hand in, and be able to hold regular receptions in
the spring." And he was quite right. The dinners became the mode, and
the assemblies were eagerly appreciated. The Secretary of the Treasury
whispered to an Under-Secretary of State,--"This marriage was a _coup_.
We have got another house."

Myra had been a little anxious about the relations between Lord
Roehampton and her brother. She felt, with a woman's instinct, that her
husband might not be overpleased by her devotion to Endymion, and she
could not resist the conviction that the disparity of age which is
easily forgotten in a wife, and especially in a wife who adores you,
assumes a different, and somewhat distasteful character, when a
great statesman is obliged to recognise it in the shape of a boyish
brother-in-law. But all went right, for the sweetness of Lord
Roehampton's temper was inexhaustible. Endymion had paid several visits
to St. James' square before Myra could seize the opportunity, for which
she was ever watching, to make her husband and her brother acquainted.

"And so you are one of us," said Lord Roehampton, with his sweetest
smile and in his most musical tone, "and in office. We must try to give
you a lift." And then he asked Endymion who was his chief, and how he
liked him, and then he said, "A good deal depends on a man's chief. I
was under your grandfather when I first entered parliament, and I never
knew a pleasanter man to do business with. He never made difficulties;
he always encouraged one. A younker likes that."

Lady Roehampton was desirous of paying some attention to all those who
had been kind to her brother; particularly Mr. Waldershare and Lord
Beaumaris--and she wished to invite them to her house. "I am sure
Waldershare would like to come," said Endymion, "but Lord Beaumaris,
I know, never goes anywhere, and I have myself heard him say he never
would."

"Yes, my lord was telling me Lord Beaumaris was quite _farouche_, and it
is feared that we may lose him. That would be sad," said Myra, "for he
is powerful."

"I should like very much if you could give me a card for Mr. Trenchard,"
said Endymion; "he is not in society, but he is quite a gentleman."

"You shall have it, my dear. I have always liked Mr. Trenchard, and I
dare say, some day or other, he may be of use to you."

The Neuchatels were not in town, but Myra saw them frequently, and
Mr. Neuchatel often dined in St. James' Square--but the ladies always
declined every invitation of the kind. They came up from Hainault to see
Myra, but looked as if nothing but their great affection would prompt
such a sacrifice, and seemed always pining for Arcadia. Endymion,
however, not unfrequently continued his Sunday visits to Hainault,
to which Mr. Neuchatel had given him a general welcome. This young
gentleman, indeed, soon experienced a considerable change in his social
position. Invitations flocked to him, and often from persons whom he
did not know, and who did not even know him. He went by the name of Lady
Roehampton's brother, and that was a sufficient passport.

"We are trying to get up a carpet dance to-night," said Belinda to a
fair friend. "What men are in town?"

"Well, there is Mr. Waldershare, who has just left me."

"I have asked him.

"Then there is Lord Willesden and Henry Grantley--I know they are
passing through town--and there is the new man, Lady Roehampton's
brother."

"I will send to Lord Willesden and Henry Grantley immediately, and
perhaps you will send a card, which I will write here, for me to the new
man."

And in this way Mr. Ferrars soon found that he was what is called
"everywhere."

One of the most interesting acquaintances that Lady Roehampton made was
a colleague of her husband, and that was Mr. Sidney Wilton, once the
intimate friend of her father. He had known herself and her brother when
they were children, indeed from the cradle. Mr. Sidney Wilton was in the
perfection of middle life, and looked young for his years. He was tall
and pensive, and naturally sentimental, though a long political career,
for he had entered the House of Commons for the family borough the
instant he was of age, had brought to this susceptibility a salutary
hardness. Although somewhat alienated from the friend of his youth
by the course of affairs, for Mr. Sidney Wilton had followed Lord
Roehampton, while Mr. Ferrars had adhered to the Duke of Wellington,
he had not neglected Ferrars in his fall, but his offers of assistance,
frankly and generously made, had been coldly though courteously
rejected, and no encouragement had been given to the maintenance of
their once intimate acquaintance.

Mr. Sidney Wilton was much struck by the appearance of Lady Roehampton.
He tried to compare the fulfilment of her promise with the beautiful
and haughty child whom he used to wonder her parents so extravagantly
spoiled. Her stature was above the average height of women and finely
developed and proportioned. But it was in the countenance--in the
pellucid and commanding brow, the deep splendour of her dark blue eyes
softened by long lashes, her short upper lip, and the rich profusion of
her dark chestnut hair--that his roused memory recalled the past; and he
fell into a mood of agitated contemplation.

The opportunities which he enjoyed of cultivating her society were
numerous, and Mr. Wilton missed none. He was frequently her guest, and
being himself the master of a splendid establishment, he could offer
her a hospitality which every one appreciated. Lord Roehampton was
peculiarly his political chief, and they had always been socially
intimate. As the trusted colleague of her husband--as one who had known
her in her childhood, and as himself a man singularly qualified, by his
agreeable conversation and tender and deferential manner, to make his
way with women--Mr. Sidney Wilton had no great difficulty, particularly
in that happy demi-season which precedes Christmas, in establishing
relations of confidence and intimacy with Lady Roehampton.

The cabinets were over: the government had decided on their measures,
and put them in a state of preparation, and they were about to disperse
for a month. The seat of Lord Roehampton was in the extreme north
of England, and a visit to it was inconvenient at this moment, and
especially at this season. The department of Lord Roehampton was very
active at this time, and he was unwilling that the first impression by
his wife of her future home should be experienced at a season little
favourable to the charms of a northern seat. Mr. Sidney Wilton was
the proprietor of the most beautiful and the most celebrated villa in
England; only twenty miles from town, seated on a wooded crest of
the swan-crowned Thames, with gardens of delight, and woods full of
pheasants, and a terrace that would have become a court, glancing over a
wide expanse of bower and glade, studded with bright halls and delicate
steeples, and the smoke of rural homes.

It was arranged that Lord and Lady Roehampton should pass their
Christmas at Gaydene with Mr. Sidney Wilton, stay as long as they liked,
go where they chose, but make it their headquarters. It was a most
successful visit; for a great deal of business was done, as well as
pleasure enjoyed. The ambassadors, who were always a little uneasy at
Christmas when everybody is away, and themselves without country homes,
were all invited down for that week. Lord Roehampton used to give them
audiences after the shooting parties. He thought it was a specific
against their being too long. He used to say, "The first dinner-bell
often brings things to a point." After Christmas there was an
ever-varying stream of company, chiefly official and parliamentary. The
banquet and the battue did not always settle the business, the clause,
or the schedule, which the guests often came down to Gaydene ostensibly
to accomplish, but they sent men back to town with increased energy and
good humour, and kept the party in heart. Towards the end of the month
the premier came down, and for him the Blue Ribbon Covert had been
reserved, though he really cared little for sport. It was an eighteenth
century tradition that knights of the garter only had been permitted to
shoot this choice preserve, but Mr. Sidney Wilton, in this advanced age,
did not of course revive such an ultra-exclusive practice, and he was
particular in arranging the party to include Mr. Jorrocks. This was
a Radical member to whom considerable office had been given at the
reconstruction of 1835, when it was necessary that the Whigs should
conciliate the Mountain. He was a pretentious, underbred, half-educated
man, fluent with all the commonplaces of middle-class ambition, which
are humorously called democratic opinions, but at heart a sycophant
of the aristocracy. He represented, however, a large and important
constituency, and his promotion was at first looked upon as a
masterpiece of management. The Mountain, who knew Jorrocks by heart, and
felt that they had in their ranks men in every sense his superior, and
that he could be no representative of their intelligence and opinions,
and so by degrees prepare for their gradual admission to the sacred
land, at first sulked over the promotion of their late companion, and
only did not publicly deride it from the feeling that by so doing they
might be playing the game of the ministry. At the time of which we are
writing, having become extremely discontented and wishing to annoy
the government, they even affected dissatisfaction at the subordinate
position which Jorrocks occupied in the administration, and it was
generally said--had become indeed the slang of the party--that the
test of the sincerity of the ministry to Liberal principles was to put
Jorrocks in the cabinet. The countenance of the premier when this
choice programme was first communicated to him was what might have
been expected had he learnt of the sudden descent upon this isle of
an invading force, and the Secretary of the Treasury whispered in
confidence to one or two leaders of the Mountain, "that if they did not
take care they would upset the government."

"That is exactly what we want to do," was the reply.

So it will be seen that the position of the ministry, previous to the
meeting of parliament in 1839, was somewhat critical. In the meantime,
its various members, who knew their man, lavished every practicable
social attention on Jorrocks. The dinners they gave him were doubled;
they got their women to call on his women; and Sidney Wilton, a member
of an illustrious garter family, capped the climax by appointing him one
of the party to shoot the Blue Ribbon Covert.

Mr. Wilton had invited Endymion to Gaydene, and, as his stay there could
only be brief, had even invited him to repeat the visit. He was, indeed,
unaffectedly kind to one whom he remembered so young, and was evidently
pleased with him.

One evening, a day or two before the break-up of the party, while some
charming Misses Playfellow, with an impudent brother, who all lived
in the neighbourhood, were acting charades, Mr. Wilton said to Lady
Roehampton, by whose side he was sitting in the circle--

"I have had a very busy morning about my office. There is to be a
complete revolution in it. The whole system is to be reconstructed;
half the present people are to be pensioned off, and new blood is to be
introduced. It struck me that this might be an opening for your brother.
He is in the public service--that is something; and as there are to be
so many new men, there will be no jealousy as to his promotion. If you
will speak to him about it, and he likes it, I will appoint him one of
the new clerks; and then, if he also likes it, he shall be my private
secretary. That will give him position, and be no mean addition to
his income, you know, if we last--but that depends, I suppose, on Mr.
Jorrocks."

Lady Roehampton communicated all this to her brother on her return to
London. "It is exactly what I wished," she said. "I wanted you to be
private secretary to a cabinet minister, and if I were to choose any
one, except, of course, my lord, it would be Mr. Wilton. He is a perfect
gentleman, and was dear papa's friend. I understand you will have three
hundred a year to begin with, and the same amount as his secretary.
You ought to be able to live with ease and propriety on six hundred a
year--and this reminds me of what I have been thinking of before we went
to Gaydene. I think now you ought to have a more becoming residence. The
Rodneys are good people, I do not doubt, and I dare say we shall have
an opportunity of proving our sense of their services; but they are not
exactly the people that I care for you to live with, and, at any rate,
you cannot reside any longer in a garret. I have taken some chambers
in the Albany, therefore, for you, and they shall be my contribution to
your housekeeping. They are not badly furnished, but they belonged to
an old general officer, and are not very new-fashioned; but we will go
together and see them to-morrow, and I dare say I shall soon be able to
make them _comme il faut_."



CHAPTER XLVIII

This considerable rise in the life of Endymion, after the first
excitement occasioned by its announcement to him had somewhat subsided,
was not contemplated by him with unmixed feelings of satisfaction. It
seemed to terminate many relations of life, the value of which he had
always appreciated, but which now, with their impending conclusion,
he felt, and felt keenly, had absolutely contributed to his happiness.
There was no great pang in quitting his fellow-clerks, except Trenchard,
whom he greatly esteemed. But poor little Warwick Street had been to
him a real home, if unvarying kindness, and sedulous attention, and the
affection of the eyes and heart, as well as of the mouth, can make a
hearth. He hoped he might preserve the friendship of Waldershare, which
their joint intimacy with the prince would favour; but still he could
hardly flatter himself that the delightful familiarity of their past
lives could subsist. Endymion sighed, and then he sighed again. He felt
sad. Because he was leaving the humble harbour of refuge, the entrance
to which, even in the darkest hour of his fallen fortunes, was thought
somewhat of an indignity, and was about to assume a position which would
not have altogether misbecome the earliest expectations of his life?
That seems unreasonable; but mankind, fortunately, are not always
governed by reason, but by sentiment, and often by very tender
sentiment.

When Endymion, sitting in his little room, analysed his feelings, he
came to the conclusion that his sadness was occasioned by his having to
part from Imogene. It often requires an event in life, and an unexpected
one, to make us clearly aware of the existence of feelings which
have long influenced us. Never having been in a position in which the
possibility of uniting his fate to another could cross his mind for
a moment, he had been content with the good fortune which permitted a
large portion of his life to be passed in the society of a woman who,
unconsciously both to him and to herself, had fascinated him. The
graceful child who, four or five years ago, had first lit him to his
garret, without losing any of her rare and simple ingenuousness, had
developed into a beautiful and accomplished woman. There was a strong
resemblance between Imogene and her sister, but Imogene was a brunette.
Her countenance indicated far more intellect and character than that
of Sylvia. Her brow was delicately pencilled and finely arched, and her
large dark eyes gleamed with a softness and sweetness of expression,
which were irresistibly attractive, and seemed to indicate sympathy with
everything that was good and beautiful. Her features were not so regular
as her sister's; but when she smiled, her face was captivating.

Endymion had often listened, half with fondness and half with
scepticism, to Waldershare dilating, according to his wont, on the high
character and qualities of Imogene, whom he persisted in believing he
was preparing for a great career. "How it will come about I cannot say,"
he would remark; "but it will come. If my legitimate sovereign were on
the throne, and I in the possession of my estates, which were graciously
presented by the usurper to the sausage-makers, or some other choice
middle-class corporation, I would marry her myself. But that is
impossible. That would only be asking her to share my ruin. I want her
to live in palaces, and perhaps, in my decline of life, make me her
librarian, like Casanova. I should be content to dine in her hall
every day beneath the salt, and see her enter with her state, amid the
flourish of trumpets." And now, strange to say, Endymion was speculating
on the fate of Imogene, and, as he thought, in a more practical spirit.
Six hundred a year, he thought, was not a very large income; but it was
an income, and one which a year ago he never contemplated possessing
until getting grey in the public service. Why not realise perfect
happiness at once? He could conceive no bliss greater than living with
Imogene in one of those little villas, even if semi-detached, which
now are numbered by tens of thousands, and which were then beginning
to shoot out their suburban antennae in every direction of our huge
metropolis. He saw her in his mind's eye in a garden of perpetual
sunshine, breathing of mignonette and bright with roses, and waiting for
him as he came down from town and his daily labours, in the cheap and
convenient omnibus. What a delightful companion to welcome him! How much
to tell her, and how much to listen to! And then their evenings with a
delicious book or some delightful music! What holidays, too, of romantic
adventure! The vine-clad Rhine, perhaps Switzerland; at any rate, the
quaint old cities of Flanders, and the winding valley of the Meuse. They
could live extremely well on six hundred a year, yes, with all the real
refinements of existence. And all their genuine happiness was to be
sacrificed for utterly fantastic and imaginary gratifications, which,
if analysed, would be found only to be efforts to amuse and astonish
others.

It did not yet occur to Endymion that his garden could not always be
sunshiny; that cares crop up in villas, even semi-detached, as well as
joys; that he would have children, and perhaps too many; that they
would be sick, and that doctors' bills would soon put a stop to romantic
excursions; that his wife would become exhausted with nursing and
clothing and teaching them; that she herself would become an invalid,
and moped to death; that his resources would every day bear a less
proportion to his expenditure; and that wanting money, he would return
too often from town a harassed husband to a jaded wife!

Mr. Rodney and Sylvia were at Conington on a visit to Lord Beaumaris,
hunting. It was astonishing how Sylvia had ridden to the hounds, mounted
on the choicest steeds, and in a scarlet habit which had been presented
to her by Mr. Vigo. She had created quite an enthusiasm in the field,
and Lord Beaumaris was proud of his guests. When Endymion parted with
his sister at the Albany, where they had been examining his rooms, he
had repaired to Warwick Street, with some expectation that the Rodneys
would have returned from Conington, and he intended to break to his host
the impending change in his life. The Rodneys, however, had not arrived,
and so he ascended to his room, where he had been employed in arranging
his books and papers, and indulging in the reverie which we have
indicated. When he came downstairs, wishing to inquire about the
probable arrival of his landlord, Endymion knocked at the door of the
parlour where they used to assemble, and on entering, found Imogene
writing.

"How do you do, Mr. Ferrars?" she said, rising. "I am writing to Sylvia.
They are not returning as soon as they intended, and I am to go down to
Conington by an early train to-morrow."

"I want to see Mr. Rodney," said Endymion moodily.

"Can I write anything to him, or tell him anything?" said Imogene.

"No," continued Endymion in a melancholy tone. "I can tell you what
I wanted to say. But you must be occupied now, going away, and
unexpectedly, to-morrow. It seems to me that every one is going away."

"Well, we have lost the prince, certainly," said Imogene, "and I doubt
whether his rooms will be ever let again."

"Indeed!" said Endymion.

"Well, I only know what Mr. Waldershare tells me. He says that Mr.
Rodney and Mr. Vigo have made a great speculation, and gained a great
deal of money; but Mr. Rodney never speaks to me of such matters, nor
indeed does Sylvia. I am myself very sorry that the prince has gone, for
he interested me much."

"Well, I should think Mr. Rodney would not be very sorry to get rid of
me then," said Endymion.

"O Mr. Ferrars! why should you say or think such things! I am sure
that my brother and sister, and indeed every one in this house, always
consider your comfort and welfare before any other object."

"Yes," said Endymion, "you have all been most kind to me, and that makes
me more wretched at the prospect of leaving you."

"But there is no prospect of that?"

"A certainty, Imogene; there is going to be a change in my life," and
then he told her all.

"Well," said Imogene, "it would be selfish not to be happy at what I
hear; but though I hope I am happy, I need not be joyful. I never used
to be nervous, but I am afraid I am getting so. All these great changes
rather shake me. This adventure of the prince--as Mr. Waldershare
says, it is history. Then Miss Myra's great marriage, and your
promotion--although they are exactly what we used to dream about, and
wished a fairy would accomplish, and somehow felt that, somehow or
other, they must happen--yet now they have occurred, one is almost as
astounded as delighted. We certainly have been very happy in Warwick
Street, at least I have been, all living as it were together. But where
shall we be this time next year? All scattered, and perhaps not even the
Rodneys under this roof. I know not how it is, but I dread leaving the
roof where one has been happy."

"Oh! you know you must leave it one day or other, Imogene. You are sure
to marry; that you cannot avoid."

"Well, I am not by any means sure about that," said Imogene. "Mr.
Waldershare, in educating me, as he says, as a princess, has made me
really neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, nor even that coarser but popular
delicacy never forgotten. I could not unite my life with a being who was
not refined in mind and in manners, and the men of my class in life, who
are the only ones after all who might care to marry me, shock my taste,
I am ashamed to say so. I am not sure it is not wicked to think it even;
but so it is."

"Why do you not marry Waldershare?" said Endymion.

"That would be madness! I do not know any alliance that could prove
more unfortunate. Mr. Waldershare must never marry. All people of
imagination, they say, are difficult to live with; but a person who
consists solely of imagination, like Mr. Waldershare, who has indeed no
other attribute--before a year was past, married, he would fly to the
desert or to La Trappe, commit terrible scandals from mere weariness of
feeling, write pasquinades against the wife of his bosom, and hold us
both up to the fierce laughter of the world. No, no; he is the best,
the dearest, and the most romantic of friends; tender as a father, and
sometimes as wise, for genius can be everything. He is going to rise
early to-morrow, which he particularly dislikes, because he will not
let me go to the station alone; though I tell him, as I often tell him,
those are the becoming manners of my class."

"But you might meet a person of the refinement you require," said
Endymion, "with a moderate and yet a sufficient income, who would not be
unworthy of you."

"I doubt it," said Imogene.

"But, do not doubt it, dear Imogene," said Endymion, advancing; "such
charms as yours, both of body and of mind, such a companion in life,
so refined, so accomplished, and yet endowed with such clear sense, and
such a sweet disposition--believe me"----

But at this moment a splendid equipage drove up to the door, with
powdered footmen and long canes behind, and then a terrible rap, like
the tattoo of a field-marshal.

"Good gracious! what is all this?" exclaimed Imogene.

"It is my sister," said Endymion, blushing; "it is Lady Roehampton."

"I must go to her myself," said Imogene; "I cannot have the servant
attend upon your sister."

Endymion remained silent and confused. Imogene was some little time
at the carriage-door, for Lady Roehampton had inquiries to make after
Sylvia and other courteous things to say, and then Imogene returned, and
said to Endymion, "Lady Roehampton wishes you to go with her directly on
some particular business."



CHAPTER XLIX

Endymion liked his new official life very much. Whitehall was a great
improvement on Somerset House, and he had sufficient experience of the
civil service to duly appreciate the advantage of being permanently
quartered in one of the chief departments of the state, instead of
obscurely labouring in a subordinate office, with a limited future, and
detached from all the keenly interesting details of public life. But it
was not this permanent and substantial advantage which occasioned him
such lively and such novel pleasure, as the fact of his being a private
secretary, and a private secretary to a cabinet minister.

The relations between a minister and his secretary are, or at least
should be, among the finest that can subsist between two individuals.
Except the married state, there is none in which so great a degree of
confidence is involved, in which more forbearance ought to be exercised,
or more sympathy ought to exist. There is usually in the relation an
identity of interest, and that of the highest kind; and the perpetual
difficulties, the alternations of triumph and defeat, develop devotion.
A youthful secretary will naturally feel some degree of enthusiasm for
his chief, and a wise minister will never stint his regard for one in
whose intelligence and honour he finds he can place confidence.

There never was a happier prospect of these relations being established
on the most satisfactory basis than in the instance of Endymion and
his new master. Mr. Sidney Wilton was a man of noble disposition, fine
manners, considerable culture, and was generally gracious. But he was
disposed to be more than gracious to Endymion, and when he found that
our young friend had a capacity for work--that his perception was quick
and clear--that he wrote with facility--never made difficulties--was
calm, sedulous, and patient, the interest which Mr. Wilton took in him
as the son of William Ferrars, and, we must add, as the brother of Lady
Roehampton, became absorbed in the personal regard which the minister
soon entertained for his secretary. Mr. Wilton found a pleasure in
forming the mind of Endymion to the consideration and comprehension of
public affairs; he spoke to him both of men and things without reserve;
revealed to him the characters of leading personages on both sides,
illustrated their antecedents, and threw light upon their future; taught
him the real condition of parties in parliament, rarely to be found in
newspapers; and finally, when he was sufficiently initiated, obtained
for his secretary a key for his cabinet boxes, which left little of the
business of government unknown to Endymion.

Such great confidence, and that exhibited by one who possessed so many
winning qualities, excited in the breast of Endymion the most lively
feelings of gratitude and respect. He tried to prove them by the
vigilant and unwearying labour with which he served his master, and he
served him every day more effectually, because every day he became more
intimate with the mind and method of Mr. Wilton. Every one to a certain
degree is a mannerist; every one has his ways; and a secretary will be
assisted in the transaction of business if a vigilant observation has
made him acquainted with the idiosyncrasy of his chief.

The regulations of the office which authorise a clerk, appointed to
a private secretaryship, to deviate from the routine duties of the
department, and devote his time entirely to the special requirements of
his master, of course much assisted Endymion, and proved also a pleasant
relief, for he had had enough at Somerset House of copying documents and
drawing up formal reports. But it was not only at Whitehall that he saw
Mr. Wilton, and experienced his kindness. Endymion was a frequent guest
under Mr. Wilton's roof, and Mr. Wilton's establishment was one of the
most distinguished in London. They met also much in the evenings, and
always at Lady Roehampton's, where Mr. Wilton was never absent. Whenever
and wherever they met, even if they had been working together the
whole morning, Mr. Wilton always greeted Endymion with the utmost
consideration--because he knew such a recognition would raise Endymion
in the eyes of the social herd, who always observe little things, and
generally form from them their opinions of great affairs.



CHAPTER L

Mr. Wilton was at Charing Cross, on his way to his office, when a lady
saluted him from her carriage, which then drew up to the pavement and
stopped.

"We have just arrived," said Lady Montfort, "and I want you to give me
a little dinner to-day. My lord is going to dine with an Old Bailey
lawyer, who amuses him, and I do not like to be left, the first day, on
the _pave_."

"I can give you a rather large dinner, if you care to come," said Mr.
Wilton, "but I fear you will not like it. I have got some House of
Commons men dining with me to-day, and one or two of the other House to
meet them. My sister Georgina has very good-naturedly promised to come,
with her husband, and I have just written a note to the Duchess Dowager
of Keswick, who often helps me--but I fear this sort of thing would
hardly suit you."

"On the contrary, I think it will be very amusing. Only do not put
me between two of your colleagues. Anybody amuses me for once. A
new acquaintance is like a new book. I prefer it, even if bad, to a
classic."

The dinner party to-day at Mr. Wilton's was miscellaneous, and not
heterogeneous enough to produce constraint, only to produce a little
excitement--some commoners high in office, and the Treasury whip,
several manufacturers who stood together in the room, and some
metropolitan members. Georgina's husband, who was a lord-in-waiting, and
a great swell, in a green riband, moved about with adroit condescension,
and was bewitchingly affable. The manufacturing members whispered to
each other that it was a wise thing to bring the two Houses together,
but when Her Grace the Duchess Dowager of Keswick was announced,
they exchanged glances of astounded satisfaction, and felt that
the government, which had been thought to be in a somewhat rickety
condition, would certainly stand.

Berengaria came a little late, not very. She thought it had been
earlier, but it was not. The duchess dowager opened her eyes with
wonderment when she beheld Lady Montfort, but the company in general
were not in the least aware of the vast social event that was occurring.
They were gratified in seeing another fine lady, but did not, of course,
rank her with a duchess.

The dinner went off better than Mr. Wilton could have hoped, as it was
impossible to place a stranger by Lady Montfort. He sate in the middle
of his table with the duchess dowager on his right hand, and Berengaria,
who was taken out by the green riband, on the other. As he knew the
green riband would be soon exhausted, he devoted himself to Lady
Montfort, and left the duchess to her own resources, which were
considerable, and she was soon laying down her opinions on men and
things to her other neighbours with much effect. The manufacturers
talked shop to each other in whispers, that is to say, mixed House of
Commons tattle about bills and committees with news from Manchester and
Liverpool, and the West Riding. The metropolitan members, then a more
cosmopolitan body and highly miscellaneous in their character and
pursuits, were louder, and perhaps more easy, even ventured to
talk across the table when near its end, and enticed the peers into
discussions on foreign politics.

Mr. Sidney Wilton having been delightful, thought it necessary to
observe that he feared Lady Montfort had been bored. "I have been, and
am, extremely amused," she replied; "and now tell me, who is that young
man at the very end of the table?"

"That is my private secretary, Mr. Ferrars."

"Ferrars!"

"A brother of Lady Roehampton."

"Present him to me after dinner."

Endymion knew Lady Montfort by sight, though she did not know him. He
had seen her more than once at the receptions of Mrs. Neuchatel, where,
as indeed in every place, she was the cynosure. He was much astonished
at meeting her at this party to-day,--almost as surprised as the duchess
dowager, for Endymion, who was of an observant nature, was beginning
to comprehend society and all its numerous elements, and schools,
and shades, and classes. When they entered the saloon, Mr. Wilton led
Endymion up to Lady Montfort at once, and she immediately inquired after
his sister. "Do you think," she said, "Lady Roehampton would see me
to-morrow if I called on her?"

"If I were Lady Roehampton, I would," said Endymion.

Lady Montfort looked at him with a glance of curious scrutiny; not
smiling, and yet not displeased. "I will write her a little note in
the morning," said Lady Montfort thoughtfully. "One may leave cards for
ever. Mr. Wilton tells me you are quite his right hand."

"Mr. Wilton is too kind to me," said Endymion. "One could not be excused
for not doing one's best for such a master."

"You like people to be kind to you?" said Lady Montfort.

"Well, I have not met with so much kindness in this world as to become
insensible to it."

"You are too young to be melancholy," said Lady Montfort; "are you older
than Lady Roehampton?"

"We are twins."

"Twins! and wonderfully like too! Is it not thought so?"

"I have sometimes heard it mentioned."

"Oh, it is striking!" said Lady Montfort, and she motioned to him to sit
down by her; and then she began to talk politics, and asked him what the
members thought at dinner of the prospects of the government, and what
he had heard of the malcontent movement that they said was _in petto_.
Endymion replied that Mr. Sharpset, the Secretary of the Treasury, did
not think much of it.

"Well, I wish I did not," said Lady Montfort. "However, I will soon find
out something about it. I have only just come to town; but I intend to
open my house, immediately. Now I must go. What are you going to do with
yourself to-morrow? I wish you would come and dine with Lord Montfort.
It will be quite without form, a few agreeable and amusing people; Lord
Montfort must be amused. It seems a reasonable fancy, but very difficult
to realise; and now you shall ask for my carriage, and to-morrow I hope
to be able to tell Lady Roehampton what very great pleasure I have had
in making the acquaintance of her brother."



CHAPTER LI

The morning after, Endymion was emerging from the court-yard of the
Albany, in order to call on Mr. Rodney, who, as he learnt from a casual
remark in a letter from Waldershare, would be in town. The ladies were
left behind for the last week of hunting, but business called Mr. Rodney
home. Waldershare wrote to Endymion in the highest spirits, and more
than once declared that he was the happiest of men. Just as Endymion had
entered Piccadilly, he was stopped by a once familiar face; it was St.
Barbe, who accosted him with great warmth, and as usual began to talk
about himself. "You are surprised to see me," he said. "It is two years
since we met. Well, I have done wonders; carried all before me. By Jove,
sir, I can walk into a minister's private room with as much ease as I
were entering the old den. The ambassadors are hand and glove with me.
There are very few things I do not know. I have made the fortune of the
'Chuck-Farthing,' trebled its circulation, and invented a new style,
which has put me at the head of all 'our own correspondents.' I wish you
were at Paris; I would give you a dinner at the Rocher, which would make
up for all our dinners at that ferocious ruffian, Joe's. I gave a dinner
the other day to forty of them, all 'our own correspondents,' or such
like. Do you know, my dear fellow, when I looked round the room, there
was not a man who had not done his best to crush me; running down my
works or not noticing them, or continually dilating on Gushy as if
the English public would never read anything else. Now, that was
Christian-like of me, was not it? God, sir, if they only had but one
neck, and I had been the Emperor Nero--but, I will not dwell on it; I
hate them. However, it suits me to take the other line at present. I am
all for fraternity and that sort of thing, and give them dinners. There
is a reason why, but there is no time to talk about that now. I shall
want their sweet voices--the hounds! But, my dear fellow, I am truly
glad to see you. Do you know, I always liked you; and how come you to be
in this quarter this fine morning?"

"I live in the Albany," said Endymion.

"You live in the Albany!" repeated St. Barbe, with an amazed and
perturbed expression. "I knew I could not be a knight of the garter, or
a member of White's--the only two things an Englishman cannot command;
but I did think I might some day live in the Albany. It was my dream.
And you live there! Gracious! what an unfortunate fellow I am! I do not
see how you can live in the Albany with your salary; I suppose they have
raised you."

"I have left Somerset House," said Endymion, "and am now at the Board of
Trade, and am private secretary to Mr. Sidney Wilton."

"Oh!" said St. Barbe; "then we have friends at court. You may do
something for me, if I only knew what I wanted. They have no decorations
here. Curse this aristocratic country, they want all the honours to
themselves. I should like to be in the Board of Trade, and would make
some sacrifice for it. The proprietors of the 'Chuck-Farthing' pay well;
they pay like gentlemen; though, why I say so I do not exactly know, for
no gentleman ever paid me anything. But, if I could be Secretary of the
Board of Trade, or get 1500 pounds a year secure, I would take it; and
I dare say I could get employed on some treaties, as I speak French, and
then I might get knighted."

"Well, I think you are very well off," said Endymion; "carrying, as you
say, everything before you. What more can you want?"

"I hate the craft," said St. Barbe, with an expression of genuine
detestation; "I should like to show them all up before I died. I suppose
it was your sister marrying a lord that got you on in this way. I could
have married a countess myself, but then, to be sure, she was only a
Polish one, and hard up. I never had a sister; I never had any luck in
life at all. I wish I had been a woman. Women are the only people who
get on. A man works all his life, and thinks he has done a wonderful
thing if, with one leg in the grave and no hair on his head, he manages
to get a coronet; and a woman dances at a ball with some young fellow or
other, or sits next to some old fellow at dinner and pretends she
thinks him charming, and he makes her a peeress on the spot. Oh! it is
a disgusting world; it must end in revolution. Now you tell your master,
Mr. Sidney Wilton, that if he wants to strengthen the institutions of
this country, the government should establish an order of merit, and the
press ought to be represented in it. I do not speak only for myself; I
speak for my brethren. Yes, sir, I am not ashamed of my order."

And so they bade each other farewell.

"Unchanged," thought Endymion, as he crossed Piccadilly; "the vainest,
the most envious, and the most amusing of men! I wonder what he will do
in life."

Mr. Rodney was at home, had just finished his breakfast, read his
newspaper, and was about to "go into the City." His costume was
perfect. Mr. Rodney's hat seemed always a new one. Endymion was a little
embarrassed by this interview, for he had naturally a kind heart, and
being young, it was still soft. The Rodneys had been truly good to him,
and he was attached to them. Imogene had prepared Mr. Rodney for the
change in Endymion's life, and Endymion himself had every reason
to believe that in a worldly point of view the matter was entirely
insignificant to his old landlord. Still his visit this morning ratified
a permanent separation from those with whom he had lived for a long
time, and under circumstances of sympathy and family connection
which were touching. He retained Mr. Rodney's hand for a moment as he
expressed, and almost in faltering tones, his sorrow at their separation
and his hope that their friendly connection might be always cherished.

"That feeling is reciprocal," said Mr. Rodney. "If only because you were
the son of my revered and right honourable friend, you would always be
esteemed here. But you are esteemed, or, I may say beloved, for your
own sake. We shall be proud to be considered with kindness by you, and I
echo your wish that, though no longer living under the same roof, we
may yet, and even often, meet. But do not say another word about the
inconvenience you are occasioning us. The truth is, that although
wherever we went the son of my revered and right honourable friend would
have always commanded hospitality from us, there are many changes about
to take place in our family which have made us for some time contemplate
leaving Warwick Street. Affairs, especially of late, have gone pretty
well with me in the world,--at least not badly; I have had friends, and
I hope have proved not undeserving of them. I wish Sylvia, too, to
live in an airier situation, near the park, so that she may ride every
morning. Besides, I have a piece of news to communicate to you, which
would materially affect our arrangements. We are going to lose Imogene."

"Ah! she is going to be married," said Endymion, blushing.

"She is going to be married," said Mr. Rodney gravely.

"To Mr. Waldershare?" said Endymion. "He almost said as much to me in a
letter this morning. But I always thought so."

"No; not to Mr. Waldershare," said Mr. Rodney.

"Who is the happy man then?" said Endymion, agitated. "I truly call him
so; for I think myself that Imogene is perfection."

"Imogene is about to be married to the Earl of Beaumaris."



CHAPTER LII

Simon, Earl of Montfort, with whom Endymion was so unexpectedly going
to dine, may be said to have been a minor in his cradle. Under
ordinary circumstances, his inheritance would have been one of the most
considerable in England. His castle in the north was one of the glories
of the land, and becomingly crowned his vast domain. Under the old
parliamentary system, he had the greatest number of nomination boroughs
possessed by any Whig noble. The character and conduct of an individual
so qualified were naturally much speculated on and finely scanned.
Nothing very decided transpired about them in his boyhood, but certainly
nothing adverse. He was good-looking and athletic, and was said to
be generous and good-natured, and when he went to Harrow, he became
popular. In his eighteenth year, while he was in correspondence with
his guardians about going to Christ Church, he suddenly left his country
without giving any one notice of his intentions, and entered into, and
fulfilled, a vast scheme of adventurous travel. He visited countries
then rarely reached, and some of which were almost unknown. His flag
had floated in the Indian Ocean, and he had penetrated the dazzling
mysteries of Brazilian forests. When he was of age, he returned, and
communicated with his guardians, as if nothing remarkable had happened
in his life. Lord Montfort had inherited a celebrated stud, which the
family had maintained for more than a century, and the sporting world
remarked with satisfaction that their present representative appeared to
take much interest in it. He had an establishment at Newmarket, and his
horses were entered for all the great races of the kingdom. He appeared
also at Melton, and conducted the campaign in a style becoming such
a hero. His hunters and his cooks were both first-rate. Although he
affected to take little interest in politics, the events of the time
forced him to consider them and to act. Lord Grey wanted to carry his
Reform Bill, and the sacrifice of Lord Montfort's numerous boroughs was
a necessary ingredient in the spell. He was appealed to as the head
of one of the greatest Whig houses, and he was offered a dukedom. He
relinquished his boroughs without hesitation, but he preferred to remain
with one of the oldest earldoms of England for his chief title. All
honours, however, clustered about him, though he never sought them, and
in the same year he tumbled into the Lord Lieutenancy of his country,
unexpectedly vacant, and became the youngest Knight of the Garter.

Society was looking forward with the keenest interest to the impending
season, when Lord Montfort would formally enter its spell-bound ranks,
and multiform were the speculations on his destiny. He attended an early
levee, in order that he might be presented--a needful ceremony which had
not yet taken place--and then again quitted his country, and for years.
He was heard of in every capital except his own. Wonderful exploits
at St. Petersburg, and Paris, and Madrid, deeds of mark at Vienna, and
eccentric adventures at Rome; but poor Melton, alas! expecting him
to return every season, at last embalmed him, and his cooks, and his
hunters, and his daring saddle, as a tradition,--jealous a little
of Newmarket, whither, though absent, he was frequently transmitting
foreign blood, and where his horses still ran, and were often
victorious.

At last it would appear that the restless Lord Montfort had found his
place, and that place was Paris. There he dwelt for years in Sybaritic
seclusion. He built himself a palace, which he called a villa, and which
was the most fanciful of structures, and full of every beautiful object
which rare taste and boundless wealth could procure, from undoubted
Raffaelles to jewelled toys. It was said that Lord Montfort saw no
one; he certainly did not court or receive his own countrymen, and this
perhaps gave rise to, or at least caused to be exaggerated, the tales
that were rife of his profusion, and even his profligacy. But it was not
true that he was entirely isolated. He lived much with the old families
of France in their haughty faubourg, and was highly considered by them.
It was truly a circle for which he was adapted. Lord Montfort was the
only living Englishman who gave one an idea of the nobleman of
the eighteenth century. He was totally devoid of the sense of
responsibility, and he looked what he resembled. His manner, though
simple and natural, was finished and refined, and, free from forbidding
reserve, was yet characterised by an air of serious grace.

With the exception of the memorable year when he sacrificed his
nomination boroughs to the cause for which Hampden died on the field
and Sidney on the scaffold--that is to say, the Whig government of
England--Lord Montfort had been absent for his country for ten years,
and one day, in his statued garden at the Belvedere, he asked himself
what he had gained by it. There was no subject, divine or human, in
which he took the slightest interest. He entertained for human nature
generally, and without any exception, the most cynical appreciation. He
had a sincere and profound conviction, that no man or woman ever acted
except from selfish and interested motives. Society was intolerable to
him; that of his own sex and station wearisome beyond expression; their
conversation consisted only of two subjects, horses and women, and he
had long exhausted both. As for female society, if they were ladies, it
was expected that, in some form or other, he should make love to them,
and he had no sentiment. If he took refuge in the _demi-monde_, he
encountered vulgarity, and that, to Lord Montfort, was insufferable.
He had tried them in every capital, and vulgarity was the badge of all
their tribe. He had attempted to read; a woman had told him to read
French novels, but he found them only a clumsy representation of the
life which, for years, he had practically been leading. An accident made
him acquainted with Rabelais and Montaigne; and he had relished them,
for he had a fine sense of humour. He might have pursued these studies,
and perhaps have found in them a slight and occasional distraction, but
a clever man he met at a guingette at Passy, whither he had gone to try
to dissipate his weariness in disguise, had convinced him, that if there
were a worthy human pursuit, an assumption which was doubtful, it was
that of science, as it impressed upon man his utter insignificance.

No one could say Lord Montfort was a bad-hearted man, for he had no
heart. He was good-natured, provided it brought him no inconvenience;
and as for temper, his was never disturbed, but this not from sweetness
of disposition, rather from a contemptuous fine taste, which assured
him, that a gentleman should never be deprived of tranquillity in a
world where nothing was of the slightest consequence.

The result of these reflections was, that he was utterly wearied with
Belvedere and Paris, and as his mind was now rather upon science, he
fancied he should like to return to a country where it flourished,
and where he indulged in plans of erecting colossal telescopes, and
of promoting inquiry into the origin of things. He thought that with
science and with fishing, the only sport to which he still really clung,
for he liked the lulling influence of running streams, and a pastime he
could pursue in loneliness, existence might perhaps be endured.

Society was really surprised when they heard of the return of Lord
Montfort to England. He came back in the autumn, so that there should
be no season to encounter, and his flag was soon flying at his castle.
There had been continuous attacks for years on the government for having
made an absentee lord lieutenant of his country, and conferring the high
distinction of the garter on so profligate a character. All this made
his return more interesting and exciting.

A worthy nobleman of high rank and of the same county, who for the last
five years everybody, shaking everybody's head, had been saying ought to
have been lord lieutenant, had a great county function in his immediate
neighbourhood in the late autumn, and had invited a large party to
assist him in its celebration. It seemed right also to invite the lord
lieutenant, but no one expected that he would make his appearance. On
the contrary, the invitation was accepted, and the sensation was great.
What would he be like, and what would he do, and was he so very wicked
as the county newspaper said? He came, this wicked man, with his
graceful presence and his diamond star, and everybody's heart palpitated
with a due mixture of terror and admiration. The only exception to these
feelings was the daughter of the house, the Lady Berengaria. She
was then in her second season, but still unparagoned, for she was a
fastidious, not to say disdainful lady. The highest had been at her
feet, and sued in vain. She was a stirring spirit, with great ambition
and a daring will; never content except in society, and influencing
it--for which she was qualified by her grace and lively fancy, her ready
though capricious sympathy, and her passion for admiration.

The function was successful, and the county full of enthusiasm for their
lord lieutenant, whose manner quite cleared his character. The party
did not break up, in fact the function was only an excuse for the party.
There was sport of all kinds, and in the evenings a carnival--for Lady
Berengaria required everybody about her to be gay and diverting--games
and dances, and infinite frolic. Lord Montfort, who, to the surprise of
every one, did not depart, spoke to her a little, and perhaps would
not have spoken at all, had they not met in the hunting-field. Lady
Berengaria was a first-rate horsewoman, and really in the saddle looked
irresistible.

The night before the party, which had lasted a week, broke up, Lord
Montfort came and sat by Lady Berengaria. He spoke about the run of the
morning, and she replied in the same vein. "I have got a horse, Lady
Berengaria, which I should like you to ride. Would you do so?"

"Certainly, and what sort of horse is it?"

"You shall see to-morrow. It is not far off. I like to have some horses
always near," and then he walked away.

It was a dark chestnut of matchless beauty. Lady Berengaria, who was
of an emphatic nature, was loud in her admiration of its beauty and its
hunting qualities.

"I agree with you," said Lord Montfort, "that it will spoil you for any
other horse, and therefore I shall ask permission to leave it here for
your use."

The party broke up, but, strange to say, Lord Montfort did not depart.
It was a large family. Lady Berengaria had several sisters; her
eldest brother was master of the hounds, and her younger brothers were
asserting their rights as cadets, and killing their father's pheasants.
There was also a number of cousins, who were about the same age, and
were always laughing, though it was never quite clear what it was about.
An affectation of gaiety may be sometimes detected in youth.

As Lord Montfort always had the duty of ushering the lady of the
house to dinner, he never had the opportunity of conversing with Lady
Berengaria, even had he wished it; but it was not all clear that he did
wish it, and it seemed that he talked as much to her sisters and the
laughing cousins as to herself, but still he did not go away, which was
most strange, and commenced to be embarrassing.

At last one evening, both her parents slumbering, one over the newspaper
and the other over her work, and the rest of the party in a distant
room playing at some new game amid occasional peals of laughter, Lord
Montfort, who had been sitting for some time by Lady Berengaria's side,
and only asking now and then a question, though often a searching one,
in order to secure her talking to him, rather abruptly said, "I wonder
if anything would ever induce you to marry me?"

This was the most startling social event of the generation. Society
immediately set a-wondering how it would turn out, and proved very
clearly that it must turn out badly. Men who knew Montfort well at Paris
looked knowing, and said they would give it six months.

But the lady was as remarkable a woman as the bridegroom was in his
sex. Lady Berengaria was determined to be the Queen of Society, and had
confidence in her unlimited influence over man. It is, however, rather
difficult to work on the feelings of a man who has no heart. This she
soon found out, and to her dismay, but she kept it a profound secret.
By endless ingenuity on her part, affairs went on very well much longer
than the world expected, and long enough to fulfil the object of Lady
Berengaria's life. Lord Montfort launched his wife well, and seemed
even content to be occasionally her companion until she had mounted
the social throne. He was proud of her as he would be of one of his
beautiful horses; but when all the world had acknowledged the influence
of Berengaria, he fell into one of his old moods, and broke to her that
he could bear it no longer, and that he must retire from society. Lady
Montfort looked distressed, but, resolved under no circumstances to be
separated from her husband, whom she greatly admired, and to whom,
had he wished it, she could have become even passionately attached,
signified her readiness to share his solitude. But she then found
out that this was not what he wanted. It was not only retirement from
society, but retirement from Lady Montfort, that was indispensable. In
short, at no time of his perverse career had Lord Montfort been more
wilful.

During the last years of his residence in Paris, when he was shut up
in his delicious Belvedere, he had complained much of the state of his
health, and one of his principal pursuits was consulting the faculty on
this interesting subject. The faculty were unanimous in their opinion
that the disorder from which their patient was suffering was _Ennui_.
This persistent opinion irritated him, and was one of the elements
of his decision to leave the country. The unexpected distraction that
followed his return to his native land had made him neglect or forget
his sad indisposition, but it appears that it had now returned, and in
an aggravated form. Unhappily the English physicians took much the
same view of the case as their French brethren. They could find nothing
organically wrong in the constitution or condition of Lord Montfort,
and recommended occupation and society. At present he shrank with some
disgust at the prospect of returning to France, and he had taken it into
his head that the climate of Montfort did not agree with him. He was
convinced that he must live in the south of England. One of the most
beautiful and considerable estates in that favoured part of our country
was virtually in the market, and Lord Montfort, at the cost of half a
million, became the proprietor of Princedown. And here he announced that
he should dwell and die.

This state of affairs was a bitter trial to the proudest woman in
England, but Lady Montfort was also one of the most able. She resisted
nothing, sympathised with all his projects, and watched her opportunity
when she could extract from his unconscious good-nature some reasonable
modification of them. And she ultimately succeeded in establishing a
_modus vivendi_. He was to live and die at Princedown; that was settled;
but if he ever came to town, to consult his physicians, for example, he
was always to inhabit Montfort House, and if she occasionally required a
whiff of southern air, she was to have her rooms always ready for her at
Princedown. She would not interfere with him in the least; he need not
even see her, if he were too unwell. Then as to the general principle of
his life, it was quite clear that he was not interested in anything, and
never would be interested in anything; but there was no reason that he
should not be amused. This distinction between interest and amusement
rather pleased, and seemed to satisfy Lord Montfort--but then it was
difficult to amuse him. The only thing that ever amused him, he said,
were his wife's letters, and as he was the most selfish as well as the
most polite of men, he requested her to write to him every day. Great
personages, who are selfish and whimsical, are generally surrounded
by parasites and buffoons, but this would not suit Lord Montfort; he
sincerely detested flattery, and he wearied in eight-and-forty hours of
the most successful mountebank in society. What he seemed inclined to
was the society of men of science, of travellers in rare parts, and
of clever artists; in short, of all persons who had what he called
"idiosyncrasy." Civil engineering was then beginning to attract general
attention, and Lord Montfort liked the society of civil engineers; but
what he liked most were self-formed men, and to learn the secret of
their success, and how they made their fortune. After the first fit of
Princedown was over, Lord Montfort found that it was impossible, even
with all its fascination, to secure a constant, or sufficient, presence
of civil engineers in such distant parts, and so he got into the habit
of coming up to Montfort House, that he might find companions and
be amused. Lady Montfort took great pains that he should not be
disappointed, and catered for him with all the skill of an accomplished
_chef_. Then, when the occasion served, she went down to Princedown
herself with welcome guests--and so it turned out, that circumstances,
which treated by an ordinary mind must have led to a social scandal,
were so adroitly manipulated, that the world little apprehended the real
and somewhat mortifying state of affairs. With the utmost license of
ill-nature, they could not suppose that Lord and Lady Montfort, living
under the same roof, might scarcely see each other for weeks, and that
his communications with her, and indeed generally, were always made in
writing.

Lady Monfort never could agree with her husband in the cardinal
assumption of his philosophy. One of his reasons for never doing
anything was, that there was nothing for him to attain. He had got
everything. Here they at once separated in their conclusions. Lady
Montfort maintained they had got nothing. "What," she would say, "are
rank and wealth to us? We were born to them. We want something that
we were not born to. You reason like a parvenu. Of course, if you had
created your rank and your riches, you might rest on your oars, and find
excitement in the recollection of what you had achieved. A man of your
position ought to govern the country, and it always was so in the
old days. Your family were prime ministers; why not you, with as much
talent, and much more knowledge?"

"You would make a very good prime minister, Berengaria."

"Ah! you always jest, I am serious."

"And so am I. If I ever am to work, I would sooner be a civil engineer
than a prime minister."

Nothing but the indomitable spirit of Lady Montfort could fight
successfully against such obstacles to her schemes of power as were
presented by the peculiar disposition of her lord. Her receptions every
Saturday night during the season were the most important of social
gatherings, but she held them alone. It was by consummate skill that
she had prevailed upon her lord occasionally appearing at the preceding
banquets, and when they were over, he flitted for an instant and
disappeared. At first, he altogether refused, but then Lady Montfort
would introduce Royalty, always kind, to condescend to express a wish
to dine at Montfort House, and that was a gracious intimation it was
impossible not to act upon, and then, as Lady Montfort would say, "I
trust much to the periodical visits of that dear Queen of Mesopotamia.
He must entertain her, for his father was her lover."

In this wonderful mystification, by which Lord Montfort was made to
appear as living in a society which he scarcely ever entered, his
wife was a little assisted by his visits to Newmarket, which he even
frequently attended. He never made a bet or a new acquaintance, but he
seemed to like meeting men with whom he had been at school. There is
certainly a magic in the memory of school-boy friendships; it softens
the heart, and even affects the nervous system of those who have no
hearts. Lord Montfort at Newmarket would ask half a dozen men who had
been at school with him, and were now members of the Jockey Club, to be
his guests, and the next day all over the heath, and after the heath,
all over Mayfair and Belgravia, you heard only one speech, "I dined
yesterday," or "the other day," as the case might be, "with Montfort;
out and out the best dinner I ever had, and such an agreeable fellow;
the wittiest, the most amusing, certainly the most charming fellow that
ever lived; out and out! It is a pity he does not show a little more."
And society thought the same; they thought it a pity, and a great one,
that this fascinating being of whom they rarely caught a glimpse, and
who to them took the form of a wasted and unsympathising phantom, should
not show a little more and delight them. But the most curious thing was,
that however rapturous were his guests, the feelings of their host after
they had left him, were by no means reciprocal. On the contrary, he
would remark to himself, "Have I heard a single thing worth remembering?
Not one."



CHAPTER LIII

Endymion was a little agitated when he arrived at the door of Montfort
House, a huge family mansion, situate in a court-yard and looking into
the Green Park. When the door was opened he found himself in a large
hall with many servants, and he was ushered through several rooms on the
ground floor, into a capacious chamber dimly lighted, where there were
several gentlemen, but not his hostess. His name was announced, and then
a young man came up to him and mentioned that Lord and Lady Montfort
would soon be present, and then talked to him about the weather. The
Count of Ferroll arrived after Endymion, and then another gentleman
whose name he could not catch. Then while he was making some original
observations on the east wind, and, to confess the truth, feeling
anything but at his ease, the folding doors of a further chamber
brilliantly lighted were thrown open, and almost at the same moment Lady
Montfort entered, and, taking the Count of Ferroll's arm, walked into
the dining-room. It was a round table, and Endymion was told by the
same gentleman who had already addressed him, that he was to sit by Lady
Montfort.

"Lord Montfort is a little late to-day," she said, "but he wished me not
to wait for him. And how are you after our parliamentary banquet?"
she said, turning to Endymion; "I will introduce you to the Count of
Ferroll."

The Count of Ferroll was a young man, and yet inclined to be bald. He
was chief of a not inconsiderable mission at our court. Though not to
be described as a handsome man, his countenance was striking; a brow
of much intellectual development, and a massive jaw. He was tall,
broad-shouldered, with a slender waist. He greeted Endymion with a
penetrating glance, and then with a winning smile.

The Count of Ferroll was the representative of a kingdom which, if
not exactly created, had been moulded into a certain form of apparent
strength and importance by the Congress of Vienna. He was a noble of
considerable estate in a country where possessions were not extensive
or fortunes large, though it was ruled by an ancient, and haughty, and
warlike aristocracy. Like his class, the Count of Ferroll had received a
military education; but when that education was completed, he found but
a feeble prospect of his acquirements being called into action. It
was believed that the age of great wars had ceased, and that even
revolutions were for the future to be controlled by diplomacy. As he was
a man of an original, not to say eccentric, turn of mind, the Count
of Ferroll was not contented with the resources and distraction of his
second-rate capital. He was an eminent sportsman, and, for some time,
took refuge and found excitement in the breadth of his dark forests, and
in the formation of a stud, which had already become celebrated. But all
this time, even in the excitement of the chase, and in the raising of
his rare-breed steeds, the Count of Ferroll might be said to have been
brooding over the position of what he could scarcely call his country,
but rather an aggregation of lands baptized by protocols, and christened
and consolidated by treaties which he looked upon as eminently
untrustworthy. One day he surprised his sovereign, with whom he was
a favourite, by requesting to be appointed to the legation at London,
which was vacant. The appointment was at once made, and the Count of
Ferroll had now been two years at the Court of St. James'.

The Count of Ferroll was a favourite in English society, for he
possessed every quality which there conduces to success. He was of great
family and of distinguished appearance, munificent and singularly frank;
was a dead-shot, and the boldest of riders, with horses which were the
admiration alike of Melton and Newmarket. The ladies also approved of
him, for he was a consummate waltzer, and mixed with a badinage gaily
cynical a tone that could be tender and a bewitching smile.

But his great friend was Lady Montfort. He told her everything, and
consulted her on everything; and though he rarely praised anybody, it
had reached her ears that the Count of Ferroll had said more than once
that she was a greater woman than Louise of Savoy or the Duchesse de
Longueville.

There was a slight rustling in the room. A gentleman had entered and
glided into his unoccupied chair, which his valet had guarded. "I fear I
am not in time for an oyster," said Lord Montfort to his neighbour.

The gentleman who had first spoken to Endymion was the secretary of Lord
Montfort; then there was a great genius who was projecting a suspension
bridge over the Tyne, and that was in Lord Montfort's country. A
distinguished officer of the British Museum completed the party with a
person who sate opposite Endymion, and whom in the dim twilight he had
not recognised, but whom he now beheld with no little emotion. It was
Nigel Penruddock. They had not met since his mother's funeral, and the
associations of the past agitated Endymion. They exchanged recognitions;
that of Nigel was grave but kind.

The conversation was what is called general, and a great deal on
suspension bridges. Lord Montfort himself led off on this, in order
to bring out his distinguished guest. The Count of Ferroll was also
interested on this subject, as his own government was making inquiries
on the matter. The gentleman from the British Museum made some remarks
on the mode in which the ancient Egyptians moved masses of granite, and
quoted Herodotus to the civil engineer. The civil engineer had never
heard of Herodotus, but he said he was going to Egypt in the autumn by
desire of Mehemet Ali, and he would undertake to move any mass which
was requisite, even if it were a pyramid itself. Lady Montfort, without
disturbing the general conversation, whispered in turns to the Count of
Ferroll and Endymion, and told the latter that she had paid a visit to
Lady Roehampton in the morning--a most delightful visit. There was no
person she admired so much as his sister; she quite loved her. The
only person who was silent was Nigel, but Lady Montfort, who perceived
everything, addressed him across the table with enthusiasm about some
changes he had made in the services of some church, and the countenance
of Nigel became suffused like a young saint who has a glimpse of
Paradise.

After dinner Lady Montfort led Endymion to her lord, and left him seated
by his host. Lord Montfort was affable and natural in his manner. He
said, "I have not yet made the acquaintance of Lady Roehampton, for I
never go out; but I hope to do so, for Lady Montfort tells me she is
quite captivating."

"She is a very good sister," said Endymion.

"Lady Montfort has told me a great deal about yourself, and all of it
I was glad to hear. I like young men who rise by their merits, and Mr.
Sidney Wilton tells Lady Montfort that yours are distinguished."

"Mr. Sidney Wilton is a kind master, sir."

"Well, I was his fag at Harrow, and I thought him so," said Lord
Montfort. "And now about your office; tell me what you do. You were not
there first, Lady Montfort says. Where were you first? Tell me all about
it. I like detail."

It was impossible to resist such polished and amiable curiosity, and
Endymion gratified it with youthful grace. He even gave Lord Montfort a
sketch of St. Barbe, inspired probably by the interview of the morning.
Lord Montfort was quite amused with this, and said he should so much
like to know Mr. St. Barbe. It was clear, when the party broke up, that
Endymion had made a favourable impression, for Lord Montfort said, "You
came here to-day as Lady Montfort's friend, but you must come in future
as mine also. And will you understand, I dine at home every day when I
am in town, and I give you a general invitation. Come as often as you
like; you will be always welcome. Only let the house know your intention
an hour before dinner-time, as I have a particular aversion to the table
being crowded, or seeing an empty chair."

Lady Montfort had passed much of the evening in earnest conversation
with Nigel, and when the guests quitted the room, Nigel and Endymion
walked away together.



CHAPTER LIV

The meeting between Nigel and Endymion was not an ordinary one, and when
they were at length alone, neither of them concealed his feelings of
pleasure and surprise at its occurrence. Nigel had been a curate in the
northern town which was defended by Lord Montfort's proud castle, and
his labours and reputation had attracted the attention of Lady Montfort.
Under the influence of his powerful character, the services of his
church were celebrated with a precision and an imposing effect, which
soon occasioned a considerable excitement in the neighbourhood, in time
even in the county. The pulpit was frequently at his command, for his
rector, who had imbibed his Church views, was not equal to the task of
propagating them, and the power and fame of Nigel as a preacher began to
be much rumoured. Although the church at which he officiated was not
the one which Lady Montfort usually attended, she was soon among his
congregation and remained there. He became a constant guest at the
castle, and Lady Montfort presented his church with a reredos of
alabaster. She did more than this. Her enthusiasm exceeded her
selfishness, for though the sacrifice was great which would deprive her
of the ministrations and society of Nigel in the country, she prevailed
upon the prime minister to prefer him to a new church in London, which
had just fallen vacant, and which, being situated in a wealthy and
populous district, would afford him the opportunity of making known to
the world his eloquence and genius. This was Nigel's simple, yet not
uneventful history; and then, in turn, he listened to Endymion's brief
but interesting narrative of his career, and then they agreed to adjourn
to Endymion's chambers and have a good talk over the past and the
present.

"That Lady Montfort is a great woman," said Nigel, standing with his
back to the fire. "She has it in her to be another Empress Helena."

"Indeed!"

"I believe she has only one thought, and that the only thought worthy
the human mind--the Church. I was glad to meet you at her house.
You have cherished, I hope, those views which in your boyhood you so
fervently and seriously embraced."

"I am rather surprised," said Endymion, not caring to answer this
inquiry, "at a Whig lady entertaining such high views in these matters.
The Liberal party rather depends on the Low Church."

"I know nothing about Whigs or Tories or Liberals, or any other new
names which they invent," said Nigel. "Nor do I know, or care to know,
what Low Church means. There is but one Church, and it is catholic and
apostolic; and if we act on its principles, there will be no need, and
there ought to be no need, for any other form of government."

"Well, those are very distinct views," said Endymion, "but are they as
practical as they are clear?"

"Why should they not be practical? Everything is practical which we
believe; and in the long run, which is most likely that we should
believe, what is taught by God, or what is taught by man?"

"I confess," said Endymion, "that in all matters, both civil and
religious, I incline to what is moderate and temperate. I always trace
my dear father's sad end, and all the terrible events in my family,
to his adopting in 1829 the views of the extreme party. If he had only
followed the example and the advice of his best friend, Mr. Sidney
Wilton, what a different state of affairs might have occurred!"

"I know nothing about politics," said Nigel. "By being moderate and
temperate in politics I suppose you mean being adroit, and doing that
which is expedient and which will probably be successful. But the Church
is founded on absolute truth, and teaches absolute truth, and there can
be no compromise on such matters."

"Well, I do not know," said Endymion, "but surely there are many very
religious people, who do not accept without reserve everything that is
taught by the Church. I hope I am a religious person myself, and yet,
for example, I cannot give an unreserved assent to the whole of the
Athanasian Creed."

"The Athanasian Creed is the most splendid ecclesiastical lyric ever
poured forth by the genius of man. I give to every clause of it an
implicit assent. It does not pretend to be divine; it is human, but the
Church has hallowed it, and the Church ever acts under the influence of
the Divine Spirit. St. Athanasius was by far the greatest man that
ever existed. If you cavil at his creed, you will soon cavil at other
symbols. I was prepared for infidelity in London, but I confess, my dear
Ferrars, you alarm me. I was in hopes that your early education would
have saved you from this backsliding."

"But let us be calm, my dear Nigel. Do you mean to say, that I am to
be considered an infidel or an apostate, because, although I fervently
embrace all the vital truths of religion, and try, on the whole, to
regulate my life by them, I may have scruples about believing, for
example, in the personality of the Devil?"

"If the personality of Satan be not a vital principle of your religion,
I do not know what is. There is only one dogma higher. You think it is
safe, and I daresay it is fashionable, to fall into this lax and
really thoughtless discrimination between what is and what is not to be
believed. It is not good taste to believe in the Devil. Give me a
single argument against his personality which is not applicable to the
personality of the Deity. Will you give that up; and if so, where are
you? Now mark me; you and I are young men--you are a very young man.
This is the year of grace 1839. If these loose thoughts, which you
have heedlessly taken up, prevail in this country for a generation or
so--five and twenty or thirty years--we may meet together again, and I
shall have to convince you that there is a God."



CHAPTER LV

The balance of parties in the House of Commons, which had been virtually
restored by Sir Robert Peel's dissolution of 1834, might be said to be
formally and positively established by the dissolution of parliament
in the autumn of 1837, occasioned by the demise of the crown. The
ministerial majority became almost nominal, while troubles from all
quarters seemed to press simultaneously upon them: Canadian revolts,
Chartist insurrections, Chinese squabbles, and mysterious complications
in Central Asia, which threatened immediate hostilities with Persia, and
even with one of the most powerful of European empires. In addition to
all this, the revenue continually declined, and every day the general
prejudice became more intense against the Irish policy of the ministry.
The extreme popularity of the Sovereign, reflecting some lustre on her
ministers, had enabled them, though not without difficulty, to tide
through the session of 1838; but when parliament met in 1839 their
prospects were dark, and it was known that there was a section of the
extreme Liberals who would not be deeply mortified if the government
were overthrown. All efforts, therefore, political and social, and
particularly the latter, in which the Whigs excelled, were to be made to
prevent or to retard the catastrophe.

Lady Montfort and Lady Roehampton opened their houses to the general
world at an unusually early period. Their entertainments rivalled those
of Zenobia, who with unflagging gallantry, her radiant face prescient of
triumph, stopped her bright vis-a-vis and her tall footmen in the midst
of St. James' Street or Pall Mall, while she rapidly inquired from some
friendly passer-by whom she had observed, "Tell me the names of the
Radical members who want to turn out the government, and I will invite
them directly."

Lady Montfort had appropriated the Saturdays, as was her custom and
her right; so Myra, with the advice of Lord Roehampton, had fixed on
Wednesdays for her receptions.

"I should have liked to have taken Wednesdays," said Zenobia, "but I
do not care to seem to be setting up against Lady Roehampton, for her
mother was my dearest friend. Not that I think any quarter ought to be
shown to her after joining those atrocious Whigs, but to be sure she was
corrupted by her husband, whom I remember the most thorough Tory going.
To be sure, I was a Whig myself in those days, so one must not say too
much about it, but the Whigs then were gentlemen. I will tell you what
I will do. I will receive both on Saturdays and Wednesdays. It is an
effort, and I am not as young as I was, but it will only be for a season
or less, for I know these people cannot stand. It will be all over by
May."

Prince Florestan had arrived in town, and was now settled in his mansion
in Carlton Terrace. It was the fashion among the _creme de la creme_ to
keep aloof from him. The Tories did not love revolutionary dynasties,
and the Whigs being in office could not sanction a pretender, and
one who, they significantly intimated with a charitable shrug of the
shoulders, was not a very scrupulous one. The prince himself, though he
was not insensible to the charms of society, and especially of agreeable
women, was not much chagrined by this. The world thought that he had
fitted up his fine house, and bought his fine horses, merely for
the enjoyment of life. His purposes were very different. Though his
acquaintances were limited, they were not undistinguished, and he
lived with them in intimacy. There had arisen between himself and Mr.
Waldershare the closest alliance both of thought and habits. They
were rarely separated. The prince was also a frequent guest at the
Neuchatels', and was a favourite with the head of the house.

The Duke of St. Angelo controlled the household at Carlton Gardens with
skill. The appointments were finished and the cuisine refined. There was
a dinner twice a week, from which Waldershare was rarely absent, and
to which Endymion, whom the prince always treated with kindness, had
a general invitation. When he occasionally dined there he met always
several foreign guests, and all men apparently of mark--at any rate, all
distinguished by their intelligence. It was an interesting and useful
house for a young man, and especially a young politician, to frequent.
Endymion heard many things and learnt many things which otherwise would
not have met his ear or mind. The prince encouraged conversation, though
himself inclined to taciturnity. When he did speak, his terse remarks
and condensed views were striking, and were remembered. On the days on
which he did not receive, the prince dined at the Travellers' Club,
to which Waldershare had obtained his introduction, and generally with
Waldershare, who took this opportunity of gradually making his friend
acquainted with eminent and influential men, many of whom in due time
became guests at Carlton Terrace. It was clear, indeed, that these
club-dinners were part of a system.

The prince, soon after his arrival in town, while riding, had passed
Lady Roehampton's carriage in the park, and he had saluted her with
a grave grace which distinguished him. She was surprised at feeling
a little agitated by this rencontre. It recalled Hainault, her not
mortifying but still humble position beneath that roof, the prince's
courtesy to her under those circumstances, and, indeed, his marked
preference for her society. She felt it something like ingratitude to
treat him with neglect now, when her position was so changed and had
become so elevated. She mentioned to Lord Roehampton, while they
were dining alone, that she should like to invite the prince to her
receptions, and asked his opinion on the point. Lord Roehampton shrugged
his shoulders and did not encourage her. "You know, my darling, our
people do not much like him. They look upon him as a pretender, as
having forfeited his parole, and as a refugee from justice. I have no
prejudices against him myself, and perhaps in the same situation might
have acted in the same manner; but if he is to be admitted into society,
it should hardly be at a ministerial reception, and of all houses, that
of one who holds my particular post."

"I know nothing about his forfeiting his parole," said Lady Roehampton;
"the charge is involved in mystery, and Mr. Waldershare told me it was
an entire fabrication. As for his being a pretender, he seems to me as
legitimate a prince as most we meet; he was born in the purple, and his
father was recognised by every government in Europe except our own. As
for being a refugee from justice, a prince in captivity has certainly a
right to escape if he can, and his escape was romantic. However, I will
not contest any decision of yours, for I think you are always right.
Only I am disappointed, for, to say nothing of the unkindness, I cannot
help feeling our not noticing him is rather shabby."

There was silence, a longer silence than usually occurred in
_tete-a-tete_ dinners between Lord and Lady Roehampton. To break the
silence he began to converse on another subject, and Lady Roehampton
replied to him cheerfully, but curtly. He saw she was vexed, and this
great man, who was at that time meditating one of the most daring acts
of modern diplomacy, who had the reputation, in the conduct of public
affairs, of not only being courageous, but of being stern, inflexible,
unfeeling, and unscrupulous beyond ordinary statesmen, who had passed
his mornings in writing a menacing despatch to a great power and
intimating combinations to the ambassadors of other first-rate states
which they almost trembled to receive, was quite upset by seeing his
wife chagrined. At last, after another embarrassing pause, he said
gaily, "Do you know, my dear Myra, I do not see why you should not ask
Prince Florestan. It is you that ask him, not I. That is one of the
pleasant results of our system of political entertainments. The guests
come to pay their respects to the lady of the house, so no one is
committed. The prince may visit you on Wednesday just as well as
the leaders of the opposition who want our places, or the malcontent
Radicals who they say are going to turn us out."

So Prince Florestan was invited to Lady Roehampton's receptions, and he
came; and he never missed one. His visits were brief. He appeared, made
his bow, had the pleasure of some slight conversation with her, and then
soon retired. Received by Lady Roehampton, in time, though sluggishly,
invitations arrived from other houses, but he rarely availed himself of
them. He maintained in this respect great reserve, and was accustomed to
say that the only fine lady in London who had ever been kind to him was
Lady Roehampton.

All this time Endymion, who was now thoroughly planted in society, saw a
great deal of the Neuchatels, who had returned to Portland Place at
the beginning of February. He met Adriana almost every evening, and was
frequently invited to the house--to the grand dinners now, as well as
the domestic circle. In short, our Endymion was fast becoming a young
man of fashion and a personage. The brother of Lady Roehampton had now
become the private secretary of Mr. Sydney Wilton and the great friend
of Lady Montfort. He was indeed only one of the numerous admirers
of that lady, but he seemed not the least smiled on. There was never
anything delightful at Montfort House at which he was not present, or
indeed in any other place, for under her influence, invitations from
the most distinguished houses crowded his mantelpiece and were stuck all
round his looking-glass. Endymion in this whirl of life did not forget
his old friends. He took care that Seymour Hicks should have a frequent
invitation to Lady Roehampton's assemblies. Seymour Hicks only wanted a
lever to raise the globe, and this introduction supplied him with
one. It was astonishing how he made his way in society, and though,
of course, he never touched the empyrean regions in which Endymion now
breathed, he gradually, and at last rapidly, planted himself in a world
which to the uninitiated figures as the very realm of nobility and
fashion, and where doubtless is found a great fund of splendour,
refinement, and amusement. Seymour Hicks was not ill-favoured, and was
always well dressed, and he was very civil, but what he really owed his
social advancement to was his indomitable will. That quality governs all
things, and though the will of Seymour Hicks was directed to what many
may deem a petty or a contracted purpose, life is always interesting
when you have a purpose and live in its fulfilment. It appeared from
what he told Endymion that matters at the office had altered a good deal
since he left it. The retirement of St. Barbe was the first brick out
of the wall; now, which Endymion had not yet heard, the brother of
Trenchard had most unexpectedly died, and that gentleman come into a
good estate. "Jawett remains, and is also the editor of the 'Precursor,'
but his new labours so absorb his spare time that he is always at the
office of the paper. So it is pretty well all over with the table at
Joe's. I confess I could not stand it any longer, particularly after
you left. I have got into the junior Pan-Ionian; and I am down for
the senior; I cannot get in for ten years, but when I do it will be a
_coup_; the society there is tiptop, a cabinet minister sometimes, and
very often a bishop."



CHAPTER LVI

Endymion was glad to meet Baron Sergius one day when he dined with
Prince Florestan. There were several distinguished foreigners among the
guests, who had just arrived. They talked much, and with much emphasis.
One of them, the Marquis of Vallombrosa, expatiated on the Latin
race, their great qualities, their vivacity, invention, vividness of
perception, chivalrous valour, and sympathy with tradition. The northern
races detested them, and the height of statesmanship was to combine the
Latin races into an organised and active alliance against the barbarism
which menaced them. There had been for a short time a vacant place next
to Endymion, when Baron Sergius, according to his quiet manner, stole
into the room and slipped into the unoccupied seat. "It is some time
since we met," he said, "but I have heard of you. You are now a public
man, and not a public character. That is a not unsatisfactory position."

The prince listened apparently with much interest to the Marquis of
Vallombrosa, occasionally asked him a question, and promoted discussion
without himself giving any opinion. Baron Sergius never spoke except
to Endymion, and then chiefly social inquiries about Lord and Lady
Roehampton, their good friends the Neuchatels, and frequently about
Mr. Sidney Wilton, whom, it appeared, he had known years ago, and
intimately. After dinner the guests, on the return to the saloon, ranged
themselves in a circle, but not too formally, and the prince moving
round addressed each of them in turn. When this royal ceremony was
concluded, the prince motioned to the Marquis of Vallombrosa to
accompany him, and then they repaired to an adjacent salon, the door of
which was open, but where they could converse without observation. The
Duke of St. Angelo amused the remaining guests with all the resources of
a man practised in making people feel at their ease, and in this he was
soon greatly assisted by Mr. Waldershare, who was unable to dine with
the prince to-day, but who seemed to take much interest in this arrival
of the representatives of the Latin race.

Baron Sergius and Endymion were sitting together rather apart from the
rest. The baron said, "You have heard to-day a great deal about the
Latin race, their wondrous qualities, their peculiar destiny, their
possible danger. It is a new idea, or rather a new phrase, that I
observe is now getting into the political world, and is probably
destined to produce consequences. No man will treat with indifference
the principle of race. It is the key of history, and why history is
often so confused is that it has been written by men who were ignorant
of this principle and all the knowledge it involves. As one who may
become a statesman and assist in governing mankind, it is necessary that
you should not be insensible to it; whether you encounter its influence
in communities or in individuals, its qualities must ever be taken into
account. But there is no subject which more requires discriminating
knowledge, or where your illustrating principle, if you are not deeply
founded, may not chance to turn out a will-o'-the-wisp. Now this great
question of the Latin race, by which M. de Vallombrosa may succeed in
disturbing the world--it might be well to inquire where the Latin race
is to be found. In the North of Italy, peopled by Germans and named
after Germans, or in the South of Italy, swarming with the descendants
of Normans and Arabs? Shall we find the Latin race in Spain, stocked by
Goths, and Moors, and Jews? Or in France, where there is a great Celtic
nation, occasionally mingled with Franks? Now I do not want to go into
the origin of man and nations--I am essentially practical, and only
endeavour to comprehend that with which I have personally to deal, and
that is sufficiently difficult. In Europe I find three great races with
distinct qualities--the Teutons, the Sclaves, and the Celts; and their
conduct will be influenced by those distinctive qualities. There is
another great race which influences the world, the Semites. Certainly,
when I was at the Congress of Vienna, I did not believe that the Arabs
were more likely to become a conquering race again than the Tartars, and
yet it is a question at this moment whether Mehemet Ali, at their
head, may not found a new empire in the Mediterranean. The Semites are
unquestionably a great race, for among the few things in this world
which appear to be certain, nothing is more sure than that they invented
our alphabet. But the Semites now exercise a vast influence over affairs
by their smallest though most peculiar family, the Jews. There is no
race gifted with so much tenacity, and such skill in organisation.
These qualities have given them an unprecedented hold over property
and illimitable credit. As you advance in life, and get experience
in affairs, the Jews will cross you everywhere. They have long been
stealing into our secret diplomacy, which they have almost appropriated;
in another quarter of a century they will claim their share of open
government. Well, these are races; men and bodies of men influenced in
their conduct by their particular organisation, and which must enter
into all the calculations of a statesman. But what do they mean by the
Latin race? Language and religion do not make a race--there is only one
thing which makes a race, and that is blood."

"But the prince," said Endymion inquiringly; "he seemed much interested
in what M. de Vallombrosa was saying; I should like to know what his
opinions are about the Latin race."

"The prince rarely gives an opinion," said the baron. "Indeed, as you
well know, he rarely speaks; he thinks and he acts."

"But if he acts on wrong information," continued Endymion, "there will
probably be only one consequence."

"The prince is very wise," said the baron; "and, trust me, knows as
much about mankind, and the varieties of mankind, as any one. He may not
believe in the Latin race, but he may choose to use those who do believe
in it. The weakness of the prince, if he have one, is not want of
knowledge, or want of judgment, but an over-confidence in his star,
which sometimes seduces him into enterprises which he himself feels at
the time are not perfectly sound."



CHAPTER LVII

The interest of the town was now divided between the danger of the
government and the new preacher who electrified the world at St.
Rosicrucius. The Rev. Nigel Penruddock was not at all a popular preacher
according to the vulgar acceptation of the term. He disdained all cant
and clap-trap. He preached Church principles with commanding eloquence,
and he practised them with unceasing devotion. His church was always
open, yet his schools were never neglected; there was a perfect choir,
a staff of disciplined curates, young and ascetic, while sacred sisters,
some of patrician blood, fearless and prepared for martyrdom, were
gliding about all the back slums of his ferocious neighbourhood. How
came the Whigs to give such a church to such a person? There must have
been some mistake. But how came it that all the Whig ladies were among
the most devoted of his congregation? The government whips did not like
it; at such a critical period too, when it was necessary to keep
the Dissenters up to the mark! And there was Lady Montfort and Lady
Roehampton never absent on a Sunday, and their carriages, it was
whispered, were often suspiciously near to St. Rosicrucius on week-days.
Mr. Sidney Wilton too was frequently in Lady Roehampton's pew, and one
day, absolutely my lord himself, who unfortunately was rarely seen at
church--but then, as is well known, critical despatches always arrive on
a Sunday morning--was successfully landed in her pew by Lady Roehampton,
and was very much struck indeed by what he heard. "The fact is," as he
afterwards observed, "I wish we had such a fellow on our bench in the
House of Commons."

About this time also there was another event, which, although not of so
general an interest, much touched the feelings of Endymion, and this was
the marriage of the Earl of Beaumaris with Imogene. It was solemnised in
as private and quiet a manner as possible. Waldershare was the best man,
and there were no bridesmaids. The only other persons invited by Mr.
Rodney, who gave away the bride, were Endymion and Mr. Vigo.

One morning, a few days before the wedding, Sylvia, who had written
to ask Lady Roehampton for an interview, called by appointment in St.
James' Square. Sylvia was received by Lady Roehampton in her boudoir,
and the interview was long. Sylvia, who by nature was composed, and
still more so by art, was pale and nervous when she arrived, so much so
that her demeanour was noticed by the groom of the chambers; but when
she departed, her countenance was flushed and radiant, though it was
obvious that she had been shedding tears. On the morning of the wedding,
Lady Roehampton in her lord's brougham called for Endymion at the
Albany, and then they went together to the vestry of St. James' Church.
Lord Beaumaris and Mr. Waldershare had arrived. The bridegroom was a
little embarrassed when he was presented to Lady Roehampton. He had made
up his mind to be married, but not to be introduced to a stranger, and
particularly a lady; but Mr. Waldershare fluttered over them and put
all right. It was only the perplexity of a moment, for the rest of the
wedding party now appeared. Imogene, who was in a travelling dress, was
pale and serious, but transcendently beautiful. She attempted to touch
Lady Roehampton's hand with her lips when Myra welcomed her, but Lady
Roehampton would not permit this, and kissed her. Everybody was calm
during the ceremony except Endymion, who had been silent the whole
morning. He stood by the altar with that convulsion of the throat and
that sickness of the heart which accompany the sense of catastrophe.
He was relieved by some tears which he easily concealed. Nobody noticed
him, for all were thinking of themselves. After the ceremony, they all
returned to the vestry, and Lady Roehampton with the others signed the
registry. Lord and Lady Beaumaris instantly departed for the continent.

"A strange event!" exclaimed Lady Roehampton, as she threw herself back
in the brougham and took her brother's hand. "But not stranger than what
has happened to ourselves. Fortune seems to attend on our ruined home. I
thought the bride looked beautiful."

Endymion was silent.

"You are not gay this morning, my dear," said Lady Roehampton; "they say
that weddings are depressing. Now I am in rather high spirits. I am
very glad that Imogene has become Lady Beaumaris. She is beautiful, and
dangerously beautiful. Do you know, my Endymion, I have had some uneasy
moments about this young lady. Women are prescient in these matters, and
I have observed with anxiety that you admired her too much yourself."

"I am sure you had no reason, Myra," said Endymion, blushing deeply.

"Certainly not from what you said, my dear. It was from what you did
not say that I became alarmed. You seldom mentioned her name, and when
I referred to her, you always turned the conversation. However, that is
all over now. She is Countess of Beaumaris," added Myra, dwelling slowly
and with some unction on the title, "and may be a powerful friend to
you; and I am Countess of Roehampton, and am your friend, also not quite
devoid of power. And there are other countesses, I suspect, on whose
good wishes you may rely. If we cannot shape your destiny, there is no
such thing as witchcraft. No, Endymion, marriage is a mighty instrument
in your hands. It must not be lightly used. Come in and lunch; my lord
is at home, and I know he wants to see you."



CHAPTER LVIII

What was most remarkable, and most interesting, in the character of
Berengaria was her energy. She had the power of exciting others to
action in a degree rarely possessed. She had always some considerable
object in contemplation, occasionally more than one, and never foresaw
difficulties. Her character was, however, singularly feminine; she never
affected to be a superior woman. She never reasoned, did not read much,
though her literary taste was fine and fastidious. Though she required
constant admiration and consequently encouraged it, she was not a
heartless coquette. Her sensibility was too quick, and as the reign of
her favourites was sometimes brief, she was looked upon as capricious.
The truth is, what seemed whimsical in her affections was occasioned
by the subtlety of her taste, which was not always satisfied by the
increased experience of intimacy. Whenever she made a friend not
unworthy of her, she was constant and entirely devoted.

At present, Berengaria had two great objects; one was to sustain the
Whig government in its troubles, and the other was to accomplish an
unprecedented feat in modern manners, and that was no less than to hold
a tournament, a real tournament, in the autumn, at the famous castle of
her lord in the North of England.

The lord-lieutenant had not been in his county for two years; he had
even omitted to celebrate Christmas at his castle, which had shocked
everybody, for its revelry was looked upon almost as the tenure by which
the Montforts held their estates. His plea of ill health, industriously
circulated by all his agents, obtained neither sympathy nor credence.
His county was rather a weak point with Lord Montfort, for though he
could not bear his home, he was fond of power, and power depended on his
territorial influence. The representation of his county by his
family, and authority in the local parliamentary boroughs, were the
compensations held out to him for the abolition of his normal seats. His
wife dexterously availed herself of this state of affairs to obtain
his assent to her great project, which, it would appear, might not only
amuse him, but, in its unprecedented magnificence and novelty, must
sweep away all discontents, and gratify every class.

Lord Montfort had placed unlimited resources at the disposal of
Berengaria for the fulfilment of her purpose, and at times even showed
some not inconsiderable though fitful interest in her progress. He
turned over the drawings of the various costumes and armour with a
gracious smile, and, having picked up on such subjects a great deal of
knowledge, occasionally made suggestions which were useful and sometimes
embarrassing. The heralds were all called into council, and Garter
himself deigned to regulate the order of proceedings. Some of the finest
gentlemen in London, of both parties in the state, passed the greater
part of their spring mornings in jousting, and in practising all the
manoeuvres of the lists. Lady Montfort herself was to be the Queen of
the Tournament, and she had prevailed on Lady Roehampton to accept the
supreme office of Queen of Beauty.

It was the early part of May, and Zenobia held one of her great
assemblies. Being in high good humour, sanguine and prophetic of power,
she had asked all the great Whig ladies, and, the times being critical,
they had come. Berengaria seemed absorbed by the details of her
tournament. She met many of her knights, and she conferred with them
all; the Knight of the Bleeding Heart, the Knight of Roses, the Knight
of the Crystal Shield.

Endymion, who was not to be a knight, but a gentleman-at-arms in
attendance on the Queen of the Tournament, mentioned that Prince
Florestan much wished to be a jouster; he had heard this from the
Duke of St. Angelo, and Lady Montfort, though she did not immediately
sanction, did not absolutely refuse, the request.

Past midnight, there was a sudden stir in the saloons. The House of
Commons had broken up and many members were entering. There had been a
division on the Jamaica question, and the ministers had only a majority
of five. The leader of the House of Commons had intimated, not to say
announced, their consequent resignation.

"Have you heard what they say?" said Endymion anxiously to Lady
Montfort.

"Yes, I heard; but do not look so grave."

"Do I look grave?"

"As if it were the last day."

"I fear it is."

"I am not so sure. I doubt whether Sir Robert thinks it ripe enough;
and after all, we are not in a minority. I do not see why we should have
resigned. I wish I could see Lord Roehampton."

Affairs did not proceed so rapidly as the triumphant Zenobia expected.
They were out, no question about that; but it was not so certain who was
in. A day passed and another day, and even Zenobia, who knew everything
before anybody, remained in the dark. The suspense became protracted and
even more mysterious. Almost a week had elapsed; noble lords and right
honourable gentlemen were calling on Sir Robert every morning, according
to the newspapers, but no one could hear from any authority of any
appointments being really made. At last, there was a whisper very late
one night at Crockford's, which was always better informed on these
matters than the political clubs, and people looked amazed, and stared
incredulously in each other's face. But it was true; there was a hitch,
and in four-and-twenty hours the cause of the hitch was known. It seemed
that the ministry really had resigned, but Berengaria, Countess of
Montfort, had not followed their example.

What a dangerous woman! even wicked! Zenobia was for sending her to
the Tower at once. "It was clearly impossible," she declared, "for Sir
Robert to carry on affairs with such a Duchesse de Longueville always
at the ear of our young Queen, under the pretence forsooth of being the
friend of Her Majesty's youth."

This was the famous Bed-Chamber Plot, in which the Conservative leaders,
as is now generally admitted, were decidedly in error, and which
terminated in the return of the Whigs to office.

"But we must reconstruct," said Lady Montfort to the prime minister.
"Sidney Wilton must be Secretary of State. And you," she said to
Endymion, when she communicated to him the successful result of her
interference, "you will go with him. It is a great thing at your age to
be private secretary to a Secretary of State."



CHAPTER LIX

Montfort Castle was the stronghold of England against the Scotch
invader. It stood on a high and vast table-land, with the town of
Montfort on one side at its feet, and on the other a wide-spreading and
sylvan domain, herded with deer of various races, and terminating in
pine forests; beyond them moors and mountains. The donjon keep, tall and
grey, that had arrested the Douglas, still remained intact, and many
an ancient battlement; but the long list of the Lords of Montfort had
successively added to the great structure according to the genius of the
times, so that still with the external appearance generally of a
feudal castle, it combined in its various courts and quadrangle all the
splendour and convenience of a modern palace.

But though it had witnessed many scenes and sights, and as strange ones
as any old walls in this ancient land, it may be doubted whether the
keep of Montfort ever looked down on anything more rare than the life
that was gathering and disporting itself in its towers and halls, and
courts and parks, and forest chase, in the memorable autumn of this
year.

Berengaria had repaired to her castle full of triumph; her lord, in high
good humour, admiring his wife for her energy, yet with a playful malice
apparently enjoying the opportunity of showing that the chronology
of her arrangements was confused, and her costume incorrect. They had
good-naturedly taken Endymion down with them; for travelling to the
Border in those times was a serious affair for a clerk in a public
office. Day after day the other guests arrived; the rivals in the
tourney were among the earliest, for they had to make themselves
acquainted with the land which was to be the scene of their exploits.
There came the Knights of the Griffin, and the Dragon, and the Black
Lion and the Golden Lion, and the Dolphin and the Stag's Head, and they
were all always scrupulously addressed by their chivalric names, instead
of by the Tommys and the Jemmys that circulated in the affectionate
circle of White's, or the Gusseys and the Regys of Belgravian
tea-parties. After a time duly appeared the Knight of the White Rose,
whose armour shielded the princely form of Florestan; and this portion
of the company was complete when the Black Knight at length reached the
castle, who had been detained by his attendance on a conference at St.
James', in the character of the Count of Ferroll.

If anything could add to the delight and excitement of Berengaria, it
would seem to be the arrival of the Count of Ferroll.

Other guests gradually appeared, who were to sustain other characters in
the great pageant. There was the Judge of Peace, and the Knight Marshal
of the Lists, and the Jester, who was to ride on a caparisoned mule
trapped with bells, and himself bearing a sceptre. Mr. Sidney Wilton
came down, who had promised to be King of the Tournament; and, though
rather late, for my lord had been detained by the same cause as the
Count of Ferroll, at length arrived the Queen of Beauty herself.

If the performance, to which all contiguous Britain intended to
repair--for irrespective of the railroads, which now began sensibly
to affect the communications in the North of England, steamers were
chartering from every port for passengers to the Montfort tournament
within one hundred miles' distance--were equal to the preparation, the
affair must be a great success. The grounds round the castle seemed to
be filled every day with groups of busy persons in fanciful costume,
all practising their duties and rehearsing their parts; swordsmen and
bowmen, and seneschals and esquires, and grooms and pages, and heralds
in tabards, and pursuivants, and banner-bearers. The splendid pavilions
of the knights were now completed, and the gorgeous throne of the
Queen of Beauty, surrounded by crimson galleries, tier above tier, for
thousands of favoured guests, were receiving only their last stroke of
magnificence. The mornings passed in a feverish whirl of curiosity,
and preparation, and excitement, and some anxiety. Then succeeded the
banquet, where nearly one hundred guests were every day present; but the
company were so absorbed in the impending event that none expected
or required, in the evenings, any of the usual schemes or sources of
amusement that abound in country houses. Comments on the morning, and
plans for the morrow, engrossed all thought and conversation, and my
lord's band was just a due accompaniment that filled the pauses when
perplexities arrested talk, or deftly blended with some whispered phrase
almost as sweet or thrilling as the notes of the cornet-a-piston.

"I owe my knighthood to you," said Prince Florestan to Lady Roehampton,
"as I do everything in this country that is agreeable."

"You cannot be my knight," replied Lady Roehampton, "because I am told I
am the sovereign of all the chivalry, but you have my best wishes."

"All that I want in life," said the prince, "are your good wishes."

"I fear they are barren."

"No, they are inspiring," said the prince with unusual feeling. "You
brought me good fortune. From the moment I saw you, light fell upon my
life."

"Is not that an exaggerated phrase?" said Lady Roehampton with a smile,
"because I happened to get you a ticket for a masquerade."

"I was thinking of something else," said the prince pensively; "but life
is a masquerade; at least mine has been."

"I think yours, sir, is a most interesting life," said Lady Roehampton,
"and, were I you, I would not quarrel with my destiny."

"My destiny is not fulfilled," said the prince. "I have never quarrelled
with it, and am least disposed to do so at this moment."

"Mr. Sidney Wilton was speaking to me very much the other day about your
royal mother, sir, Queen Agrippina. She must have been fascinating."

"I like fascinating women," said the prince, "but they are rare."

"Perhaps it is better it should be so," said Lady Roehampton, "for they
are apt--are they not?--to disturb the world."

"I confess I like to be bewitched," said the prince, "and I do not care
how much the world is disturbed."

"But is not the world very well as it is?" said Lady Roehampton. "Why
should we not be happy and enjoy it?"

"I do enjoy it," replied Prince Florestan, "especially at Montfort
Castle; I suppose there is something in the air that agrees with one.
But enjoyment of the present is consistent with objects for the future."

"Ah! now you are thinking of your great affairs--of your kingdom. My
woman's brain is not equal to that."

"I think your brain is quite equal to kingdoms," said the prince, with
a serious expression, and speaking in even a lower voice, "but I was not
thinking of my kingdom. I leave that to fate; I believe it is destined
to be mine, and therefore occasions me thought but not anxiety. I was
thinking of something else than kingdoms, and of which unhappily I am
not so certain--of which I am most uncertain--of which I fear I have no
chance--and yet which is dearer to me than even my crown."

"What can that be?" said Lady Roehampton, with unaffected wonderment.

"'Tis a secret of chivalry," said Prince Florestan, "and I must never
disclose it."

"It is a wonderful scene," said Adriana Neuchatel to Endymion, who had
been for some time conversing with her. "I had no idea that I should
be so much amused by anything in society. But then, it is so unlike
anything one has ever seen."

Mrs. Neuchatel had not accompanied her husband and her daughter to the
Montfort Tournament. Mr. Neuchatel required a long holiday, and after
the tournament he was to take Adriana to Scotland. Mrs. Neuchatel shut
herself up at Hainault, which it seemed she had never enjoyed before.
She could hardly believe it was the same place, freed from its daily
invasions by the House of Commons and the Stock Exchange. She had never
lived so long without seeing an ambassador or a cabinet minister, and it
as quite a relief. She wandered in the gardens, and drove her pony-chair
in forest glades. She missed Adriana very much, and for a few days
always expected her to enter the room when the door opened; and then
she sighed, and then she flew to her easel, or buried herself in some
sublime cantata of her favourite master, Beethoven. Then came the most
wonderful performance of the whole day, and that was the letter, never
missed, to Adriana. Considering that she lived in solitude, and in
a spot with which her daughter was quite familiar, it was really
marvellous that the mother should every day be able to fill so many
interesting and impassioned pages. But Mrs. Neuchatel was a fine
penwoman; her feelings were her facts, and her ingenious observations
of art and nature were her news. After the first fever of separation,
reading was always a resource to her, for she was a great student. She
was surrounded by all the literary journals and choice publications of
Europe, and there scarcely was a branch of science and learning with
which she was not sufficiently familiar to be able to comprehend the
stir and progress of the European mind. Mrs. Neuchatel had contrived
to get rid of the chief cook by sending him on a visit to Paris, so
she could, without cavil, dine off a cutlet and seltzer-water in her
boudoir. Sometimes, not merely for distraction, but more from a sense of
duty, she gave festivals to her schools; and when she had lived like a
princely prisoner of state alone for a month, or rather like one on a
desert isle who sighs to see a sail, she would ask a great geologist and
his wife to pay her a visit, or some professor, who, though himself
not worth a shilling, had some new plans, which really sounded quite
practical, for the more equal distribution of wealth.

"And who is your knight?" said Endymion.

Adriana looked distressed.

"I mean, whom do you wish to win?"

"Oh, I should like them all to win!"

"That is good-natured, but then there would be no distinction. I know
who is going to wear your colours--the Knight of the Dolphin."

"I hope nothing of that kind will happen," said Adriana, agitated. "I
know that some of the knights are going to wear ladies' colours, but I
trust no one will think of wearing mine. I know the Black Knight wears
Lady Montfort's."

"He cannot," said Endymion hastily. "She is first lady to the Queen of
Beauty; no knight can wear the colours of the Queen. I asked Sir Morte
d'Arthur himself, and he told me there was no doubt about it, and that
he had consulted Garter before he came down."

"Well, all I know is that the Count of Ferroll told me so," said
Adriana; "I sate next to him at dinner."

"He shall not wear her colours," said Endymion quite angrily. "I will
speak to the King of the Tournament about it directly."

"Why, what does it signify?" said Adriana.

"You thought it signified when I told you Regy Sutton was going to wear
your colours."

"Ah! that is quite a different business," said Adriana, with a sigh.

Reginald Sutton was a professed admirer of Adriana, rode with her
whenever he could, and danced with her immensely. She gave him cold
encouragement, though he was the best-looking and best-dressed youth
in England; but he was a determined young hero, not gifted with too
sensitive nerves, and was a votary of the great theory that all in life
was an affair of will, and that endowed with sufficient energy he might
marry whom he liked. He accounted for his slow advance in London by the
inimical presence of Mrs. Neuchatel, who he felt, or fancied, did not
sympathise with him; while, on the contrary, he got on very well with
the father, and so he was determined to seize the present opportunity.
The mother was absent, and he himself in a commanding position, being
one of the knights to whose exploits the eyes of all England were
attracted.

Lord Roehampton was seated between an ambassadress and Berengaria,
indulging in gentle and sweet-voiced raillery; the Count of Ferroll was
standing beside Lady Montfort, and Mr. Wilton was opposite to the group.
The Count of Ferroll rarely spoke, but listened to Lady Montfort with
what she called one of his dark smiles.

"All I know is, she will never pardon you for not asking her," said Lord
Roehampton. "I saw Bicester the day I left town, and he was very
grumpy. He said that Lady Bicester was the only person who understood
tournaments. She had studied the subject."

"I suppose she wanted to be the Queen of Beauty," said Berengaria.

"You are too severe, my dear lady. I think she would have been contented
with a knight wearing her colours."

"Well, I cannot help it," said Berengaria, but somewhat doubtingly. And
then, after a moment's pause, "She is too ugly."

"Why, she came to my fancy ball, and it is not five years ago, as Mary
Queen of Scots!"

"That must have been after the Queen's decapitation," said Berengaria.

"I wonder you did not ask Zenobia," said Mr. Wilton.

"Of course I asked her, but I knew she would not come. She is in one
of her hatreds now. She said she would have come, only she had
half-promised to give a ball to the tenants at Merrington about that
time, and she did not like to disappoint them. Quite touching, was it
not?"

"A touch beyond the reach of art," said Mr. Wilton; "almost worthy of
yourself, Lady Montfort."

"And what do you think of all this?" asked Lord Montfort of Nigel
Penruddock, who, in a cassock that swept the ground, had been stalking
about the glittering salons like a prophet who had been ordained in
Mayfair, but who had now seated himself by his host.

"I am thinking of what is beneath all this," replied Nigel. "A great
revivication. Chivalry is the child of the Church; it is the distinctive
feature of Christian Europe. Had it not been for the revival of Church
principles, this glorious pageant would never have occurred. But it is
a pageant only to the uninitiated. There is not a ceremony, a form,
a phrase, a costume, which is not symbolic of a great truth or a high
purpose."

"I do not think Lady Montfort is aware of all this," said her lord.

"Oh yes!" said Nigel. "Lady Montfort is a great woman--a woman who could
inspire crusades and create churches. She might, and she will, I trust,
rank with the Helenas and the Matildas."

Lord Montfort gave a little sound, but so gentle that it was heard
probably but by himself, which in common language would be styled a
whistle--an articulate modulation of the breath which in this instance
expressed a sly sentiment of humorous amazement.

"Well, Mr. Ferrars," said Mr. Neuchatel, with a laughing eye, to that
young gentleman, as he encountered Endymion passing by, "and how are you
getting on? Are we to see you to-morrow in a Milanese suit?"

"I am only a page," said Endymion.

"Well, well, the old Italian saying is, 'A page beats a knight,' at
least with the ladies."

"Do you not think it very absurd," said Endymion, "that the Count of
Ferroll says he shall wear Lady Montfort's colours? Lady Montfort is
only the first lady of the Queen of Beauty, and she can wear no colours
except the Queen's. Do not you think somebody ought to interfere?"

"Hem! The Count of Ferroll is a man who seldom makes a mistake," said
Mr. Neuchatel.

"So everybody says," said Endymion rather testily; "but I do not see
that."

"Now, you are a very young man," said Mr. Neuchatel, "and I hope you
will some day be a statesman. I do not see why you should not, if you
are industrious and stick to your master, for Mr. Sidney Wilton is a man
who will always rise; but, if I were you, I would keep my eyes very much
on the Count of Ferroll, for, depend on it, he is one of those men who
sooner or later will make a noise in the world."

Adriana came up at this moment, leaning on the arm of the Knight of
the Dolphin, better known as Regy Sutton. They came from the tea-room.
Endymion moved away with a cloud on his brow, murmuring to himself, "I
am quite sick of the name of the Count of Ferroll."

The jousting-ground was about a mile from the castle, and though it was
nearly encircled by vast and lofty galleries, it was impossible that
accommodation could be afforded on this spot to the thousands who had
repaired from many parts of the kingdom to the Montfort Tournament. But
even a hundred thousand people could witness the procession from the
castle to the scene of action. That was superb. The sun shone, and not
one of the breathless multitude was disappointed.

There came a long line of men-at-arms and musicians and trumpeters and
banner-bearers of the Lord of the Tournament, and heralds in tabards,
and pursuivants, and then the Herald of the Tournament by himself, whom
the people at first mistook for the Lord Mayor.

Then came the Knight Marshal on a caparisoned steed, himself in a
suit of gilt armour, and in a richly embroidered surcoat. A band of
halberdiers preceded the King of the Tournament, also on a steed richly
caparisoned, and himself clad in robes of velvet and ermine, and wearing
a golden crown.

Then on a barded Arab, herself dressed in cloth of gold, parti-coloured
with violet and crimson, came, amidst tremendous cheering, the Queen of
Beauty herself. Twelve attendants bore aloft a silken canopy, which did
not conceal from the enraptured multitude the lustre of her matchless
loveliness. Lady Montfort, Adriana, and four other attendant ladies,
followed her majesty, two by two, each in gorgeous attire, and on a
charger that vied in splendour with its mistress. Six pages followed
next, in violet and silver.

The bells of a barded mule announced the Jester, who waved his sceptre
with unceasing authority, and pelted the people with admirably prepared
impromptus. Some in the crowd tried to enter into a competition of
banter, but they were always vanquished.

Soon a large army of men-at-arms and the sounds of most triumphant music
stopped the general laughter, and all became again hushed in curious
suspense. The tallest and the stoutest of the Border men bore the
gonfalon of the Lord of the Tournament. That should have been Lord
Montfort himself; but he had deputed the office to his cousin and
presumptive heir. Lord Montfort was well represented, and the people
cheered his cousin Odo heartily, as in his suit of golden armour richly
chased, and bending on his steed, caparisoned in blue and gold, he
acknowledged their fealty with a proud reverence.

The other knights followed in order, all attended by their esquires and
their grooms. Each knight was greatly applauded, and it was really a
grand sight to see them on their barded chargers and in their panoply;
some in suits of engraved Milanese armour, some in German suits of
fluted polished steel; some in steel armour engraved and inlaid with
gold. The Black Knight was much cheered, but no one commanded more
admiration than Prince Florestan, in a suit of blue damascened armour,
and inlaid with silver roses.


Every procession must end. It is a pity, for there is nothing so popular
with mankind. The splendid part of the pageant had passed, but still
the people gazed and looked as if they would have gazed for ever. The
visitors at the castle, all in ancient costume, attracted much notice.
Companies of swordsmen and bowmen followed, till at last the seneschal
of the castle, with his chamberlains and servitors, closed the
spell-bound scene.



CHAPTER LX

The jousting was very successful; though some were necessarily
discomfited, almost every one contrived to obtain some distinction. But
the two knights who excelled and vanquished every one except themselves
were the Black Knight and the Knight of the White Rose. Their exploits
were equal at the close of the first day, and on the second they were to
contend for the principal prize of the tournament, for which none else
were entitled to be competitors. This was a golden helm, to be placed
upon the victor's brow by the Queen of Beauty.

There was both a banquet and a ball on this day, and the excitement
between the adventures of the morning and the prospects of the morrow
was great. The knights, freed from their armour, appeared in fanciful
dresses of many-coloured velvets. All who had taken part in the pageant
retained their costumes, and the ordinary guests, if they yielded to
mediaeval splendour, successfully asserted the taste of Paris and its
sparkling grace, in their exquisite robes, and wreaths and garlands of
fantastic loveliness.

Berengaria, full of the inspiration of success, received the smiling
congratulations of everybody, and repaid them with happy suggestions,
which she poured forth with inexhaustible yet graceful energy. The only
person who had a gloomy air was Endymion. She rallied him. "I shall call
you the Knight of the Woeful Countenance if you approach me with such a
visage. What can be the matter with you?"

"Nothing," repeated Endymion, looking rather away.

The Knight of the Dolphin came up and said, "This is a critical affair
to-morrow, my dear Lady Montfort. If the Count Ferroll is discomfited by
the prince, it may be a _casus belli_. You ought to get Lord Roehampton
to interfere and prevent the encounter."

"The Count of Ferroll will not be discomfited," said Lady Montfort. "He
is one of those men who never fail."

"Well, I do not know," said the Knight of the Dolphin musingly. "The
prince has a stout lance, and I have felt it."

"He had the best of it this morning," said Endymion rather bitterly.
"Every one thought so, and that it was very fortunate for the Count of
Ferroll that the heralds closed the lists."

"It might have been fortunate for others," rejoined Lady Montfort.
"What is the general opinion?" she added, addressing the Knight of
the Dolphin. "Do not go away, Mr. Ferrars. I want to give you some
directions about to-morrow."

"I do not think I shall be at the place to-morrow," muttered Endymion.

"What!" exclaimed Berengaria; but at this moment Mr. Sidney Wilton came
up and said, "I have been looking at the golden helm. It is entrusted
to my care as King of the Tournament. It is really so beautiful, that I
think I shall usurp it."

"You will have to settle that with the Count of Ferroll," said
Berengaria.

"The betting is about equal," said the Knight of the Dolphin.

"Well, we must have some gloves upon it," said Berengaria.

Endymion walked away.

He walked away, and the first persons that met his eye were the prince
and the Count of Ferroll in conversation. It was sickening. They seemed
quite gay, and occasionally examined together a paper which the prince
held in his hand, and which was an official report by the heralds of the
day's jousting. This friendly conversation might apparently have gone on
for ever had not the music ceased and the count been obliged to seek his
partner for the coming dance.

"I wonder you can speak to him," said Endymion, going up to the prince.
"If the heralds had not--many think, too hastily--closed the lists this
morning, you would have been the victor of the day."

"My dear child! what can you mean?" said the prince. "I believe
everything was closed quite properly, and as for myself, I am entirely
satisfied with my share of the day's success."

"If you had thrown him," said Endymion, "he could not with decency have
contended for the golden helm."

"Oh! that is what you deplore," said the prince. "The Count of Ferroll
and I shall have to contend for many things more precious than golden
helms before we die."

"I believe he is a very overrated man," said Endymion.

"Why?" said the prince.

"I detest him," said Endymion.

"That is certainly a reason why _you_ should not overrate him," said the
prince.

"There seems a general conspiracy to run him up," said Endymion with
pique.

"The Count of Ferroll is the man of the future," said the prince calmly.

"That is what Mr. Neuchatel said to me yesterday. I suppose he caught it
from you."

"It is an advantage, a great advantage, for me to observe the Count of
Ferroll in this intimate society," said the prince, speaking slowly,
"perhaps even to fathom him. But I am not come to that yet. He is a man
neither to love nor to detest. He has himself an intelligence superior
to all passion, I might say all feeling; and if, in dealing with such a
being, we ourselves have either, we give him an advantage."

"Well, all the same, I hope you will win the golden helm to-morrow,"
said Endymion, looking a little perplexed.

"The golden casque that I am ordained to win," said the prince, "is not
at Montfort Castle. This, after all, is but Mambrino's helmet."

A knot of young dandies were discussing the chances of the morrow as
Endymion was passing by, and as he knew most of them he joined the
group.

"I hope to heaven," said one, "that the Count of Ferroll will beat that
foreign chap to-morrow; I hate foreigners."

"So do I," said a second, and there was a general murmur of assent.

"The Count of Ferroll is as much a foreigner as the prince," said
Endymion rather sharply.

"Oh! I don't call him a foreigner at all," said the first speaker. "He
is a great favourite at White's; no one rides cross country like him,
and he is a deuced fine shot in the bargain."

"I will back Prince Florestan against him either in field or cover,"
said Endymion.

"Well, I don't know your friend," said the young gentleman
contemptuously, "so I cannot bet."

"I am sure your friend, Lady Montfort, my dear Dymy, will back the Count
of Ferroll," lisped a third young gentleman.

This completed the programme of mortification, and Endymion, hot and
then cold, and then both at the same time, bereft of repartee, and
wishing the earth would open and Montfort Castle disappear in its
convulsed bosom, stole silently away as soon as practicable, and
wandered as far as possible from the music and the bursts of revelry.

These conversations had taken place in the chief saloon, which was
contiguous to the ball-room, and which was nearly as full of
guests. Endymion, moving in the opposite direction, entered another
drawing-room, where the population was sparse. It consisted of couples
apparently deeply interested in each other. Some faces were radiant,
and some pensive and a little agitated, but they all agreed in one
expression, that they took no interest whatever in the solitary
Endymion. Even their whispered words were hushed as he passed by, and
they seemed, with their stony, unsympathising glance, to look upon him
as upon some inferior being who had intruded into their paradise. In
short, Endymion felt all that embarrassment, mingled with a certain
portion of self contempt, which attends the conviction that we are what
is delicately called _de trop_.

He advanced and took refuge in another room, where there was only
a single, and still more engrossed pair; but this was even more
intolerable to him. Shrinking from a return to the hostile chamber he
had just left, he made a frantic rush forward with affected ease and
alacrity, and found himself alone in the favourite morning room of Lady
Montfort.

He threw himself on a sofa, and hid his face in his hand, and gave a
sigh, which was almost a groan. He was sick at heart; his extremities
were cold, his brain was feeble. All hope, and truly all thought of
the future, deserted him. He remembered only the sorrowful, or the
humiliating, chapters in his life. He wished he had never left Hurstley.
He wished he had been apprenticed to Farmer Thornberry, that he had
never quitted his desk at Somerset House, and never known more of life
than Joe's and the Divan. All was vanity and vexation of spirit. He
contemplated finishing his days in the neighbouring stream, in which,
but a few days ago, he was bathing in health and joy.

Time flew on; he was unconscious of its course; no one entered the room,
and he wished never to see a human face again, when a voice sounded, and
he heard his name.

"Endymion!"

He looked up; it was Lady Montfort. He did not speak, but gave her,
perhaps unconsciously, a glance of reproach and despair.

"What is the matter with you?" she said.

"Nothing."

"That is nonsense. Something must have happened. I have missed you so
long, but was determined to find you. Have you a headache?"

"No."

"Come back; come back with me. It is so odd. My lord has asked for you
twice."

"I want to see no one."

"Oh! but this is absurd--and on a day like this, when every thing has
been so successful, and every one is so happy."

"I am not happy, and I am not successful."

"You perfectly astonish me," said Lady Montfort; "I shall begin to
believe that you have not so sweet a temper as I always supposed."

"It matters not what my temper is."

"I think it matters a great deal. I like, above all things, to live with
good-tempered people."

"I hope you may not be disappointed. My temper is my own affair, and I
am content always to be alone."

"Why! you are talking nonsense, Endymion."

"Probably; I do not pretend to be gifted. I am not one of those
gentlemen who cannot fail. I am not the man of the future."

"Well! I never was so surprised in my life," exclaimed Lady Montfort. "I
never will pretend to form an opinion of human character again. Now, my
dear Endymion, rouse yourself, and come back with me. Give me your arm.
I cannot stay another moment; I dare say I have already been wanted a
thousand times."

"I cannot go back," said Endymion; "I never wish to see anybody again.
If you want an arm, there is the Count of Ferroll, and I hope you may
find he has a sweeter temper than I have."

Lady Montfort looked at him with a strange and startled glance. It was
a mixture of surprise, a little disdain, some affection blended with
mockery. And then exclaiming "Silly boy!" she swept out of the room.



CHAPTER LXI

"I do not like the prospect of affairs," said Mr. Sidney Wilton to
Endymion as they were posting up to London from Montfort Castle; a long
journey, but softened in those days by many luxuries, and they had much
to talk about.

"The decline of the revenue is not fitful; it is regular. Our people are
too apt to look at the state of the revenue merely in a financial point
of view. If a surplus, take off taxes; if a deficiency, put them on. But
the state of the revenue should also be considered as the index of the
condition of the population. According to my impression, the condition
of the people is declining; and why? because they are less employed.
If this spreads, they will become discontented and disaffected, and
I cannot help remembering that, if they become troublesome, it is our
office that will have to deal with them."

"This bad harvest is a great misfortune," said Endymion.

"Yes, but a bad harvest, though unquestionably a great, perhaps the
greatest, misfortune for this country, is not the entire solution of
our difficulties--I would say, our coming difficulties. A bad harvest
touches the whole of our commercial system: it brings us face to
face with the corn laws. I wish our chief would give his mind to that
subject. I believe a moderate fixed duty of about twelve shillings
a quarter would satisfy every one, and nothing then could shake this
country."

Endymion listened with interest to other views of his master, who
descanted on them at much length. Private secretaries know everything
about their chiefs, and Endymion was not ignorant that among many of the
great houses of the Whig party, and indeed among the bulk of what was
called "the Liberal" party generally, Mr. Sidney Wilton was looked upon,
so far as economical questions were concerned, as very crotchety,
indeed a dangerous character. Lord Montfort was the only magnate who was
entirely opposed to the corn laws, but then, as Berengaria would remark,
"Simon is against all laws; he is not a practical man."

Mr. Sidney Wilton reverted to these views more than once in the course
of their journey. "I was not alarmed about the Chartists last year.
Political trouble in this country never frightens me. Insurrections and
riots strengthen an English government; they gave a new lease even to
Lord Liverpool when his ministry was most feeble and unpopular; but
economical discontent is quite another thing. The moment sedition arises
from taxation, or want of employment, it is more dangerous and more
difficult to deal with in this country than any other."

"Lord Roehampton seemed to take rather a sanguine view of the situation
after the Bed-Chamber business in the spring," observed Endymion, rather
in an inquiring than a dogmatic spirit.

"Lord Roehampton has other things to think of," said Mr. Wilton. "He is
absorbed, and naturally absorbed, in his department, the most important
in the state, and of which he is master. But I am obliged to look
at affairs nearer home. Now, this Anti-Corn-Law League, which they
established last year at Manchester, and which begins to be very busy,
though nobody at present talks of it, is, in my mind, a movement which
ought to be watched. I tell you what; it occurred to me more than once
during that wondrous pageant, that we have just now been taking part in,
the government wants better information than they have as to the state
of the country, the real feelings and condition of the bulk of the
population. We used to sneer at the Tories for their ignorance of these
matters, but after all, we, like them, are mainly dependent on quarter
sessions; on the judgment of a lord-lieutenant and the statistics of a
bench of magistrates. It is true we have introduced into our subordinate
administration at Whitehall some persons who have obtained the
reputation of distinguished economists, and we allow them to guide us.
But though ingenious men, no doubt, they are chiefly bankrupt tradesmen,
who, not having been able to manage their own affairs, have taken upon
themselves to advise on the conduct of the country--pedants and prigs at
the best, and sometimes impostors. No; this won't do. It is useless to
speak to the chief; I did about the Anti-Corn-Law League; he shrugged
his shoulders and said it was a madness that would pass. I have made
up my mind to send somebody, quite privately, to the great scenes of
national labour. He must be somebody whom nobody knows, and nobody
suspects of being connected with the administration, or we shall never
get the truth--and the person I have fixed upon is yourself."

"But am I equal to such a task?" said Endymion modestly, but sincerely.

"I think so," said Mr. Wilton, "or, of course, I would not have fixed
upon you. I want a fresh and virgin intelligence to observe and consider
the country. It must be a mind free from prejudice, yet fairly informed
on the great questions involved in the wealth of nations. I know you
have read Adam Smith, and not lightly. Well, he is the best guide,
though of course we must adapt his principles to the circumstances with
which we have to deal. You have good judgment, great industry, a fairly
quick perception, little passion--perhaps hardly enough; but that is
probably the consequence of the sorrows and troubles of early life. But,
after all, there is no education like adversity."

"If it will only cease at the right time," said Endymion.

"Well, in that respect, I do not think you have anything to complain
of," said Mr. Wilton. "The world is all before you, and I mistake if you
do not rise. Perseverance and tact are the two qualities most valuable
for all men who would mount, but especially for those who have to step
out of the crowd. I am sure no one can say you are not assiduous, but I
am glad always to observe that you have tact. Without tact you can learn
nothing. Tact teaches you when to be silent. Inquirers who are always
inquiring never learn anything."



CHAPTER LXII

Lancashire was not so wonderful a place forty years ago as it is at
present, but, compared then with the rest of England, it was infinitely
more striking. For a youth like Endymion, born and bred in our southern
counties, the Berkshire downs varied by the bustle of Pall-Mall and the
Strand--Lancashire, with its teeming and toiling cities, its colossal
manufactories and its gigantic chimneys, its roaring engines and its
flaming furnaces, its tramroads and its railroads, its coal and its
cotton, offered a far greater contrast to the scenes in which he had
hitherto lived, than could be furnished by almost any country of the
European continent.

Endymion felt it was rather a crisis in his life, and that his future
might much depend on the fulfilment of the confidential office which
had been entrusted to him by his chief. He summoned all his energies,
concentrated his intelligence on the one subject, and devoted to its
study and comprehension every moment of his thought and time. After a
while, he had made Manchester his head-quarters. It was even then the
centre of a network of railways, and gave him an easy command of the
contiguous districts.

Endymion had more than once inquired after the Anti-Corn-Law League,
but had not as yet been so fortunate as to attend any of their meetings.
They were rarer than they afterwards soon became, and the great
manufacturers did not encourage them. "I do not like extreme views,"
said one of the most eminent one day to Endymion. "In my opinion, we
should always avoid extremes;" and he paused and looked around, as if
he had enunciated a heaven-born truth, and for the first time. "I am a
Liberal; so we all are here. I supported Lord Grey, and I support Lord
Melbourne, and I am, in everything, for a liberal policy. I don't like
extremes. A wise minister should take off the duty on cotton wool. That
is what the country really wants, and then everybody would be satisfied.
No; I know nothing about this League you ask about, and I do not know
any one--that is to say, any one respectable--who does. They came to me
to lend my name. 'No,' I said, 'gentlemen; I feel much honoured, but I
do not like extremes;' and they went away. They are making a little more
noise now, because they have got a man who has the gift of the gab, and
the people like to go and hear him speak. But as I said to a friend of
mine, who seemed half inclined to join them, 'Well; if I did anything of
that sort, I would be led by a Lancashire lad. They have got a foreigner
to lead them, a fellow out of Berkshire; an agitator--and only a
print-work after all. No; that will never do.'"

Notwithstanding these views, which Endymion found very generally
entertained by the new world in which he mixed, he resolved to take the
earliest opportunity of attending the meeting of the League, and it soon
arrived.

It was an evening meeting, so that workmen--or the operatives, as they
were styled in this part of the kingdom--should be able to attend. The
assembly took place in a large but temporary building; very well adapted
to the human voice, and able to contain even thousands. It was fairly
full to-night; and the platform, on which those who took a part in the
proceedings, or who, by their comparatively influential presence, it was
supposed, might assist the cause, was almost crowded.

"He is going to speak to-night," said an operative to Endymion. "That is
why there is such an attendance."

Remembering Mr. Wilton's hint about not asking unnecessary questions
which often arrest information, Endymion did not inquire who "he" was;
and to promote communication merely observed, "A fine speaker, then, I
conclude?"

"Well, he is in a way," said the operative. "He has not got
Hollaballoo's voice, but he knows what he is talking about. I doubt
their getting what they are after; they have not the working classes
with them. If they went against truck, it would be something."

The chairman opened the proceedings; but was coldly received, though he
spoke sensibly and at some length. He then introduced a gentleman, who
was absolutely an alderman, to move a resolution condemnatory of the
corn laws. The august position of the speaker atoned for his halting
rhetoric, and a city which had only just for the first time been
invested with municipal privileges was hushed before a man who might in
time even become a mayor.

Then the seconder advanced, and there was a general burst of applause.

"There he is," said the operative to Endymion; "you see they like him.
Oh, Job knows how to do it!"

Endymion listened with interest, soon with delight, soon with a feeling
of exciting and not unpleasing perplexity, to the orator; for he was an
orator, though then unrecognised, and known only in his district. He was
a pale and slender man, with a fine brow and an eye that occasionally
flashed with the fire of a creative mind. His voice certainly was not
like Hollaballoo's. It was rather thin, but singularly clear. There was
nothing clearer except his meaning. Endymion never heard a case stated
with such pellucid art; facts marshalled with such vivid simplicity,
and inferences so natural and spontaneous and irresistible, that they
seemed, as it were, borrowed from his audience, though none of that
audience had arrived at them before. The meeting was hushed, was rapt in
intellectual delight, for they did not give the speaker the enthusiasm
of their sympathy. That was not shared, perhaps, by the moiety of those
who listened to him. When his case was fairly before them, the speaker
dealt with his opponents--some in the press, some in parliament--with
much power of sarcasm, but this power was evidently rather repressed
than allowed to run riot. What impressed Endymion as the chief quality
of this remarkable speaker was his persuasiveness, and he had the air
of being too prudent to offend even an opponent unnecessarily. His
language, though natural and easy, was choice and refined. He was
evidently a man who had read, and not a little; and there was no taint
of vulgarity, scarcely a provincialism, in his pronunciation.

He spoke for rather more than an hour; and frequently during this time,
Endymion, notwithstanding his keen interest in what was taking place,
was troubled, it might be disturbed, by pictures and memories of
the past that he endeavoured in vain to drive away. When the orator
concluded, amid cheering much louder than that which had first greeted
him, Endymion, in a rather agitated voice, whispered to his neighbour,
"Tell me--is his name Thornberry?"

"That is your time of day," said the operative. "Job Thornberry is his
name, and I am on his works."

"And yet you do not agree with him?"

"Well; I go as far as he goes, but he does not go so far as I go; that's
it."

"I do not see how a man can go much farther," said Endymion. "Where are
his works? I knew your master when he was in the south of England, and I
should like to call on him."

"My employer," said the operative. "They call themselves masters, but we
do not. I will tell you. His works are a mile out of town; but it seems
only a step, for there are houses all the way. Job Thornberry & Co.'s
Print-works, Pendleton Road--any one can guide you--and when you get
there, you can ask for me, if you like. I am his overlooker, and my name
is ENOCH CRAGGS."



CHAPTER LXIII

"You are not much altered," said Thornberry, as he retained Endymion's
hand, and he looked at him earnestly; "and yet you have become a man.
I suppose I am ten years your senior. I have never been back to the old
place, and yet I sometimes think I should like to be buried there. The
old man has been here, and more than once, and liked it well enough; at
least, I hope so. He told me a good deal about you all; some sorrows,
and, I hope, some joys. I heard of Miss Myra's marriage; she was a sweet
young lady; the gravest person I ever knew; I never knew her smile. I
remember they thought her proud, but I always had a fancy for her.
Well; she has married a topsawyer--I believe the ablest of them all, and
probably the most unprincipled; though I ought not to say that to you.
However, public men are spoken freely of. I wish to Heaven you would get
him to leave off tinkering those commercial treaties that he is always
making such a fuss about. More pernicious nonsense was never devised
by man than treaties of commerce. However, their precious most favoured
nation clause will break down the whole concern yet. But you wish to see
the works; I will show them to you myself. There is not much going on
now, and the stagnation increases daily. And then, if you are willing,
we will go home and have a bit of lunch--I live hard by. My best works
are my wife and children: I have made that joke before, as you can well
fancy."

This was the greeting, sincere but not unkind, of Job Thornberry to
Endymion on the day after the meeting of the Anti-Corn-Law League. To
Endymion it was an interesting, and, as he believed it would prove, a
useful encounter.

The print-works were among the most considerable of their kind at
Manchester, but they were working now with reduced numbers and at
half-time. It was the energy and the taste and invention of Thornberry
that had given them their reputation, and secured them extensive
markets. He had worked with borrowed capital, but had paid off his debt,
and his establishment was now his own; but, stimulated by his success,
he had made a consignment of large amount to the United States, where it
arrived only to be welcomed by what was called the American crash.

Turning from the high road, a walk of half a mile brought them to a
little world of villas; varying in style and size, but all pretty, and
each in its garden. "And this is my home," said Thornberry, opening the
wicket, "and here is my mistress and the young folks"--pointing to
a pretty woman, but with an expression of no inconsiderable
self-confidence, and with several children clinging to her dress and
hiding their faces at the unexpected sight of a stranger. "My eldest is
a boy, but he is at school," said Thornberry. "I have named him, after
one of the greatest men that ever lived, John Hampden."

"He was a landed proprietor," observed Endymion rather drily; "and a
considerable one."

"I have brought an old friend to take cheer with us," continued
Thornberry; "one whom I knew before any here present; so show your
faces, little people;" and he caught up one of the children, a fair
child like its mother, long-haired and blushing like a Worcestershire
orchard before harvest time. "Tell the gentleman what you are."

"A free-trader," murmured the infant.

Within the house were several shelves of books well selected, and the
walls were adorned with capital prints of famous works of art. "They
are chiefly what are called books of reference," said Thornberry, as
Endymion was noticing his volumes; "but I have not much room, and, to
tell you the truth, they are not merely books of reference to me--I like
reading encyclopaedia. The 'Dictionary of Dates' is a favourite book of
mine. The mind sometimes wants tone, and then I read Milton. He is the
only poet I read--he is complete, and is enough. I have got his prose
works too. Milton was the greatest of Englishmen."

The repast was simple, but plenteous, and nothing could be neater than
the manner in which it was served.

"We are teetotallers," said Thornberry; "but we can give you a good cup
of coffee."

"I am a teetotaller too at this time of the day," said Endymion; "but
a good cup of coffee is, they say, the most delicious and the rarest
beverage in the world."

"Well," continued Thornberry; "it is a long time since we met, Mr.
Ferrars--ten years. I used to think that in ten years one might do
anything; and a year ago, I really thought I had done it; but the
accursed laws of this blessed country, as it calls itself, have nearly
broken me, as they have broken many a better man before me."

"I am sorry to hear this," said Endymion; "I trust it is but a passing
cloud."

"It is not a cloud," said Thornberry; "it is a storm, a tempest, a
wreck--but not only for me. Your great relative, my Lord Roehampton,
must look to it, I can tell you that. What is happening in this country,
and is about to happen, will not be cured or averted by commercial
treaties--mark my words."

"But what would cure it?" said Endymion.

"There is only one thing that can cure this country, and it will soon be
too late for that. We must have free exchange."

"Free exchange!" murmured Endymion thoughtfully.

"Why, look at this," said Thornberry. "I had been driving a capital
trade with the States for nearly five years. I began with nothing, as
you know. I had paid off all my borrowed capital; my works were my own,
and this house is a freehold. A year ago I sent to my correspondent at
New York the largest consignment of goods I had ever made and the best,
and I cannot get the slightest return for them. My correspondent writes
to me that there is no end of corn and bread-stuffs which he could send,
if we could only receive them; but he knows very well he might as well
try and send them to the moon. The people here are starving and want
these bread-stuffs, and they are ready to pay for them by the products
of their labour--and your blessed laws prevent them!"

"But these laws did not prevent your carrying on a thriving trade with
America for five years, according to your own account," said Endymion.
"I do not question what you say; I am asking only for information."

"What you say is fairly said, and it has been said before," replied
Thornberry; "but there is nothing in it. We had a trade, and a thriving
trade, with the States; though, to be sure, it was always fitful and
ought to have been ten times as much, even during those five years. But
the fact is, the state of affairs in America was then exceptional. They
were embarked in great public works in which every one was investing his
capital; shares and stocks abounded, and they paid us for our goods with
them."

"Then it would rather seem that they have no capital now to spare to
purchase our goods?"

"Not so," said Thornberry sharply, "as I have shown; but were it so,
it does not affect my principle. If there were free exchange, we should
find employment and compensation in other countries, even if the States
were logged, which I don't believe thirty millions of people with
boundless territory ever can be."

"But after all," said Endymion, "America is as little in favour of free
exchange as we are. She may send us her bread-stuffs; but her laws will
not admit our goods, except on the payment of enormous duties."

"Pish!" said Thornberry; "I do not care this for their enormous duties.
Let me have free imports, and I will soon settle their duties."

"To fight hostile tariffs with free imports," said Endymion; "is not
that fighting against odds?"

"Not a bit. This country has nothing to do but to consider its imports.
Foreigners will not give us their products for nothing; but as for their
tariffs, if we were wise men, and looked to our real interests, their
hostile tariffs, as you call them, would soon be falling down like an
old wall."

"Well, I confess," said Endymion, "I have for some time thought the
principle of free exchange was a sound one; but its application in a
country like this would be very difficult, and require, I should think,
great prudence and moderation."

"By prudence and moderation you mean ignorance and timidity," said
Thornberry scornfully.

"Not exactly that, I hope," said Endymion; "but you cannot deny that
the home market is a most important element in the consideration of our
public wealth, and it mainly rests upon the agriculture of the country."

"Then it rests upon a very poor foundation," said Thornberry.

"But if any persons should be more tempted than others by free exchange,
it should be the great body of the consumers of this land, who pay
unjust and excessive prices for every article they require. No, my dear
Mr. Ferrars; the question is a very simple one, and we may talk for
ever, and we shall never alter it. The laws of this country are made by
the proprietors of land, and they make them for their own benefit. A man
with a large estate is said to have a great stake in the country because
some hundreds of people or so are more or less dependent on him. How has
he a greater interest in the country than a manufacturer who has sunk
100,000 pounds in machinery, and has a thousand people, as I had,
receiving from him weekly wages? No home market, indeed! Pah! it is an
affair of rent, and nothing more or less. And England is to be ruined
to keep up rents. Are you going? Well, I am glad we have met. Perhaps
we shall have another talk together some day. I shall not return to
the works. There is little doing there, and I must think now of other
things. The subscriptions to the League begin to come in apace. Say what
they like in the House of Commons and the vile London press, the thing
is stirring."

Wishing to turn the conversation a little, Endymion asked Mrs.
Thornberry whether she occasionally went to London.

"Never was there," she said, in a sharp, clear voice; "but I hope to go
soon."

"You will have a great deal to see."

"All I want to see, and hear, is the Rev. Servetus Frost," replied the
lady. "My idea of perfect happiness is to hear him every Sunday. He
comes here sometimes, for his sister is settled here; a very big mill.
He preached here a month ago. Should not I have liked the bishop to have
heard him, that's all! But he would not dare to go; he could not answer
a point."

"My wife is of the Unitarian persuasion," said Thornberry. "I am not. I
was born in our Church, and I keep to it; but I often go to chapel with
my wife. As for religion generally, if a man believes in his Maker and
does his duty to his neighbours, in my mind that is sufficient."

Endymion bade them good-bye, and strolled musingly towards his hotel.

Just as he reached the works again, he encountered Enoch Craggs, who was
walking into Manchester.

"I am going to our institute," said Enoch. "I do not know why, but they
have put me on the committee."

"And, I doubt not, they did very wisely," said Endymion.

"Master Thornberry was glad to see you?" said Enoch.

"And I was glad to see him."

"He has got the gift of speech," said Enoch.

"And that is a great gift."

"If wisely exercised, and I will not say he is not exercising it wisely.
Certainly for his own purpose, but whether that purpose is for the
general good--query?"

"He is against monopoly," observed Endymion inquiringly.

"Query again?" said Enoch.

"Well; he is opposed to the corn laws."

"The corn laws are very bad laws," said Enoch, "and the sooner we get
rid of them the better. But there are worse things than the corn laws."

"Hem!" said Endymion.

"There are the money laws," said Enoch.

"I did not know you cared so much about them at Manchester," said
Endymion. "I thought it was Birmingham that was chiefly interested about
currency."

"I do not care one jot about currency," said Enoch; "and, so far as
I can judge, the Birmingham chaps talk a deal of nonsense about
the matter. Leastwise, they will never convince me that a slip
of irredeemable paper is as good as the young queen's head on a
twenty-shilling piece. I mean the laws that secure the accumulation of
capital, by which means the real producers become mere hirelings, and
really are little better than slaves."

"But surely without capital we should all of us be little better than
slaves?"

"I am not against capital," replied Enoch. "What I am against is
capitalists."

"But if we get rid of capitalists we shall soon get rid of capital."

"No, no," said Enoch, with his broad accent, shaking his head, and with
a laughing eye. "Master Thornberry has been telling you that. He is the
most inveterate capitalist of the whole lot; and I always say, though
they keep aloof from him at present, they will be all sticking to his
skirts before long. Master Thornberry is against the capitalists in
land; but there are other capitalists nearer home, and I know more about
them. I was reading a book the other day about King Charles--Charles the
First, whose head they cut off--I am very liking to that time, and read
a good deal about it; and there was Lord Falkland, a great gentleman in
those days, and he said, when Archbishop Laud was trying on some of his
priestly tricks, that, 'if he were to have a pope, he would rather the
pope were at Rome than at Lambeth.' So I sometimes think, if we are to
be ruled by capitalists, I would sooner, perhaps, be ruled by gentlemen
of estate, who have been long among us, than by persons who build big
mills, who come from God knows where, and, when they have worked their
millions out of our flesh and bone, go God knows where. But perhaps we
shall get rid of them all some day--landlords and mill-lords."

"And whom will you substitute for them?"

"The producers," said Enoch, with a glance half savage, half triumphant.

"What can workmen do without capital?"

"Why, they make the capital," said Enoch; "and if they make the capital,
is it not strange that they should not be able to contrive some means
to keep the capital? Why, Job was saying the other day that there was
nothing like a principle to work upon. It would carry all before it. So
say I. And I have a principle too, though it is not Master Thornberry's.
But it will carry all before it, though it may not be in my time. But I
am not so sure of that."

"And what is it?" asked Endymion.

"CO-OPERATION."



CHAPTER LXIV

This strangely-revived acquaintance with Job Thornberry was not an
unfruitful incident in the life of Endymion. Thornberry was a man of
original mind and singular energy; and, although of extreme views on
commercial subjects, all his conclusions were founded on extensive and
various information, combined with no inconsiderable practice. The mind
of Thornberry was essentially a missionary one. He was always ready to
convert people; and he acted with ardour and interest on a youth who,
both by his ability and his social position, was qualified to influence
opinion. But this youth was gifted with a calm, wise judgment, of
the extent and depth of which he was scarcely conscious himself; and
Thornberry, like all propagandists, was more remarkable for his zeal and
his convictions, than for that observation and perception of character
which are the finest elements in the management of men and affairs.

"What you should do," said Thornberry, one day, to Endymion, "is to go
to Scotland; go to the Glasgow district; that city itself, and Paisley,
and Kilmarnock--keep your eye on Paisley. I am much mistaken if there
will not soon be a state of things there which alone will break up the
whole concern. It will burst it, sir; it will burst it."

So Endymion, without saying anything, quietly went to Glasgow and its
district, and noted enough to make him resolve soon to visit there
again; but the cabinet reassembled in the early part of November, and he
had to return to his duties.

In his leisure hours, Endymion devoted himself to the preparation of
a report, for Mr. Sidney Wilton, on the condition and prospects of the
manufacturing districts of the North of England, with some illustrative
reference to that of the country beyond the Tweed. He concluded it
before Christmas, and Mr. Wilton took it down with him to Gaydene, to
study it at his leisure. Endymion passed his holidays with Lord and Lady
Montfort, at their southern seat, Princedown.

Endymion spoke to Lady Montfort a little about his labours, for he had
no secrets from her; but she did not much sympathise with him, though
she liked him to be sedulous and to distinguish himself. "Only," she
observed, "take care not to be _doctrinaire_, Endymion. I am
always afraid of that with you. It is Sidney's fault; he always was
_doctrinaire_. It was a great thing for you becoming his private
secretary; to be the private secretary of a cabinet minister is a real
step in life, and I shall always be most grateful to Sidney, whom I love
for appointing you; but still, if I could have had my wish, you should
have been Lord Roehampton's private secretary. That is real politics,
and he is a real statesman. You must not let Mr. Wilton mislead you
about the state of affairs in the cabinet. The cabinet consists of the
prime minister and Lord Roehampton, and, if they are united, all the
rest is vapour. And they will not consent to any nonsense about touching
the corn laws; you may be sure of that. Besides, I will tell you a
secret, which is not yet Pulchinello's secret, though I daresay it will
be known when we all return to town--we shall have a great event when
parliament meets; a royal marriage. What think you of that? The young
queen is going to be married, and to a young prince, like a prince in
a fairy tale. As Lord Roehampton wrote to me this morning, 'Our royal
marriage will be much more popular than the Anti-Corn-Law League.'"

The royal marriage was very popular; but, unfortunately, it reflected no
splendour on the ministry. The world blessed the queen and cheered
the prince, but shook its head at the government. Sir Robert Peel
also--whether from his own motive or the irresistible impulse of his
party need not now be inquired into--sanctioned a direct attack on
the government, in the shape of a vote of want of confidence in them,
immediately the court festivities were over, and the attack was defeated
by a narrow majority.

"Nothing could be more unprincipled," said Berengaria, "after he had
refused to take office last year. As for our majority, it is, under such
circumstances, twenty times more than we want. As Lord Roehampton says,
one is enough."

Trade and revenue continued to decline. There was again the prospect of
a deficiency. The ministry, too, was kept in by the Irish vote, and
the Irish then were very unpopular. The cabinet itself generally was
downcast, and among themselves occasionally murmured a regret that they
had not retired when the opportunity offered in the preceding year.
Berengaria, however, would not bate an inch of confidence and courage.
"You think too much," she said to Endymion, "of trade and finance. Trade
always comes back, and finance never ruined a country, or an individual
either if he had pluck. Mr. Sidney Wilton is a croaker. The things
he fears will never happen; or, if they do, will turn out to be
unimportant. Look to Lord Roehampton; he is the man. He does not care a
rush whether the revenue increases or declines. He is thinking of real
politics: foreign affairs; maintaining our power in Europe. Something
will happen, before the session is over, in the Mediterranean;" and she
pressed her finger to her lip, and then she added, "The country will
support Lord Roehampton as they supported Pitt, and give him any amount
of taxes that he likes."

In the meantime, the social world had its incidents as well as the
political, and not less interesting. Not one of the most insignificant,
perhaps, was the introduction into society of the Countess of Beaumaris.
Her husband, sacrificing even his hunting, had come up to town at the
meeting of parliament, and received his friends in a noble mansion on
Piccadilly Terrace. All its equipments were sumptuous and refined,
and everything had been arranged under the personal supervision of Mr.
Waldershare. They commenced very quietly; dinners little but
constant, and graceful and finished as a banquet of Watteau. No formal
invitations; men were brought in to dinner from the House of Lords "just
up," or picked up, as it were carelessly, in the House of Commons by
Mr. Waldershare, or were asked by Imogene, at a dozen hours' notice, in
billets of irresistible simplicity. Soon it was whispered about, that
the thing to do was to dine with Beaumaris, and that Lady Beaumaris was
"something too delightful." Prince Florestan frequently dined there;
Waldershare always there, in a state of coruscation; and every man of
fashion in the opposite ranks, especially if they had brains.

Then, in a little time, it was gently hoped that Imogene should call
on their wives and mothers, or their wives and mothers call on her; and
then she received, without any formal invitation, twice a week; and
as there was nothing going on in London, or nothing half so charming,
everybody who was anybody came to Piccadilly Terrace; and so as,
after long observation, a new planet is occasionally discovered by a
philosopher, thus society suddenly and indubitably discovered that there
was at last a Tory house.

Lady Roehampton, duly apprised of affairs by her brother, had called on
Lord and Lady Beaumaris, and had invited them to her house. It was the
first appearance of Imogene in general society, and it was successful.
Her large brown eyes, and long black lashes, her pretty mouth and
dimple, her wondrous hair--which, it was whispered, unfolded, touched
the ground--struck every one, and the dignified simplicity of her
carriage was attractive. Her husband never left her side; while Mr.
Waldershare was in every part of the saloons, watching her from distant
points, to see how she got on, or catching the remarks of others on her
appearance. Myra was kind to her as well as courteous, and, when the
stream of arriving guests had somewhat ceased, sought her out and spoke
to her; and then put her arm in hers, walked with her for a moment,
and introduced her to one or two great personages, who had previously
intimated their wish or their consent to that effect. Lady Montfort was
not one of these. When parties are equal, and the struggle for power is
intense, society loses much of its sympathy and softness. Lady Montfort
could endure the presence of Tories, provided they were her kinsfolk,
and would join, even at their houses, in traditionary festivities; but
she shrank from passing the line, and at once had a prejudice against
Imogene, who she instinctively felt might become a power for the enemy.

"I will not have you talk so much to that Lady Beaumaris," she said to
Endymion.

"She is an old friend of mine," he replied.

"How could you have known her? She was a shop-girl, was not she, or
something of that sort?"

"She and her family were very kind to me when I was not much better than
a shop-boy myself," replied Endymion, with a mantling cheek. "They are
most respectable people, and I have a great regard for her."

"Indeed! Well; I will not keep you from your Tory woman," said
Berengaria rudely; and she walked away.

Altogether, this season of '40 was not a very satisfactory one in any
respect, as regarded society or the country in general. Party passion
was at its highest. The ministry retained office almost by a casting
vote; were frequently defeated on important questions; and whenever a
vacancy occurred, it was filled by their opponents. Their unpopularity
increased daily, and it was stimulated by the general distress. All that
Job Thornberry had predicted as to the state of manufacturing Scotland
duly occurred. Besides manufacturing distress, they had to encounter a
series of bad harvests. Never was a body of statesmen placed in a more
embarrassing and less enviable position. There was a prevalent,
though unfounded, conviction that they were maintained in power by a
combination of court favour with Irish sedition.

Lady Montfort and Lord Roehampton were the only persons who never lost
heart. She was defiant; and he ever smiled, at least in public. "What
nonsense!" she would say. "Mr. Sidney Wilton talks about the revenue
falling off! As if the revenue could ever really fall off! And then our
bad harvests. Why, that is the very reason we shall have an excellent
harvest this year. You cannot go on always having bad harvests. Besides,
good harvests never make a ministry popular. Nobody thanks a ministry
for a good harvest. What makes a ministry popular is some great _coup_
in foreign affairs."

Amid all these exciting disquietudes, Endymion pursued a life of
enjoyment, but also of observation and much labour. He lived more
and more with the Montforts, but the friendship of Berengaria was not
frivolous. Though she liked him to be seen where he ought to figure, and
required a great deal of attention herself, she ever impressed on him
that his present life was only a training for a future career, and that
his mind should ever be fixed on the attainment of a high position.
Particularly she impressed on him the importance of being a linguist.
"There will be a reaction some day from all this political economy,"
she would say, "and then there will be no one ready to take the helm."
Endymion was not unworthy of the inspiring interest which Lady Montfort
took in him. The terrible vicissitudes of his early years had gravely
impressed his character. Though ambitious, he was prudent; and, though
born to please and be pleased, he was sedulous and self-restrained.
Though naturally deeply interested in the fortunes of his political
friends, and especially of Lord Roehampton and Mr. Wilton, a careful
scrutiny of existing circumstances had prepared him for an inevitable
change; and, remembering what was their position but a few years back,
he felt that his sister and himself should be reconciled to their
altered lot, and be content. She would still be a peeress, and the happy
wife of an illustrious man; and he himself, though he would have to
relapse into the drudgery of a public office, would meet duties the
discharge of which was once the object of his ambition, coupled now with
an adequate income and with many friends.

And among those friends, there were none with whom he maintained his
relations more intimately than with the Neuchatels. He was often their
guest both in town and at Hainault, and he met them frequently in
society, always at the receptions of Lady Montfort and his sister.
Zenobia used sometimes to send him a card; but these condescending
recognitions of late had ceased, particularly as the great dame heard
he was "always at that Lady Beaumaris's." One of the social incidents of
his circle, not the least interesting to him, was the close attendance
of Adriana and her mother on the ministrations of Nigel Penruddock. They
had become among the most devoted of his flock; and this, too, when the
rapid and startling development of his sacred offices had so alarmed
the easy, though sagacious, Lord Roehampton, that he had absolutely
expressed his wish to Myra that she should rarely attend them, and,
indeed, gradually altogether drop a habit which might ultimately
compromise her. Berengaria had long ago quitted him. This was attributed
to her reputed caprice, yet it was not so. "I like a man to be
practical," she said. "When I asked for a deanery for him the other day,
the prime minister said he could hardly make a man a dean who believed
in the Real Presence." Nigel's church, however, was more crowded than
ever, and a large body of the clergy began to look upon him as the
coming man.

Towards the end of the year the "great _coup_ in foreign affairs," which
Lady Montfort had long brooded over, and indeed foreseen, occurred, and
took the world, who were all thinking of something else, entirely by
surprise. A tripartite alliance of great powers had suddenly started
into life; the Egyptian host was swept from the conquered plains of
Asia Minor and Syria by English blue-jackets; St. Jean d'Acre, which had
baffled the great Napoleon, was bombarded and taken by a British fleet;
and the whole fortunes of the world in a moment seemed changed, and
permanently changed.

"I am glad it did not occur in the season," said Zenobia. "I really
could not stand Lady Montfort if it were May."

The ministry was elate, and their Christmas was right merrie. There
seemed good cause for this. It was a triumph of diplomatic skill,
national valour, and administrative energy. Myra was prouder of her
husband than ever, and, amid all the excitement, he smiled on her with
sunny fondness. Everybody congratulated her. She gave a little reception
before the holidays, to which everybody came who was in town or passing
through. Even Zenobia appeared; but she stayed a very short time,
talking very rapidly. Prince Florestan paid his grave devoirs, with a
gaze which seemed always to search into Lady Roehampton's inmost
heart, yet never lingering about her; and Waldershare, full of
wondrous compliments and conceits, and really enthusiastic, for he
ever sympathised with action; and Imogene, gorgeous with the Beaumaris
sapphires; and Sidney Wilton, who kissed his hostess's hand, and
Adriana, who kissed her cheek.

"I tell you what, Mr. Endymion," said Mr. Neuchatel, "you should
make Lord Roehampton your Chancellor of the Exchequer, and then your
government might perhaps go on a little."



CHAPTER LXV

But, as Mr. Tadpole observed, with much originality, at the Carlton,
they were dancing on a volcano. It was December, and the harvest was
not yet all got in, the spring corn had never grown, and the wheat was
rusty; there was, he well knew, another deficiency in the revenue, to be
counted by millions; wise men shook their heads and said the trade was
leaving the country, and it was rumoured that the whole population of
Paisley lived on the rates.

"Lord Roehampton thinks that something must be done about the corn
laws," murmured Berengaria one day to Endymion, rather crestfallen;
"but they will try sugar and timber first. I think it all nonsense, but
nonsense is sometimes necessary."

This was the first warning of that famous budget of 1841 which led to
such vast consequences, and which, directly or indirectly, gave such a
new form and colour to English politics. Sidney Wilton and his friends
were at length all-powerful in the cabinet, because, in reality, there
was nobody to oppose them. The vessel was waterlogged. The premier
shrugged his shoulders; and Lord Roehampton said, "We may as well try
it, because the alternative is, we shall have to resign."

Affairs went on badly for the ministry during the early part of the
session. They were more than once in a minority, and on Irish questions,
which then deeply interested the country; but they had resolved that
their fate should be decided by their financial measures, and Mr. Sidney
Wilton and his friends were still sanguine as to the result. On the last
day of April the Chancellor of the Exchequer introduced the budget, and
proposed to provide for the deficiency by reducing the protective
duties on sugar and timber. A few days after, the leader of the House
of Commons himself announced a change in the corn laws, and the intended
introduction of grain at various-priced duties per quarter.

Then commenced the struggle of a month. Ultimately, Sir Robert Peel
himself gave notice of a resolution of want of confidence in the
ministry; and after a week's debate, it was carried, in an almost
complete house, by a majority of one!

It was generally supposed that the ministry would immediately resign.
Their new measures had not revived their popularity, and the parliament
in which they had been condemned had been elected under their own advice
and influence. Mr. Sidney Wilton had even told Endymion to get their
papers in order; and all around the somewhat dejected private secretary
there were unmistakable signs of that fatal flitting which is peculiarly
sickening to the youthful politician.

He was breakfasting in his rooms at the Albany with not a good appetite.
Although he had for some time contemplated the possibility of such
changes--and contemplated them, as he thought, with philosophy--when
it came to reality and practice, he found his spirit was by no means so
calm, or his courage so firm, as he had counted on. The charms of
office arrayed themselves before him. The social influence, the secret
information, the danger, the dexterity, the ceaseless excitement, the
delights of patronage which everybody affects to disregard, the power
of benefiting others, and often the worthy and unknown which is a real
joy--in eight-and-forty hours or so, all these, to which he had now been
used for some time, and which with his plastic disposition had become
a second nature, were to vanish, and probably never return. Why should
they? He took the gloomiest view of the future, and his inward soul
acknowledged that the man the country wanted was Peel. Why might he not
govern as long as Pitt? He probably would. Peel! his father's friend!
And this led to a train of painful but absorbing memories, and he sat
musing and abstracted, fiddling with an idle egg-spoon.

His servant came in with a note, which he eagerly opened. It ran thus:
"I must see you instantly. I am here in the brougham, Cork Street end.
Come directly. B. M."

Endymion had to walk up half the Albany, and marked the brougham the
whole way. There was in it an eager and radiant face.

"You had better get in," said Lady Montfort, "for in these stirring
times some of the enemy may be passing. And now," she continued, when
the door was fairly shut, "nobody knows it, not five people. They are
going to dissolve."

"To dissolve!" exclaimed Endymion. "Will that help us?"

"Very likely," said Berengaria. "We have had our share of bad luck,
and now we may throw in. Cheap bread is a fine cry. Indeed it is too
shocking that there should be laws which add to the price of what
everybody agrees is the staff of life. But you do nothing but stare,
Endymion; I thought you would be in a state of the greatest excitement!"

"I am rather stunned than excited."

"Well, but you must not be stunned, you must act. This is a crisis for
our party, but it is something more for you. It is your climacteric.
They may lose; but you must win, if you will only bestir yourself. See
the whips directly, and get the most certain seat you can. Nothing must
prevent your being in the new parliament."

"I see everything to prevent it," said Endymion. "I have no means of
getting into parliament--no means of any kind."

"Means must be found," said Lady Montfort. "We cannot stop now to talk
about means. That would be a mere waste of time. The thing must be done.
I am now going to your sister, to consult with her. All you have got to
do is to make up your mind that you will be in the next parliament, and
you will succeed; for everything in this world depends upon will."

"I think everything in this world depends upon woman," said Endymion.

"It is the same thing," said Berengaria.

Adriana was with Lady Roehampton when Lady Montfort was announced.

Adriana came to console; but she herself was not without solace, for, if
there were a change of government, she would see more of her friend.

"Well; I was prepared for it," said Lady Roehampton. "I have always been
expecting something ever since what they called the Bed-Chamber Plot."

"Well; it gave us two years," said Lady Montfort; "and we are not out
yet."

Here were three women, young, beautiful, and powerful, and all friends
of Endymion--real friends. Property does not consist merely of parks
and palaces, broad acres, funds in many forms, services of plate, and
collections of pictures. The affections of the heart are property, and
the sympathy of the right person is often worth a good estate.

These three charming women were cordial, and embraced each other when
they met; but the conversation flagged, and the penetrating eye of Myra
read in the countenance of Lady Montfort the urgent need of confidence.

"So, dearest Adriana," said Lady Roehampton, "we will drive out together
at three o'clock. I will call on you." And Adriana disappeared.

"You know it?" said Lady Montfort when they were alone. "Of course you
know it. Besides, I know you know it. What I have come about is this;
your brother must be in the new parliament."

"I have not seen him; I have not mentioned it to him," said Myra,
somewhat hesitatingly.

"I have seen him; I have mentioned it to him," said Lady Montfort
decidedly. "He makes difficulties; there must be none. He will consult
you. I came on at once that you might be prepared. No difficulty must be
admitted. His future depends on it."

"I live for his future," said Lady Roehampton.

"He will talk to you about money. These things always cost money. As a
general rule, nobody has money who ought to have it. I know dear Lord
Roehampton is very kind to you; but, all his life, he never had too much
money at his command; though why, I never could make out. And my lord
has always had too much money; but I do not much care to talk to him
about these affairs. The thing must be done. What is the use of a
diamond necklace if you cannot help a friend into parliament? But all I
want to know now is that you will throw no difficulties in his way. Help
him, too, if you can."

"I wish Endymion had married," replied Myra.

"Well; I do not see how that would help affairs," said Lady Montfort.
"Besides, I dislike married men. They are very uninteresting."

"I mean, I wish," said Lady Roehampton musingly, "that he had made a
great match."

"That is not very easy," said Lady Montfort, "and great matches
are generally failures. All the married heiresses I have known have
shipwrecked."

"And yet it is possible to marry an heiress and love her," said Myra.

"It is possible, but very improbable."

"I think one might easily love the person who has just left the room."

"Miss Neuchatel?"

"Adriana. Do not you agree with me?"

"Miss Neuchatel will never marry," said Lady Montfort, "unless she loses
her fortune."

"Well; do you know, I have sometimes thought that she liked Endymion?
I never could encourage such a feeling; and Endymion, I am sure, would
not. I wish, I almost wish," added Lady Roehampton, trying to speak
with playfulness, "that you would use your magic influence, dear Lady
Montfort, and bring it about. He would soon get into parliament then."

"I have tried to marry Miss Neuchatel once," said Lady Montfort, with a
mantling cheek, "and I am glad to say I did not succeed. My match-making
is over."

There was a dead silence; one of those still moments which almost seem
inconsistent with life, certainly with the presence of more than one
human being. Lady Roehampton seemed buried in deep thought. She was
quite abstracted, her eyes fixed, and fixed upon the ground. All the
history of her life passed through her brain--all the history of their
lives; from the nursery to this proud moment, proud even with all its
searching anxiety. And yet the period of silence could be counted almost
by seconds. Suddenly she looked up with a flushed cheek and a dazed
look, and said, "It must be done."

Lady Montfort sprang forward with a glance radiant with hope and energy,
and kissed her on both cheeks. "Dearest Lady Roehampton," she exclaimed,
"dearest Myra! I knew you would agree with me. Yes! it must be done."

"You will see him perhaps before I do?" inquired Myra rather
hesitatingly.

"I see him every day at the same time," replied Lady Montfort. "He
generally walks down to the House of Commons with Mr. Wilton, and when
they have answered questions, and he has got all the news of the lobby,
he comes to me. I always manage to get home from my drive to give him
half an hour before dinner."



CHAPTER LXVI

Lady Montfort drove off to the private residence of the Secretary of
the Treasury, who was of course in the great secret. She looked over his
lists, examined his books, and seemed to have as much acquaintance with
electioneering details as that wily and experienced gentleman himself.
"Is there anything I can do?" she repeatedly inquired; "command me
without compunction. Is it any use giving any parties? Can I write any
letters? Can I see anybody?"

"If you could stir up my lord a little?" said the secretary inquiringly.

"Well, that is difficult," said Lady Montfort, "perhaps impossible. But
you have all his influence, and when there is a point that presses you
must let me know."

"If he would only speak to his agents?" said the secretary, "but they
say he will not, and he has a terrible fellow in ----shire, who I hear
is one of the stewards for a dinner to Sir Robert."

"I have stopped all that," said Lady Montfort. "That was Odo's doing,
who is himself not very sound; full of prejudices about O'Connell, and
all that stuff. But he must go with his party. You need not fear about
him."

"Well! it is a leap in the dark," said the secretary.

"Oh! no," said Lady Montfort, "all will go right. A starving people must
be in favour of a government who will give them bread for nothing. By
the by, there is one thing, my dear Mr. Secretary, you must remember. I
must have one seat, a certain seat, reserved for my nomination."

"A certain seat in these days is a rare gem," said the secretary.

"Yes, but I must have it nevertheless," said Lady Montfort. "I don't
care about the cost or the trouble--but it must be certain."

Then she went home and wrote a line to Endymion, to tell him that it was
all settled, that she had seen his sister, who agreed with her that it
must be done, and that she had called on the Secretary of the Treasury,
and had secured a certain seat. "I wish you could come to luncheon," she
added, "but I suppose that is impossible; you are always so busy. Why
were you not in the Foreign Office? I am now going to call on the Tory
women to see how they look, but I shall be at home a good while before
seven, and of course count on seeing you."

In the meantime, Endymion by no means shared the pleasurable excitement
of his fair friend. His was an agitated walk from the Albany to
Whitehall, where he resumed his duties moody and disquieted. There was a
large correspondence this morning, which was a distraction and a relief,
until the bell of Mr. Sidney Wilton sounded, and he was in attendance on
his chief.

"It is a great secret," said Mr. Wilton, "but I think I ought to tell
you; instead of resigning, the government have decided to dissolve. I
think it a mistake, but I stand by my friends. They believe the Irish
vote will be very large, and with cheap bread will carry us through.
I think the stronger we shall be in Ireland the weaker we shall be in
England, and I doubt whether our cheap bread will be cheap enough. These
Manchester associations have altered the aspect of affairs. I have been
thinking a good deal about your position. I should like, before we broke
up, to have seen you provided for by some permanent office of importance
in which you might have been useful to the state, but it is difficult to
manage these things suddenly. However, now we have time at any rate to
look about us. Still, if I could have seen you permanently attached
to this office in a responsible position, I should have been glad. I
impressed upon the chief yesterday that you are most fit for it."

"Oh! do not think of me, dear sir; you have been always too kind to me.
I shall be content with my lot. All I shall regret is ceasing to serve
you."

Lady Montfort's carriage drove up to Montfort House just as Endymion
reached the door. She took his arm with eagerness; she seemed breathless
with excitement. "I fear I am very late, but if you had gone away I
should never have pardoned you. I have been kept by listening to all the
new appointments from Lady Bellasyse. They quite think we are out; you
may be sure I did not deny it. I have so much to tell you. Come into my
lord's room; he is away fishing. Think of fishing at such a crisis! I
cannot tell you how pleased I was with my visit to Lady Roehampton. She
quite agreed with me in everything. 'It must be done,' she said. How
every right! and I have almost done it. I will have a certain seat; no
chances. Let us have something to fall back upon. If not in office we
shall be in opposition. All men must sometime or other be in opposition.
There you will form yourself. It is a great thing to have had some
official experience. It will save you from mares' nests, and I will give
parties without end, and never rest till I see you prime minister."

So she threw herself into her husband's easy chair, tossed her parasol
on the table, and then she said, "But what is the matter with you,
Endymion? you look quite sad. You do not mean you really take our
defeat--which is not certain yet--so much to heart. Believe me,
opposition has its charms; indeed, I sometimes think the principal
reason why I have enjoyed our ministerial life so much is, that it has
been from the first a perpetual struggle for existence."

"I do not pretend to be quite indifferent to the probably impending
change," said Endymion, "but I cannot say there is anything about it
which would affect my feelings very deeply."

"What is it, then?"

"It is this business about which you and Myra are so kindly interesting
yourselves," said Endymion with some emotion; "I do not think I could go
into parliament."

"Not go into parliament!" exclaimed Lady Montfort. "Why, what are men
made for except to go into parliament? I am indeed astounded."

"I do not disparage parliament," said Endymion; "much the reverse. It
is a life that I think would suit me, and I have often thought the day
might come"----

"The day has come," said Lady Montfort, "and not a bit too soon. Mr. Fox
went in before he was of age, and all young men of spirit should do the
same. Why! you are two-and-twenty!"

"It is not my age," said Endymion hesitatingly; "I am not afraid about
that, for from the life which I have led of late years, I know a good
deal about the House of Commons."

"Then what is it, dear Endymion?" said Lady Montfort impatiently.

"It will make a great change in my life," said Endymion calmly, but with
earnestness, "and one which I do not feel justified in accepting."

"I repeat to you, that you need give yourself no anxiety about the
seat," said Lady Montfort. "It will not cost you a shilling. I and your
sister have arranged all that. As she very wisely said, 'It must be
done,' and it is done. All you have to do is to write an address, and
make plenty of speeches, and you are M.P. for life, or as long as you
like."

"Possibly; a parliamentary adventurer, I might swim or I might sink; the
chances are it would be the latter, for storms would arise, when those
disappear who have no root in the country, and no fortune to secure them
breathing time and a future."

"Well, I did not expect, when you handed me out of my carriage to-day,
that I was going to listen to a homily on prudence."

"It is not very romantic, I own," said Endymion, "but my prudence is
at any rate not a commonplace caught up from copy-books. I am only
two-and-twenty, but I have had some experience, and it has been very
bitter. I have spoken to you, dearest lady, sometimes of my earlier
life, for I wished you to be acquainted with it, but I observed also you
always seemed to shrink from such confidence, and I ceased from touching
on what I saw did not interest you."

"Quite a mistake. It greatly interested me. I know all about you and
everything. I know you were not always a clerk in a public office, but
the spoiled child of splendour. I know your father was a dear good man,
but he made a mistake, and followed the Duke of Wellington instead of
Mr. Canning. Had he not, he would probably be alive now, and certainly
Secretary of State, like Mr. Sidney Wilton. But _you_ must not make a
mistake, Endymion. My business in life, and your sister's too, is to
prevent your making mistakes. And you are on the eve of making a very
great one if you lose this golden opportunity. Do not think of the past;
you dwell on it too much. Be like me, live in the present, and when you
dream, dream of the future."

"Ah! the present would be adequate, it would be fascination, if I always
had such a companion as Lady Montfort," said Endymion, shaking his head.
"What surprises me most, what indeed astounds me, is that Myra should
join in this counsel--Myra, who knows all, and who has felt it perhaps
deeper even than I did. But I will not obtrude these thoughts on
you, best and dearest of friends. I ought not to have made to you the
allusions to my private position which I have done, but it seemed to me
the only way to explain my conduct, otherwise inexplicable."

"And to whom ought you to say these things if not to me," said Lady
Montfort, "whom you called just now your best and dearest friend? I wish
to be such to you. Perhaps I have been too eager, but, at any rate, it
was eagerness for your welfare. Let us then be calm. Speak to me as
you would to Myra. I cannot be your twin, but I can be your sister in
feeling."

He took her hand and gently pressed it to his lips; his eyes would have
been bedewed, had not the dreadful sorrows and trials of his life much
checked his native susceptibility. Then speaking in a serious tone,
he said, "I am not without ambition, dearest Lady Montfort; I have had
visions which would satisfy even you; but partly from my temperament,
still more perhaps from the vicissitudes of my life, I have considerable
waiting powers. I think if one is patient and watches, all will come of
which one is capable; but no one can be patient who is not independent.
My wants are moderate, but their fulfilment must be certain. The
break-up of the government, which deprives me of my salary as a private
secretary, deprives me of luxuries which I can do without--a horse,
a brougham, a stall at the play, a flower in my button-hole--but my
clerkship is my freehold. As long as I possess it, I can study, I can
work, I can watch and comprehend all the machinery of government. I can
move in society, without which a public man, whatever his talents or
acquirements, is in life playing at blind-man's buff. I must sacrifice
this citadel of my life if I go into parliament. Do not be offended,
therefore, if I say to you, as I shall say to Myra, I have made up my
mind not to surrender it. It is true I have the misfortune to be a year
older than Charles Fox when he entered the senate, but even with this
great disadvantage I am sometimes conceited enough to believe that I
shall succeed, and to back myself against the field."



CHAPTER LXVII

Mr. Waldershare was delighted when the great secret was out, and he
found that the ministry intended to dissolve, and not resign. It was on
a Monday that Lord John Russell made this announcement, and Waldershare
met Endymion in the lobby of the House of Commons. "I congratulate you,
my dear boy; your fellows, at least, have pluck. If they lose, which I
think they will, they will have gained at least three months of power,
and irresponsible power. Why! they may do anything in the interval, and
no doubt will. You will see; they will make their chargers consuls. It
beats the Bed-Chamber Plot, and I always admired that. One hundred days!
Why, the Second Empire lasted only one hundred days. But what days! what
excitement! They were worth a hundred years at Elba."

"Your friends do not seem quite so pleased as you are," said Endymion.

"My friends, as you call them, are old fogies, and want to divide the
spoil among the ancient hands. It will be a great thing for Peel to get
rid of some of these old friends. A dissolution permits the powerful to
show their power. There is Beaumaris, for example; now he will have an
opportunity of letting them know who Lord Beaumaris is. I have a dream;
he must be Master of the Horse. I shall never rest till I see Imogene
riding in that golden coach, and breaking the line with all the honours
of royalty."

"Mr. Ferrars," said the editor of a newspaper, seizing his watched-for
opportunity as Waldershare and Endymion separated, "do you think you
could favour me this evening with Mr. Sidney Wilton's address? We have
always supported Mr. Wilton's views on the corn laws, and if put clearly
and powerfully before the country at this junction, the effect might be
great, perhaps even, if sustained, decisive."

Eight-and-forty hours and more had elapsed since the conversation
between Endymion and Lady Montfort; they had not been happy days. For
the first time during their acquaintance there had been constraint and
embarrassment between them. Lady Montfort no longer opposed his views,
but she did not approve them. She avoided the subject; she looked
uninterested in all that was going on around her; talked of joining her
lord and going a-fishing; felt he was right in his views of life. "Dear
Simon was always right," and then she sighed, and then she shrugged
her pretty shoulders. Endymion, though he called on her as usual, found
there was nothing to converse about; politics seemed tacitly forbidden,
and when he attempted small talk Lady Montfort seemed absent--and once
absolutely yawned.

What amazed Endymion still more was, that, under these rather
distressing circumstances, he did not find adequate support and sympathy
in his sister. Lady Roehampton did not question the propriety of his
decision, but she seemed quite as unhappy and as dissatisfied as Lady
Montfort.

"What you say, dearest Endymion, is quite unanswerable, and I alone
perhaps can really know that; but what I feel is, I have failed in life.
My dream was to secure you greatness, and now, when the first occasion
arrives, it seems I am more than powerless."

"Dearest sister! you have done so much for me."

"Nothing," said Lady Roehampton; "what I have done for you would have
been done by every sister in this metropolis. I dreamed of other things;
I fancied, with my affection and my will, I could command events, and
place you on a pinnacle. I see my folly now; others have controlled your
life, not I--as was most natural; natural, but still bitter."

"Dearest Myra!"

"It is so, Endymion. Let us deceive ourselves no longer. I ought not
to have rested until you were in a position which would have made you a
master of your destiny."

"But if there should be such a thing as destiny, it will not submit to
the mastery of man."

"Do not split words with me; you know what I mean; you feel what I mean;
I mean much more than I say, and you understand much more than I say. My
lord told me to ask you to dine with us, if you called, but I will not
ask you. There is no joy in meeting at present. I feel as I felt in our
last year at Hurstley."

"Oh! don't say that, dear Myra!" and Endymion sprang forward and kissed
her very much. "Trust me; all will come right; a little patience, and
all will come right."

"I have had patience enough in life," said Lady Roehampton; "years of
patience, the most doleful, the most dreary, the most dark and tragical.
And I bore it all, and I bore it well, because I thought of you, and
had confidence in you, and confidence in your star; and because, like
an idiot, I had schooled myself to believe that, if I devoted my will to
you, that star would triumph."

So, the reader will see, that our hero was not in a very serene and
genial mood when he was buttonholed by the editor in the lobby, and, it
is feared, he was unusually curt with that gentleman, which editors do
not like, and sometimes reward with a leading article in consequence,
on the character and career of our political chief, perhaps with some
passing reference to jacks-in-office, and the superficial impertinence
of private secretaries. These wise and amiable speculators on public
affairs should, however, sometimes charitably remember that even
ministers have their chagrins, and that the trained temper and
imperturbable presence of mind of their aides-de-camp are not absolutely
proof to all the infirmities of human nature.

Endymion had returned home from the lobby, depressed and dispirited. The
last incident of our life shapes and colours our feelings. Ever since
he had settled in London, his life might be said to have been happy,
gradually and greatly prosperous. The devotion of his sister and the
eminent position she had achieved, the friendship of Lady Montfort, and
the kindness of society, who had received him with open arms, his easy
circumstances after painful narrowness of means, his honourable and
interesting position--these had been the chief among many other causes
which had justly rendered Endymion Ferrars a satisfied and contented
man. And it was more than to be hoped that not one of these sources
would be wanting in his future. And yet he felt dejected, even to
unhappiness. Myra figured to his painful consciousness only as deeply
wounded in her feelings, and he somehow the cause; Lady Montfort, from
whom he had never received anything but smiles and inspiring kindness,
and witty raillery, and affectionate solicitude for his welfare,
offended and estranged. And as for society, perhaps it would make
a great difference in his position if he were no longer a private
secretary to a cabinet minister and only a simple clerk; he could not,
even at this melancholy moment, dwell on his impending loss of income,
though that increase at the time had occasioned him, and those who loved
him, so much satisfaction. And yet was he in fault? Had his decision
been a narrow-minded and craven one? He could not bring himself to
believe so--his conscience assured him that he had acted rightly. After
all that he had experienced, he was prepared to welcome an obscure, but
could not endure a humiliating position.

It was a long summer evening. The House had not sat after the
announcement of the ministers. The twilight lingered with a charm almost
as irresistible as among woods and waters. Endymion had been engaged
to dine out, but had excused himself. Had it not been for the Montfort
misunderstanding, he would have gone; but that haunted him. He had not
called on her that day; he really had not courage to meet her. He was
beginning to think that he might never see her again; never, certainly,
on the same terms. She had the reputation of being capricious, though
she had been constant in her kindness to him. Never see her again, or
only see her changed! He was not aware of the fulness of his misery
before; he was not aware, until this moment, that unless he saw her
every day life would be intolerable.

He sat down at his table, covered with notes in every female handwriting
except the right one, and with cards of invitation to banquets and balls
and concerts, and "very earlies," and carpet dances--for our friend
was a very fashionable young man--but what is the use of even being
fashionable, if the person you love cares for you no more? And so out of
very wantonness, instead of opening notes sealed or stamped with every
form of coronet, he took up a business-like epistle, closed only with
a wafer, and saying in drollery, "I should think a dun," he took out a
script receipt for 20,000 pounds consols, purchased that morning in
the name of Endymion Ferrars, Esq. It was enclosed in half a sheet of
note-paper, on which were written these words, in a handwriting which
gave no clue of acquaintanceship, or even sex: "Mind--you are to send me
your first frank."



CHAPTER LXVIII

It was useless to ask who could it be? It could only be one person; and
yet how could it have been managed? So completely and so promptly! Her
lord, too, away; the only being, it would seem, who could have effected
for her such a purpose, and he the last individual to whom, perhaps, she
would have applied. Was it a dream? The long twilight was dying away,
and it dies away in the Albany a little sooner than it does in Park
Lane; and so he lit the candles on his mantel-piece, and then again
unfolded the document carefully, and read it and re-read it. It was not
a dream. He held in his hand firmly, and read with his eyes clearly,
the evidence that he was the uncontrolled master of no slight amount of
capital, and which, if treated with prudence, secured to him for life an
absolute and becoming independence. His heart beat and his cheek glowed.

What a woman! And how true were Myra's last words at Hurstley, that
women would be his best friends in life! He ceased to think; and,
dropping into his chair, fell into a reverie, in which the past and
the future seemed to blend, with some mingling of a vague and almost
ecstatic present. It was a dream of fair women, and even fairer
thoughts, domestic tenderness and romantic love, mixed up with strange
vicissitudes of lofty and fiery action, and passionate passages of
eloquence and power. The clock struck and roused him from his musing.
He fell from the clouds. Could he accept this boon? Was his doing so
consistent with that principle of independence on which he had resolved
to build up his life? The boon thus conferred might be recalled and
returned; not legally indeed, but by a stronger influence than any
law--the consciousness on his part that the feeling of interest in his
life which had prompted it might change--would, must change. It was the
romantic impulse of a young and fascinating woman, who had been to him
invariably kind, but who had a reputation for caprice, which was not
unknown to him. It was a wild and beautiful adventure; but only that.

He walked up and down his rooms for a long time, sometimes thinking,
sometimes merely musing; sometimes in a pleased but gently agitated
state of almost unconsciousness. At last he sate down at his
writing-table, and wrote for some time; and then directing the letter
to the Countess of Montfort, he resolved to change the current of his
thoughts, and went to a club.

Morning is not romantic. Romance is the twilight spell; but morn is
bright and joyous, prompt with action, and full of sanguine hope. Life
has few difficulties in the morning, at least, none which we cannot
conquer; and a private secretary to a minister, young and prosperous, at
his first meal, surrounded by dry toast, all the newspapers, and piles
of correspondence, asking and promising everything, feels with pride and
delight the sense of powerful and responsible existence. Endymion had
glanced at all the leading articles, had sorted in the correspondence
the grain from the chaff, and had settled in his mind those who must be
answered and those who must be seen. The strange incident of last
night was of course not forgotten, but removed, as it were, from his
consciousness in the bustle and pressure of active life, when his
servant brought him a letter in a handwriting he knew right well. He
would not open it till he was alone, and then it was with a beating
heart and a burning cheek.


LADY MONTFORT'S LETTER

"What is it all about? and what does it all mean? I should have thought
some great calamity had occurred if, however distressing, it did not
appear in some sense to be gratifying. What is gratifying? You deal in
conundrums, which I never could find out. Of course I shall be at home
to you at any time, if you wish to see me. Pray come on at once, as I
detest mysteries. I went to the play last night with your sister. We
both of us rather expected to see you, but it seems neither of us had
mentioned to you we were going. I did not, for I was too low-spirited
about your affairs. You lost nothing. The piece was stupid beyond
expression. We laughed heartily, at least I did, to show we were not
afraid. My lord came home last night suddenly. Odo is going to stand for
the county, and his borough is vacant. What an opportunity it would have
been for you! a certain seat. But I care for no boroughs now. My lord
will want you to dine with him to-day; I hope you can come. Perhaps he
will not be able to see you this morning, as his agent will be with him
about these elections. Adieu!"


If Lady Montfort did not like conundrums, she had succeeded, however,
in sending one sufficiently perplexing to Endymion. Could it be possible
that the writer of this letter was the unknown benefactress of the
preceding eve? Lady Montfort was not a mystifier. Her nature was
singularly frank and fearless, and when Endymion told her everything
that had occurred, and gave her the document which originally he had
meant to bring with him in order to return it, her amazement and her joy
were equal.

"I wish I had sent it," said Lady Montfort, "but that was impossible.
I do not care who did send it; I have no female curiosity except about
matters which, by knowledge, I may influence. This is finished. You are
free. You cannot hesitate as to your course. I never could speak to you
again if you did hesitate. Stop here, and I will go to my lord. This
is a great day. If we can settle only to-day that you shall be the
candidate for our borough, I really shall not much care for the change
of ministry."

Lady Montfort was a long time away. Endymion would have liked to have
gone forth on his affairs, but she had impressed upon him so earnestly
to wait for her return that he felt he could not retire. The room was
one to which he was not unaccustomed, otherwise, its contents would not
have been uninteresting; her portrait by more than one great master, a
miniature of her husband in a Venetian dress upon her writing-table--a
table which wonderfully indicated alike the lady of fashion and the
lady of business, for there seemed to be no form in which paper could be
folded and emblazoned which was there wanting; quires of letter
paper, and note paper, and notelet paper, from despatches of state to
billet-doux, all were ready; great covers with arms and supporters, more
moderate ones with "Berengaria" in letters of glittering fancy, and the
destined shells of diminutive effusions marked only with a golden
bee. There was another table covered with trinkets and precious toys;
snuff-boxes and patch-boxes beautifully painted, exquisite miniatures,
rare fans, cups of agate, birds glittering with gems almost as radiant
as the tropic plumage they imitated, wild animals cut out of ivory,
or formed of fantastic pearls--all the spoils of queens and royal
mistresses.

Upon the walls were drawings of her various homes; that of her
childhood, as well as of the hearths she ruled and loved. There were
a few portraits on the walls also of those whom she ranked as her
particular friends. Lord Roehampton was one, another was the Count of
Ferroll.

Time went on; on a little table, by the side of evidently her favourite
chair, was a book she had been reading. It was a German tale of fame,
and Endymion, dropping into her seat, became interested in a volume
which hitherto he had never seen, but of which he had heard much.

Perhaps he had been reading for some time; there was a sound, he started
and looked up, and then, springing from his chair, he said, "Something
has happened!"

Lady Montfort was quite pale, and the expression of her countenance
distressed, but when he said these words she tried to smile, and said,
"No, no, nothing, nothing,--at least nothing to distress you. My lord
hopes you will be able to dine with him to-day, and tell him all the
news." And then she threw herself into a chair and sighed. "I should
like to have a good cry, as the servants say--but I never could cry. I
will tell you all about it in a moment. You were very good not to go."

It seems that Lady Montfort saw her lord before the agent, who was
waiting, had had his interview, and the opportunity being in every
way favourable, she felt the way about obtaining his cousin's seat
for Endymion. Lord Montfort quite embraced this proposal. It had never
occurred to him. He had no idea that Ferrars contemplated parliament.
It was a capital idea. He could not bear reading the parliament reports,
and yet he liked to know a little of what was going on. Now, when
anything happened of interest, he should have it all from the
fountain-head. "And you must tell him, Berengaria," he continued, "that
he can come and dine here whenever he likes, in boots. It is a settled
thing that M.P.'s may dine in boots. I think it a most capital plan.
Besides, I know it will please you. You will have your own member."

Then he rang the bell, and begged Lady Montfort to remain and see the
agent. Nothing like the present time for business. They would make all
the arrangements at once, and he would ask the agent to dine with them
to-day, and so meet Mr. Ferrars.

So the agent entered, and it was all explained to him, calmly and
clearly, briefly by my lord, but with fervent amplification by his
charming wife. The agent several times attempted to make a remark, but
for some time he was unsuccessful; Lady Montfort was so anxious that he
should know all about Mr. Ferrars, the most rising young man of the day,
the son of the Right Honourable William Pitt Ferrars, who, had he not
died, would probably have been prime minister, and so on.

"Mr. Ferrars seems to be everything we could wish," said the agent, "and
as you say, my lady, though he is young, so was Mr. Pitt, and I have
little doubt, after what you say, my lady, that it is very likely he
will in time become as eminent. But what I came up to town particularly
to impress upon my lord is, that if Mr. Odo will not stand again, we are
in a very great difficulty."

"Difficulty about what?" said Lady Montfort impatiently.

"Well, my lady, if Mr. Odo stands, there is great respect for him. The
other side would not disturb him. He has been member for some years,
and my lord has been very liberal. But the truth is, if Mr. Odo does not
stand, we cannot command the seat."

"Not command the seat! Then our interest must have been terribly
neglected."

"I hope not, my lady," said the agent. "The fact is, the property is
against us."

"I thought it was all my lord's."

"No, my lady; the strong interest in the borough is my Lord Beaumaris.
It used to be about equal, but all the new buildings are in Lord
Beaumaris' part of the borough. It would not have signified if things
had remained as in the old days. The grandfather of the present lord was
a Whig, and always supported the Montforts, but that's all changed.
The present earl has gone over to the other side, and, I hear, is very
strong in his views."

Lady Montfort had to communicate all this to Endymion. "You will meet
the agent at dinner, but he did not give me a ray of hope. Go now;
indeed, I have kept you too long. I am so stricken that I can scarcely
command my senses. Only think of our borough being stolen from us by
Lord Beaumaris! I have brought you no luck, Endymion; I have done you
nothing but mischief; I am miserable. If you had attached yourself to
Lady Beaumaris, you might have been a member of parliament."



CHAPTER LXIX

In the meantime, the great news being no longer a secret, the utmost
excitement prevailed in the world of politics. The Tories had quite made
up their minds that the ministry would have resigned, and were sanguine,
under such circumstances, of the result. The parliament, which the
ministry was going to dissolve, was one which had been elected by
their counsel and under their auspices. It was unusual, almost
unconstitutional, thus to terminate the body they had created.
Nevertheless, the Whigs, never too delicate in such matters, thought
they had a chance, and determined not to lose it. One thing they
immediately succeeded in, and that was, frightening their opponents.
A dissolution with the Tories in opposition was not pleasant to that
party; but a dissolution with a cry of "Cheap bread!" amid a partially
starving population, was not exactly the conjuncture of providential
circumstances which had long been watched and wished for, and cherished
and coddled and proclaimed and promised, by the energetic army of
Conservative wire-pullers.

Mr. Tadpole was very restless at the crowded Carlton, speaking to
every one, unhesitatingly answering every question, alike cajoling and
dictatorial, and yet, all the time, watching the door of the morning
room with unquiet anxiety.

"They will never be able to get up the steam, Sir Thomas; the Chartists
are against them. The Chartists will never submit to anything that is
cheap. In spite of their wild fancies, they are real John Bulls. I
beg your pardon, but I see a gentleman I must speak to," and he rushed
towards the door as Waldershare entered.

"Well, what is your news?" asked Mr. Tadpole, affecting unconcern.

"I come here for news," said Waldershare. "This is my Academus, and you,
Tadpole, are my Plato."

"Well, if you want the words of a wise man, listen to me. If I had a
great friend, which Mr. Waldershare probably has, who wants a great
place, these are times in which such a man should show his power."

"I have a great friend whom I wish to have a great place," said
Waldershare, "and I think he is quite ready to show his power, if he
knew exactly how to exercise it."

"What I am saying to you is not known to a single person in this room,
and to only one out of it, but you may depend upon what I say. Lord
Montfort's cousin retires from Northborough to sit for the county. They
think they can nominate his successor as a matter of course. A delusion;
your friend Lord Beaumaris can command the seat."

"Well, I think you can depend on Beaumaris," said Waldershare, much
interested.

"I depend upon you," said Mr. Tadpole, with a glance of affectionate
credulity. "The party already owes you much. This will be a crowning
service."

"Beaumaris is rather a queer man to deal with," said Waldershare; "he
requires gentle handling."

"All the world says he consults you on everything."

"All the world, as usual, is wrong," said Waldershare. "Lord Beaumaris
consults no one except Lady Beaumaris."

"Well then we shall do," rejoined Mr. Tadpole triumphantly. "Our man
that I want him to return is a connection of Lady Beaumaris, a Mr.
Rodney, very anxious to get into parliament, and rich. I do not know who
he is exactly, but it is a good name; say a cousin of Lord Rodney until
the election is over, and then they may settle it as they like."

"A Mr. Rodney," said Waldershare musingly; "well, if I hear anything I
will let you know. I suppose you are in pretty good spirits?"

"I should like a little sunshine. A cold spring, and now a wet summer,
and the certainty of a shocking harvest combined with manufacturing
distress spreading daily, is not pleasant, but the English are a
discriminating people. They will hardly persuade them that Sir Robert
has occasioned the bad harvests."

"The present men are clearly responsible for all that," said
Waldershare.

There was a reception at Lady Roehampton's this evening. Very few Tories
attended it, but Lady Beaumaris was there. She never lost an opportunity
of showing by her presence how grateful she was to Myra for the kindness
which had greeted Imogene when she first entered society. Endymion,
as was his custom when the opportunity offered, rather hung about
Lady Beaumaris. She always welcomed him with unaffected cordiality and
evident pleasure. He talked to her, and then gave way to others, and
then came and talked to her again, and then he proposed to take her to
have a cup of tea, and she assented to the proposal with a brightening
eye and a bewitching smile.

"I suppose your friends are very triumphant, Lady Beaumaris?" said
Endymion.

"Yes; they naturally are very excited. I confess I am not myself."

"But you ought to be," said Endymion. "You will have an immense
position. I should think Lord Beaumaris would have any office he chose,
and yours will be the chief house of the party."

"I do not know that Lord Beaumaris would care to have office, and I
hardly think any office would suit him. As for myself, I am obliged to
be ambitious, but I have no ambition, or rather I would say, I think I
was happier when we all seemed to be on the same side."

"Well, those were happy days," said Endymion, "and these are happy days.
And few things make me happier than to see Lady Beaumaris admired and
appreciated by every one."

"I wish you would not call me Lady Beaumaris. That may be, and indeed
perhaps is, necessary in society, but when we are alone, I prefer being
called by a name which once you always and kindly used."

"I shall always love the name," said Endymion, "and," he added with some
hesitation, "shall always love her who bears it."

She involuntarily pressed his arm, though very slightly; and then in
rather a hushed and hurried tone she said, "They were talking about you
at dinner to-day. I fear this change of government, if there is to be
one, will be injurious to you--losing your private secretaryship to Mr.
Wilton, and perhaps other things?"

"Fortune of war," said Endymion; "we must bear these haps. But the truth
is, I think it is not unlikely that there may be a change in my life
which may be incompatible with retaining my secretaryship under any
circumstances."

"You are not going to be married?" she said quickly.

"Not the slightest idea of such an event."

"You are too young to marry."

"Well, I am older than you."

"Yes; but men and women are different in that matter. Besides, you have
too many fair friends to marry, at least at present. What would Lady
Roehampton say?"

"Well, I have sometimes thought my sister wished me to marry."

"But then there are others who are not sisters, but who are equally
interested in your welfare," said Lady Beaumaris, looking up into his
face with her wondrous eyes; but the lashes were so long, that it was
impossible to decide whether the glance was an anxious one or one half
of mockery.

"Well, I do not think I shall ever marry," said Endymion. "The change in
my life I was alluding to is one by no means of a romantic character. I
have some thoughts of trying my luck on the hustings, and getting into
parliament."

"That would be delightful," said Lady Beaumaris. "Do you know that it
has been one of my dreams that you should be in parliament?"

"Ah! dearest Imogene, for you said I might call you Imogene, you must
take care what you say. Remember we are unhappily in different camps.
You must not wish me success in my enterprise; quite the reverse; it
is more than probable that you will have to exert all your influence
against me; yes, canvass against me, and wear hostile ribbons, and use
all your irresistible charms to array electors against me, or to detach
them from my ranks."

"Even in jest, you ought not to say such things," said Lady Beaumaris.

"But I am not in jest, I am in dreadful earnest. Only this morning I was
offered a seat, which they told me was secure; but when I inquired into
all the circumstances, I found the interest of Lord Beaumaris so great,
that it would be folly for me to attempt it."

"What seat?" inquired Lady Beaumaris in a low voice.

"Northborough," said Endymion, "now held by Lord Montfort's cousin, who
is to come in for his county. The seat was offered to me, and I was told
I was to be returned without opposition."

"Lady Montfort offered it to you?" asked Imogene.

"She interested herself for me, and Lord Montfort approved the
suggestion. It was described to me as a family seat, but when I looked
into the matter, I found that Lord Beaumaris was more powerful than Lord
Montfort."

"I thought that Lady Montfort was irresistible," said Imogene; "she
carries all before her in society."

"Society and politics have much to do with each other, but they are not
identical. In the present case, Lady Montfort is powerless."

"And have you formally abandoned the seat?" inquired Lady Beaumaris.

"Not formally abandoned it; that was not necessary, but I have dismissed
it from my mind, and for some time have been trying to find another
seat, but hitherto without success. In short, in these days it is no
longer possible to step into parliament as if you were stepping into a
club."

"If I could do anything, however little?" said Imogene. "Perhaps Lady
Montfort would not like me to interfere?"

"Why not?"

"Oh! I do not know," and then after some hesitation she added, "Is she
jealous?"

"Jealous! why should she be jealous?"

"Perhaps she has had no cause."

"You know Lady Montfort. She is a woman of quick and brilliant feeling,
the best of friends and a dauntless foe. Her kindness to me from the
first moment I made her acquaintance has been inexpressible, and I
sincerely believe she is most anxious to serve me. But our party is not
very popular at present; there is no doubt the country is against us. It
is tired of us. I feel myself the general election will be disastrous.
Liberal seats are not abundant just now, quite the reverse, and though
Lady Montfort has done more than any one could under the circumstances,
I feel persuaded, though you think her irresistible, she will not
succeed."

"I hardly know her," said Imogene. "The world considers her
irresistible, and I think you do. Nevertheless, I wish she could
have had her way in this matter, and I think it quite a pity that
Northborough has turned out not to be a family seat."



CHAPTER LXX

There was a dinner-party at Mr. Neuchatel's, to which none were asked
but the high government clique. It was the last dinner before the
dissolution: "The dinner of consolation, or hope," said Lord Roehampton.
Lady Montfort was to be one of the guests. She was dressed, and her
carriage in the courtyard, and she had just gone in to see her lord
before she departed.

Lord Montfort was extremely fond of jewels, and held that you could not
see them to advantage, or fairly judge of their water or colour, except
on a beautiful woman. When his wife was in grand toilette, and he was
under the same roof, he liked her to call on him in her way to her
carriage, that he might see her flashing rivieres and tiaras, the lustre
of her huge pearls, and the splendour of her emeralds and sapphires and
rubies.

"Well, Berengaria," he said in a playful tone, "you look divine. Never
dine out again in a high dress. It distresses me. Bertolini was the only
man who ever caught the tournure of your shoulders, and yet I am not
altogether satisfied with his work. So, you are going to dine with that
good Neuchatel. Remember me kindly to him. There are few men I like
better. He is so sensible, knows so much, and so much of what is going
on. I should have liked very much to have dined with him, but he is
aware of my unfortunate state. Besides, my dear, if I were better
I should not have enough strength for his dinners. They are really
banquets; I cannot stand those ortolans stuffed with truffles and those
truffles stuffed with ortolans. Perhaps he will come and dine with us
some day off a joint."

"The Queen of Mesopotamia will be here next week, Simon, and we
must really give her what you call a joint, and then we can ask the
Neuchatels and a few other people."

"I was in hopes the dissolution would have carried everybody away," said
Lord Montfort rather woefully. "I wish the Queen of Mesopotamia were a
candidate for some borough; I think she would rather like it."

"Well, we could not return her, Simon; do not touch on the subject. But
what have you got to amuse to-day?"

"Oh! I shall do very well. I have got the head of the French detective
police to dine with me, and another man or two. Besides, I have got
here a most amusing book, 'Topsy Turvy;' it comes out in numbers. I like
books that come out in numbers, as there is a little suspense, and you
cannot deprive yourself of all interest by glancing at the last page of
the last volume. I think you must read 'Topsy Turvy,' Berengaria. I am
mistaken if you do not hear of it. It is very cynical, which authors,
who know a little of the world, are apt to be, and everything is
exaggerated, which is another of their faults when they are only a
trifle acquainted with manners. A little knowledge of the world is a
very dangerous thing, especially in literature. But it is clever, and
the man writes a capital style; and style is everything, especially in
fiction."

"And what is the name of the writer, Simon?"

"You never heard of it; I never did; but my secretary, who lives much in
Bohemia, and is a member of the Cosmopolitan and knows everything, tells
me he has written some things before, but they did not succeed. His name
is St. Barbe. I should like to ask him to dinner if I knew how to get at
him."

"Well, adieu! Simon," and, with an agitated heart, though apparent
calmness, she touched his forehead with her lips. "I expect an
unsatisfactory dinner."

"Adieu! and if you meet poor Ferrars, which I dare say you will, tell
him to keep up his spirits. The world is a wheel, and it will all come
round right."

The dinner ought not to have been unsatisfactory, for though there was
no novelty among the guests, they were all clever and distinguished
persons and united by entire sympathy. Several of the ministers were
there, and the Roehamptons, and Mr. Sidney Wilton, and Endymion was
also a guest. But the general tone was a little affected and unnatural;
forced gaiety, and a levity which displeased Lady Montfort, who fancied
she was unhappy because the country was going to be ruined, but whose
real cause of dissatisfaction at the bottom of her heart was the affair
of "the family seat." Her hero, Lord Roehampton, particularly did not
please her to-day. She thought him flippant and in bad taste, merely
because he would not look dismal and talk gloomily.

"I think we shall do very well," he said. "What cry can be better than
that of 'Cheap bread?' It gives one an appetite at once."

"But the Corn-Law League says your bread will not be cheap," said
Melchior Neuchatel.

"I wonder whether the League has really any power in the
constituencies," said Lord Roehampton. "I doubt it. They may have in
time, but then in the interval trade will revive. I have just been
reading Mr. Thornberry's speech. We shall hear more of that man. You
will not be troubled about any of your seats?" he said, in a lower tone
of sympathy, addressing Mrs. Neuchatel, who was his immediate neighbour.

"Our seats?" said Mrs. Neuchatel, as if waking from a dream. "Oh, I know
nothing about them, nor do I understand why there is a dissolution. I
trust that parliament will not be dissolved without voting the money for
the observation of the transit of Venus."

"I think the Roman Catholic vote will carry us through," said a
minister.

"Talking of Roman Catholics," said Mr. Wilton, "is it true that
Penruddock has gone over to Rome?"

"No truth in it," replied a colleague. "He has gone to Rome--there is
no doubt of that, and he has been there some time, but only for
distraction. He had overworked himself."

"He might have been a Dean if he had been a practical man," whispered
Lady Montfort to Mr. Neuchatel, "and on the high road to a bishopric."

"That is what we want, Lady Montfort," said Mr. Neuchatel; "we want
a few practical men. If we had a practical man as Chancellor of the
Exchequer, we should not be in the scrape in which we now are."

"It is not likely that Penruddock will leave the Church with a change
of government possibly impending. We could do nothing for him with his
views, but he will wait for Peel."

"Oh! Peel will never stand those high-fliers. He put the Church into a
Lay Commission during his last government."

"Penruddock will never give up Anglicanism while there is a chance of
becoming a Laud. When that chance vanishes, trust my word, Penruddock
will make his bow to the Vatican."

"Well, I must say," said Lord Roehampton, "if I were a clergyman I
should be a Roman Catholic."

"Then you could not marry. What a compliment to Lady Roehampton!"

"Nay; it is because I could not marry that I am not a clergyman."

Endymion had taken Adriana down to dinner. She looked very well, and was
more talkative than usual.

"I fear it will be a very great confusion--this general election," she
said. "Papa was telling us that you think of being a candidate."

"I am a candidate, but without a seat to captivate at present," said
Endymion; "but I am not without hopes of making some arrangement."

"Well, you must tell me what your colours are."

"And will you wear them?"

"Most certainly; and I will work you a banner if you be victorious."

"I think I must win with such a prospect."

"I hope you will win in everything."

When the ladies retired, Berengaria came and sate by the side of Lady
Roehampton.

"What a dreary dinner!" she said.

"Do you think so?"

"Well, perhaps it was my own fault. Perhaps I am not in good cue, but
everything seems to me to go wrong."

"Things sometimes do go wrong, but then they get right."

"Well, I do not think anything will ever get right with me."

"Dear Lady Montfort, how can you say such things? You who have, and have
always had, the world at your feet--and always will have."

"I do not know what you mean by having the world at my feet. It seems
to me that I have no power whatever--I can do nothing. I am vexed about
this business of your brother. Our people are so stupid. They have no
resource. When I go to them and ask for a seat, I expect a seat, as I
would a shawl at Howell and James' if I asked for one. Instead of that
they only make difficulties. What our party wants is a Mr. Tadpole; he
out-manoeuvres them in every corner."

"Well, I shall be deeply disappointed--deeply pained," said Lady
Roehampton, "if Endymion is not in this parliament, but if we fail I
will not utterly despair. I will continue to do what I have done all my
life, exert my utmost will and power to advance him."

"I thought I had will and power," said Lady Montfort, "but the conceit
is taken out of me. Your brother was to me a source of great interest,
from the first moment that I knew him. His future was an object in life,
and I thought I could mould it. What a mistake! Instead of making his
fortune I have only dissipated his life."

"You have been to him the kindest and the most valuable of friends, and
he feels it."

"It is no use being kind, and I am valuable to no one. I often think if
I disappeared to-morrow no one would miss me."

"You are in a morbid mood, dear lady. To-morrow perhaps everything will
be right, and then you will feel that you are surrounded by devoted
friends, and by a husband who adores you."

Lady Montfort gave a scrutinising glance at Lady Roehampton as she said
this, then shook her head. "Ah! there it is, dear Myra. You judge from
your own happiness; you do not know Lord Montfort. You know how I love
him, but I am perfectly convinced he prefers my letters to my society."

"You see what it is to be a Madame de Sevigne," said Lady Roehampton,
trying to give a playful tone to the conversation.

"You jest," said Lady Montfort; "I am quite serious. No one can deceive
me; would that they could! I have the fatal gift of reading persons, and
penetrating motives, however deep or complicated their character, and
what I tell you about Lord Montfort is unhappily too true."

In the meantime, while this interesting conversation was taking place,
the gentleman who had been the object of Lady Montfort's eulogium, the
gentleman who always out-manoeuvred her friends at every corner, was,
though it was approaching midnight, walking up and down Carlton Terrace
with an agitated and indignant countenance, and not alone.

"I tell you, Mr. Waldershare, I know it; I have it almost from Lord
Beaumaris himself; he has declined to support our man, and no doubt will
give his influence to the enemy."

"I do not believe that Lord Beaumaris has made any engagement whatever."

"A pretty state of affairs!" exclaimed Mr. Tadpole. "I do not know what
the world has come to. Here are gentlemen expecting high places in the
Household, and under-secretaryships of state, and actually giving away
our seats to our opponents."

"There is some family engagement about this seat between the Houses of
Beaumaris and Montfort, and Lord Beaumaris, who is a young man, and
who does not know as much about these things as you and I do, naturally
wants not to make a mistake. But he has promised nothing and nobody.
I know, I might almost say I saw the letter, that he wrote to Lord
Montfort this day, asking for an interview to-morrow morning on the
matter, and Lord Montfort has given him an appointment for to-morrow.
This I know."

"Well, I must leave it to you," said Mr. Tadpole. "You must remember
what we are fighting for. The constitution is at stake."

"And the Church," said Waldershare.

"And the landed interest, you may rely upon it," said Mr. Tadpole.

"And your Lordship of the Treasury _in posse_, Tadpole. Truly it is a
great stake."



CHAPTER LXXI

The interview between the heads of the two great houses of Montfort and
Beaumaris, on which the fate of a ministry might depend, for it should
always be recollected that it was only by a majority of one that Sir
Robert Peel had necessitated the dissolution of parliament, was not
carried on exactly in the spirit and with the means which would have
occurred to and been practised by the race of Tadpoles and Tapers.

Lord Beaumaris was a very young man, handsome, extremely shy, and one
who had only very recently mixed with the circle in which he was born.
It was under the influence of Imogene that, in soliciting an interview
with Lord Montfort, he had taken for him an unusual, not to say
unprecedented step. He had conjured up to himself in Lord Montfort the
apparition of a haughty Whig peer, proud of his order, prouder of his
party, and not over-prejudiced in favour of one who had quitted
those sacred ranks, freezing with arrogant reserve and condescending
politeness. In short, Lord Beaumaris was extremely nervous when, ushered
by many servants through many chambers, there came forward to receive
him the most sweetly mannered gentleman alive, who not only gave him
his hand, but retained his guest's, saying, "We are a sort of cousins, I
believe, and ought to have been acquainted before, but you know perhaps
my wretched state," though what that was nobody exactly did know,
particularly as Lord Montfort was sometimes seen wading in streams
breast-high while throwing his skilful line over the rushing waters. "I
remember your grandfather," he said, "and with good cause. He pouched me
at Harrow, and it was the largest pouch I ever had. One does not forget
the first time one had a five-pound note."

And then when Lord Beaumaris, blushing and with much hesitation, had
stated the occasion of his asking for the interview that they might
settle together about the representation of Northborough in harmony with
the old understanding between the families which he trusted would always
be maintained, Lord Montfort assured him that he was personally obliged
to him by his always supporting Odo, regretted that Odo would retire,
and then said if Lord Beaumaris had any brother, cousin, or friend to
bring forward, he need hardly say Lord Beaumaris might count upon him.
"I am a Whig," he continued, "and so was your father, but I am not
particularly pleased with the sayings and doings of my people. Between
ourselves, I think they have been in a little too long, and if they do
anything very strong, if, for instance, they give office to O'Connell,
I should not be at all surprised if I were myself to sit on the cross
benches."

It seems there was no member of the Beaumaris family who wished at
this juncture to come forward, and being assured of this, Lord Montfort
remarked there was a young man of promise who much wished to enter the
House of Commons, not unknown, he believed, to Lord Beaumaris, and that
was Mr. Ferrars. He was the son of a distinguished man, now departed,
who in his day had been a minister of state. Lord Montfort was quite
ready to support Mr. Ferrars, if Lord Beaumaris approved of the
selection, but he placed himself entirely in his hands.

Lord Beaumaris, blushing, said he quite approved of the selection; knew
Mr. Ferrars very well, and liked him very much; and if Lord Montfort
sanctioned it, would speak to Mr. Ferrars himself. He believed Mr.
Ferrars was a Liberal, but he agreed with Lord Montfort, that in these
days gentlemen must be all of the same opinion if not on the same side,
and so on. And then they talked of fishing appropriately to a book of
very curious flies that was on the table, and they agreed if possible
to fish together in some famous waters that Lord Beaumaris had in
Hampshire, and then, as he was saying farewell, Lord Montfort added,
"Although I never pay visits, because really in my wretched state I
cannot, there is no reason why our wives should not know each other.
Will you permit Lady Montfort to have the honour of paying her respects
to Lady Beaumaris?"

Talleyrand or Metternich could not have conducted an interview more
skilfully. But these were just the things that Lord Montfort did not
dislike doing. His great good nature was not disturbed by a single
inconvenient circumstance, and he enjoyed the sense of his adroitness.

The same day the cards of Lord and Lady Montfort were sent to Piccadilly
Terrace, and on the next day the cards of Lord and Lady Beaumaris were
returned to Montfort House. And on the following day, Lady Montfort,
accompanied by Lady Roehampton, would find Lady Beaumaris at home, and
after a charming visit, in which Lady Montfort, though natural to the
last degree, displayed every quality which could fascinate even a woman,
when she put her hand in that of Imogene to say farewell, added, "I am
delighted to find that we are cousins."

A few days after this interview, parliament was dissolved. It was the
middle of a wet June, and the season received its _coup de grace_.
Although Endymion had no rival, and apparently no prospect of a contest,
his labours as a candidate were not slight. The constituency was
numerous, and every member of it expected to be called upon. To each Mr.
Ferrars had to expound his political views, and to receive from each a
cordial assurance of a churlish criticism. All this he did and endured,
accompanied by about fifty of the principal inhabitants, members of his
committee, who insisted on never leaving his side, and prompting him
at every new door which he entered with contradictory reports of the
political opinions of the indweller, or confidential informations how
they were to be managed and addressed.

The principal and most laborious incidents of the day were festivals
which they styled luncheons, when the candidate and the ambulatory
committee were quartered on some principal citizen with an elaborate
banquet of several courses, and in which Mr. Ferrars' health was always
pledged in sparkling bumpers. After the luncheon came two or three
more hours of what was called canvassing; then, in a state of horrible
repletion, the fortunate candidate, who had no contest, had to dine with
another principal citizen, with real turtle soup, and gigantic turbots,
_entrees_ in the shape of volcanic curries, and rigid venison, sent as
a compliment by a neighbouring peer. This last ceremony was necessarily
hurried, as Endymion had every night to address in some ward a body of
the electors.

When this had been going on for a few days, the borough was suddenly
placarded with posting bills in colossal characters of true blue,
warning the Conservative electors not to promise their votes, as a
distinguished candidate of the right sort would certainly come forward.
At the same time there was a paragraph in a local journal that a member
of a noble family, illustrious in the naval annals of the country,
would, if sufficiently supported, solicit the suffrages of the
independent electors.

"We think, by the allusion to the navy, that it must be Mr. Hood of
Acreley," said Lord Beaumaris' agent to Mr. Ferrars, "but he has not
the ghost of a chance. I will ride over and see him in the course of the
day."

This placard was of course Mr. Tadpole's last effort, but that worthy
gentleman soon forgot his mortification about Northborough in the
general triumph of his party. The Whigs were nowhere, though Mr. Ferrars
was returned without opposition, and in the month of August, still
wondering at the rapid, strange, and even mysterious incidents, that had
so suddenly and so swiftly changed his position and prospects in life,
took his seat in that House in whose galleries he had so long humbly
attended as the private secretary of a cabinet minister.

His friends were still in office, though the country had sent up a
majority of ninety against them, and Endymion took his seat behind the
Treasury bench, and exactly behind Lord Roehampton. The debate on the
address was protracted for three nights, and then they divided at three
o'clock in the morning, and then all was over. Lord Roehampton, who had
vindicated the ministry with admirable vigour and felicity, turned round
to Endymion, and smiling said in the sweetest tone, "I did not enlarge
on our greatest feat, namely, that we had governed the country for two
years without a majority. Peel would never have had the pluck to do
that."

Notwithstanding the backsliding of Lord Beaumaris and the unprincipled
conduct of Mr. Waldershare, they were both rewarded as the latter
gentleman projected--Lord Beaumaris accepted a high post in the
Household, and Mr. Waldershare was appointed Under-Secretary of State
for Foreign Affairs. Tadpole was a little glum about it, but it was
inevitable. "The fact is," as the world agreed, "Lady Beaumaris is the
only Tory woman. They have nobody who can receive except her."

The changes in the House of Commons were still greater than those in
the administration. Never were so many new members, and Endymion watched
them, during the first days, and before the debate on the address,
taking the oaths at the table in batches with much interest. Mr.
Bertie Tremaine was returned, and his brother, Mr. Tremaine Bertie. Job
Thornberry was member for a manufacturing town, with which he was not
otherwise connected. Hortensius was successful, and Mr. Vigo for a
metropolitan borough, but what pleased Endymion more than anything was
the return of his valued friend Trenchard, who a short time before had
acceded to the paternal estate; all these gentlemen were Liberals, and
were destined to sit on the same side of the House as Endymion.

After the fatal vote, the Whigs all left town. Society in general had
been greatly dispersed, but parliament had to remain sitting until
October.

"We are going to Princedown," Lady Montfort said one day to Endymion,
"and we had counted on seeing you there, but I have been thinking much
of your position since, and I am persuaded, that we must sacrifice
pleasure to higher objects. This is really a crisis in your life, and
much, perhaps everything, depends on your not making a mistake now.
What I want to see you is a great statesman. This is a political economy
parliament, both sides alike thinking of the price of corn and all that.
Finance and commerce are everybody's subjects, and are most convenient
to make speeches about for men who cannot speak French and who have
had no education. Real politics are the possession and distribution of
power. I want to see you give your mind to foreign affairs. There
you will have no rivals. There are a great many subjects which Lord
Roehampton cannot take up, but which you could very properly, and you
will have always the benefit of his counsel, and, when necessary, his
parliamentary assistance; but foreign affairs are not to be mastered
by mere reading. Bookworms do not make chancellors of state. You must
become acquainted with the great actors in the great scene. There is
nothing like personal knowledge of the individuals who control the high
affairs. That has made the fortune of Lord Roehampton. What I think you
ought to do, without doubt ought to do, is to take advantage of this
long interval before the meeting of parliament, and go to Paris. Paris
is now the Capital of Diplomacy. It is not the best time of the year to
go there, but you will meet a great many people of the diplomatic world,
and if the opportunity offers, you can vary the scene, and go to some
baths which princes and ministers frequent. The Count of Ferroll is now
at Paris, and minister for his court. You know him; that is well. But
he is my greatest friend, and, as you know, we habitually correspond. He
will do everything for you, I am sure, for my sake. It is not pleasant
to be separated; I do not wish to conceal that; I should have enjoyed
your society at Princedown, but I am doing right, and you will some day
thank me for it. We must soften the pang of separation by writing to
each other every day, so when we meet again it will only be as if we had
parted yesterday. Besides--who knows?--I may run over myself to Paris in
the winter. My lord always liked Paris; the only place he ever did, but
I am not very sanguine he will go; he is so afraid of being asked to
dinner by our ambassador."



CHAPTER LXXII

In all lives, the highest and the humblest, there is a crisis in the
formation of character, and in the bent of the disposition. It comes
from many causes, and from some which on the surface are apparently even
trivial. It may be a book, a speech, a sermon; a man or a woman; a
great misfortune or a burst of prosperity. But the result is the same; a
sudden revelation to ourselves of our secret purpose, and a recognition
of our perhaps long shadowed, but now masterful convictions.

A crisis of this kind occurred to Endymion the day when he returned to
his chambers, after having taken the oaths and his seat in the House of
Commons. He felt the necessity of being alone. For nearly the last three
months he had been the excited actor in a strange and even mysterious
drama. There had been for him no time to reflect; all he could aim
at was to comprehend, and if possible control, the present and urgent
contingency; he had been called upon, almost unceasingly, to do or to
say something sudden and unexpected; and it was only now, when the
crest of the ascent had been reached, that he could look around him and
consider the new world opening to his gaze.

The greatest opportunity that can be offered to an Englishman was now
his--a seat in the House of Commons. It was his almost in the first
bloom of youth, and yet after advantageous years of labour and political
training, and it was combined with a material independence on which he
never could have counted. A love of power, a passion for distinction, a
noble pride, which had been native to his early disposition, but which
had apparently been crushed by the enormous sorrows and misfortunes of
his childhood, and which had vanished, as it were, before the sweetness
of that domestic love which had been the solace of his adversity, now
again stirred their dim and mighty forms in his renovated, and, as it
were, inspired consciousness. "If this has happened at twenty-two,"
thought Endymion, "what may not occur if the average life of man be
allotted to me? At any rate, I will never think of anything else. I
have a purpose in life, and I will fulfil it. It is a charm that its
accomplishment would be the most grateful result to the two beings I
most love in the world."

So when Lady Montfort shortly after opened her views to Endymion as to
his visiting Paris, and his purpose in so doing, the seeds were thrown
on a willing soil, and he embraced her counsels with the deepest
interest. His intimacy with the Count of Ferroll was the completing
event of this epoch of his life.

Their acquaintance had been slight in England, for after the Montfort
Tournament the Count had been appointed to Paris, where he was required;
but he received Endymion with a cordiality which contrasted with his
usual demeanour, which, though frank, was somewhat cynical.

"This is not a favourable time to visit Paris," he said, "so far as
society is concerned. There is some business stirring in the diplomatic
world, which has re-assembled the fraternity for the moment, and the
King is at St. Cloud, but you may make some acquaintances which may be
desirable, and at any rate look about you and clear the ground for the
coming season. I do not despair of our dear friend coming over in the
winter. It is one of the hopes that keep me alive. What a woman! You
may count yourself fortunate in having such a friend. I do. I am not
particularly fond of female society. Women chatter too much. But I
prefer the society of a first-rate woman to that of any man; and Lady
Montfort is a first-rate woman--I think the greatest since Louise of
Savoy; infinitely beyond the Princess d'Ursins."

The "business that was then stirring in the diplomatic world," at a
season when the pleasures of Parisian society could not distract him,
gave Endymion a rare opportunity of studying that singular class of
human beings which is accustomed to consider states and nations as
individuals, and speculate on their quarrels and misunderstandings, and
the remedies which they require, in a tongue peculiar to themselves, and
in language which often conveys a meaning exactly opposite to that which
it seems to express. Diplomacy is hospitable, and a young Englishman
of graceful mien, well introduced, and a member of the House of
Commons--that awful assembly which produces those dreaded blue books
which strike terror in the boldest of foreign statesmen--was not only
received, but courted, in the interesting circle in which Endymion found
himself.


There he encountered men grey with the fame and wisdom of half a century
of deep and lofty action, men who had struggled with the first Napoleon,
and had sat in the Congress of Vienna; others, hardly less celebrated,
who had been suddenly borne to high places by the revolutionary wave
of 1830, and who had justly retained their exalted posts when so many
competitors with an equal chance had long ago, with equal justice,
subsided into the obscurity from which they ought never to have emerged.
Around these chief personages were others not less distinguished by
their abilities, but a more youthful generation, who knew how to wait,
and were always prepared or preparing for the inevitable occasion when
it arrived--fine and trained writers, who could interpret in sentences
of graceful adroitness the views of their chiefs; or sages in
precedents, walking dictionaries of diplomacy, and masters of every
treaty; and private secretaries reading human nature at a glance, and
collecting every shade of opinion for the use and guidance of their
principals.

Whatever their controversies in the morning, their critical interviews
and their secret alliances, all were smiles and graceful badinage at
the banquet and the reception; as if they had only come to Paris to show
their brilliant uniforms, their golden fleeces, and their grand crosses,
and their broad ribbons with more tints than the iris.

"I will not give them ten years," said the Count of Ferroll, lighting
his cigarette, and addressing Endymion on their return from one of these
assemblies; "I sometimes think hardly five."

"But where will the blow come from?"

"Here; there is no movement in Europe except in France, and here it will
always be a movement of subversion."

"A pretty prospect!"

"The sooner you realise it the better. The system here is supported by
journalists and bankers; two influential classes, but the millions care
for neither; rather, I should say, dislike both."

"Will the change affect Europe?"

"Inevitably. You rightly say Europe, for that is a geographical
expression. There is no State in Europe; I exclude your own country,
which belongs to every division of the globe, and is fast becoming more
commercial than political, and I exclude Russia, for she is essentially
oriental, and her future will be entirely the East."

"But there is Germany!"

"Where? I cannot find it on the maps. Germany is divided into various
districts, and when there is a war, they are ranged on different
sides. Notwithstanding our reviews and annual encampments, Germany is
practically as weak as Italy. We have some kingdoms who are allowed
to play at being first-rate powers; but it is mere play. They no more
command events than the King of Naples or the Duke of Modena."

"Then is France periodically to overrun Europe?"

"So long as it continues to be merely Europe."

A close intimacy occurred between Endymion and the Count of Ferroll. He
not only became a permanent guest at the official residence, but when
the Conference broke up, the Count invited Endymion to be his companion
to some celebrated baths, where they would meet not only many of his
late distinguished colleagues, but their imperial and royal masters,
seeking alike health and relaxation at this famous rendezvous.

"You will find it of the first importance in public life," said the
Count of Ferroll, "to know personally those who are carrying on
the business of the world; so much depends on the character of an
individual, his habits of thought, his prejudices, his superstitions,
his social weaknesses, his health. Conducting affairs without this
advantage is, in effect, an affair of stationery; it is pens and paper
who are in communication, not human beings."

The brother-in-law of Lord Roehampton was a sort of personage. It was
very true that distinguished man was no longer minister, but he had been
minister for a long time, and had left a great name. Foreigners rarely
know more than one English minister at a time, but they compensated for
their ignorance of the aggregate body by even exaggerating the qualities
of the individual with whom they are acquainted. Lord Roehampton had
conducted the affairs of his country always in a courteous, but still in
a somewhat haughty spirit. He was easy and obliging, and conciliatory in
little matters, but where the credit, or honour, or large interests
of England were concerned, he acted with conscious authority. On the
continent of Europe, though he sometimes incurred the depreciation of
the smaller minds, whose self-love he may not have sufficiently spared,
by the higher spirits he was feared and admired, and they knew, when he
gave his whole soul to an affair, that they were dealing with a master.

Endymion was presented to emperors and kings, and he made his way with
these exalted personages. He found them different from what he had
expected. He was struck by their intimate acquaintance with affairs, and
by the serenity of their judgment. The life was a pleasant as well as
an interesting one. Where there are crowned heads, there are always some
charming women. Endymion found himself in a delightful circle. Long days
and early hours, and a beautiful country, renovate the spirit as well
as the physical frame. Excursions to romantic forests, and visits to
picturesque ruins, in the noon of summer, are enchanting, especially
with princesses for your companions, bright and accomplished. Yet,
notwithstanding some distractions, Endymion never omitted writing to
Lady Montfort every day.



CHAPTER LXXIII

The season at Paris, which commenced towards the end of the year, was
a lively one, and especially interesting to Endymion, who met there a
great many of his friends. After his visit to the baths he had travelled
alone for a few weeks, and saw some famous places of which he had
long heard. A poet was then sitting on the throne of Bavaria, and was
realising his dreams in the creation of an ideal capital. The Black
Forest is a land of romance. He saw Walhalla, too, crowning the Danube
with the genius of Germany, as mighty as the stream itself. Pleasant it
is to wander among the quaint cities here clustering together: Nuremberg
with all its ancient art, imperial Augsburg, and Wurzburg with its
priestly palace, beyond the splendour of many kings. A summer in Suabia
is a great joy.

But what a contrast to the Rue de la Paix, bright and vivacious, in
which he now finds himself, and the companion of the Neuchatel family!
Endymion had only returned to Paris the previous evening, and the
Neuchatels had preceded him by a week; so they had seen everybody and
could tell him everything. Lord and Lady Beaumaris were there, and
Mrs. Rodney their companion, her husband detained in London by some
mysterious business; it was thought a seat in parliament, which Mr.
Tadpole had persuaded him might be secured on a vacancy occasioned by a
successful petition. They had seen the Count of Ferroll, who was going
to dine with them that day, and Endymion was invited to meet him. It was
Adriana's first visit to Paris, and she seemed delighted with it; but
Mrs. Neuchatel preferred the gay capital when it was out of season.
Mr. Neuchatel himself was always in high spirits,--sanguine and
self-satisfied. He was an Orleanist, had always been so, and sympathised
with the apparently complete triumph of his principles--"real liberal
principles, no nonsense; there was more gold in the Bank of France than
in any similar establishment in Europe. After all, wealth is the test
of the welfare of a people, and the test of wealth is the command of
the precious metals. Eh! Mr. Member of Parliament?" And his eye flashed
fire, and he seemed to smack his lips at the very thought and mention of
these delicious circumstances.

They were in a jeweller's shop, and Mrs. Neuchatel was choosing a
trinket for a wedding present. She seemed infinitely distressed. "What
do you think of this, Adriana? It is simple and in good taste. I should
like it for myself, and yet I fear it might not be thought fine enough."

"This is pretty, mamma, and new," and she held before her mother a
bracelet of much splendour.

"Oh, no! that will never do, dear Adriana; they will say we are
purse-proud."

"I am afraid they will always say that, mamma," and she sighed.

"It is a long time since we all separated," said Endymion to Adriana.

"Months! Mr. Sidney Wilton said you were the first runaway. I think you
were quite right. Your new life now will be fresh to you. If you
had remained, it would only have been associated with defeat and
discomfiture."

"I am so happy to be in parliament, that I do not think I could ever
associate such a life with discomfiture."

"Does it make you very happy?" said Adriana, looking at him rather
earnestly.

"Very happy."

"I am glad of that."

The Neuchatels had a house at Paris--one of the fine hotels of the First
Empire. It was inhabited generally by one of the nephews, but it was
always ready to receive them with every luxury and every comfort. But
Mrs. Neuchatel herself particularly disliked Paris, and she rarely
accompanied her husband in his frequent but brief visits to the gay
city. She had yielded on this occasion to the wish of Adriana, whom
she had endeavoured to bring up in a wholesome prejudice against French
taste and fashions.

The dinner to-day was exquisite, in a chamber of many-coloured marbles,
and where there was no marble there was gold, and when the banquet was
over, they repaired to saloons hung with satin of a delicate tint which
exhibited to perfection a choice collection of Greuse and Vanloo. Mr.
Sidney Wilton dined there as well as the Count of Ferroll, some of the
French ministers, and two or three illustrious Orleanist celebrities of
literature, who acknowledged and emulated the matchless conversational
powers of Mrs. Neuchatel. Lord and Lady Beaumaris and Mrs. Rodney
completed the party.

Sylvia was really peerless. She was by birth half a Frenchwoman, and
she compensated for her deficiency in the other moiety, by a series of
exquisite costumes, in which she mingled with the spell-born fashion of
France her own singular genius in dress. She spoke not much, but looked
prettier than ever; a little haughty, and now and then faintly smiling.
What was most remarkable about her was her convenient and complete
want of memory. Sylvia had no past. She could not have found her way to
Warwick Street to save her life. She conversed with Endymion with ease
and not without gratification, but from all she said, you might have
supposed that they had been born in the same sphere, and always lived
in the same sphere, that sphere being one peopled by duchesses and
countesses and gentlemen of fashion and ministers of state.

Lady Beaumaris was different from her sister almost in all respects,
except in beauty, though her beauty even was of a higher style than that
of Mrs. Rodney. Imogene was quite natural, though refined. She had a
fine disposition. All her impulses were good and naturally noble.
She had a greater intellectual range than Sylvia, and was much more
cultivated. This she owed to her friendship with Mr. Waldershare, who
was entirely devoted to her, and whose main object in life was to make
everything contribute to her greatness. "I hope he will come here next
week," she said to Endymion. "I heard from him to-day. He is at Venice.
And he gives me such lovely descriptions of that city, that I shall
never rest till I have seen it and glided in a gondola."

"Well, that you can easily do."

"Not so easily. It will never do to interfere with my lord's
hunting--and when hunting is over there is always something
else--Newmarket, or the House of Lords, or rook-shooting."

"I must say there is something delightful about Paris, which you meet
nowhere else," said Mr. Sidney Wilton to Endymion. "For my part, it has
the same effect on me as a bottle of champagne. When I think of what we
were doing at this time last year--those dreadful November cabinets--I
shudder! By the by, the Count of Ferroll says there is a chance of Lady
Montfort coming here; have you heard anything?"

Endymion knew all about it, but he was too discreet even to pretend to
exclusive information on that head. He thought it might be true, but
supposed it depended on my lord.

"Oh! Montfort will never come. He will bolt at the last moment when the
hall is full of packages. Their very sight will frighten him, and he
will steal down to Princedown and read 'Don Quixote.'"

Sidney Wilton was quite right. Lady Montfort arrived without her lord.
"He threw me over almost as we were getting into the carriage, and I
had quite given it up when dear Lady Roehampton came to my rescue. She
wanted to see her brother, and--here we are."

The arrival of these two great ladies gave a stimulant to gaieties which
were already excessive. The court and the ministers rivalled the balls
and the banquets which were profusely offered by the ambassadors and
bankers. Even the great faubourg relaxed, and its halls of high ceremony
and mysterious splendour were opened to those who in London had extended
to many of their order a graceful and abounding hospitality. It was with
difficulty, however, that they persuaded Lady Montfort to honour with
her presence the embassy of her own court.

"I dined with those people once," she said to Endymion, "but I confess
when I thought of those dear Granvilles, their _entrees_ stuck in my
throat."

There was, however, no lack of diplomatic banquets for the successor
of Louise of Savoy. The splendid hotel of the Count of Ferroll was the
scene of festivals not to be exceeded in Paris, and all in honour of
this wondrous dame. Sometimes they were feasts, sometimes they were
balls, sometimes they were little dinners, consummate and select,
sometimes large receptions, multifarious and amusing. Her pleasure was
asked every morn, and whenever she was disengaged, she issued orders to
his devoted household. His boxes at opera or play were at her constant
disposal; his carriages were at her command, and she rode, in his
society, the most beautiful horses in Paris.

The Count of Ferroll had wished that both ladies should have taken up
their residence at his mansion.

"But I think we had better not," said Lady Montfort to Myra. "After all,
there is nothing like 'my crust of bread and liberty,' and so I think we
had better stay at the Bristol."



CHAPTER LXXIV

"Go and talk to Adriana," said Lady Roehampton to her brother. "It seems
to me you never speak to her."

Endymion looked a little confused.

"Lady Montfort has plenty of friends here," his sister continued. "You
are not wanted, and you should always remember those who have been our
earliest and kindest friends."

There was something in Lady Roehampton's words and look which rather
jarred upon him. Anything like reproach or dissatisfaction from those
lips and from that countenance, sometimes a little anxious but always
affectionate, not to say adoring, confused and even agitated him. He was
tempted to reply, but, exercising successfully the self-control which
was the result rather of his life than of his nature, he said nothing,
and, in obedience to the intimation, immediately approached Miss
Neuchatel.

About this time Waldershare arrived at Paris, full of magnificent dreams
which he called plans. He was delighted with his office; it was much the
most important in the government, and more important because it was not
in the cabinet. Well managed, it was power without responsibility. He
explained to Lady Beaumaris that an Under-Secretary of State for Foreign
Affairs, with his chief in the House of Lords, was "master of the
situation." What the situation was, and what the under-secretary was
to master, he did not yet deign to inform Imogene; but her trust in
Waldershare was implicit, and she repeated to Lord Beaumaris, and
to Mrs. Rodney, with an air of mysterious self-complacency, that Mr.
Waldershare was "master of the situation." Mrs. Rodney fancied that this
was the correct and fashionable title of an under-secretary of
state. Mr. Waldershare was going to make a collection of portraits of
Under-Secretaries for Foreign Affairs whose chiefs had been in the House
of Lords. It would be a collection of the most eminent statesmen that
England had ever produced. For the rest, during his Italian tour,
Waldershare seemed to have conducted himself with distinguished
discretion, and had been careful not to solicit an audience of the Duke
of Modena in order to renew his oath of allegiance.

When Lady Montfort successfully tempted Lady Roehampton to be her
travelling companion to Paris, the contemplated visit was to have been
a short one--"a week, perhaps ten days at the outside." The outside had
been not inconsiderably passed, and yet the beautiful Berengaria showed
no disposition of returning to England. Myra was uneasy at her own
protracted absence from her lord, and having made a last, but fruitless
effort to induce Lady Montfort to accompany her, she said one day to
Endymion, "I think I must ask you to take me back. And indeed you ought
to be with my lord some little time before the meeting of Parliament."

Endymion was really of the same opinion, though he was conscious of the
social difficulty which he should have to encounter in order to effect
his purpose. Occasionally a statesman in opposition is assisted by the
same private secretary who was his confidant when in office; but this
is not always the case--perhaps not even generally. In the present
instance, the principal of Lord Roehampton's several secretaries had
been selected from the permanent clerks in the Foreign Office itself,
and therefore when his chief retired from his official duties, the
private secretary resumed his previous post, an act which necessarily
terminated all relations between himself and the late minister, save
those of private, though often still intimate, acquaintance.

Now one of the great objects of Lady Roehampton for a long time had
been, that her brother should occupy a confidential position near her
husband. The desire had originally been shared, and even warmly, by
Lady Montfort; but the unexpected entrance of Endymion into the House of
Commons had raised a technical difficulty in this respect which seemed
to terminate the cherished prospect. Myra, however, was resolved not to
regard these technical difficulties, and was determined to establish
at once the intimate relations she desired between her husband and her
brother. This purpose had been one of the principal causes which induced
her to accompany Lady Montfort to Paris. She wanted to see Endymion,
to see what he was about, and to prepare him for the future which she
contemplated.

The view which Lady Montfort took of these matters was very different
from that of Lady Roehampton. Lady Montfort was in her riding habit,
leaning back in an easy chair, with her whip in one hand and the
"Charivari" in the other, and she said, "Are you not going to ride
to-day, Endymion?"

"I think not. I wanted to talk to you a little about my plans, Lady
Montfort."

"Your plans? Why should you have any plans?"

"Well, Lady Roehampton is about to return to England, and she proposes I
should go with her."

"Why?"

And then Endymion entered into the whole case, the desirableness
of being with Lord Roehampton before the meeting of parliament, of
assisting him, working with him, acting for him, and all the other
expedient circumstances of the situation.

Lady Montfort said nothing. Being of an eager nature, it was rather her
habit to interrupt those who addressed her, especially on matters she
deemed disagreeable. Her husband used to say, "Berengaria is a charming
companion, but if she would only listen a little more, she would have so
much more to tell me." On the present occasion, Endymion had no reason
to complain that he had not a fair opportunity of stating his views
and wishes. She was quite silent, changed colour occasionally, bit her
beautiful lip, and gently but constantly lashed her beautiful riding
habit. When he paused, she inquired if he had done, and he assenting,
she said, "I think the whole thing preposterous. What can Lord
Roehampton have to do before the meeting of parliament? He has not got
to write the Queen's speech. The only use of being in opposition is that
we may enjoy ourselves. The best thing that Lord Roehampton and all his
friends can do is travel for a couple of years. Ask the Count of Ferroll
what he thinks of the situation. He will tell you that he never knew one
more hopeless. Taxes and tariffs--that's the future of England, and,
so far as I can see, it may go on for ever. The government here desires
nothing better than what they call Peace. What they mean by peace is
agiotage, shares at a premium, and bubble companies. The whole thing is
corrupt, as it ever must be when government is in the hands of a mere
middle class, and that, too, a limited one; but it may last hopelessly
long, and in the meantime, 'Vive la bagatelle!'"

"These are very different views from those which, I had understood, were
to guide us in opposition," said Endymion, amazed.

"There is no opposition," rejoined Lady Montfort, somewhat tartly. "For
a real opposition there must be a great policy. If your friend, Lord
Roehampton, when he was settling the Levant, had only seized upon Egypt,
we should have been somewhere. Now, we are the party who wanted to give,
not even cheap bread to the people, but only cheaper bread. Faugh!"

"Well, I do not think the occupation of Egypt in the present state of
our finances"----

"Do not talk to me about 'the present state of our finances.' You are
worse than Mr. Sidney Wilton. The Count of Ferroll says that a ministry
which is upset by its finances must be essentially imbecile. And that,
too, in England--the richest country in the world!"

"Well, I think the state of the finances had something to do with the
French Revolution," observed Endymion quietly.

"The French Revolution! You might as well talk of the fall of the Roman
Empire. The French Revolution was founded on nonsense--on the rights of
man; when all sensible people in every country are now agreed, that man
has no rights whatever."

"But, dearest Lady Montfort," said Endymion, in a somewhat deprecating
tone, "about my returning; for that is the real subject on which I
wished to trouble you."

"You have made up your mind to return," she replied. "What is the use
of consulting me with a foregone conclusion? I suppose you think it a
compliment."

"I should be very sorry to do anything without consulting you," said
Endymion.

"The worst person in the world to consult," said Lady Montfort
impatiently. "If you want advice, you had better go to your sister. Men
who are guided by their sisters seldom make very great mistakes. They
are generally so prudent; and, I must say, I think a prudent man quite
detestable."

Endymion turned pale, his lips quivered. What might have been the winged
words they sent forth it is now impossible to record, for at that moment
the door opened, and the servant announced that her ladyship's horse
was at the door. Lady Montfort jumped up quickly, and saying, "Well, I
suppose I shall see you before you go," disappeared.



CHAPTER LXXV

In the meantime, Lady Roehampton was paying her farewell visit to her
former pupil. They were alone, and Adriana was hanging on her neck and
weeping.

"We were so happy," she murmured.

"And are so happy, and will be," said Myra.

"I feel I shall never be happy again," sighed Adriana.

"You deserve to be the happiest of human beings, and you will be."

"Never, never!"

Lady Roehampton could say no more; she pressed her friend to her heart,
and left the room in silence.

When she arrived at her hotel, her brother was leaving the house. His
countenance was disquieted; he did not greet her with that mantling
sunniness of aspect which was natural to him when they met.

"I have made all my farewells," she said; "and how have you been getting
on?" And she invited him to re-enter the hotel.

"I am ready to depart at this moment," he said somewhat fiercely, "and
was only thinking how I could extricate myself from that horrible dinner
to-day at the Count of Ferroll's."

"Well, that is not difficult," said Myra; "you can write a note here if
you like, at once. I think you must have seen quite enough of the Count
of Ferroll and his friends."

Endymion sat down at the table, and announced his intended
non-appearance at the Count's dinner, for it could not be called an
excuse. When he had finished, his sister said--

"Do you know, we were nearly having a travelling companion to-morrow?"

He looked up with a blush, for he fancied she was alluding to some
previous scheme of Lady Montfort. "Indeed!" he said, "and who?"

"Adriana."

"Adriana!" he repeated, somewhat relieved; "would she leave her family?"

"She had a fancy, and I am sure I do not know any companion I could
prefer to her. She is the only person of whom I could truly say, that
every time I see her, I love her more."

"She seemed to like Paris very much," said Endymion a little
embarrassed.

"The first part of her visit," said Lady Roehampton, "she liked it
amazingly. But my arrival and Lady Montfort's, I fear, broke up their
little parties. You were a great deal with the Neuchatels before we
came?"

"They are such a good family," said Endymion; "so kind, so hospitable,
such true friends. And Mr. Neuchatel himself is one of the shrewdest men
that probably ever lived. I like talking with him, or rather, I like to
hear him talk."

"O Endymion," said Lady Roehampton, "if you were to marry Adriana, my
happiness would be complete."

"Adriana will never marry," said Endymion; "she is afraid of being
married for her money. I know twenty men who would marry her, if they
thought there was a chance of being accepted; and the best man, Eusford,
did make her an offer--that I know. And where could she find a match
more suitable?--high rank, and large estate, and a man that everybody
speaks well of."

"Adriana will never marry except for the affections; there you are
right, Endymion; she must love and she must be loved; but that is not
very unreasonable in a person who is young, pretty, accomplished, and
intelligent."

"She is all that," said Endymion moodily.

"And she loves you," said Lady Roehampton.

Endymion rather started, looked up for a moment at his sister, and then
withdrew as hastily an agitated glance, and then with his eyes on the
ground said, in a voice half murmuring, and yet scoffingly: "I should
like to see Mr. Neuchatel's face were I to ask permission to marry his
daughter. I suppose he would not kick me downstairs; that is out of
fashion; but he certainly would never ask me to dinner again, and that
would be a sacrifice."

"You jest, Endymion; I am not jesting."

"There are some matters that can only be treated as a jest; and my
marriage with Miss Neuchatel is one."

"It would make you one of the most powerful men in England," said his
sister.

"Other impossible events would do the same."

"It is not impossible; it is very possible," said his sister, "believe
me, trust in me. The happiness of their daughter is more precious to the
Neuchatels even than their fortune."

"I do not see why, at my age, I should be in such a hurry to marry,"
said Endymion.

"You cannot marry too soon, if by so doing you obtain the great object
of life. Early marriages are to be deprecated, especially for men,
because they are too frequently imprudent; but when a man can marry
while he is young, and at once realise, by so doing, all the results
which successful time may bring to him, he should not hesitate."

"I hesitate very much," said Endymion. "I should hesitate very much,
even if affairs were as promising as I think you may erroneously
assume."

"But you must not hesitate, Endymion. We must never forget the great
object for which we two live, for which, I believe, we were born
twins--to rebuild our house; to raise it from poverty, and ignominy, and
misery and squalid shame, to the rank and position which we demand, and
which we believe we deserve. Did I hesitate when an offer of marriage
was made to me, and the most unexpected that could have occurred? True
it is, I married the best and greatest of men, but I did not know that
when I accepted his hand. I married him for your sake, I married him
for my own sake, for the sake of the house of Ferrars, which I wished
to release and raise from its pit of desolation. I married him to secure
for us both that opportunity for our qualities which they had lost, and
which I believed, if enjoyed, would render us powerful and great."

Endymion rose from his seat and kissed his sister. "So long as you
live," he said, "we shall never be ignominious."

"Yes, but I am nothing; I am not a man, I am not a Ferrars. The best of
me is that I may be a transient help to you. It is you who must do
the deed. I am wearied of hearing you described as Lady Roehampton's
brother, or Lord Roehampton's brother-in-law. I shall never be content
till you are greater than we are, and there is but one and only one
immediate way of accomplishing it, it is by this marriage--and a
marriage with whom? with an angelic being!"

"You take me somewhat by surprise, Myra. My thoughts have not been
upon this matter. I cannot fairly describe myself at this moment as a
marrying man."

"I know what you mean. You have female friendships, and I approve of
them. They are invaluable to youth, and you have been greatly favoured
in this respect. They have been a great assistance to you; beware lest
they become a hindrance. A few years of such feelings in a woman's life
are a blazoned page, and when it is turned she has many other chapters,
though they may not be as brilliant or adorned. But these few years in a
man's life may be, and in your case certainly would be, the very marrow
of his destiny. During the last five or six years, ever since our
emancipation, there has been a gradual but continuous development
in your life. All has been preparatory for a position which you have
acquired. That position may lead to anything--in your case, I will still
believe, to everything--but there must be no faltering. Having crossed
the Alps, you must not find a Capua. I speak to you as I have not spoken
to you of late, because it was not necessary. But here is an opportunity
which must not be lost. I feel half inspired, as when we parted in
our misery at Hurstley, and I bade you, poor and obscure, go forth and
conquer the world."

Late on the night of the day, their last day at Paris, on which
this conversation took place, Endymion received a note in well-known
handwriting, and it ran thus:


"If it be any satisfaction to you to know that you made me very unhappy
by not dining here to-day, you may be gratified. I am very unhappy.
I know that I was unkind this morning, and rude, but as my anger was
occasioned by your leaving me, my conduct might annoy but surely could
not mortify you. I shall see you to-morrow, however early you may
depart, as I cannot let your dear sister leave Paris without my
embracing her.

"Your faithful friend,

"Berengaria."



CHAPTER LXXVI

In old days, it was the habit to think and say that the House of Commons
was an essentially "queer place," which no one could understand until
he was a member of it. It may, perhaps, be doubted whether that somewhat
mysterious quality still altogether attaches to that assembly. "Our own
Reporter," has invaded it in all its purlieus. No longer content with
giving an account of the speeches of its members, he is not satisfied
unless he describes their persons, their dress, and their characteristic
mannerisms. He tells us how they dine, even the wines and dishes
which they favour, and follows them into the very mysteries of their
smoking-room. And yet there is perhaps a certain fine sense of the
feelings, and opinions, and humours of this assembly, which cannot be
acquired by hasty notions and necessarily superficial remarks, but
must be the result of long and patient observation, and of that quick
sympathy with human sentiment, in all its classes, which is involved in
the possession of that inestimable quality styled tact.

When Endymion Ferrars first took his seat in the House of Commons, it
still fully possessed its character of enigmatic tradition. It had been
thought that this, in a great degree, would have been dissipated by the
Reform Act of 1832, which suddenly introduced into the hallowed precinct
a number of individuals whose education, manners, modes of thought, were
different from those of the previous inhabitants, and in some instances,
and in some respects, quite contrary to them. But this was not so. After
a short time it was observed that the old material, though at first much
less in quantity, had leavened the new mass; that the tone of the former
House was imitated and adopted, and that at the end of five years, about
the time Endymion was returned to Parliament, much of its serene, and
refined, and even classical character had been recovered.

For himself, he entered the chamber with a certain degree of awe, which,
with use, diminished, but never entirely disappeared. The scene was one
over which his boyhood even had long mused, and it was associated with
all those traditions of genius, eloquence, and power that charm and
inspire youth. His practical acquaintance with the forms and habits
of the House from his customary attendance on their debates as private
secretary to a cabinet minister, was of great advantage to him, and
restrained that excitement which dangerously accompanies us when we
enter into a new life, and especially a life of such deep and thrilling
interests and such large proportions. This result was also assisted
by his knowledge, at least by sight, of a large proportion of the old
members, and by his personal and sometimes intimate acquaintance with
those of his own party. There was much in his position, therefore,
to soften that awkward feeling of being a freshman, which is always
embarrassing.

He took his place on the second bench of the opposition side of the
House, and nearly behind Lord Roehampton. Mr. Bertie Tremaine, whom
Endymion encountered in the lobby as he was escaping to dinner,
highly disapproved of this step. He had greeted Endymion with affable
condescension. "You made your first mistake to-night, my dear Ferrars.
You should have taken your seat below the gangway and near me, on the
Mountain. You, like myself, are a man of the future."

"I am a member of the opposition. I do not suppose it signifies much
where I sit."

"On the contrary, it signifies everything. After this great Tory
reaction there is nothing to be done now by speeches, and, in all
probability, very little that can be effectually opposed. Much,
therefore, depends upon where you sit. If you sit on the Mountain,
the public imagination will be attracted to you, and when they are
aggrieved, which they will be in good time, the public passion, which
is called opinion, will look to you for representation. My advice to my
friends now is to sit together and say nothing, but to profess through
the press the most advanced opinions. We sit on the back bench of the
gangway, and we call ourselves the Mountain."

Notwithstanding Mr. Bertie Tremaine's oracular revelations, Endymion was
very glad to find his old friend Trenchard generally his neighbour. He
had a high opinion both of Trenchard's judgment and acquirements, and
he liked the man. In time they always managed to sit together. Job
Thornberry took his seat below the gangway, on the opposition side, and
on the floor of the House. Mr. Bertie Tremaine had sent his brother, Mr.
Tremaine Bertie, to look after this new star, who he was anxious should
ascend the Mountain; but Job Thornberry wishing to know whether the
Mountain were going for "total and immediate," and not obtaining a
sufficiently distinct reply, declined the proffered intimation. Mr.
Bertie Tremaine, being a landed proprietor as well as leader of the
Mountain, was too much devoted to the rights of labour to sanction such
middle-class madness.

"Peel with have to do it," said Job. "You will see."

"Peel now occupies the position of Necker," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine,
"and will make the same _fiasco_. Then you will at last have a popular
government."

"And the rights of labour?" asked Job. "All I hope is, I may have got
safe to the States before that day."

"There will be no danger," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine. "There is this
difference between the English Mountain and the French. The English
Mountain has its government prepared. And my brother spoke to you
because, when the hour arrives, I wished to see you a member of it."

"My dear Endymion," said Waldershare, "let us dine together before we
meet in mortal conflict, which I suppose will be soon. I really think
your Mr. Bertie Tremaine the most absurd being out of Colney Hatch."

"Well, he has a purpose," said Endymion; "and they say that a man with a
purpose generally sees it realised.'

"What I do like in him," said Waldershare, "is this revival of the
Pythagorean system, and a leading party of silence. That is rich."

One of the most interesting members of the House of Commons was
Sir Fraunceys Scrope. He was the father of the House, though it was
difficult to believe that from his appearance. He was tall, and had kept
his distinguished figure; a handsome man, with a musical voice, and
a countenance now benignant, though very bright, and once haughty. He
still retained the same fashion of costume in which he had ridden up to
Westminster more than half a century ago, from his seat in Derbyshire,
to support his dear friend Charles Fox; real top-boots, and a blue coat
and buff waistcoat. He was a great friend of Lord Roehampton, had a
large estate in the same county, and had refused an earldom. Knowing
Endymion, he came and sate by him one day in the House, and asked him,
good-naturedly, how he liked his new life.

"It is very different from what it was when I was your age. Up to Easter
we rarely had a regular debate, never a party division; very few people
came up indeed. But there was a good deal of speaking on all subjects
before dinner. We had the privilege then of speaking on the presentation
of petitions at any length, and we seldom spoke on any other occasion.
After Easter there was always at least one great party fight. This was
a mighty affair, talked of for weeks before it came off, and then rarely
an adjourned debate. We were gentlemen, used to sit up late, and should
have been sitting up somewhere else had we not been in the House of
Commons. After this party fight, the House for the rest of the session
was a mere club."

"There was not much business doing then," said Endymion.

"There was not much business in the country then. The House of Commons
was very much like what the House of Lords is now. You went home to
dine, and now and then came back for an important division."

"But you must always have had the estimates here," said Endymion.

"Yes, but they ran through very easily. Hume was the first man who
attacked the estimates. What are you going to do with yourself to-day?
Will you take your mutton with me? You must come in boots, for it is
now dinner-time, and you must return, I fancy. Twenty years ago, no
man would think of coming down to the House except in evening dress. I
remember so late as Mr. Canning, the minister always came down in silk
stockings and pantaloons, or knee breeches. All things change, and
quoting Virgil, as that young gentleman has just done, will be the
next thing to disappear. In the last parliament we often had Latin
quotations, but never from a member with a new constituency. I have
heard Greek quoted here, but that was long ago, and a great mistake. The
House was quite alarmed. Charles Fox used to say as to quotation--'No
Greek; as much Latin as you like; and never French under any
circumstances. No English poet unless he had completed his century.'
These were like some other good rules, the unwritten orders of the House
of Commons."



CHAPTER LXXVII

While parliaments were dissolving and ministries forming, the
disappointed seeking consolation and the successful enjoying their
triumph, Simon, Earl of Montfort, who just missed being a great
philosopher, was reading "Topsy Turvy," which infinitely amused him; the
style so picturesque and lambent! the tone so divertingly cynical! And
if the knowledge of society in its pages was not so distinguished as
that of human nature generally, this was a deficiency obvious only to a
comparatively limited circle of its readers.

Lord Montfort had reminded Endymion of his promise to introduce the
distinguished author to him, and accordingly, after due researches as to
his dwelling-place, Mr. Ferrars called in Jermyn Street and sent up
his card, to know whether Mr. St. Barbe would receive him. This was
evidently not a matter-of-course affair, and some little time had
elapsed when the maid-servant appeared, and beckoned to Endymion to
follow her upstairs.

In the front drawing-room of the first floor, robed in a flaming
dressing-gown, and standing with his back to the fire and to the
looking-glass, the frame of which was encrusted with cards of
invitation, the former colleague of Endymion received his visitor with a
somewhat haughty and reserved air.

"Well, I am delighted to see you again," said Endymion.

No reply but a ceremonious bow.

"And to congratulate you," Endymion added after a moment's pause. "I
hear of nothing but of your book; I suppose one of the most successful
that have appeared for a long time."

"Its success is not owing to your friends," said Mr. St. Barbe tartly.

"My friends!" said Endymion; "what could they have done to prevent it?"

"They need not have dissolved parliament," said Mr. St. Barbe with
irritation. "It was nearly fatal to me; it would have been to anybody
else. I was selling forty thousand a month; I believe more than Gushy
ever reached; and so they dissolved parliament. The sale went down half
at once--and now you expect me to support your party!"

"Well, it was unfortunate, but the dissolution could hardly have done
you any permanent injury, and you could scarcely expect that such an
event could be postponed even for the advantage of an individual so
distinguished as yourself."

"Perhaps not," said St. Barbe, apparently a little mollified, "but they
might have done something to show their regret at it."

"Something!" said Endymion, "what sort of thing?"

"The prime minister might have called on me, or at least written to me
a letter. I want none of their honours; I have scores of letters every
day, suggesting that some high distinction should be conferred on me. I
believe the nation expects me to be made a baronet. By the by, I heard
the other day you had got into parliament. I know nothing of these
matters; they do not interest me. Is it the fact?"

"Well, I was so fortunate, and there are others of your old friends,
Trenchard, for example."

"You do not mean to say that Trenchard is in parliament!" said
St. Barbe, throwing off all his affected reserve. "Well, it is too
disgusting! Trenchard in parliament, and I obliged to think it a great
favour if a man gives me a frank! Well, representative institutions have
seen their day. That is something."

"I have come here on a social mission," said Endymion in a soothing
tone. "There is a great admirer of yours who much wishes to make your
acquaintance. Trusting to our old intimacy, of which of course I am very
proud, it was even hoped that you might waive ceremony, and come and
dine."

"Quite impossible!" exclaimed St. Barbe, and turning round, he pointed
to the legion of invitations before him. "You see, the world is at my
feet. I remember that fellow Seymour Hicks taking me to his rooms to
show me a card he had from a countess. What would he say to this?"

"Well, but you cannot be engaged to dinner every day," said Endymion;
"and you really may choose any day you like."

"Well, there are not many dinners among them, to be sure," said St.
Barbe. "Small and earlies. How I hate a 'small and early'! Shown into a
room where you meet a select few who have been asked to dinner, and who
are chewing the cud like a herd of kine, and you are expected to tumble
before them to assist their digestion! Faugh! No, sir; we only dine
out now, and we think twice, I can tell you, before we accept even an
invitation to dinner. Who's your friend?"

"Well, my friend is Lord Montfort."

"You do not mean to say that! And he is an admirer of mine?"

"An enthusiastic admirer."

"I will dine with Lord Montfort. There is no one who appreciates so
completely and so highly the old nobility of England as myself. They are
a real aristocracy. None of the pinchbeck pedigrees and ormolu titles
of the continent. Lord Montfort is, I think, an earl. A splendid title,
earl! an English earl; count goes for nothing. The Earl of Montfort! An
enthusiastic admirer of mine! The aristocracy of England, especially the
old aristocracy, are highly cultivated. Sympathy from such a class is
to be valued. I care for no other--I have always despised the million of
vulgar. They have come to me, not I to them, and I have always told
them the truth about themselves, that they are a race of snobs, and they
rather like being told so. And now for your day?"

"Why not this day if you be free? I will call for you about eight, and
take you in my brougham to Montfort House."

"You have got a brougham! Well, I suppose so, being a member of
parliament, though I know a good many members of parliament who have not
got broughams. But your family, I remember, married into the swells. I
do not grudge it you. You were always a good comrade to me. I never knew
a man more free from envy than you, Ferrars, and envy is an odious vice.
There are people I know, who, when they hear I have dined with the Earl
of Montfort, will invent all sorts of stories against me, and send them
to what they call the journals of society."

"Well, then, it shall be to-day," said Endymion, rising.

"It shall be to-day, and to tell the truth, I was thinking this morning
where I should dine to-day. What I miss here are the cafes. Now in Paris
you can dine every day exactly as it suits your means and mood. You may
dine for a couple of francs in a quiet, unknown street, and very well;
or you may dine for a couple of napoleons in a flaming saloon, with
windows opening on a crowded boulevard. London is deficient in dining
capability."

"You should belong to a club. Do you not?"

"So I was told by a friend of mine the other day,--one of your great
swells. He said I ought to belong to the Athenaeum, and he would
propose me, and the committee would elect me as a matter of course. They
rejected me and selected a bishop. And then people are surprised that
the Church is in danger!"



CHAPTER LXXVIII

The condition of England at the meeting of Parliament in 1842 was not
satisfactory. The depression of trade in the manufacturing districts
seemed overwhelming, and continued increasing during the whole of the
year. A memorial from Stockport to the Queen in the spring represented
that more than half the master spinners had failed, and that no less
than three thousand dwelling-houses were untenanted. One-fifth of the
population of Leeds were dependent on the poor-rates. The state of
Sheffield was not less severe--and the blast furnaces of Wolverhampton
were extinguished. There were almost daily meetings, at Liverpool,
Manchester, and Leeds, to consider the great and increasing distress of
the country, and to induce ministers to bring forward remedial measures;
but as these were impossible, violence was soon substituted for
passionate appeals to the fears or the humanity of the government. Vast
bodies of the population assembled in Staleybridge, and Ashton, and
Oldham, and marched into Manchester.

For a week the rioting was unchecked, but the government despatched a
strong military force to that city, and order was restored.

The state of affairs in Scotland was not more favourable. There were
food riots in several of the Scotch towns, and in Glasgow the multitude
assembled, and then commenced what they called a begging tour, but which
was really a progress of not disguised intimidation. The economic crisis
in Ireland was yet to come, but the whole of that country was absorbed
in a harassing and dangerous agitation for the repeal of the union
between the two countries.

During all this time, the Anti-Corn Law League was holding regular
and frequent meetings at Manchester, at which statements were made
distinguished by great eloquence and little scruple. But the able
leaders of this confederacy never succeeded in enlisting the sympathies
of the great body of the population. Between the masters and the workmen
there was an alienation of feeling, which apparently never could be
removed. This reserve, however, did not enlist the working classes on
the side of the government; they had their own object, and one which
they themselves enthusiastically cherished. And this was the Charter, a
political settlement which was to restore the golden age, and which the
master manufacturers and the middle classes generally looked upon
with even more apprehension than Her Majesty's advisers. It is hardly
necessary to add, that in a state of affairs like that which is here
faintly but still faithfully sketched, the rapid diminution of the
revenue was inevitable, and of course that decline mainly occurred in
the two all-important branches of the customs and excise.

There was another great misfortune also which at this trying time hung
over England. The country was dejected. The humiliating disasters of
Afghanistan, dark narratives of which were periodically arriving, had
produced a more depressing effect on the spirit of the country than all
the victories and menaces of Napoleon in the heyday of his wild career.
At home and abroad, there seemed nothing to sustain the national spirit;
financial embarrassment, commercial and manufacturing distress, social
and political agitation on the one hand, and on the other, the loss
of armies, of reputation, perhaps of empire. It was true that these
external misfortunes could hardly be attributed to the new ministry--but
when a nation is thoroughly perplexed and dispirited, it soon ceases
to make distinctions between political parties. The country is out of
sorts, and the "government" is held answerable for the disorder.

Thus it will be seen, that, though the new ministry were supported by a
commanding majority in parliament, and that, too, after a recent appeal
to the country, they were not popular, it may be truly said they were
even the reverse. The opposition, on the other hand, notwithstanding
their discomfiture, and, on some subjects, their disgrace, were by no
means disheartened, and believed that there were economical causes at
work, which must soon restore them to power.

The minister brought forward his revision of the tariff, which was
denounced by the League as futile, and in which anathema the opposition
soon found it convenient to agree. Had the minister included in his
measure that "total and immediate repeal" of the existing corn laws
which was preached by many as a panacea, the effect would have been
probably much the same. No doubt a tariff may aggravate, or may
mitigate, such a condition of commercial depression as periodically
visits a state of society like that of England, but it does not produce
it. It was produced in 1842, as it had been produced at the present
time, by an abuse of capital and credit, and by a degree of production
which the wants of the world have not warranted.

And yet all this time, there were certain influences at work in
the great body of the nation, neither foreseen, nor for some time
recognised, by statesmen and those great capitalists on whose opinion
statesmen much depend, which were stirring, as it were, like the
unconscious power of the forces of nature, and which were destined to
baffle all the calculations of persons in authority and the leading
spirits of all parties, strengthen a perplexed administration, confound
a sanguine opposition, render all the rhetoric, statistics, and
subscriptions of the Anti-Corn Law League fruitless, and absolutely make
the Chartists forget the Charter.

"My friends will not assist themselves by resisting the government
measures," said Mr. Neuchatel, with his usual calm smile, half
sceptical, half sympathetic. "The measures will do no good, but they
will do no harm. There are no measures that will do any good at this
moment. We do not want measures; what we want is a new channel."

That is exactly what was wanted. There was abundant capital in the
country and a mass of unemployed labour. But the markets on which they
had of late depended, the American especially, were overworked and
overstocked, and in some instances were not only overstocked, but
disturbed by war, as the Chinese, for example--and capital and labour
wanted "a new channel."

The new channel came, and all the persons of authority, alike political
and commercial, seemed quite surprised that it had arrived; but when
a thing or a man is wanted, they generally appear. One or two lines of
railway, which had been long sleepily in formation, about this time were
finished, and one or two lines of railway, which had been finished for
some time and were unnoticed, announced dividends, and not contemptible
ones. Suddenly there was a general feeling in the country, that its
capital should be invested in railways; that the whole surface of the
land should be transformed, and covered, as by a network, with these
mighty means of communication. When the passions of the English,
naturally an enthusiastic people, are excited on a subject of finance,
their will, their determination, and resource, are irresistible. This
was signally proved in the present instance, for they never ceased
subscribing their capital until the sum entrusted to this new form of
investment reached an amount almost equal to the national debt; and this
too in a very few years. The immediate effect on the condition of the
country was absolutely prodigious. The value of land rose, all the blast
furnaces were relit, a stimulant was given to every branch of the home
trade, the amount suddenly paid in wages exceeded that ever known
in this country, and wages too at a high rate. Large portions of the
labouring classes not only enjoyed comfort, but commanded luxury.
All this of course soon acted on the revenue, and both customs and
especially excise soon furnished an ample surplus.

It cannot be pretended that all this energy and enterprise were free in
their operation from those evils which, it seems, must inevitably attend
any extensive public speculation, however well founded. Many of the
scenes and circumstances recalled the days of the South Sea Scheme.
The gambling in shares of companies which were formed only in name was
without limit. The principal towns of the north established for that
purpose stock exchanges of their own, and Leeds especially, one-fifth of
whose population had been authoritatively described in the first session
of the new parliament as dependent on the poor-rates, now boasted a
stock exchange which in the extent of its transactions rivalled that of
the metropolis. And the gambling was universal, from the noble to the
mechanic. It was confined to no class and to no sex. The scene which
took place at the Board of Trade on the last day on which plans could be
lodged, and when midnight had arrived while crowds from the country were
still filling the hall, and pressing at the doors, deserved and required
for its adequate representation the genius of a Hogarth. This was the
day on which it was announced that the total number of railway projects,
on which deposits had been paid, had reached nearly to eight hundred.

What is remarkable in this vast movement in which so many millions were
produced, and so many more promised, is, that the great leaders of the
financial world took no part in it. The mighty loan-mongers, on whose
fiat the fate of kings and empires sometimes depended, seemed like
men who, witnessing some eccentricity of nature, watch it with mixed
feelings of curiosity and alarm. Even Lombard Street, which never was
more wanted, was inactive, and it was only by the irresistible pressure
of circumstances that a banking firm which had an extensive country
connection was ultimately forced to take the leading part that was
required, and almost unconsciously lay the foundation of the vast
fortunes which it has realised, and organise the varied connection which
it now commands. All seemed to come from the provinces, and from unknown
people in the provinces.

But in all affairs there must be a leader, and a leader appeared. He
was more remarkable than the movement itself. He was a London tradesman,
though a member of parliament returned for the first time to this House
of Commons. This leader was Mr. Vigo.

Mr. Vigo had foreseen what was coming, and had prepared for it. He
agreed with Mr. Neuchatel, what was wanted was "a new channel." That
channel he thought he had discovered, and he awaited it. He himself
could command no inconsiderable amount of capital, and he had a
following of obscure rich friends who believed in him, and did what he
liked. His daily visits to the City, except when he was travelling
over England, and especially the north and midland counties, had their
purpose and bore fruit. He was a director, and soon the chairman and
leading spirit, of a railway which was destined to be perhaps our most
important one. He was master of all the details of the business; he had
arrived at conclusions on the question of the gauges, which then was
a _pons asinorum_ for the multitude, and understood all about rolling
stock and permanent ways, and sleepers and branch lines, which were then
cabalistic terms to the general. In his first session in parliament he
had passed quietly and almost unnoticed several bills on these matters,
and began to be recognised by the Committee of Selection as a member who
ought to be "put on" for questions of this kind.

The great occasion had arrived, and Mr. Vigo was equal to it. He was one
of those few men who awake one day and find themselves famous. Suddenly
it would seem that the name of Mr. Vigo was in everybody's mouth. There
was only one subject which interested the country, and he was recognised
as the man who best understood it. He was an oracle, and, naturally,
soon became an idol. The tariff of the ministers was forgotten, the
invectives of the League were disregarded, their motions for the repeal
of the corn laws were invariably defeated by large and contemptuous
majorities. The House of Commons did nothing but pass railway bills,
measures which were welcomed with unanimity by the House of Lords, whose
estates were in consequence daily increasing in value. People went to
the gallery to see Mr. Vigo introduce bills, and could scarcely restrain
their enthusiasm at the spectacle of so much patriotic energy, which
secured for them premiums for shares, which they held in undertakings of
which the first sod was not yet cut. On one morning, the Great Cloudland
Company, of which he was chairman, gave their approval of twenty-six
bills, which he immediately introduced into parliament. Next day, the
Ebor and North Cloudland sanctioned six bills under his advice, and
affirmed deeds and agreements which affected all the principal railway
projects in Lancashire and Yorkshire. A quarter of an hour later, just
time to hurry from one meeting to another, where he was always received
with rampant enthusiasm, Newcastle and the extreme north accepted his
dictatorship. During a portion of two days, he obtained the consent of
shareholders to forty bills, involving an expenditure of ten millions;
and the engagements for one session alone amounted to one hundred and
thirty millions sterling.

Mr. Neuchatel shrugged his shoulders, but no one would listen even to
Mr. Neuchatel, when the prime minister himself, supposed to be the most
wary of men, and especially on financial subjects, in the very white
heat of all this speculation, himself raised the first sod on his own
estate in a project of extent and importance.

Throughout these extraordinary scenes, Mr. Vigo, though not free from
excitement, exhibited, on the whole, much self-control. He was faithful
to his old friends, and no one profited more in this respect than
Mr. Rodney. That gentleman became the director of several lines, and
vice-chairman of one over which Mr. Vigo himself presided. No one was
surprised that Mr. Rodney therefore should enter parliament. He came in
by virtue of one of those petitions that Tadpole was always cooking, or
baffling. Mr. Rodney was a supporter of the ministry, and Mr. Vigo was
a Liberal, but Mr. Vigo returned Mr. Rodney to parliament all the
same, and no one seemed astonished or complained. Political connection,
political consistency, political principle, all vanished before the
fascination of premiums.

As for Endymion, the great man made him friendly and earnest overtures,
and offered, if he would give his time to business, which, as he was
in opposition, would be no great sacrifice, to promote and secure his
fortune. But Endymion, after due reflection, declined, though with
gratitude, these tempting proposals. Ferrars was an ambitious man, but
not too imaginative a one. He had a main object in life, and that was to
regain the position which had been forfeited, not by his own fault. His
grandfather and his father before him had both been privy councillors
and ministers of state. There had, indeed, been more than the prospect
of his father filling a very prominent position. All had been lost, but
the secret purpose of the life of Endymion was that, from being a clerk
in a public office, he should arrive by his own energies at the station
to which he seemed, as it were, born. To accomplish this he felt
that the entire devotion of his labour and thought was requisite. His
character was essentially tenacious, and he had already realised no
inconsiderable amount of political knowledge and official experience.
His object seemed difficult and distant, but there was nothing wild or
visionary in its pursuit. He had achieved some of the first steps, and
he was yet very young. There were friends about him, however, who were
not content with what they deemed his moderate ambition, and thought
they discerned in him qualities which might enable him to mount to
a higher stage. However this might be, his judgment was that he must
resist the offers of Mr. Vigo, though they were sincerely kind, and so
he felt them.

In the meantime, he frequently met that gentleman, and not merely in
the House of Commons. Mr. St. Barbe would have been frantically envious
could he have witnessed and perused the social invitations that fell
like a continuous snow-storm on the favoured roof of Mr. Vigo. Mr. Vigo
was not a party question. He dined with high patricians who forgot their
political differences, while they agreed in courting the presence of
this great benefactor of his country. The fine ladies were as eager in
their homage to this real patriot, and he might be seen between rival
countesses, who emulated each other in their appreciation of his public
services. These were Mr. Vigo's dangerous suitors. He confessed to
Endymion one day that he could not manage the great ladies. "Male
swells," he would say laughingly, "I have measured physically and
intellectually." The golden youth of the country seemed fascinated by
his society, repeated his sententious bons-mot, and applied for shares
in every company which he launched into prosperous existence.

Mr. Vigo purchased a splendid mansion in St. James' Square, where
invitations to his banquets were looked upon almost as commands. His
chief cook was one of the celebrities of Europe, and though he had
served emperors, the salary he received from Mr. Vigo exceeded any one
he had hitherto condescended to pocket. Mr. Vigo bought estates, hired
moors, lavished his money, not only with profusion, but with generosity.
Everything was placed at his command, and it appeared that there was
nothing that he refused. "When this excitement is over," said Mr. Bertie
Tremaine, "I hope to induce him to take India."

In the midst of this commanding effulgence, the calmer beam of Mr.
Rodney might naturally pass unnoticed, yet its brightness was clear and
sustained. The Rodneys engaged a dwelling of no mean proportion in
that favoured district of South Kensington, which was then beginning to
assume the high character it has since obtained. Their equipages were
distinguished, and when Mrs. Rodney entered the Park, driving her
matchless ponies, and attended by outriders, and herself bright as
Diana, the world leaning over its palings witnessed her appearance with
equal delight and admiration.



CHAPTER LXXIX

We have rather anticipated, for the sake of the subject, in our last
chapter, and we must now recur to the time when, after his return from
Paris, Endymion entered into what was virtually his first session in the
House of Commons. Though in opposition, and with all the delights of the
most charming society at his command, he was an habitual and constant
attendant. One might have been tempted to believe that he would turn out
to be, though a working, only a silent member, but his silence was
only prudence. He was deeply interested and amused in watching the
proceedings, especially when those took part in them with whom he was
acquainted. Job Thornberry occupied a leading position in the debates.
He addressed the House very shortly after he took his seat, and having
a purpose and a most earnest one, and being what is styled a
representative man of his subject, the House listened to him at once,
and his place in debate was immediately recognised. The times favoured
him, especially during the first and second session, while the
commercial depression lasted; afterwards, he was always listened to,
because he had great oratorical gifts, a persuasive style that was
winning, and, though he had no inconsiderable powers of sarcasm,
his extreme tact wisely guided him to restrain for the present that
dangerous, though most effective, weapon.

The Pythagorean school, as Waldershare styled Mr. Bertie Tremaine and
his following, very much amused Endymion. The heaven-born minister
air of the great leader was striking. He never smiled, or at any rate
contemptuously. Notice of a question was sometimes publicly given
from this bench, but so abstruse in its nature and so quaint in its
expression, that the House never comprehended it, and the unfortunate
minister who had to answer, even with twenty-four hours' study, was
obliged to commence his reply by a conjectural interpretation of the
query formally addressed to him. But though they were silent in the
House, their views were otherwise powerfully represented. The weekly
journal devoted to their principles was sedulously circulated among
members of the House. It was called the "Precursor," and systematically
attacked not only every institution, but, it might be said, every
law, and all the manners and customs, of the country. Its style was
remarkable, never excited or impassioned, but frigid, logical, and
incisive, and suggesting appalling revolutions with the calmness with
which one would narrate the ordinary incidents of life. The editor of
the "Precursor" was Mr. Jawett, selected by that great master of human
nature, Mr. Bertie Tremaine. When it got about, that the editor of this
fearful journal was a clerk in a public office, the indignation of the
government, or at least of their supporters, was extreme, and there was
no end to the punishments and disgrace to which he was to be subjected;
but Waldershare, who lived a good deal in Bohemia, was essentially
cosmopolitan, and dabbled in letters, persuaded his colleagues not to
make the editor of the "Precursor" a martyr, and undertook with their
authority to counteract his evil purposes by literary means alone.

Being fully empowered to take all necessary steps for this object,
Waldershare thought that there was no better mode of arresting public
attention to his enterprise than by engaging for its manager the most
renowned pen of the hour, and he opened himself on the subject in the
most sacred confidence to Mr. St. Barbe. That gentleman, invited to call
upon a minister, sworn to secrecy, and brimful of state secrets, could
not long restrain himself, and with admirable discretion consulted on
his views and prospects Mr. Endymion Ferrars.

"But I thought you were one of us," said Endymion; "you asked me to put
you in the way of getting into Brooks'!"

"What of that?" said Mr. St. Barbe; "and when you remember what the
Whigs owe to literary men, they ought to have elected me into Brooks'
without my asking for it."

"Still, if you be on the other side?"

"It is nothing to do with sides," said Mr. St. Barbe; "this affair goes
far beyond sides. The 'Precursor' wants to put down the Crown; I
shall put down the 'Precursor.' It is an affair of the closet, not of
sides--an affair of the royal closet, sir. I am acting for the Crown,
sir; the Crown has appealed to me. I save the Crown, and there must be
personal relations with the highest," and he looked quite fierce.

"Well, you have not written your first article yet," said Endymion. "I
shall look forward to it with much interest."

After Easter, Lord Roehampton said to Endymion that a question ought
to be put on a subject of foreign policy of importance, and on which
he thought the ministry were in difficulties; "and I think you might as
well ask it, Endymion. I will draw up the question, and you will give
notice of it. It will be a reconnaissance."

The notice of this question was the first time Endymion opened his
mouth in the House of Commons. It was an humble and not a very hazardous
office, but when he got on his legs his head swam, his heart beat so
violently, that it was like a convulsion preceding death, and though
he was only on his legs for a few seconds, all the sorrows of his life
seemed to pass before him. When he sate down, he was quite surprised
that the business of the House proceeded as usual, and it was only after
some time that he became convinced that no one but himself was conscious
of his sufferings, or that he had performed a routine duty otherwise
than in a routine manner.

The crafty question, however, led to some important consequences. When
asked, to the surprise of every one the minister himself replied to it.
Waldershare, with whom Endymion dined at Bellamy's that day, was in no
good humour in consequence.

When Lord Roehampton had considered the ministerial reply, he said to
Endymion, "This must be followed up. You must move for papers. It will
be a good opportunity for you, for the House is up to something being
in the wind, and they will listen. It will be curious to see whether the
minister follows you. If so, he will give me an opening."

Endymion felt that this was the crisis of his life. He knew the subject
well, and he had all the tact and experience of Lord Roehampton to guide
him in his statement and his arguments. He had also the great feeling
that, if necessary, a powerful arm would support him. It was about a
week before the day arrived, and Endymion slept very little that week,
and the night before his motion not a wink. He almost wished he was
dead as he walked down to the House in the hope that the exercise might
remedy, or improve, his languid circulation; but in vain, and when his
name was called and he had to rise, his hands and feet were like ice.

Lady Roehampton and Lady Montfort were both in the ventilator, and he
knew it.

It might be said that he was sustained by his utter despair. He felt
so feeble and generally imbecile, that he had not vitality enough to be
sensible of failure.

He had a kind audience, and an interested one. When he opened his mouth,
he forgot his first sentence, which he had long prepared. In trying to
recall it and failing, he was for a moment confused. But it was only for
a moment; the unpremeditated came to his aid, and his voice, at first
tremulous, was recognised as distinct and rich. There was a murmur of
sympathy, and not merely from his own side. Suddenly, both physically
and intellectually, he was quite himself. His arrested circulation
flowed, and fed his stagnant brain. His statement was lucid, his
arguments were difficult to encounter, and his manner was modest. He
sate down amid general applause, and though he was then conscious that
he had omitted more than one point on which he had relied, he was on
the whole satisfied, and recollected that he might use them in reply,
a privilege to which he now looked forward with feelings of comfort and
confidence.

The minister again followed him, and in an elaborate speech. The subject
evidently, in the opinion of the minister, was of too delicate and
difficult a character to trust to a subordinate. Overwhelmed as he was
with the labours of his own department, the general conduct of
affairs, and the leadership of the House, he still would undertake the
representation of an office with whose business he was not familiar.
Wary and accurate he always was, but in discussions on foreign affairs,
he never exhibited the unrivalled facility with which he ever treated
a commercial or financial question, or that plausible promptness with
which, at a moment's notice, he could encounter any difficulty connected
with domestic administration.

All these were qualities which Lord Roehampton possessed with reference
to the affairs over which he had long presided, and in the present
instance, following the minister, he was particularly happy. He had
a good case, and he was gratified by the success of Endymion. He
complimented him and confuted his opponent, and, not satisfied with
demolishing his arguments, Lord Roehampton indulged in a little raillery
which the House enjoyed, but which was never pleasing to the more solemn
organisation of his rival.

No language can describe the fury of Waldershare as to the events
of this evening. He looked upon the conduct of the minister, in
not permitting him to represent his department, as a decree of the
incapacity of his subordinate, and of the virtual termination of the
official career of the Under-Secretary of State. He would have resigned
the next day had it not been for the influence of Lady Beaumaris, who
soothed him by suggesting, that it would be better to take an early
opportunity of changing his present post for another.

The minister was wrong. He was not fond of trusting youth, but it is a
confidence which should be exercised, particularly in the conduct of a
popular assembly. If the under-secretary had not satisfactorily answered
Endymion, which no one had a right to assume, for Waldershare was a
brilliant man, the minister could have always advanced to the rescue
at the fitting time. As it was, he made a personal enemy of one who
naturally might have ripened into a devoted follower, and who from
his social influence, as well as from his political talents, was no
despicable foe.



CHAPTER LXXX

Notwithstanding the great political, and consequently social, changes
that had taken place, no very considerable alteration occurred in
the general life of those chief personages in whose existence we have
attempted to interest the reader. However vast may appear to be the
world in which we move, we all of us live in a limited circle. It is
the result of circumstances; of our convenience and our taste. Lady
Beaumaris became the acknowledged leader of Tory society, and her
husband was so pleased with her position, and so proud of it, that he in
a considerable degree sacrificed his own pursuits and pleasures for its
maintenance. He even refused the mastership of a celebrated hunt, which
had once been an object of his highest ambition, that he might be early
and always in London to support his wife in her receptions. Imogene
herself was universally popular. Her gentle and natural manners, blended
with a due degree of self-respect, her charming appearance, and her
ready but unaffected sympathy, won every heart. Lady Roehampton was her
frequent guest. Myra continued her duties as a leader of society, as her
lord was anxious that the diplomatic world should not forget him. These
were the two principal and rival houses. The efforts of Lady Montfort
were more fitful, for they were to a certain degree dependent on the
moods of her husband. It was observed that Lady Beaumaris never omitted
attending the receptions of Lady Roehampton, and the tone of almost
reverential affection with which she ever approached Myra was touching
to those who were in the secret, but they were few.

No great change occurred in the position of Prince Florestan, except
that in addition to the sports to which he was apparently devoted, he
gradually began to interest himself in the turf. He had bred several
horses of repute, and one, which he had named Lady Roehampton, was the
favourite for a celebrated race. His highness was anxious that Myra
should honour him by being his guest. This had never occurred before,
because Lord Roehampton felt that so avowed an intimacy with a personage
in the peculiar position of Prince Florestan was hardly becoming a
Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs; but that he was no longer, and
being the most good-natured man that ever lived, and easily managed in
little things, he could not refuse Myra when she consulted him, as
they call it, on the subject, and it was settled that Lord and Lady
Roehampton were to dine with Prince Florestan. The prince was most
anxious that Mr. Sidney Wilton should take this occasion of consenting
to a reconciliation with him, and Lady Roehampton exerted herself much
for this end. Mr. Sidney Wilton was in love with Lady Roehampton, and
yet on this point he was inexorable. Lord and Lady Beaumaris went, and
Lady Montfort, to whom the prince had addressed a private note of his
own that quite captivated her, and Mr. and Mrs. Neuchatel and Adriana.
Waldershare, Endymion, and Baron Sergius completed the guests, who were
received by the Duke of St. Angelo and a couple of aides-de-camp. When
the prince entered all rose, and the ladies curtseyed very low. Lord
Roehampton resumed his seat immediately, saying to his neighbour, "I
rose to show my respect to my host; I sit down to show that I look upon
him as a subject like myself."

"A subject of whom?" inquired Lady Montfort.

"There is something in that," said Lord Roehampton, smiling.

The Duke of St. Angelo was much disturbed by the conduct of Lord
Roehampton, which had disappointed his calculations, and he went about
lamenting that Lord Roehampton had a little gout.

They had assembled in the library and dined on the same floor. The
prince was seated between Lady Montfort, whom he accompanied to dinner,
and Lady Roehampton. Adriana fell to Endymion's lot. She looked
very pretty, was beautifully dressed, and for her, was even gay. Her
companion was in good spirits, and she seemed interested and amused. The
prince never spoke much, but his remarks always told. He liked murmuring
to women, but when requisite, he could throw a fly over the table with
adroitness and effect. More than once during the dinner he whispered
to Lady Roehampton: "This is too kind--your coming here. But you have
always been my best friend." The dinner would have been lively and
successful even if Waldershare had not been there, but he to-day was
exuberant and irresistible. His chief topic was abuse of the government
of which he was a member, and he lavished all his powers of invective
and ridicule alike on the imbecility of their policy and their
individual absurdities. All this much amused Lady Montfort, and gave
Lord Roehampton an opportunity to fool the Under-Secretary of State to
the top of his bent.

"If you do not take care," said Mr. Neuchatel, "they will turn you out."

"I wish they would," said Waldershare. "That is what I am longing for.
I should go then all over the country and address public meetings. It
would be the greatest thing since Sacheverell."

"Our people have not behaved well to Mr. Waldershare," whispered Imogene
to Lord Roehampton, "but I think we shall put it all right."

"Do you believe it?" inquired Lady Montfort of Lord Roehampton. He had
been speaking to her for some little time in a hushed tone, and rather
earnestly.

"Indeed I do; I cannot well see what there is to doubt about it. We know
the father very well--an excellent man; he was the parish priest of Lady
Roehampton before her marriage, when she lived in the country. And we
know from him that more than a year ago something was contemplated. The
son gave up his living then; he has remained at Rome ever since. And
now I am told he returns to us, the Pope's legate and an archbishop _in
partibus_!"

"It is most interesting," said Lady Montfort. "I was always his great
admirer."

"I know that; you and Lady Roehampton made me go and hear him. The
father will be terribly distressed."

"I do not care at all about the father," said Lady Montfort; "but the
son had such a fine voice and was so very good-looking. I hope I shall
see him."

They were speaking of Nigel Penruddock, whose movements had been a
matter of much mystery during the last two years. Rumours of his having
been received into the Roman Church had been often rife; sometimes
flatly, and in time faintly, contradicted. Now the facts seemed
admitted, and it would appear that he was about to return to England not
only as a Roman Catholic, but as a distinguished priest of the Church,
and, it was said, even the representative of the Papacy.

All the guests rose at the same time--a pleasant habit--and went
upstairs to the brilliantly lighted saloons. Lord Roehampton seated
himself by Baron Sergius, with whom he was always glad to converse. "We
seem here quiet and content?" said the ex-minister inquiringly.

"I hope so, and I think so," said Sergius. "He believes in his star,
and will leave everything to its influence. There are to be no more
adventures."

"It must be a great relief to Lord Roehampton to have got quit of
office," said Mrs. Neuchatel to Lady Roehampton. "I always pitied him so
much. I never can understand why people voluntarily incur such labours
and anxiety."

"You should join us," said Mr. Neuchatel to Waldershare. "They would be
very glad to see you at Brooks'."

"Brooks' may join the October Club which I am going to revive," said
Waldershare.

"I never heard of that club," said Mr. Neuchatel.

"It was a much more important thing than the Bill of Rights or the Act
of Settlement," said Waldershare, "all the same."

"I want to see his mother's portrait in the farther saloon," said Lady
Montfort to Myra.

"Let us go together." And Lady Roehampton rose, and they went.

It was a portrait of Queen Agrippina by a master hand, and admirably
illumined by reflected light, so that it seemed to live.

"She must have been very beautiful," said Lady Montfort.

"Mr. Sidney Wilton was devotedly attached to her, my lord has told me,"
said Lady Roehampton.

"So many were devotedly attached to her," said Lady Montfort.

"Yes; she was like Mary of Scotland, whom some men are in love with even
to this day. Her spell was irresistible. There are no such women now."

"Yes; there is one," said Lady Montfort, suddenly turning round and
embracing Lady Roehampton; "and I know she hates me, because she thinks
I prevent her brother from marrying."

"Dear Lady Montfort, how can you use such strong expressions? I am sure
there can be only one feeling of Endymion's friends to you, and that is
gratitude for your kindness to him."

"I have done nothing for him; I can do nothing for him. I felt that when
we were trying to get him into parliament. If he could marry, and be
independent, and powerful, and rich, it would be better, perhaps, for
all of us."

"I wish he were independent, and powerful, and rich," said Myra
musingly. "That would be a fairy tale. At present, he must be content
that he has some of the kindest friends in the world."

"He interests me very much; no one so much. I am sincerely, even deeply
attached to him; but it is like your love, it is a sister's love. There
is only one person I really love in the world, and alas! he does not
love me!" And her voice was tremulous.

"Do not say such things, dear Lady Montfort. I never can believe what
you sometimes intimate on that subject. Do you know, I think it a little
hallucination."

Lady Montfort shook her head with a truly mournful expression, and then
suddenly, her beautiful face wreathed with smiles, she said in a gay
voice, "We will not think of such sorrows. I wish them to be entombed in
my heart, but the spectres will rise sometimes. Now about your brother.
I do not mean to say that it would not be a great loss to me if he
married, but I wish him to marry if you do. For myself, I must have
a male friend, and he must be very clever, and thoroughly understand
politics. You know you deprived me of Lord Roehampton," she continued
smilingly, "who was everything I could desire; and the Count of Ferroll
would have suited me excellently, but then he ran away. Now Endymion
could not easily run away, and he is so agreeable and so intelligent,
that at last I thought I had found a companion worth helping--and I
meant, and still mean, to work hard--until he is prime minister."

"I have my dreams too about that," said Lady Roehampton, "but we are all
about the same age, and can wait a little."

"He cannot be minister too soon," said Lady Montfort. "It was not being
minister soon that ruined Charles Fox."

The party broke up. The prince made a sign to Waldershare, which meant a
confidential cigar, and in a few minutes they were alone together.

"What women!" exclaimed the prince. "Not to be rivalled in this city,
and yet quite unlike each other."

"And which do you admire most, sir?" said Waldershare.

The prince trimmed his cigar, and then he said, "I will tell you this
day five years."



CHAPTER LXXXI

The ecclesiastical incident mentioned at the dinner described in our
last chapter, produced a considerable effect in what is called society.
Nigel Penruddock had obtained great celebrity as a preacher, while
his extreme doctrines and practices had alike amazed, fascinated, and
alarmed a large portion of the public. For some time he had withdrawn
from the popular gaze, but his individuality was too strong to be easily
forgotten, even if occasional paragraphs as to his views and conduct,
published, contradicted, and reiterated, were not sufficient to sustain,
and even stimulate, curiosity. That he was about to return to his native
land, as the Legate of His Holiness, was an event which made many men
look grave, and some female hearts flutter.

The memory of Lady Roehampton could not escape from the past, and she
could not recall it and all the scenes at Hurstley without emotion; and
Lady Montfort remembered with some pride and excitement, that the Legate
of the Pope had been one of her heroes. It was evident that he had no
wish to avoid his old acquaintances, for shortly after his arrival, and
after he had assembled his suffragans, and instructed the clergy of his
district, for dioceses did not then exist, Archbishop Penruddock, for so
the Metropolitan of Tyre simply styled himself, called upon both these
ladies.

His first visit was to Myra, and notwithstanding her disciplined
self-control, her intense pride, and the deep and daring spirit which
always secretly sustained her, she was nervous and agitated, but only in
her boudoir. When she entered the saloon to welcome him, she seemed as
calm as if she were going to an evening assembly.

Nigel was changed. Instead of that anxious and moody look which formerly
marred the refined beauty of his countenance, his glance was calm and
yet radiant. He was thinner, it might almost be said emaciated, which
seemed to add height to his tall figure.

Lady Roehampton need not have been nervous about the interview, and the
pain of its inevitable associations. Except one allusion at the end of
his visit, when his Grace mentioned some petty grievance, of which he
wished to relieve his clergy, and said, "I think I will consult your
brother; being in the opposition, he will be less embarrassed than some
of my friends in the government, or their supporters," he never referred
to the past. All he spoke of was the magnitude of his task, the immense
but inspiring labours which awaited him, and his deep sense of his
responsibility. Nothing but the Divine principle of the Church could
sustain him. He was at one time hopeful that His Holiness might have
thought the time ripe for the restoration of the national hierarchy, but
it was decreed otherwise. Had it been accorded, no doubt it would
have assisted him. A prelate _in partibus_ is, in a certain sense, a
stranger, whatever his duties, and the world is more willing when it
is appealed to by one who has "a local habitation and a name;" he is
identified with the people among whom he lives. There was much to do.
The state of the Catholic poor in his own district was heartrending. He
never could have conceived such misery, and that too under the shadow
of the Abbey. The few schools which existed were wretched, and his first
attention must be given to this capital deficiency. He trusted much to
female aid. He meant to invite the great Catholic ladies to unite with
him in a common labour of love. In this great centre of civilisation,
and wealth, and power, there was need of the spirit of a St. Ursula.

No one seemed more pleased by the return of Archbishop Penruddock than
Lord Montfort. He appeared to be so deeply interested in his Grace's
mission, sought his society so often, treated him with such profound
respect, almost ceremony, asked so many questions about what was
happening at Rome, and what was going to be done here--that Nigel might
have been pardoned if he did not despair of ultimately inducing Lord
Montfort to return to the faith of his illustrious ancestors. And yet,
all this time, Lord Montfort was only amusing himself; a new character
was to him a new toy, and when he could not find one, he would dip into
the "Memoirs of St. Simon."

Instead of avoiding society, as was his wont in the old days, the
Archbishop sought it. And there was nothing exclusive in his social
habits; all classes and all creeds, all conditions and orders of men,
were alike interesting to him; they were part of the mighty community,
with all whose pursuits, and passions, and interests, and occupations
he seemed to sympathise, but respecting which he had only one object--to
bring them back once more to that imperial fold from which, in an hour
of darkness and distraction, they had miserably wandered. The conversion
of England was deeply engraven on the heart of Penruddock; it was his
constant purpose, and his daily and nightly prayer.

So the Archbishop was seen everywhere, even at fashionable assemblies.
He was a frequent guest at banquets which he never tasted, for he was
a smiling ascetic, and though he seemed to be preaching or celebrating
high mass in every part of the metropolis, organising schools,
establishing convents, and building cathedrals, he could find time to
move philanthropic resolutions at middle-class meetings, attend learned
associations, and even occasionally send a paper to the Royal Society.

The person who fell most under the influence of the archbishop was
Waldershare. He was fairly captivated by him. Nothing would satisfy
Waldershare till he had brought the archbishop and Prince Florestan
together. "You are a Roman Catholic prince, sir," he would say. "It is
absolute folly to forego such a source of influence and power as the
Roman Catholic Church. Here is your man; a man made for the occasion,
a man who may be pope. Come to an understanding with him, and I believe
you will regain your throne in a year."

"But, my dear Waldershare, it is very true I am a Roman Catholic, but I
am also the head of the Liberal party in my country, and perhaps also
on the continent of Europe, and they are not particularly affected to
archbishops and popes."

"Old-fashioned twaddle of the Liberal party," exclaimed Waldershare.
"There is more true democracy in the Roman Catholic Church than in all
the secret societies of Europe."

"There is something in that," said the prince musingly, "and my friends
are Roman Catholics, nominally Roman Catholics. If I were quite sure
your man and the priests generally were nominally Roman Catholics,
something might be done."

"As for that," said Waldershare, "sensible men are all of the same
religion."

"And pray what is that?" inquired the prince.

"Sensible men never tell."

Perhaps there was no family which suited him more, and where the
archbishop became more intimate, than the Neuchatels. He very much
valued a visit to Hainault, and the miscellaneous and influential
circles he met there--merchant princes, and great powers of Lombard
Street and the Stock Exchange. The Governor of the Bank happened to be a
high churchman, and listened to the archbishop with evident relish.
Mrs. Neuchatel also acknowledged the spell of his society, and he quite
agreed with her that people should be neither so poor nor so rich. She
had long mused over plans of social amelioration, and her new ally was
to teach her how to carry them into practice. As for Mr. Neuchatel, he
was pleased that his wife was amused, and liked the archbishop as he
liked all clever men. "You know," he would say, "I am in favour of all
churches, provided, my lord archbishop, they do not do anything very
foolish. Eh? So I shall subscribe to your schools with great pleasure.
We cannot have too many schools, even if they only keep young people
from doing mischief."



CHAPTER LXXXII

The prosperity of the country was so signal, while Mr. Vigo was
unceasingly directing millions of our accumulated capital, and promises
of still more, into the "new channel," that it seemed beyond belief
that any change of administration could even occur, at least in the
experience of the existing generation. The minister to whose happy
destiny it had fallen to gratify the large appetites and reckless
consuming powers of a class now first known in our social hierarchy
as "Navvies," was hailed as a second Pitt. The countenance of the
opposition was habitually dejected, with the exception of those members
of it on whom Mr. Vigo graciously conferred shares, and Lady Montfort
taunted Mr. Sidney Wilton with inquiries, why he and his friends had
not made railroads, instead of inventing nonsense about cheap bread.
Job Thornberry made wonderful speeches in favour of total and immediate
repeal of the corn laws, and the Liberal party, while they cheered him,
privately expressed their regret that such a capital speaker, who might
be anything, was not a practical man. Low prices, abundant harvests,
and a thriving commerce had rendered all appeals, varied even by the
persuasive ingenuity of Thornberry, a wearisome irritation; and, though
the League had transplanted itself from Manchester to the metropolis,
and hired theatres for their rhetoric, the close of 1845 found them
nearly reduced to silence.

Mr. Bertie Tremaine, who was always studying the spirit of the age,
announced to the initiated that Mr. Vigo had something of the character
and structure of Napoleon, and that he himself began to believe, that
an insular nation, with such an enormous appetite, was not adapted
to cosmopolitan principles, which were naturally of a character more
spiritual and abstract. Mr. Bertie Tremaine asked Mr. Vigo to dinner,
and introduced him to several distinguished youths of extreme opinions,
who were dining off gold plate. Mr. Vigo was much flattered by his
visit; his host made much of him; and he heard many things on the
principles of government, and even of society, in the largest sense of
the expression, which astonished and amused him. In the course of the
evening he varied the conversation--one which became the classic library
and busts of the surrounding statesmen--by promising to most of the
guests allotments of shares in a new company, not yet launched, but
whose securities were already at a high premium.

Endymion, in the meantime, pursued the even tenor of his way. Guided
by the experience, unrivalled knowledge, and consummate tact of Lord
Roehampton, he habitually made inquiries, or brought forward motions,
which were evidently inconvenient or embarrassing to the ministry; and
the very circumstance, that he was almost always replied to by the prime
minister, elevated him in the estimation of the House as much as the
pertinence of his questions, and the accurate information on which he
founded his motions. He had not taken the House with a rush like Job
Thornberry, but, at the end of three sessions, he was a personage
universally looked upon as one who was "certain to have office."

There was another new member who had also made way, though slowly, and
that was Mr. Trenchard; he had distinguished himself on a difficult
committee, on which he had guided a perplexed minister, who was
chairman, through many intricacies. Mr. Trenchard watched the operations
of Mr. Vigo, with a calm, cold scrutiny, and ventured one day to impart
his conviction to Endymion that there were breakers ahead. "Vigo is
exhausting the floating capital of the country," he said, and he offered
to give him all the necessary details, if he would call the attention of
the House to the matter. Endymion declined to do this, chiefly because
he wished to devote himself to foreign affairs, and thought the House
would hardly brook his interference also in finance. So he strongly
advised Trenchard himself to undertake the task. Trenchard was modest,
and a little timid about speaking; so it was settled that he should
consult the leaders on the question, and particularly the gentleman who
it was supposed would be their Chancellor of the Exchequer, if ever
they were again called upon to form a ministry. This right honourable
individual listened to Trenchard with the impatience which became a man
of great experience addressed by a novice, and concluded the interview
by saying, that he thought "there was nothing in it;" at the same
time, he would turn it in his mind, and consult some practical men.
Accordingly the ex- and future minister consulted Mr. Vigo, who assured
him that he was quite right; that "there was nothing in it," and that
the floating capital of the country was inexhaustible.

In the midst of all this physical prosperity, one fine day in August,
parliament having just been prorogued, an unknown dealer in potatoes
wrote to the Secretary of State, and informed him that he had reason to
think that a murrain had fallen over the whole of the potato crops
in England, and that, if it extended to Ireland, the most serious
consequences must ensue.

This mysterious but universal sickness of a single root changed the
history of the world.

"There is no gambling like politics," said Lord Roehampton, as he
glanced at the "Times," at Princedown; "four cabinets in one week; the
government must be more sick than the potatoes."

"Berengaria always says," said Lord Montfort, "that you should see
Princedown in summer. I, on the contrary, maintain it is essentially a
winter residence, for, if there ever be a sunbeam in England, Princedown
always catches it. Now to-day, one might fancy one's self at Cannes."

Lord Montfort was quite right, but even the most wilful and selfish of
men was generally obliged to pass his Christmas at his northern
castle. Montforts had passed their Christmas in that grim and mighty
dwelling-place for centuries. Even he was not strong enough to contend
against such tradition. Besides, every one loves power, even if they do
not know what to do with it. There are such things as memberships for
counties, which, if public feeling be not outraged, are hereditary, and
adjacent boroughs, which, with a little management and much expense,
become reasonable and loyal. If the flag were rarely to wave on the
proud keep of Montfort, all these satisfactory circumstances would be
greatly disturbed and baffled; and if the ancient ensign did not promise
welcome and hospitality at Christmas, some of the principal uses even of
Earls of Montfort might be questioned.

There was another reason, besides the distance and the clime, why Lord
Montfort disliked the glorious pile which every Englishman envied him
for possession. The mighty domain of Montfort was an estate in strict
settlement. Its lord could do nothing but enjoy its convenience and its
beauty, and expend its revenues. Nothing could be sold or bought, not
the slightest alteration--according to Lord Montfort--be made, without
applying to trustees for their sanction. Lord Montfort spoke of this
pitiable state of affairs as if he were describing the serfdom of the
Middle Ages. "If I were to pull this bell-rope, and it came down," he
would say, "I should have to apply to the trustees before it could be
arranged."

Such a humiliating state of affairs had induced his lordship, on the
very first occasion, to expend half a million of accumulations, which
were at his own disposal, in the purchase of Princedown, which certainly
was a very different residence from Montfort Castle, alike in its clime
and character.

Princedown was situate in a southern county, hardly on a southern
coast, for it was ten miles from the sea, though enchanting views of the
Channel were frequent and exquisite. It was a palace built in old days
upon the Downs, but sheltered and screened from every hostile wind. The
full warmth of the south fell upon the vast but fantastic pile of the
Renaissance style, said to have been built by that gifted but mysterious
individual, John of Padua. The gardens were wonderful, terrace upon
terrace, and on each terrace a tall fountain. But the most peculiar
feature was the park, which was undulating and extensive, but its timber
entirely ilex: single trees of an age and size not common in that tree,
and groups and clumps of ilex, but always ilex. Beyond the park, and
extending far into the horizon, was Princedown forest, the dominion of
the red deer.

The Roehamptons and Endymion were the only permanent visitors at
Princedown at this moment, but every day brought guests who stayed
eight-and-forty hours, and then flitted. Lady Montfort, like the manager
of a theatre, took care that there should be a succession of novelties
to please or to surprise the wayward audience for whom she had to cater.
On the whole, Lord Montfort was, for him, in an extremely good humour;
never very ill; Princedown was the only place where he never was very
ill; he was a little excited, too, by the state of politics, though
he did not exactly know why; "though, I suppose," he would say to Lord
Roehampton, "if you do come in again, there will be no more nonsense
about O'Connell and all that sort of thing. If you are prudent on
that head, and carry a moderate fixed duty, not too high, say ten
shillings--that would satisfy everybody--I do not see why the thing
might not go on as long as you liked."

Mr. Waldershare came down, exuberant with endless combinations
of persons and parties. He foresaw in all these changes that most
providential consummation, the end of the middle class.

Mr. Waldershare had become quite a favourite with Lord Montfort, who
delighted to talk with him about the Duke of Modena, and imbibe his
original views of English History. "Only," Lord Montfort would observe,
"the Montforts have so much Church property, and I fancy the Duke of
Modena would want us to disgorge."

St. Barbe had been invited, and made his appearance. There had been a
degree of estrangement between him and his patron. St. Barbe was very
jealous; he was indeed jealous of everybody and everything, and of late
there was a certain Doctor Comeley, an Oxford don of the new school, who
had been introduced to Lord Montfort, and was initiating him in all
the mysteries of Neology. This celebrated divine, who, in a sweet silky
voice, quoted Socrates instead of St. Paul, and was opposed to all
symbols and formulas as essentially unphilosophical, had become the hero
of "the little dinners" at Montfort House, where St. Barbe had been so
long wont to shine, and who in consequence himself had become every day
more severely orthodox.

"Perhaps we may meet to-day," said Endymion one morning to St. Barbe in
Pall Mall as they were separating. "There is a little dinner at Montfort
House."

"Confound your little dinners!" exclaimed the indignant St. Barbe; "I
hope never to go to another little dinner, and especially at Montfort
House. I do not want to be asked to dinner to tumble and play tricks to
amuse my host. I want to be amused myself. One cannot be silent at these
little dinners, and the consequence is, you say all the good things
which are in your next number, and when it comes out, people say they
have heard them before. No, sir, if Lord Montfort, or any other lord,
wishes me to dine with him, let him ask me to a banquet of his own
order, and where I may hold my tongue like the rest of his aristocratic
guests."

Mr. Trenchard had come down and brought the news that the ministry had
resigned, and that the Queen had sent for the leader of the opposition,
who was in Scotland.

"I suppose we shall have to go to town," said Lady Roehampton to her
brother, in a room, busy and full. "It is so difficult to be alone
here," she continued in a whisper; "let us get into the gardens." And
they escaped. And then, when they were out of hearing and of sight of
any one, she said, "This is a most critical time of your life, Endymion;
it makes me very anxious. I look upon it as certain that you will be in
office, and in all probability under my lord. He has said nothing to me
about it, but I feel quite assured it will happen. It will be a great
event. Poor papa began by being an under-secretary of state!" she
continued in a moody tone, half speaking to herself, "and all seemed so
fair then, but he had no root. What I want, Endymion, is that you should
have a root. There is too much chance and favour in your lot. They will
fail you some day, some day too when I may not be by you. Even this
great opening, which is at hand, would never have been at your command,
but for a mysterious gift on which you never could have counted."

"It is very true, Myra, but what then?"

"Why, then, I think we should guard against such contingencies. You know
what is in my mind; we have spoken of it before, and not once only. I
want you to marry, and you know whom."

"Marriage is a serious affair!" said Endymion, with a distressed look.

"The most serious. It is the principal event for good or for evil in all
lives. Had I not married, and married as I did, we should not have been
here--and where, I dare not think."

"Yes; but you made a happy marriage; one of the happiest that was ever
known, I think."

"And I wish you, Endymion, to make the same. I did not marry for love,
though love came, and I brought happiness to one who made me happy. But
had it been otherwise, if there had been no sympathy, or prospect of
sympathy, I still should have married, for it was the only chance of
saving you."

"Dearest sister! Everything I have, I owe to you."

"It is not much," said Myra, "but I wish to make it much. Power in every
form, and in excess, is at your disposal if you be wise. There is a
woman, I think with every charm, who loves you; her fortune may have
no limit; she is a member of one of the most powerful families in
England--a noble family I may say, for my lord told me last night
that Mr. Neuchatel would be instantly raised to the peerage, and
you hesitate! By all the misery of the past--which never can be
forgotten--for Heaven's sake, be wise; do not palter with such a
chance."

"If all be as you say, Myra, and I have no reason but your word to
believe it is so--if, for example, of which I never saw any evidence,
Mr. Neuchatel would approve, or even tolerate, this alliance--I have too
deep and sincere a regard for his daughter, founded on much kindness
to both of us, to mock her with the offer of a heart which she has not
gained."

"You say you have a deep and sincere regard for Adriana," said his
sister. "Why, what better basis for enduring happiness can there be?
You are not a man to marry for romantic sentiment, and pass your life
in writing sonnets to your wife till you find her charms and your
inspiration alike exhausted; you are already wedded to the State, you
have been nurtured in the thoughts of great affairs from your very
childhood, and even in the darkest hour of our horrible adversity. You
are a man born for power and high condition, whose name in time ought to
rank with those of the great statesmen of the continent, the true lords
of Europe. Power, and power alone, should be your absorbing object, and
all the accidents and incidents of life should only be considered with
reference to that main result."

"Well, I am only five-and-twenty after all. There is time yet to
consider this."

"Great men should think of Opportunity, and not of Time. Time is the
excuse of feeble and puzzled spirits. They make time the sleeping
partner of their lives to accomplish what ought to be achieved by their
own will. In this case, there certainly is no time like the present. The
opportunity is unrivalled. All your friends would, without an exception,
be delighted if you now were wise."

"I hardly think my friends have given it a thought," said Endymion, a
little flushed.

"There is nothing that would please Lady Montfort more."

He turned pale. "How do you know that?" he inquired.

"She told me so, and offered to help me in bringing about the result."

"Very kind of her! Well, dearest Myra, you and Lord Roehampton have
much to think of at this anxious moment. Let this matter drop. We have
discussed it before, and we have discussed it enough. It is more than
pain for me to differ from you on any point, but I cannot offer to
Adriana a heart which belongs to another."



CHAPTER LXXXIII

All the high expectations of December at Princedown were doomed to
disappointment; they were a further illustration of Lord Roehampton's
saying, that there was no gambling like politics. The leader of the
opposition came up to town, but he found nothing but difficulties, and
a few days before Christmas he had resigned the proffered trust. The
protectionist ministry were to remain in office, and to repeal the corn
laws. The individual who was most baulked by this unexpected result was
perhaps Lord Roehampton. He was a man who really cared for nothing but
office and affairs, and being advanced in life, he naturally regretted a
lost opportunity. But he never showed his annoyance. Always playful, and
even taking refuge in a bantering spirit, the world seemed to go light
with him when everything was dark and everybody despondent.

The discontent or indignation which the contemplated revolution in
policy was calculated to excite in the Conservative party generally
were to a certain degree neutralised for the moment by mysterious and
confidential communications, circulated by Mr. Tadpole and the managers
of the party, that the change was to be accompanied by "immense
compensations." As parliament was to meet as soon as convenient after
Christmas, and the statement of the regenerated ministry was then to
be made immediately, every one held his hand, as they all felt the blow
must be more efficient when the scheme of the government was known.

The Montforts were obliged to go to their castle, a visit the sad
necessity of which the formation of a new government, at one time, they
had hoped might have prevented. The Roehamptons passed their Christmas
with Mr. Sidney Wilton at Gaydene, where Endymion also and many of the
opposition were guests. Waldershare took refuge with his friends the
Beaumaris', full of revenge and unceasing combinations. He took down St.
Barbe with him, whose services in the session might be useful. There
had been a little misunderstanding between these two eminent personages
during the late season. St. Barbe was not satisfied with his position in
the new journal which Waldershare had established. He affected to have
been ill-treated and deceived, and this with a mysterious shake of the
head which seemed to intimate state secrets that might hereafter be
revealed. The fact is, St. Barbe's political articles were so absurd
that it was impossible to print them; but as his name stood high as a
clever writer on matters with which he was acquainted, they permitted
him, particularly as they were bound to pay him a high salary, to
contribute essays on the social habits and opinions of the day, which he
treated in a happy and taking manner. St. Barbe himself had such quick
perception of peculiarities, so fine a power of observation, and so keen
a sense of the absurd, that when he revealed in confidence the causes of
his discontent, it was almost impossible to believe that he was entirely
serious. It seems that he expected this connection with the journal in
question to have been, to use his own phrase, "a closet affair," and
that he was habitually to have been introduced by the backstairs of
the palace to the presence of Royalty to receive encouragement and
inspiration. "I do not complain of the pay," he added, "though I could
get more by writing for Shuffle and Screw, but I expected a decoration.
However, I shall probably stand for next parliament on the principles of
the Mountain, so perhaps it is just as well."

Parliament soon met, and that session began which will long be
memorable. The "immense compensations" were nowhere. Waldershare, who
had only waited for this, resigned his office as Under-Secretary of
State. This was a bad example and a blow, but nothing compared to
the resignation of his great office in the Household by the Earl of
Beaumaris. This involved unhappily the withdrawal of Lady Beaumaris,
under whose bright, inspiring roof the Tory party had long assembled,
sanguine and bold. Other considerable peers followed the precedent
of Lord Beaumaris, and withdrew their support from the ministry.
Waldershare moved the amendment to the first reading of the obnoxious
bill; but although defeated by a considerable majority, the majority was
mainly formed by members of the opposition. Among these was Mr. Ferrars,
who it was observed never opened his lips during the whole session.

This was not the case with Mr. Bertie Tremaine and the school of
Pythagoras. The opportunity long waited for had at length arrived. There
was a great parliamentary connection deserted by their leaders. This
distinguished rank and file required officers. The cabinet of Mr. Bertie
Tremaine was ready, and at their service. Mr. Bertie Tremaine seconded
the amendment of Waldershare, and took the occasion of expounding the
new philosophy, which seemed to combine the principles of Bentham
with the practice of Lord Liverpool. "I offered to you this," he said
reproachfully to Endymion; "you might have been my secretary of state.
Mr. Tremaine Bertie will now take it. He would rather have had an
embassy, but he must make the sacrifice."

The debates during the session were much carried on by the Pythagoreans,
who never ceased chattering. They had men ready for every branch of
the subject, and the debate was often closed by their chief in mystical
sentences, which they cheered like awestruck zealots.

The great bill was carried, but the dark hour of retribution at length
arrived. The ministry, though sanguine to the last of success, and
not without cause, were completely and ignominiously defeated. The new
government, long prepared, was at once formed. Lord Roehampton again
became secretary of state, and he appointed Endymion to the post under
him. "I shall not press you unfairly," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine to
Endymion, with encouraging condescension. "I wish my men for a season
to comprehend what is a responsible opposition. I am sorry Hortensius
is your solicitor-general, for I had intended him always for my
chancellor."



CHAPTER LXXXIV

Very shortly after the prorogation of parliament, an incident occurred
which materially affected the position of Endymion. Lord Roehampton had
a serious illness. Having a fine constitution, he apparently completely
rallied from the attack, and little was known of it by the public. The
world also, at that moment, was as usual much dispersed and distracted;
dispersed in many climes, and distracted by the fatigue and hardships
they annually endure, and which they call relaxation. Even the
colleagues of the great statesman were scattered, and before they
had realised that he had been seriously ill, they read of him in the
fulfilment of his official duties. But there was no mistake as to his
state under his own roof. Lord Roehampton had, throughout the later
period of his life, been in the habit of working at night. It was
only at night that he could command that abstraction necessary for the
consideration of great affairs. He was also a real worker. He wrote his
own despatches, whenever they referred to matters of moment. He left to
the permanent staff of his office little but the fulfilment of duties
which, though heavy and multifarious, were duties of routine. The
composition of these despatches was a source to Lord Roehampton of much
gratification and excitement. They were of European fame, and their
terse argument, their clear determination, and often their happy irony,
were acknowledged in all the cabinets, and duly apprehended.

The physicians impressed upon Lady Roehampton that this night-work
must absolutely cease. A neglect of their advice must lead to serious
consequences; following it, there was no reason why her husband should
not live for years, and continue to serve the State. Lord Roehampton
must leave the House of Commons; he must altogether change the order
of his life; he must seek more amusement in society, and yet keep early
hours; and then he would find himself fresh and vigorous in the morning,
and his work would rather benefit than distress him. It was all an
affair of habit.

Lady Roehampton threw all her energies into this matter. She entertained
for her lord a reverential affection, and his life to her seemed a
precious deposit, of which she was the trustee. She succeeded where the
physicians would probably have failed. Towards the end of the year Lord
Roehampton was called up to the House of Lords for one of his baronies,
and Endymion was informed that when parliament met, he would have to
represent the Foreign Office in the House of Commons.

Waldershare heartily congratulated him. "You have got what I most
wished to have in the world; but I will not envy you, for envy is a vile
passion. You have the good fortune to serve a genial chief. I had to
deal with a Harley,--cold, suspicious, ambiguous, pretending to be
profound, and always in a state of perplexity."

It was not a very agreeable session. The potato famine did something
more than repeal the corn laws. It proved that there was no floating
capital left in the country; and when the Barings and Rothschilds
combined, almost as much from public spirit as from private speculation,
to raise a loan of a few millions for the minister, they absolutely
found the public purse was exhausted, and had to supply the greater
portion of the amount from their own resources. In one of the many
financial debates that consequently occurred, Trenchard established
himself by a clear and comprehensive view of the position of affairs,
and by modestly reminding the House, that a year ago he had predicted
the present condition of things, and indicated its inevitable cause.

This was the great speech on a great night, and Mr. Bertie Tremaine
walked home with Trenchard. It was observed that Mr. Bertie Tremaine
always walked home with the member who had made the speech of the
evening.

"Your friends did not behave well to you," he said in a hollow voice to
Trenchard. "They ought to have made you Secretary of the Treasury. Think
of this. It is an important post, and may lead to anything; and, so far
as I am concerned, it would give me real pleasure to see it."

But besides the disquietude of domestic affairs, famine and failures
competing in horrible catastrophe and the Bank Act suspended, as
the year advanced matters on the Continent became not less dark and
troubled. Italy was mysteriously agitated; the pope announced himself
a reformer; there were disturbances in Milan, Ancona, and Ferrara; the
Austrians threatened the occupation of several States, and Sardinia
offered to defend His Holiness from the Austrians. In addition to all
this, there were reform banquets in France, a civil war in Switzerland,
and the King of Prussia thought it prudent to present his subjects with
a Constitution.

The Count of Ferroll about this time made a visit to England. He was
always a welcome guest there, and had received the greatest distinction
which England could bestow upon a foreigner; he had been elected an
honorary member of White's. "You may have troubles here," he said to
Lady Montfort, "but they will pass; you will have mealy potatoes
again and plenty of bank notes, but we shall not get off so cheaply.
Everything is quite rotten throughout the Continent. This year is
tranquillity to what the next will be. There is not a throne in Europe
worth a year's purchase. My worthy master wants me to return home and be
minister; I am to fashion for him a new constitution. I will never have
anything to do with new constitutions; their inventors are always
the first victims. Instead of making a constitution, he should make
a country, and convert his heterogeneous domains into a patriotic
dominion."

"But how is that to be done?"

"There is only one way; by blood and iron."

"My dear count, you shock me!"

"I shall have to shock you a great deal more before the inevitable is
brought about."

"Well, I am glad that there is something," said Lady Montfort, "which is
inevitable. I hope it will come soon. I am sure this country is ruined.
What with cheap bread at famine prices and these railroads, we seem
quite finished. I thought one operation was to counteract the other; but
they appear both to turn out equally fatal."

Endymion had now one of those rare opportunities which, if men be equal
to them, greatly affect their future career. As the session advanced,
debates on foreign affairs became frequent and deeply interesting. So
far as the ministry was concerned, the burthen of these fell on the
Under-Secretary of State. He was never wanting. The House felt that he
had not only the adequate knowledge, but that it was knowledge perfectly
digested; that his remarks and conduct were those of a man who had
given constant thought to his duties, and was master of his subject. His
oratorical gifts also began to be recognised. The power and melody
of his voice had been before remarked, and that is a gift which much
contributes to success in a popular assembly. He was ready without being
too fluent. There were light and shade in his delivery. He repressed his
power of sarcasm; but if unjustly and inaccurately attacked, he could be
keen. Over his temper he had a complete control; if, indeed, his entire
insensibility to violent language on the part of an opponent was not
organic. All acknowledged his courtesy, and both sides sympathised with
a young man who proved himself equal to no ordinary difficulties. In a
word, Endymion was popular, and that popularity was not diminished by
the fact of his being the brother of Lady Roehampton, who exercised
great influence in society, and who was much beloved.

As the year advanced external affairs became daily more serious, and
the country congratulated itself that its interests were entrusted to
a minister of the experience and capacity of Lord Roehampton. That
statesman seemed never better than when the gale ran high. Affairs in
France began to assume the complexion that the Count of Ferroll had
prophetically announced. If a crash occurred in that quarter, Lord
Roehampton felt that all Europe might be in a blaze. Affairs were never
more serious than at the turn of the year. Lord Roehampton told his wife
that their holidays must be spent in St. James' Square, for he could not
leave London; but he wished her to go to Gaydene, where they had been
invited by Mr. Sidney Wilton to pass their Christmas as usual. Nothing,
however, would induce her to quit his side. He seemed quite well, but
the pressure of affairs was extreme; and sometimes, against all her
remonstrances, he was again working at night. Such remonstrances on
other subjects would probably have been successful, for her influence
over him was extreme. But to a minister responsible for the interests
of a great country they are vain, futile, impossible. One might as well
remonstrate with an officer on the field of battle on the danger he was
incurring. She said to him one night in his library, where she paid him
a little visit before she retired, "My heart, I know it is no use my
saying anything, and yet--remember your promise. This night-work makes
me very unhappy."

"I remember my promise, and I will try not to work at night again in a
hurry, but I must finish this despatch. If I did not, I could not sleep,
and you know sleep is what I require."

"Good night, then."

He looked up with his winning smile, and held out his lips. "Kiss me,"
he said; "I never felt better."

Lady Roehampton after a time slumbered; how long she knew not, but when
she woke, her lord was not at her side. She struck a light and looked at
her watch. It was past three o'clock; she jumped out of bed, and, merely
in her slippers and her _robe de chambre_, descended to the library. It
was a large, long room, and Lord Roehampton worked at the extreme end
of it. The candles were nearly burnt out. As she approached him, she
perceived that he was leaning back in his chair. When she reached him,
she observed he was awake, but he did not seem to recognise her. A
dreadful feeling came over her. She took his hand. It was quite cold.
Her intellect for an instant seemed to desert her. She looked round her
with an air void almost of intelligence, and then rushing to the bell
she continued ringing it till some of the household appeared. A medical
man was near at hand, and in a few minutes arrived, but it was a
bootless visit. All was over, and all had been over, he said, "for some
time."



CHAPTER LXXXV

"Well, you have made up your government?" asked Lady Montfort of the
prime minister as he entered her boudoir. He shook his head.

"Have you seen her?" he inquired.

"No, not yet; I suppose she will see me as soon as any one."

"I am told she is utterly overwhelmed."

"She was devoted to him; it was the happiest union I ever knew; but
Lady Roehampton is not the woman to be utterly overwhelmed. She has too
imperial a spirit for that."

"It is a great misfortune," said the prime minister. "We have not been
lucky since we took the reins."

"Well, there is no use in deploring. There is nobody else to take the
reins, so you may defy misfortunes. The question now is, what are you
going to do?"

"Well, there seems to me only one thing to do. We must put Rawchester
there."

"Rawchester!" exclaimed Lady Montfort, "what, 'Niminy-Piminy'?"

"Well, he is conciliatory," said the premier, "and if you are not very
clever, you should be conciliatory."

"He never knows his own mind for a week together."

"We will take care of his mind," said the prime minister, "but he has
travelled a good deal, and knows the public men."

"Yes," said Lady Montfort, "and the public men, I fear, know him."

"Then he can make a good House of Lords' speech, and we have a
first-rate man in the Commons; so it will do."

"I do not think your first-rate man in the House of Commons will
remain," said Lady Montfort drily.

"You do not mean that?" said the prime minister, evidently alarmed.

"His health is delicate," said Lady Montfort; "had it not been for
his devotion to Lord Roehampton, I know he thought of travelling for a
couple of years."

"Ferrars' health delicate?" said the premier; "I thought he was the
picture of health and youthful vigour. Health is one of the elements
to be considered in calculating the career of a public man, and I have
always predicted an eminent career for Ferrars, because, in addition to
his remarkable talents, he had apparently such a fine constitution."

"No health could stand working under Lord Rawchester."

"Well, but what am I to do? I cannot make Mr. Ferrars secretary of
state."

"Why not?"

The prime minister looked considerably perplexed. Such a promotion could
not possibly have occurred to him. Though a man of many gifts, and
a statesman, he had been educated in high Whig routine, and the
proposition of Lady Montfort was like recommending him to make a curate
a bishop.

"Well," he said, "Ferrars is a very clever fellow. He is our rising
young man, and there is no doubt that, if his health is not so delicate
as you fear, he will mount high; but though our rising young man, he is
a young man, much too young to be a secretary of state. He wants age,
larger acquaintance with affairs, greater position, and more root in the
country."

"What was Mr. Canning's age, who held Mr. Ferrars' office, when he was
made secretary of state? and what root in the country had he?"

When the prime minister got back to Downing Street, he sent immediately
for his head whip. "Look after Ferrars," he said; "they are trying to
induce him to resign office. If he does, our embarrassments will be
extreme. Lord Rawchester will be secretary of state; send a paragraph
at once to the papers announcing it. But look after Ferrars, and
immediately, and report to me."

Lord Roehampton had a large entailed estate, though his affairs were
always in a state of confusion. That seems almost the inevitable result
of being absorbed in the great business of governing mankind. If there
be exceptions among statesmen of the highest class, they will generally
be found among those who have been chiefly in opposition, and so have
had leisure and freedom of mind sufficient to manage their estates. Lord
Roehampton had, however, extensive powers of charging his estate in lieu
of dower, and he had employed them to their utmost extent; so his
widow was well provided for. The executors were Mr. Sidney Wilton and
Endymion.

After a short period, Lady Roehampton saw Adriana, and not very long
after, Lady Montfort. They both of them, from that time, were her
frequent, if not constant, companions, but she saw no one else. Once
only, since the terrible event, was she seen by the world, and that was
when a tall figure, shrouded in the darkest attire, attended as chief
mourner at the burial of her lord in Westminster Abbey. She remained
permanently in London, not only because she had no country house,
but because she wished to be with her brother. As time advanced, she
frequently saw Mr. Sidney Wilton, who, being chief executor of the
will, and charged with all her affairs, had necessarily much on which to
consult her. One of the greatest difficulties was to provide her with a
suitable residence, for of course, she was not to remain in the family
mansion in St. James' Square. That difficulty was ultimately overcome
in a manner highly interesting to her feelings. Her father's mansion in
Hill Street, where she had passed her prosperous and gorgeous childhood,
was in the market, and she was most desirous to occupy it. "It will seem
like a great step towards the restoration," she said to Endymion. "My
plans are, that you should give up the Albany, and that we should live
together. I should like to live together in Hill Street; I should like
to see our nursery once more. The past then will be a dream, or at least
all the past that is disagreeable. My fortune is yours; as we are twins,
it is likely that I may live as long as you do. But I wish you to be
the master of the house, and in time receive your friends in a manner
becoming your position. I do not think that I shall ever much care to go
out again, but I may help you at home, and then you can invite women; a
mere bachelor's house is always dull."

There was one difficulty still in this arrangement. The mansion in Hill
Street was not to be let, it was for sale, and the price naturally for
such a mansion in such a situation, was considerable; quite beyond the
means of Lady Roehampton who had a very ample income, but no capital.
This difficulty, however, vanished in a moment. Mr. Sidney Wilton
purchased the house; he wanted an investment, and this was an excellent
one; so Lady Roehampton became his tenant.

The change was great in the life of Myra, and she felt it. She loved her
lord, and had cut off her beautiful hair, which reached almost to
her feet, and had tied it round his neck in his coffin. But Myra,
notwithstanding she was a woman, and a woman of transcendent beauty, had
never had a romance of the heart. Until she married, her pride and love
for her brother, which was part of her pride, had absorbed her being.
When she married, and particularly as time advanced, she felt all the
misery of her existence had been removed, and nothing could exceed the
tenderness and affectionate gratitude, and truly unceasing devotion,
which she extended to the gifted being to who she owed this deliverance.
But it was not in the nature of things that she could experience those
feelings which still echo in the heights of Meilleraie, and compared
with which all the glittering accidents of fortune sink into
insignificance.

The year rolled on, an agitated year of general revolution. Endymion
himself was rarely in society, for all the time which the House of
Commons spared to him he wished chiefly to dedicate to his sister. His
brougham was always ready to take him up to Hill Street for one of those
somewhat hurried, but amusing little dinners, which break the monotony
of parliamentary life. And sometimes he brought a companion, generally
Mr. Wilton, and sometimes they met Lady Montfort or Adriana, now
ennobled as the daughter of Lord Hainault. There was much to talk about,
even if they did not talk about themselves and their friends, for
every day brought great events, fresh insurrections, new constitutions,
changes of dynasties, assassinations of ministers, states of siege,
evanescent empires, and premature republics.

On one occasion, having previously prepared his sister, who seemed not
uninterested by the suggestion, Endymion brought Thornberry to dine in
Hill Street. There was no one else present except Adriana. Job was a
great admirer of Lady Roehampton, but was a little awestruck by her. He
remembered her in her childhood, a beautiful being who never smiled. She
received him very graciously, and after dinner, inviting him to sit by
her on the sofa, referred with delicacy to old times.

"Your ladyship," said Thornberry, "would not know that I live myself now
at Hurstley."

"Indeed!" said Myra, unaffectedly surprised.

"Well, it happened in this way; my father now is in years, and can no
longer visit us as he occasionally did in Lancashire; so wishing to see
us all, at least once more, we agreed to pay him a visit. I do not
know how it exactly came about, but my wife took a violent fancy to the
place. They all received us very kindly. The good rector and his dear
kind wife made it very pleasant, and the archbishop was there--whom we
used to call Mr. Nigel--only think! That is a wonderful affair. He is
not at all high and mighty, but talked with us, and walked with us, just
the same as in old days. He took a great fancy to my boy, John Hampden,
and, after all, my boy is to go to Oxford, and not to Owens College, as
I had first intended."

"That is a great change."

"Well, I wanted him to go to Owens College, I confess, but I did not
care so much about Mill Hill. That was his mother's fancy; she was
very strong about that. It is a Nonconformist school, but I am not a
Nonconformist. I do not much admire dogmas, but I am a Churchman as my
fathers were. However, John Hampden is not to go to Mill Hill. He has
gone to a sort of college near Oxford, which the archbishop recommended
to us; the principal, and all the tutors are clergyman--of course of our
Church. My wife was quite delighted with it all."

"Well, that is a good thing."

"And so," continued Thornberry, "she got it into her head she should
like to live at Hurstley, and I took the place. I am afraid I have been
foolish enough to lay out a great deal of money there--for a place not
my own. Your ladyship would not know the old hall. I have, what
they call, restored it, and upon my word, except the new hall of the
Clothworkers' Company, where I dined the other day, I do not know
anything of the kind that is prettier."

"The dear old hall!" murmured Lady Roehampton.

In time, though no one mentioned it, everybody thought that if an
alliance ultimately took place between Lady Roehampton and Mr. Sidney
Wilton, it would be the most natural thing in the world, and everybody
would approve it. True, he was her father's friend, and much her senior,
but then he was still good-looking, very clever, very much considered,
and lord of a large estate, and at any rate he was a younger man than
her late husband.

When these thoughts became more rife in society, and began to take
the form of speech, the year was getting old, and this reminds us of
a little incident which took place many months previously, at the
beginning of the year, and which we ought to record.

Shortly after the death of Lord Roehampton, Prince Florestan called one
morning in St. James' Square. He said he would not ask Lady Roehampton
to see him, but he was obliged suddenly to leave England, and he did not
like to depart without personally inquiring after her. He left a letter
and a little packet. And the letter ran thus:


"I am obliged, madam, to leave England suddenly, and it is probable that
we shall never meet again. I should be happy if I had your prayers! This
little jewel enclosed belonged to my mother, the Queen Agrippina. She
told me that I was never to part with it, except to somebody I loved
as much as herself. There is only one person in the world to whom I owe
affection. It is to her who from the first was always kind to me, and
who, through dreary years of danger and anxiety, has been the charm and
consolation of the life of

"Florestan."



CHAPTER LXXXVI

On the evening of the day on which Prince Florestan personally left
the letter with Lady Roehampton, he quitted London with the Duke of St.
Angelo and his aides-de-camp, and, embarking in his steam yacht, which
was lying at Southampton, quitted England. They pursued a prosperous
course for about a week, when they passed through the Straits of
Gibraltar, and, not long afterwards, cast anchor in a small and solitary
bay. There the prince and his companions, and half-a-dozen servants,
well armed and in military attire, left the yacht, and proceeded on
foot into the country for a short distance, when they arrived at a large
farmhouse. Here, it was evident, they were expected. Men came forward
with many horses, and mounted, and accompanied the party which had
arrived. They advanced about ten miles, and halted as they were
approaching a small but fortified town.

The prince sent the Duke of St. Angelo forward to announce his arrival
to the governor, and to require him to surrender. The governor, however,
refused, and ordered the garrison to fire on the invaders. This they
declined to do; the governor, with many ejaculations, and stamping with
rage, broke his sword, and the prince entered the town. He was warmly
received, and the troops, amounting to about twelve hundred men, placed
themselves at his disposal. The prince remained at this town only
a couple of hours, and at the head of his forces advanced into the
country. At a range of hills he halted, sent out reconnoitring parties,
and pitched his camp. In the morning, the Marquis of Vallombrosa, with a
large party of gentlemen well mounted, arrived, and were warmly greeted.
The prince learnt from them that the news of his invasion had reached
the governor of the province, who was at one of the most considerable
cities of the kingdom, with a population exceeding two hundred thousand,
and with a military division for its garrison. "They will not wait for
our arrival," said Vallombrosa, "but, trusting to their numbers, will
come out and attack us."

The news of the scouts being that the mountain passes were quite
unoccupied by the enemy, the prince determined instantly to continue his
advance, and take up a strong position on the other side of the range,
and await his fate. The passage was well effected, and on the fourth
day of the invasion the advanced guard of the enemy were in sight. The
prince commanded that no one should attend him, but alone and tying a
white handkerchief round his sword, he galloped up to the hostile
lines, and said in a clear, loud voice, "My men, this is the sword of my
father!"

"Florestan for ever!" was the only and universal reply. The cheers of
the advanced guard reached and were re-echoed by the main body. The
commander-in-chief, bareheaded, came up to give in his allegiance and
receive his majesty's orders. They were for immediate progress, and at
the head of the army which had been sent out to destroy him, Florestan
in due course entered the enthusiastic city which recognised him as its
sovereign. The city was illuminated, and he went to the opera in the
evening. The singing was not confined to the theatre. During the whole
night the city itself was one song of joy and triumph, and that night no
one slept.

After this there was no trouble and no delay. It was a triumphal march.
Every town opened its gates, and devoted municipalities proffered
golden keys. Every village sent forth its troop of beautiful maidens,
scattering roses, and singing the national anthem which had been
composed by Queen Agrippina. On the tenth day of the invasion King
Florestan, utterly unopposed, entered the magnificent capital of his
realm, and slept in the purple bed which had witnessed his princely
birth.

Among all the strange revolutions of this year, this adventure of
Florestan was not the least interesting to the English people. Although
society had not smiled on him, he had always been rather a favourite
with the bulk of the population. His fine countenance, his capital
horsemanship, his graceful bow that always won a heart, his youth, and
love of sport, his English education, and the belief that he was sincere
in his regard for the country where he had been so long a guest, were
elements of popularity that, particularly now he was successful, were
unmistakable. And certainly Lady Roehampton, in her solitude, did
not disregard his career or conduct. They were naturally often in her
thoughts, for there was scarcely a day in which his name did not figure
in the newspapers, and always in connection with matters of general
interest and concern. The government he established was liberal, but it
was discreet, and, though conciliatory, firm. "If he declares for the
English alliance," said Waldershare, "he is safe;" and he did declare
for the English alliance, and the English people were very pleased by
his declaration, which in their apprehension meant national progress,
the amelioration of society, and increased exports.

The main point, however, which interested his subjects was his marriage.
That was both a difficult and a delicate matter to decide. The great
continental dynasties looked with some jealousy and suspicion on him,
and the small reigning houses, who were all allied with the great
continental dynasties, thought it prudent to copy their example. All
these reigning families, whether large or small, were themselves in
a perplexed and alarmed position at this period, very disturbed about
their present, and very doubtful about their future. At last it was
understood that a Princess of Saxe-Babel, though allied with royal and
imperial houses, might share the diadem of a successful adventurer, and
then in time, and when it had been sufficiently reiterated, paragraphs
appeared unequivocally contradicting the statement, followed with
agreeable assurances that it was unlikely that a Princess of Saxe-Babel,
allied with royal and imperial houses, should unite herself to a parvenu
monarch, however powerful. Then in turn these articles were stigmatised
as libels, and entirely unauthorised, and no less a personage than a
princess of the house of Saxe-Genesis was talked of as the future queen;
but on referring to the "Almanach de Gotha," it was discovered that
family had been extinct since the first French Revolution. So it seemed
at last that nothing was certain, except that his subjects were very
anxious that King Florestan should present them with a queen.



CHAPTER LXXXVII

As time flew on, the friends of Lady Roehampton thought and spoke, with
anxiety about her re-entrance into society. Mr. Sidney Wilton had lent
Gaydene to her for the autumn, when he always visited Scotland, and the
winter had passed away uninterruptedly, at a charming and almost unknown
watering-place, where she seemed the only visitant, and where she
wandered about in silence on the sands. The time was fast approaching
when the inevitable year of seclusion would expire, and Lady Roehampton
gave no indication of any change in her life and habits. At length,
after many appeals, and expostulations, and entreaties, and little
scenes, the second year of the widowhood having advanced some months,
it was decided that Lady Roehampton should re-enter society, and the
occasion on which this was to take place was no mean one.

Lady Montfort was to give a ball early in June, and Royalty itself
was to be her guests. The entertainments at Montfort House were always
magnificent, but this was to exceed accustomed splendour. All the world
was to be there, and all the world, who were not invited, were in as
much despair as if they had lost their fortune or their character.

Lady Roehampton had a passion for light, provided the light was not
supplied by gas or oil. Her saloons, even when alone, were always
brilliantly illuminated. She held that the moral effect of such a
circumstance on her temperament was beneficial, and not slight. It is
a rare, but by no means a singular, belief. When she descended into
her drawing-room on the critical night, its resplendence was some
preparation for the scene which awaited her. She stood for a moment
before the tall mirror which reflected her whole person. What were her
thoughts? What was the impression that the fair vision conveyed?

Her countenance was grave, but it was not sad. Myra had now completed,
or was on the point of completing, her thirtieth year. She was a woman
of transcendent beauty; perhaps she might justly be described as the
most beautiful woman then alive. Time had even improved her commanding
mien, the graceful sweep of her figure and the voluptuous undulation
of her shoulders; but time also had spared those charms which are
more incidental to early youth, the splendour of her complexion, the
whiteness of her teeth, and the lustre of her violet eyes. She had cut
off in her grief the profusion of her dark chestnut locks, that once
reached to her feet, and she wore her hair as, what was then and perhaps
is now called, a crop, but it was luxuriant in natural quantity and rich
in colour, and most effectively set off her arched brow, and the oval
of her fresh and beauteous cheek. The crop was crowned to-night by a
coronet of brilliants.

"Your carriage is ready, my lady," said a servant; "but there is a
gentleman below who has brought a letter for your ladyship, and which,
he says, he must personally deliver to you, madam. I told him your
ladyship was going out and could not see him, but he put his card in
this envelope, and requested that I would hand it to you, madam. He says
he will only deliver the letter to your ladyship, and not detain you a
moment."

Lady Roehampton opened the envelope, and read the card, "The Duke of St.
Angelo."

"The Duke of St. Angelo!" she murmured to herself, and looked for a
moment abstracted. Then turning to the servant, she said, "He must be
shown up."

"Madam," said the duke as he entered, and bowed with much ceremony,
"I am ashamed of appearing to be an intruder, but my commands were to
deliver this letter to your ladyship immediately on my arrival, whatever
the hour. I have only this instant arrived. We had a bad passage. I know
your ladyship's carriage is at the door. I will redeem my pledge and not
trespass on your time for one instant. If your ladyship requires me, I
am ever at your command."

"At Carlton Gardens?"

"No; at our embassy."

"His Majesty, I hope, is well?"

"In every sense, my lady," and bowing to the ground the duke withdrew.

She broke the seal of the letter while still standing, and held it to a
sconce that was on the mantel-piece, and then she read:


"You were the only person I called upon when I suddenly left England.
I had no hope of seeing you, but it was the homage of gratitude and
adoration. Great events have happened since we last met. I have realised
my dreams, dreams which I sometimes fancied you, and you alone, did not
depreciate or discredit, and, in the sweetness of your charity, would
not have been sorry were they accomplished.

"I have established what I believe to be a strong and just government in
a great kingdom. I have not been uninfluenced by the lessons of wisdom I
gained in your illustrious land. I have done some things which it was a
solace for me to believe you would not altogether disapprove.

"My subjects are anxious that the dynasty I have re-established should
not be evanescent. Is it too bold to hope that I may find a companion
in you to charm and to counsel me? I can offer you nothing equal to your
transcendent merit, but I can offer you the heart and the throne of

"Florestan."


Still holding the letter in one hand, she looked around as if some one
might be present. Her cheek was scarlet, and there was for a moment an
expression of wildness in her glance. Then she paced the saloon with an
agitated step, and then she read the letter again and again, and still
she paced the saloon. The whole history of her life revolved before her;
every scene, every character, every thought, and sentiment, and passion.
The brightness of her nursery days, and Hurstley with all its miseries,
and Hainault with its gardens, and the critical hour, which had opened
to her a future of such unexpected lustre and happiness.

The clock had struck more than once during this long and terrible
soliloquy, wherein she had to search and penetrate her inmost heart, and
now it struck two. She started, and hurriedly rang the bell.

"I shall not want the carriage to-night," she said, and when again
alone, she sat down and, burying her face in her alabaster arms, for a
long time remained motionless.



CHAPTER LXXXVIII

Had he been a youth about to make a _debut_ in the great world, Sidney
Wilton could not have been more agitated than he felt at the prospect of
the fete at Montfort House. Lady Roehampton, after nearly two years of
retirement, was about to re-enter society. During this interval she had
not been estranged from him. On the contrary, he had been her frequent
and customary companion. Except Adriana, and Lady Montfort, and
her brother, it might almost be said, her only one. Why then was he
agitated? He had been living in a dream for two years, cherishing wild
thoughts of exquisite happiness. He would have been content, had the
dream never been disturbed; but this return to hard and practical life
of her whose unconscious witchery had thrown a spell over his existence,
roused him to the reality of his position, and it was one of terrible
emotion.

During the life of her husband, Sidney Wilton had been the silent adorer
of Myra. With every accomplishment and every advantage that are supposed
to make life delightful--a fine countenance, a noble mien, a manner
natural and attractive, an ancient lineage, and a vast estate--he was
the favourite of society, who did more than justice to his talents,
which, though not brilliant, were considerable, and who could not too
much appreciate the high tone of his mind; his generosity and courage,
and true patrician spirit which inspired all his conduct, and guided him
ever to do that which was liberal, and gracious, and just.

There was only one fault which society found in Sidney Wilton; he would
not marry. This was provoking, because he was the man of all others who
ought to marry, and make a heroine happy. Society did not give it
up till he was forty, about the time he became acquainted with Lady
Roehampton; and that incident threw no light on his purposes or
motives, for he was as discreet as he was devoted, and Myra herself was
unconscious of his being anything to her save the dearest friend of her
father, and the most cherished companion of her husband.

When one feels deeply, one is apt to act suddenly, perhaps rashly. There
are moments in life when suspense can be borne no longer. And Sidney
Wilton, who had been a silent votary for more than ten years, now felt
that the slightest delay in his fate would be intolerable. It was the
ball at Montfort House that should be the scene of this decision of
destiny.

She was about to re-enter society, radiant as the morn, amid flowers and
music, and all the accidents of social splendour. His sympathetic heart
had been some solace to her in her sorrow and her solitude. Now, in
the joyous blaze of life, he was resolved to ask her whether it were
impossible that they should never again separate, and in the crowd, as
well as when alone, feel their mutual devotion.

Mr. Wilton was among those who went early to Montfort House, which was
not his wont; but he was restless and disquieted. She could hardly have
arrived; but there would be some there who would speak of her. That was
a great thing. Sidney Wilton had arrived at that state when conversation
can only interest on one subject. When a man is really in love, he is
disposed to believe that, like himself, everybody is thinking of the
person who engrosses his brain and heart.

The magnificent saloons, which in half an hour would be almost
impassable, were only sprinkled with guests, who, however, were
constantly arriving. Mr. Wilton looked about him in vain for the person
who, he was quite sure, could not then be present. He lingered by the
side of Lady Montfort, who bowed to those who came, but who could spare
few consecutive words, even to Mr. Wilton, for her watchful eye expected
every moment to be summoned to descend her marble staircase and receive
her royal guests.

The royal guests arrived; there was a grand stir, and many gracious
bows, and some cordial, but dignified, shake-hands. The rooms were
crowded; yet space in the ball-room was well preserved, so that the
royal vision might range with facility from its golden chairs to the
beauteous beings, and still more beautiful costumes, displaying with
fervent loyalty their fascinating charms.

There was a new band to-night, that had come from some distant but
celebrated capital; musicians known by fame to everybody, but whom
nobody had ever heard. They played wonderfully on instruments of new
invention, and divinely upon old ones. It was impossible that anything
could be more gay and inspiring than their silver bugles, and their
carillons of tinkling bells.

They found an echo in the heart of Sidney Wilton, who, seated near
the entrance of the ball-room, watched every arrival with anxious
expectation. But the anxiety vanished for a moment under the influence
of the fantastic and frolic strain. It seemed a harbinger of happiness
and joy. He fell into a reverie, and wandered with a delightful
companion in castles of perpetual sunshine, and green retreats, and
pleasant terraces.

But the lady never came.

"Where can your sister be?" said Lady Montfort to Endymion. "She
promised me to come early; something must have happened. Is she ill?"

"Quite well; I saw her before I left Hill Street. She wished me to come
alone, as she would not be here early.

"I hope she will be in time for the royal supper table; I quite count on
her."

"She is sure to be here."

Lord Hainault was in earnest conversation with Baron Sergius, now the
minister of King Florestan at the Court of St. James'. It was a wise
appointment, for Sergius knew intimately all the English statesmen of
eminence, and had known them for many years. They did not look upon him
as the mere representative of a revolutionary and parvenu sovereign; he
was quite one of themselves, had graduated at the Congress of Vienna,
and, it was believed, had softened many subsequent difficulties by his
sagacity. He had always been a cherished guest at Apsley House, and it
was known the great duke often consulted him. "As long as Sergius sways
his councils, He will indulge in no adventures," said Europe. "As long
as Sergius remains here, the English alliance is safe," said England.
After Europe and England, the most important confidence to obtain was
that of Lord Hainault, and Baron Sergius had not been unsuccessful in
that respect.

"Your master has only to be liberal and steady," said Lord Hainault,
with his accustomed genial yet half-sarcastic smile, "and he may have
anything he likes. But we do not want any wars; they are not liked in
the City."

"Our policy is peace," said Sergius.

"I think we ought to congratulate Sir Peter," said Mr. Waldershare to
Adriana, with whom he had been dancing, and whom he was leading back to
Lady Hainault. "Sir Peter, here is a lady who wishes to congratulate you
on your deserved elevation."

"Well, I do not know what to say about it," said the former Mr. Vigo,
highly gratified, but a little confused; "my friends would have it."

"Ay, ay," said Waldershare, "'at the request of friends;' the excuse I
gave for publishing my sonnets." And then, advancing, he delivered
his charge to her _chaperon_, who looked dreamy, abstracted, and
uninterested.

"We have just been congratulating the new baronet, Sir Peter Vigo," said
Waldershare.

"Ah!" said Lady Hainault with a contemptuous sigh, "he is, at any rate,
not obliged to change his name. The desire to change one's name does
indeed appear to me to be a singular folly. If your name had been
disgraced, I could understand it, as I could understand a man then going
about in a mask. But the odd thing is, the persons who always want to
change their names are those whose names are the most honoured."

"Oh, you are here!" said Mr. St. Barbe acidly to Mr. Seymour Hicks. "I
think you are everywhere. I suppose they will make you a baronet next.
Have you seen the batch? I could not believe my eyes when I read it.
I believe the government is demented. Not a single literary man among
them. Not that I wanted their baronetcy. Nothing would have tempted me
to accept one. But there is Gushy; he, I know, would have liked it. I
must say I feel for Gushy; his works only selling half what they did,
and then thrown over in this insolent manner!"

"Gushy is not in society," said Mr. Seymour Hicks in a solemn tone of
contemptuous pity.

"That is society," said St. Barbe, as he received a bow of haughty grace
from Mrs. Rodney, who, fascinating and fascinated, was listening to the
enamoured murmurs of an individual with a very bright star and a very
red ribbon.

"I dined with the Rodneys yesterday," said Mr. Seymour Hicks; "they do
the thing well."

"You dined there!" exclaimed St. Barbe. "It is very odd, they have
never asked me. Not that I would have accepted their invitation. I avoid
parvenus. They are too fidgety for my taste. I require repose, and only
dine with the old nobility."



CHAPTER LXXXXIX

The Right Honourable Job Thornberry and Mrs. Thornberry had received
an invitation to the Montfort ball. Job took up the card, and turned it
over more than once, and looked at it as if it were some strange animal,
with an air of pleased and yet cynical perplexity; then he shrugged
his shoulders and murmured to himself, "No, I don't think that will do.
Besides, I must be at Hurstley by that time."

Going to Hurstley now was not so formidable an affair as it was in
Endymion's boyhood. Then the journey occupied a whole and wearisome
day. Little Hurstley had become a busy station of the great Slap-Bang
railway, and a despatch train landed you at the bustling and flourishing
hostelry, our old and humble friend, the Horse Shoe, within the
two hours. It was a rate that satisfied even Thornberry, and almost
reconciled him to the too frequent presence of his wife and family at
Hurstley, a place to which Mrs. Thornberry had, it would seem, become
passionately attached.

"There is a charm about the place, I must say," said Job to himself,
as he reached his picturesque home on a rich summer evening; "and yet I
hated it as a boy. To be sure, I was then discontented and unhappy, and
now I have every reason to be much the reverse. Our feelings affect
even scenery. It certainly is a pretty place; I really think one of the
prettiest places in England."

Job was cordially welcomed. His wife embraced him, and the younger
children clung to him with an affection which was not diminished by the
remembrance that their father never visited them with empty hands. His
eldest son, a good-looking and well-grown stripling, just home for the
holidays, stood apart, determined to show he was a man of the world, and
superior to the weakness of domestic sensibility. When the hubbub was a
little over, he advanced and shook hands with his father with a certain
dignity.

"And when did you arrive, my boy? I was looking up your train in
Bradshaw as I came along. I made out you should get the branch at
Culvers Gate."

"I drove over," replied the son; "I and a friend of mine drove tandem,
and I'll bet we got here sooner than we should have done by the branch."

"Hem!" said Job Thornberry.

"Job," said Mrs. Thornberry, "I have made two engagements for you this
evening. First, we will go and see your father, and then we are to drink
tea at the rectory."

"Hem!" said Job Thornberry; "well, I would rather the first evening
should have been a quiet one; but let it be so."

The visit to the father was kind, dutiful, and wearisome. There was not
a single subject on which the father and son had thoughts in common. The
conversation of the father took various forms of expressing his wonder
that his son had become what he was, and the son could only smile, and
turn the subject, by asking after the produce of some particular field
that had been prolific or obstinate in the old days. Mrs. Thornberry
looked absent, and was thinking of the rectory; the grandson who
had accompanied them was silent and supercilious; and everybody felt
relieved when Mrs. Thornberry, veiling her impatience by her fear of
keeping her father-in-law up late, made a determined move and concluded
the domestic ceremony.

The rectory afforded a lively contrast to the late scene. Mr. and Mrs.
Penruddock were full of intelligence and animation. Their welcome of
Mr. Thornberry was exactly what it ought to have been; respectful, even
somewhat differential, but cordial and unaffected. They conversed on all
subjects, public and private, and on both seemed equally well informed,
for they not only read more than one newspaper, but Mrs. Penruddock had
an extensive correspondence, the conduct of which was one of the chief
pleasures and excitements of her life. Their tea-equipage, too, was a
picture of abundance and refinement. Such pretty china, and such various
and delicious cakes! White bread, and brown bread, and plum cakes, and
seed cakes, and no end of cracknels, and toasts, dry or buttered. Mrs.
Thornberry seemed enchanted and gushing with affection,--everybody was
dear or dearest. Even the face of John Hampden beamed with condescending
delight as he devoured a pyramid of dainties.

Just before the tea-equipage was introduced Mrs. Penruddock rose from
her seat and whispered something to Mrs. Thornberry, who seemed pleased
and agitated and a little blushing, and then their hostess addressed Job
and said, "I was mentioning to your wife that the archbishop was here,
and that I hope you would not dislike meeting him."

And very shortly after this, the archbishop, who had been taking a
village walk, entered the room. It was evident that he was intimate with
the occupiers of Hurstley Hall. He addressed Mrs. Thornberry with the
ease of habitual acquaintance, while John Hampden seemed almost to rush
into his arms. Job himself had seen his Grace in London, though he
had never had the opportunity of speaking to him, but yielded to his
cordiality, when the archbishop, on his being named, said, "It is a
pleasure to meet an old friend, and in times past a kind one."

It was a most agreeable evening. The archbishop talked to every one,
but never seemed to engross the conversation. He talked to the ladies of
gardens, and cottages, and a little of books, seemed deeply interested
in the studies and progress of the grandson Thornberry, who evidently
idolised him; and in due course his Grace was engaged in economical
speculations with Job himself, who was quite pleased to find a priest as
liberal and enlightened as he was able and thoroughly informed. An hour
before midnight they separated, though the archbishop attended them to
the hall.

Mrs. Thornberry's birthday was near at hand, which Job always
commemorated with a gift. It had commenced with some severe offering,
like "Paradise Lost," then it fell into the gentler form of Tennyson,
and, of late, unconsciously under the influence of his wife, it had
taken the shape of a bracelet or a shawl.

This evening, as he was rather feeling his way as to what might please
her most, Mrs. Thornberry embracing him, and hiding her face on his
breast, murmured, "Do not give me any jewel, dear Job. What I should
like would be that you should restore the chapel here."

"Restore the chapel here! oh, oh!" said Job Thornberry.



CHAPTER XC

The archbishop called at Hurstley House the next day. It was a visit
to Mr. Thornberry, but all the family were soon present, and clustered
round the visitor. Then they walked together in the gardens, which
had become radiant under the taste and unlimited expenditure of Mrs.
Thornberry; beds glowing with colour or rivalling mosaics, choice
conifers with their green or purple fruit, and rare roses with their
fanciful and beauteous names; one, by the by, named "Mrs. Penruddock,"
and a very gorgeous one, "The Archbishop."

As they swept along the terraces, restored to their pristine comeliness,
and down the green avenues bounded by copper beeches and ancient yews,
where men were sweeping away every leaf and twig that had fallen in the
night and marred the consummate order, it must have been difficult
for the Archbishop of Tyre not to recall the days gone by, when this
brilliant and finished scene, then desolate and neglected, the abode of
beauty and genius, yet almost of penury, had been to him a world of deep
and familiar interest. Yes, he was walking in the same glade where he
had once pleaded his own cause with an eloquence which none of his most
celebrated sermons had excelled. Did he think of this? If he did, it
was only to wrench the thought from his memory. Archbishops who are
yet young, who are resolved to be cardinals, and who may be popes, are
superior to all human weakness.

"I should like to look at your chapel," said his Grace to Mr.
Thornberry; "I remember it a lumber room, and used to mourn over its
desecration."

"I never was in it," said Job, "and cannot understand why my wife is so
anxious about it as she seems to be. When we first went to London, she
always sate under the Reverend Socinus Frost, and seemed very satisfied.
I have heard him; a sensible man--but sermons are not much in my way,
and I do not belong to his sect, or indeed any other."

However, they went to the chapel all the same, for Mrs. Thornberry
was resolved on the visit. It was a small chamber but beautifully
proportioned, like the mansion itself--of a blended Italian and Gothic
style. The roof was flat, but had been richly gilt and painted, and was
sustained by corbels of angels, divinely carved. There had been some
pews in the building; some had fallen to pieces, and some remained, but
these were not in the original design. The sacred table had disappeared,
but two saintly statues, sculptured in black oak, seemed still to guard
the spot which it had consecrated.

"I wonder what became of the communion table?" said Job.

"Oh! my dear father, do not call it a communion table," exclaimed John
Hampden pettishly.

"Why, what should I call it, my boy?"

"The altar."

"Why, what does it signify what we call it? The thing is the same."

"Ah!" exclaimed the young gentleman, in a tone of contemptuous
enthusiasm, "it is all the difference in the world. There should be a
stone altar and a reredos. We have put up a reredos in our chapel at
Bradley. All the fellows subscribed; I gave a sovereign."

"Well, I must say," said the archbishop, who had been standing in
advance with Mrs. Thornberry and the children, while this brief and
becoming conversation was taking place between father and son, "I
think you could hardly do a better thing than restore this chapel, Mr.
Thornberry, but there must be no mistake about it. It must be restored
to the letter, and it is a style that is not commonly understood. I have
a friend, however, who is a master of it, the most rising man in his
profession, as far as church architecture is concerned, and I will get
him just to run down and look at this, and if, as I hope, you resolve to
restore it, rest assured he will do you justice, and you will be proud
of your place of worship."

"I do not care how much we spend on our gardens," said Job, "for they
are transitory pleasures, and we enjoy what we produce; but why I should
restore a chapel in a house which does not belong to myself is not so
clear to me."

"But it should belong to yourself," rejoined the archbishop. "Hurstley
is not in the market, but it is to be purchased. Take it altogether,
I have always thought it one of the most enviable possessions in the
world. The house, when put in order, would be one of the ornaments of
the kingdom. The acreage, though considerable, is not overwhelming, and
there is a range of wild country of endless charm. I wandered about it
in my childhood and my youth, and I have never known anything equal to
it. Then as to the soil and all that, you know it. You are a son of
the soil. You left it for great objects, and you have attained those
objects. They have given you fame as well as fortune. There would be
something wonderfully dignified and graceful in returning to the land
after you have taken the principal part in solving the difficulties
which pertained to it, and emancipating it from many perils."

"I am sure it would be the happiest day of my life, if Job would
purchase Hurstley," said Mrs. Thornberry.

"I should like to go to Oxford, and my father purchase Hurstley," said
the young gentleman. "If we have not landed property, I would sooner
have none. If we have not land, I should like to go into the Church, and
if I may not go to Oxford, I would go to Cuddesdon at once. I know it
can be done, for I know a fellow who has done it."

Poor Job Thornberry! He had ruled multitudes, and had conquered
and commanded senates. His Sovereign had made him one of her privy
councillors, and half a million of people had returned him their
representative to parliament. And here he stood silent, and a little
confused; sapped by his wife, bullied by his son, and after having
passed a great part of his life in denouncing sacerdotalism, finding his
whole future career chalked out, without himself being consulted, by
a priest who was so polite, sensible, and so truly friendly, that his
manner seemed to deprive its victims of every faculty of retort or
repartee. Still he was going to say something when the door opened, and
Mrs. Penruddock appeared, exclaiming in a cheerful voice, "I thought
I should find you here. I would not have troubled your Grace, but
this letter marked 'private, immediate, and to be forwarded,' has been
wandering about for some time, and I thought it was better to bring it
to you at once."

The Archbishop of Tyre took the letter, and seemed to start as he read
the direction. Then he stood aside, opened it, and read its contents.
The letter was from Lady Roehampton, desiring to see him as soon as
possible on a matter of the utmost gravity, and entreating him not to
delay his departure, wherever he might be.

"I am sorry to quit you all," said his Grace; "but I must go up to town
immediately. The business is urgent."



CHAPTER XCI

Endymion arrived at home very late from the Montfort ball, and rose
in consequence at an unusually late hour. He had taken means to become
sufficiently acquainted with the cause of his sister's absence the night
before, so he had no anxiety on that head. Lady Roehampton had really
intended to have been present, was indeed dressed for the occasion;
but when the moment of trial arrived, she was absolutely unequal to the
effort. All this was amplified in a little note from his sister, which
his valet brought him in the morning. What, however, considerably
surprised him in this communication was her announcement that her
feelings last night had proved to her that she ought not to remain in
London, and that she intended to find solitude and repose in the little
watering-place where she had passed a tranquil autumn during the first
year of her widowhood. What completed his astonishment, however, was the
closing intimation that, in all probability, she would have left town
before he rose. The moment she had got a little settled she would write
to him, and when business permitted, he must come and pay her a little
visit.

"She was always capricious," exclaimed Lady Montfort, who had not
forgotten the disturbance of her royal supper-table.

"Hardly that, I think," said Endymion. "I have always looked on Myra as
a singularly consistent character."

"I know, you never admit your sister has a fault."

"You said the other day yourself that she was the only perfect character
you knew."

"Did I say that? I think her capricious."

"I do not think you are capricious," said Endymion, "and yet the world
sometimes says you are."

"I change my opinion of persons when my taste is offended," said Lady
Montfort. "What I admired in your sister, though I confess I sometimes
wished not to admire her, was that she never offended my taste."

"I hope satisfied it," said Endymion.

"Yes, satisfied it, always satisfied it. I wonder what will be her lot,
for, considering her youth, her destiny has hardly begun. Somehow or
other, I do not think she will marry Sidney Wilton."

"I have sometimes thought that would be," said Endymion.

"Well, it would be, I think, a happy match. All the circumstances would
be collected that form what is supposed to be happiness. But tastes
differ about destinies as well as about manners. For my part, I think
to have a husband who loved you, and he clever, accomplished, charming,
ambitious, would be happiness; but I doubt whether your sister cares
so much about these things. She may, of course does, talk to you more
freely; but with others, in her most open hours, there seems a secret
fund of reserve in her character which I never could penetrate,
except, I think, it is a reserve which does not originate in a love of
tranquillity, but quite the reverse. She is a strong character."

"Then, hardly a capricious one."

"No, not capricious; I only said that to tease you. I am capricious;
I know it. I disregard people sometimes that I have patronised and
flattered. It is not merely that I have changed my opinion of them, but
I positively hate them."

"I hope you will never hate me," said Endymion.

"You have never offended my taste yet," said Lady Montfort with a smile.

Endymion was engaged to dine to-day with Mr. Bertie Tremaine. Although
now in hostile political camps, that great leader of men never permitted
their acquaintance to cease. "He is young," reasoned Mr. Bertie
Tremaine; "every political party changes its principles on an average
once in ten years. Those who are young must often then form new
connections, and Ferrars will then come to me. He will be ripe and
experienced, and I could give him a good deal. I do not want numbers. I
want men. In opposition, numbers often only embarrass. The power of the
future is ministerial capacity. The leader with a cabinet formed will
be the minister of England. He is not to trouble himself about numbers;
that is an affair of the constituencies."

Male dinners are in general not amusing. When they are formed, as they
usually are, of men who are supposed to possess a strong and common
sympathy--political, sporting, literary, military, social--there is
necessarily a monotony of thought and feeling, and of the materials
which induce thought and feeling. In a male dinner of party politicians,
conversation soon degenerates into what is termed "shop;" anecdotes
about divisions, criticism of speeches, conjectures about office,
speculations on impending elections, and above all, that heinous subject
on which enormous fibs are ever told, the registration. There are,
however, occasional glimpses in their talk which would seem to intimate
that they have another life outside the Houses of Parliament. But that
extenuating circumstance does not apply to the sporting dinner. There
they begin with odds and handicaps, and end with handicaps and odds, and
it is doubtful whether it ever occurs to any one present, that there
is any other existing combination of atoms than odds and handicaps.
A dinner of wits is proverbially a place of silence; and the envy and
hatred which all literary men really feel for each other, especially
when they are exchanging dedications of mutual affection, always ensure,
in such assemblies, the agreeable presence of a general feeling of
painful constraint. If a good thing occurs to a guest, he will not
express it, lest his neighbour, who is publishing a novel in numbers,
shall appropriate it next month, or he himself, who has the same
responsibility of production, be deprived of its legitimate appearance.
Those who desire to learn something of the manoeuvres at the Russian and
Prussian reviews, or the last rumour at Aldershot or the military clubs,
will know where to find this feast of reason. The flow of soul in these
male festivals is perhaps, on the whole, more genial when found in a
society of young gentlemen, graduates of the Turf and the Marlborough,
and guided in their benignant studies by the gentle experience and the
mild wisdom of White's. The startling scandal, the rattling anecdote,
the astounding leaps, and the amazing shots, afford for the moment a
somewhat pleasing distraction, but when it is discovered that all these
habitual flim-flams are, in general, the airy creatures of inaccuracy
and exaggeration--that the scandal is not true, the anecdote has no
foundation, and that the feats and skill and strength are invested with
the organic weakness of tradition, the vagaries lose something of the
charm of novelty, and are almost as insipid as claret from which the
bouquet has evaporated.

The male dinners of Mr. Bertie Tremaine were an exception to the general
reputation of such meetings. They were never dull. In the first place,
though to be known at least by reputation was an indispensable condition
of being present, he brought different classes together, and this, at
least for once, stimulates and gratifies curiosity. His house too was
open to foreigners of celebrity, without reference to their political
parties or opinions. Every one was welcome except absolute assassins.
The host too had studied the art of developing character and
conversation, and if sometimes he was not so successful in this respect
as he deserved, there was no lack of amusing entertainment, for in these
social encounters Mr. Bertie Tremaine was a reserve in himself, and if
nobody else would talk, he would avail himself of the opportunity of
pouring forth the treasures of his own teeming intelligence. His various
knowledge, his power of speech, his eccentric paradoxes, his pompous
rhetoric, relieved by some happy sarcasm, and the obvious sense, in all
he said and did, of innate superiority to all his guests, made these
exhibitions extremely amusing.

"What Bertie Tremaine will end in," Endymion would sometimes say,
"perplexes me. Had there been no revolution in 1832, and he had entered
parliament for his family borough, I think he must by this time have
been a minister. Such tenacity of purpose could scarcely fail. But he
has had to say and do so many odd things, first to get into parliament,
and secondly to keep there, that his future now is not so clear. When
I first knew him, he was a Benthamite; at present, I sometimes seem to
foresee that he will end by being the leader of the Protectionists and
the Protestants."

"And a good strong party too," said Trenchard, "but query whether strong
enough?"

"That is exactly what Bertie Tremaine is trying to find out."

Mr. Bertie Tremaine's manner in receiving his guests was courtly and
ceremonious; a contrast to the free and easy style of the time. But it
was adopted after due reflection. "No man can tell you what will be the
position he may be called upon to fill. But he has a right to assume
he will always be ascending. I, for example, may be destined to be
the president of a republic, the regent of a monarchy, or a sovereign
myself. It would be painful and disagreeable to have to change one's
manner at a perhaps advanced period of life, and become liable to the
unpopular imputation that you had grown arrogant and overbearing. On the
contrary, in my case, whatever my elevation, there will be no change.
My brother, Mr. Tremaine Bertie, acts on a different principle. He is a
Sybarite, and has a general contempt for mankind, certainly for the mob
and the middle class, but he is 'Hail fellow, well met!' with them
all. He says it answers at elections; I doubt it. I myself represent
a popular constituency, but I believe I owe my success in no slight
measure to the manner in which I gave my hand when I permitted it to be
touched. As I say sometimes to Mr. Tremaine Bertie, 'You will find
this habit of social familiarity embarrassing when I send you to St.
Petersburg or Vienna.'"

Waldershare dined there, now a peer, though, as he rejoiced to say,
not a peer of parliament. An Irish peer, with an English constituency,
filled, according to Waldershare, the most enviable of positions. His
rank gave him social influence, and his seat in the House of Commons
that power which all aspire to obtain. The cynosure of the banquet,
however, was a gentleman who had, about a year before, been the
president of a republic for nearly six weeks, and who being master of a
species of rhapsodical rhetoric, highly useful in troubled times, when
there is no real business to transact, and where there is nobody to
transact it, had disappeared when the treasury was quite empty, and
there were no further funds to reward the enthusiastic citizens who had
hitherto patriotically maintained order at wages about double in amount
to what they had previously received in their handicrafts. This great
reputation had been brought over by Mr. Tremaine Bertie, now introducing
him into English political society. Mr. Tremaine Bertie hung upon
the accents of the oracle, every word of which was intended to be
picturesque or profound, and then surveyed his friends with a glance of
appreciating wonder. Sensible Englishmen, like Endymion and Trenchard,
looked upon the whole exhibition as fustian, and received the
revelations with a smile of frigid courtesy.

The presence, however, of this celebrity of six weeks gave occasionally
a tone of foreign politics to the conversation, and the association of
ideas, which, in due course, rules all talk, brought them, among other
incidents and instances, to the remarkable career of King Florestan.

"And yet he has his mortifications," said a sensible man. "He wants a
wife, and the princesses of the world will not furnish him with one."

"What authority have you for saying so?" exclaimed the fiery
Waldershare. "The princesses of the world would be great fools if they
refused such a man, but I know of no authentic instance of such denial."

"Well, it is the common rumour."

"And, therefore, probably a common falsehood."

"Were he wise," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine, "King Florestan would not
marry. Dynasties are unpopular; especially new ones. The present age is
monarchical, but not dynastic. The king, who is a man of reach, and who
has been pondering such circumstances all his life, is probably well
aware of this, and will not be such a fool as to marry."

"How is the monarchy to go on, if there is to be no successor?" inquired
Trenchard. "You would not renew the Polish constitution?"

"The Polish constitution, by the by, was not so bad a thing," said Mr.
Bertie Tremaine. "Under it a distinguished Englishman might have mixed
with the crowned heads of Europe, as Sir Philip Sidney nearly did. But I
was looking to something superior to the Polish constitution, or
perhaps any other; I was contemplating a monarchy with the principle
of adoption. That would give you all the excellence of the Polish
constitution, and the order and constancy in which it failed. It would
realise the want of the age; monarchical, not dynastical, institutions,
and it would act independent of the passions and intrigues of the
multitude. The principle of adoption was the secret of the strength and
endurance of Rome. It gave Rome alike the Scipios and the Antonines."

"A court would be rather dull without a woman at its head."

"On the contrary," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine. "It was Louis Quatorze who
made the court; not his queen."

"Well," said Waldershare, "all the same, I fear King Florestan will
adopt no one in this room, though he has several friends here, and I am
one; and I believe that he will marry, and I cannot help fancying that
the partner of this throne will not be as insignificant as Louis the
Fourteenth's wife, or Catherine of Braganza."

Jawett dined this day with Mr. Bertie Tremaine. He was a frequent guest
there, and still was the editor of the "Precursor," though it sometimes
baffled all that lucidity of style for which he was celebrated to
reconcile the conduct of the party, of which the "Precursor" was
alike the oracle and organ, with the opinions with which that now
well-established journal first attempted to direct and illuminate the
public mind. It seemed to the editor that the "Precursor" dwelt more
on the past than became a harbinger of the future. Not that Mr. Bertie
Tremaine ever for a moment admitted that there was any difficulty in any
case. He never permitted any dogmas that he had ever enunciated to be
surrendered, however contrary at their first aspect.

"All are but parts of one stupendous whole,"

and few things were more interesting than the conference in which Mr.
Bertie Tremaine had to impart his views and instructions to the master
of that lucid style, which had the merit of making everything so very
clear when the master himself was, as at present, extremely perplexed
and confused. Jawett lingered after the other guests, that he might
have the advantage of consulting the great leader on the course which
he ought to take in advocating a measure which seemed completely at
variance with all the principles they had ever upheld.

"I do not see your difficulty," wound up the host. "Your case is clear.
You have a principle which will carry you through everything. That is
the charm of a principle. You have always an answer ready."

"But in this case," somewhat timidly inquired Mr. Jawett, "what would be
the principle on which I should rest?"

"You must show," said Mr. Bertie Tremaine, "that democracy is
aristocracy in disguise; and that aristocracy is democracy in disguise.
It will carry you through everything."

Even Jawett looked a little amazed.

"But"--he was beginning, when Mr. Bertie Tremaine arose. "Think of what
I have said, and if on reflection any doubt or difficulty remain in your
mind, call on me to-morrow before I go to the House. At present, I must
pay my respects to Lady Beaumaris. She is the only woman the Tories can
boast of; but she is a first-rate woman, and is a power which I must
secure."



CHAPTER XCII

A month had nearly elapsed since the Montfort ball; the season was over
and the session was nearly finished. The pressure of parliamentary life
for those in office is extreme during this last month, yet Endymion
would have contrived, were it only for a day, to have visited his
sister, had Lady Roehampton much encouraged his appearance. Strange as
it seemed to him, she did not, but, on the contrary, always assumed that
the prorogation of parliament would alone bring them together again.
When he proposed on one occasion to come down for four-and-twenty hours,
she absolutely, though with much affection, adjourned the fulfilment of
the offer. It seemed that she was not yet quite settled.

Lady Montfort lingered in London even after Goodwood. She was rather
embarrassed, as she told Endymion, about her future plans. Lord Montfort
was at Princedown, where she wished to join him, but he did not respond
to her wishes; on the contrary, while announcing that he was indisposed,
and meant to remain at Princedown for the summer, he suggested that she
should avail herself of the opportunity, and pay a long visit to her
family in the north. "I know what he means," she observed; "he wants the
world to believe that we are separated. He cannot repudiate me--he is
too great a gentleman to do anything coarsely unjust; but he thinks, by
tact and indirect means, he may achieve our virtual separation. He has
had this purpose for years, I believe now ever since our marriage, but
hitherto I have baffled him. I ought to be with him; I really believe
he is indisposed, his face has become so pale of late; but were I to
persist in going to Princedown I should only drive him away. He would
go off into the night without leaving his address, and something would
happen--dreadful or absurd. What I had best do, I think, is this. You
are going at last to pay your visit to your sister; I will write to my
lord and tell him that as he does not wish me to go to Princedown, I
propose to go to Montfort Castle. When the flag is flying at Montfort,
I can pay a visit of any length to my family. It will only be a
neighbouring visit from Montfort to them; perhaps, too, they might
return it. At any rate, then they cannot say my lord and I are
separated. We need not live under the same roof, but so long as I live
under his roof the world considers us united. It is a pity to have to
scheme in this manner, and rather degrading, particularly when one might
be so happy with him. But you know, my dear Endymion, all about our
affairs. Your friend is not a very happy woman, and if not a very
unhappy one, it is owing much to your dear friendship, and a little to
my own spirit which keeps me up under what is frequent and sometimes
bitter mortification. And now adieu! I suppose you cannot be away less
than a week. Probably on your return you will find me here. I cannot go
to Montfort without his permission. But he will give it. I observe that
he will always do anything to gain his immediate object. His immediate
object is, that I shall not go to Princedown, and so he will agree that
I shall go to Montfort."

For the first time in his life, Endymion felt some constraint in
the presence of Myra. There was something changed in her manner. No
diminution of affection, for she threw her arms around him and pressed
him to her heart; and then she looked at him anxiously, even sadly, and
kissed both his eyes, and then she remained for some moments in
silence with her face hid on his shoulder. Never since the loss of Lord
Roehampton had she seemed so subdued.

"It is a long separation," she at length said, with a voice and smile
equally faint, "and you must be a little wearied with your travelling.
Come and refresh yourself, and then I will show you my boudoir I have
made here; rather pretty, out of nothing. And then we will sit down and
have a long talk together, for I have much to tell you, and I want your
advice."

"She is going to marry Sidney Wilton," thought Endymion; "that is
clear."

The boudoir was really pretty, "made out of nothing;" a gay chintz, some
shelves of beautiful books, some fanciful chairs, and a portrait of Lord
Roehampton.

It was a long interview, very long, and if one could judge by the
countenance of Endymion, when he quitted the boudoir and hastened to his
room, of grave import. Sometimes his face was pale, sometimes scarlet;
the changes were rapid, but the expression was agitated rather than one
of gratification.

He sent instantly for his servant, and then penned this telegram to Lady
Montfort: "My visit here will be short. I am to see you immediately.
Nothing must prevent your being at home when I call to-morrow, about
four o'clock. Most, most important."



CHAPTER XCIII

"Well, something has happened at last," said Lady Montfort with a
wondering countenance; "it is too marvellous."

"She goes to Osborne to-day," continued Endymion, "and I suppose after
that, in due course, it will be generally known. I should think the
formal announcement would be made abroad. It has been kept wonderfully
close. She wished you to know it first, at least from her. I do not
think she ever hesitated about accepting him. There was delay from
various causes; whether there should be a marriage by proxy first in
this country, and other points; about religion, for example."

"Well?"

"She enters the Catholic Church, the Archbishop of Tyre has received
her. There is no difficulty and no great ceremonies in such matters. She
was re-baptized, but only by way of precaution. It was not necessary,
for our baptism, you know, is recognised by Rome."

"And that was all!"

"All, with a first communion and confession. It is all consummated now;
as you say, 'It is too wonderful.' A first confession, and to Nigel
Penruddock, who says life is flat and insipid!"

"I shall write to her: I must write to her. I wonder if I shall see her
before she departs."

"That is certain if you wish it; she wishes it."

"And when does she go? And who goes with her?"

"She will be under my charge," said Endymion. "It is fortunate that it
should happen at a time when I am free. I am personally to deliver her
to the king. The Duke of St. Angelo, Baron Sergius, and the archbishop
accompany her, and Waldershare, at the particular request of his
Majesty."

"And no lady?"

"She takes Adriana with her."

"Adriana!" repeated Lady Montfort, and a cloud passed over her brow.
There was a momentary pause, and then Lady Montfort said, "I wish she
would take me."

"That would be delightful," said Endymion, "and most becoming--to have
for a companion the greatest lady of our court."

"She will not take me with her," said Lady Montfort, sorrowfully but
decisively, and shaking her head. "Dear woman! I loved her always,
often most when I seemed least affectionate--but there was between us
something"--and she hesitated. "Heigho! I may be the greatest lady of
our court, but I am a very unhappy woman, Endymion, and what annoys and
dispirits me most, sometimes quite breaks me down, is that I cannot see
that I deserve my lot."

It happened as Endymion foresaw; the first announcement came from
abroad. King Florestan suddenly sent a message to his parliament, that
his Majesty was about to present them with a queen. She was not the
daughter of a reigning house, but she came from the land of freedom and
political wisdom, and from the purest and most powerful court in Europe.
His subjects soon learnt that she was the most beautiful of women, for
the portrait of the Countess of Roehampton, as it were by magic, seemed
suddenly to fill every window in every shop in the teeming and brilliant
capital where she was about to reign.

It was convenient that these great events should occur when everybody
was out of town. Lady Montfort alone remained, the frequent, if not
constant, companion of the new sovereign. Berengaria soon recovered her
high spirits. There was much to do and prepare in which her hints
and advice were invaluable. Though she was not to have the honour of
attending Myra to her new home, which, considering her high place in the
English court, was perhaps hardly consistent with etiquette, for so she
now cleverly put it, she was to pay her Majesty a visit in due time. The
momentary despondency that had clouded her brilliant countenance had not
only disappeared, but she had quite forgotten, and certainly would not
admit, that she was anything but the most sanguine and energetic of
beings, and rallied Endymion unmercifully for his careworn countenance
and too frequent air of depression. The truth is, the great change that
was impending was one which might well make him serious, and sometimes
sad.

The withdrawal of a female influence, so potent on his life as that of
his sister, was itself a great event. There had been between them from
the cradle, which, it may be said, they had shared, a strong and perfect
sympathy. They had experienced together vast and strange vicissitudes of
life. Though much separated in his early youth, there had still been a
constant interchange of thought and feeling between them. For the last
twelve years or so, ever since Myra had become acquainted with the
Neuchatel family, they may be said never to have separated--at least
they had maintained a constant communication, and generally a personal
one. She had in a great degree moulded his life. Her unfaltering, though
often unseen, influence had created his advancement. Her will was more
powerful than his. He was more prudent and plastic. He felt this keenly.
He was conscious that, left to himself, he would probably have achieved
much less. He remembered her words when they parted for the first time
at Hurstley, "Women will be your best friends in life." And that brought
his thoughts to the only subject on which they had ever differed--her
wished-for union between himself and Adriana. He felt he had crossed her
there--that he had prevented the fulfilment of her deeply-matured plans.
Perhaps, had that marriage taken place, she would never have quitted
England. Perhaps; but was that desirable? Was it not fitter that so
lofty a spirit should find a seat as exalted as her capacity? Myra was
a sovereign! In this age of strange events, not the least strange.
No petty cares and griefs must obtrude themselves in such majestic
associations. And yet the days at Hainault were very happy, and the
bright visits to Gaydene, and her own pleasant though stately home. His
heart was agitated, and his eyes were often moistened with emotion.
He seemed to think that all the thrones of Christendom could be no
compensation for the loss of this beloved genius of his life, whom
he might never see again. Sometimes, when he paid his daily visit to
Berengaria, she who knew him by heart, who studied every expression of
his countenance and every tone of his voice, would say to him, after a
few minutes of desultory and feeble conversation, "You are thinking of
your sister, Endymion?"

He did not reply, but gave a sort of faint mournful smile.

"This separation is a trial, a severe one, and I knew you would feel
it," said Lady Montfort. "I feel it; I loved your sister, but she did
not love me. Nobody that I love ever does love me."

"Oh! do not say that, Lady Montfort."

"It is what I feel. I cannot console you. There is nothing I can do for
you. My friendship, if you value it, which I will not doubt you do,
you fully possessed before your sister was a Queen. So that goes for
nothing."

"I must say, I feel sometimes most miserable."

"Nonsense, Endymion; if anything could annoy your sister more than
another, it would be to hear of such feelings on your part. I must say
she has courage. She has found her fitting place. Her brother ought to
do the same. You have a great object in life, at least you had, but I
have no faith in sentimentalists. If I had been sentimental, I should
have gone into a convent long ago."

"If to feel is to be sentimental, I cannot help it."

"All feeling which has no object to attain is morbid and maudlin," said
Lady Montfort. "You say you are very miserable, and at the same time you
do not know what you want. Would you have your sister dethroned? And if
you would, could you accomplish your purpose? Well, then, what nonsense
to think about her except to feel proud of her elevation, and prouder
still that she is equal to it!"

"You always have the best of every argument," said Endymion.

"Of course," said Lady Montfort. "What I want you to do is to exert
yourself. You have now a strong social position, for Sidney Wilton tells
me the Queen has relinquished to you her mansion and the whole of her
income, which is no mean one. You must collect your friends about you.
Our government is not too strong, I can tell you. We must brush up in
the recess. What with Mr. Bertie Tremaine and his friends joining the
Protectionists, and the ultra-Radicals wanting, as they always do,
something impossible, I see seeds of discomfiture unless they are
met with energy. You stand high, and are well spoken of even by our
opponents. Whether we stand or fall, it is a moment for you to increase
your personal influence. That is the element now to encourage in your
career, because you are not like the old fogies in the cabinet, who,
if they go out, will never enter another again. You have a future, and
though you may not be an emperor, you may be what I esteem more, prime
minister of this country."

"You are always so sanguine."

"Not more sanguine than your sister. Often we have talked of this. I
wish she were here to help us, but I will do my part. At present let us
go to luncheon."



CHAPTER XCIV

There was a splendid royal yacht, though not one belonging to our
gracious Sovereign, lying in one of Her Majesty's southern ports, and
the yacht was convoyed by a smart frigate. The crews were much ashore,
and were very popular, for they spent a great deal of money. Everybody
knew what was the purpose of their bright craft, and every one was
interested in it. A beautiful Englishwoman had been selected to fill a
foreign and brilliant throne occupied by a prince, who had been educated
in our own country, who ever avowed his sympathies with "the inviolate
island of the sage and free." So in fact there was some basis for
the enthusiasm which was felt on this occasion by the inhabitants of
Nethampton. What every one wanted to know was when she would sail. Ah!
that was a secret that could hardly be kept for the eight-and-forty
hours preceding her departure, and therefore, one day, with no formal
notice, all the inhabitants of Nethampton were in gala; streets and
ships dressed out with the flags of all nations; the church bells
ringing; and busy little girls running about with huge bouquets.

At the very instant expected, the special train was signalled, and drove
into the crimson station amid the thunder of artillery, the blare of
trumpets, the beating of drums, and cheers from thousands even louder
and longer than the voices of the cannon. Leaning on the arm of her
brother, and attended by the Princess of Montserrat, and the Honourable
Adriana Neuchatel, Baron Sergius, the Duke of St. Angelo, the Archbishop
of Tyre, and Lord Waldershare, the daughter of William Ferrars,
gracious, yet looking as if she were born to empire, received the
congratulatory address of the mayor and corporation and citizens
of Nethampton, and permitted her hand to be kissed, not only by his
worship, but by at least two aldermen.

They were on the waters, and the shores of Albion, fast fading away, had
diminished to a speck. It is a melancholy and tender moment, and Myra
was in her ample and splendid cabin and alone. "It is a trial," she
felt, "but all that I love and value in this world are in this vessel,"
and she thought of Endymion and Adriana. The gentlemen were on deck,
chiefly smoking or reconnoitring their convoy through their telescopes.

"I must say," said Waldershare, "it was a grand idea of our kings making
themselves sovereigns of the sea. The greater portion of this planet is
water; so we at once became a first-rate power. We owe our navy entirely
to the Stuarts. King James the Second was the true founder and hero of
the British navy. He was the worthy son of his admirable father, that
blessed martyr, the restorer at least, if not the inventor, of ship
money; the most patriotic and popular tax that ever was devised by man.
The Nonconformists thought themselves so wise in resisting it, and they
have got the naval estimates instead!"

The voyage was propitious, the weather delightful, and when they had
entered the southern waters Waldershare confessed that he felt the
deliciousness of life. If the scene and the impending events, and their
own fair thoughts, had not been adequate to interest them, there were
ample resources at their command; all the ladies were skilled musicians,
their concerts commenced at sunset, and the sweetness of their voices
long lingered over the moonlit waters.

Adriana, one evening, bending over the bulwarks of the yacht, was
watching the track of phosphoric light, struck into brilliancy from the
dark blue waters by the prow of their rapid vessel. "It is a fascinating
sight, Miss Neuchatel, and it seems one might gaze on it for ever."

"Ah! Lord Waldershare, you caught me in a reverie."

"What more sweet?"

"Well, that depends on its subject. To tell the truth, I was thinking
that these lights resembled a little your conversation; all the wondrous
things you are always saying or telling us."

The archbishop was a man who never recurred to the past. One could never
suppose that Endymion and himself had been companions in their early
youth, or, so far as their intercourse was concerned, that there was
such a place in the world as Hurstley. One night, however, as they were
pacing the deck together, he took the arm of Endymion, and said, "I
trace the hand of Providence in every incident of your sister's life.
What we deemed misfortunes, sorrows, even calamities, were forming a
character originally endowed with supreme will, and destined for the
highest purposes. There was a moment at Hurstley when I myself was
crushed to the earth, and cared not to live; vain, short-sighted mortal!
Our great Master was at that moment shaping everything to His ends, and
preparing for the entrance into His Church of a woman who may be, who
will be, I believe, another St. Helena."

"We have not spoken of this subject before," said Endymion, "and I
should not have cared had our silence continued, but I must now tell you
frankly, the secession of my sister from the Church of her fathers was
to me by no means a matter of unmixed satisfaction."

"The time will come when you will recognise it as the consummation of a
Divine plan," said the archbishop.

"I feel great confidence that my sister will never be the slave of
superstition," said Endymion. "Her mind is too masculine for that; she
will remember that the throne she fills has been already once lost by
the fatal influence of the Jesuits."

"The influence of the Jesuits is the influence of Divine truth,"
said his companion. "And how is it possible for such influence not to
prevail? What you treat as defeats, discomfitures, are events which you
do not comprehend. They are incidents all leading to one great end--the
triumph of the Church--that is, the triumph of God."

"I will not decide what are great ends; I am content to ascertain what
is wise conduct. And it would not be wise conduct, in my opinion, for
the King to rest upon the Jesuits."

"The Jesuits never fell except from conspiracy against them. It is never
the public voice that demands their expulsion or the public effort that
accomplishes it. It is always the affair of sovereigns and statesmen, of
politicians, of men, in short, who feel that there is a power at
work, and that power one not favourable to their schemes or objects of
government."

"Well, we shall see," said Endymion; "I candidly tell you, I hope the
Jesuits will have as little influence in my brother-in-law's kingdom as
in my own country."

"As little!" said Nigel, somewhat sarcastically; "I should be almost
content if the holy order in every country had as much influence as they
now have in England."

"I think your Grace exaggerates."

"Before two years are past," said the archbishop, speaking very slowly,
"I foresee that the Jesuits will be privileged in England, and the
hierarchy of our Church recognised."

It was a delicious afternoon; it had been sultry, but the sun had now
greatly declined, when the captain of the yacht came down to announce to
the Queen that they were in sight of her new country, and she hastened
on deck to behold the rapidly nearing shore. A squadron of ships of war
had stood out to meet her, and in due time the towers and spires of a
beautiful city appeared, which was the port of the capital, and itself
almost worthy of being one. A royal barge, propelled by four-and-twenty
rowers, and bearing the lord chamberlain, awaited the queen, and the
moment her Majesty and the Princess of Montserrat had taken their seats,
salutes thundered from every ship of war, responded to by fort and
battery ashore.

When they landed, they were conducted by chief officers of the court to
a pavilion which faced the western sky, now glowing like an opal with
every shade of the iris, and then becoming of a light green colour
varied only by some slight clouds burnished with gold. A troop of
maidens brought flowers as bright as themselves, and then a company
of pages advanced, and kneeling, offered to the Queen chocolate in a
crystal cup.

According to the programme drawn up by the heralds, and every tittle of
it founded on precedents, the King and the royal carriages were to have
met the travellers on their arrival at the metropolis; but there are
feelings which heralds do not comprehend, and which defy precedents.
Suddenly there was a shout, a loud cheer, and a louder salute. Some one
had arrived unexpectedly. A young man, stately but pale, moved through
the swiftly receding crowd, alone and unattended, entered the pavilion,
advanced to the Queen, kissed her hand, and then both her cheeks, just
murmuring, "My best beloved, this, this indeed is joy."

The capital was fortified, and the station was without the walls; here
the royal carriages awaited them. The crowd was immense; the ramparts on
this occasion were covered with people. It was an almost sultry night,
with every star visible, and clear and warm and sweet. As the royal
carriage crossed the drawbridge and entered the chief gates, the
whole city was in an instant suddenly illuminated--in a flash. The
architectural lines of the city walls, and of every street, were
indicated, and along the ramparts at not distant intervals were tripods,
each crowned with a silver flame, which cast around the radiance of day.

He held and pressed her hand as in silence she beheld the wondrous
scene. They had to make a progress of some miles; the way was kept
throughout by soldiery and civic guards, while beyond them was an
infinite population, all cheering and many of them waving torches. They
passed through many streets, and squares with marvellous fountains,
until they arrived at the chief and royal street, which has no equal in
the world. It is more than a mile long, never swerving from a straight
line, broad, yet the houses so elevated that they generally furnish the
shade this ardent clime requires. The architecture of this street is
so varied that it never becomes monotonous, some beautiful church, or
palace, or ministerial hotel perpetually varying the effect. All the
windows were full on this occasion, and even the roofs were crowded.
Every house was covered with tapestry, and the line of every building
was marked out by artificial light. The moon rose, but she was not
wanted; it was as light as day.

They were considerate enough not to move too rapidly through this heart
of the metropolis, and even halted at some stations, where bands of
music and choirs of singers welcomed and celebrated them. They moved
on more quickly afterwards, made their way through a pretty suburb,
and then entered a park. At the termination of a long avenue was the
illumined and beautiful palace of the Prince of Montserrat, where Myra
was to reside and repose until the momentous morrow, when King Florestan
was publicly to place on the brow of his affianced bride the crown which
to his joy she had consented to share.



CHAPTER XCV

There are very few temperaments that can resist an universal
and unceasing festival in a vast and beautiful metropolis. It is
inebriating, and the most wonderful of all its accidents is how the
population can ever calm and recur to the monotony of ordinary life.
When all this happens, too, in a capital blessed with purple skies,
where the moonlight is equal to our sunshine, and where half the
population sleep in the open air and wish for no roof but the heavens,
existence is a dream of phantasy and perpetual loveliness, and one is
at last forced to believe that there is some miraculous and supernatural
agency that provides the ever-enduring excitement and ceaseless
incidents of grace and beauty.

After the great ceremony of the morrow in the cathedral, and when Myra,
kneeling at the altar with her husband, received, under a canopy of
silver brocade, the blessings of a cardinal and her people, day followed
day with court balls and municipal banquets, state visits to operas, and
reviews of sumptuous troops. At length the end of all this pageantry and
enthusiasm approached, and amid a blaze of fireworks, the picturesque
population of this fascinating city tried to return to ordinary feeling
and to common sense.

If amid this graceful hubbub and this glittering riot any one could
have found time to remark the carriage and conduct of an individual, one
might have observed, and perhaps been surprised at, the change in those
of Miss Neuchatel. That air of pensive resignation which distinguished
her seemed to have vanished. She never wore that doleful look for which
she was too remarkable in London saloons, and which marred a countenance
favoured by nature and a form intended for gaiety and grace. Perhaps it
was the influence of the climate, perhaps the excitement of the scene,
perhaps some rapture with the wondrous fortunes of the friend whom she
adored, but Adriana seemed suddenly to sympathise with everybody and to
appreciate everything; her face was radiant, she was in every dance,
and visited churches and museums, and palaces and galleries, with keen
delight. With many charms, the intimate friend of their sovereign,
and herself known to be noble and immensely rich, Adriana became the
fashion, and a crowd of princes were ever watching her smiles, and
sometimes offering her their sighs.

"I think you enjoy our visit more than any one of us," said Endymion to
her one day, with some feeling of surprise.

"Well, one cannot mope for ever," said Miss Neuchatel; "I have passed my
life in thinking of one subject, and I feel now it made me very stupid."

Endymion felt embarrassed, and, though generally ready, had no repartee
at command. Lord Waldershare, however, came to his relief, and claimed
Adriana for the impending dance.

This wondrous marriage was a grand subject for "our own correspondents,"
and they abounded. Among them were Jawett and St. Barbe. St. Barbe hated
Jawett, as indeed he did all his brethren, but his appointment in this
instance he denounced as an infamous job. "Merely to allow him to
travel in foreign parts, which he has never done, without a single
qualification for the office! However, it will ruin his paper, that is
some consolation. Fancy sending here a man who has never used his
pen except about those dismal statistics, and what he calls first
principles! I hate his style, so neat and frigid. No colour, sir. I hate
his short sentences, like a dog barking; we want a word-painter here,
sir. My description of the wedding sold one hundred and fifty thousand,
and it is selling now. If the proprietors were gentlemen, they would
have sent me an unlimited credit, instead of their paltry fifty pounds
a day and my expenses; but you never meet a liberal man now,--no such
animal known. What I want you to do for me, Lord Waldershare, is to get
me invited to the Villa Aurea when the court moves there. It will be
private life there, and that is the article the British public want now.
They are satiated with ceremonies and festivals. They want to know what
the royal pair have for dinner when they are alone, how they pass their
evenings, and whether the queen drives ponies."

"So far as I am concerned," said Waldershare, "they shall remain state
secrets."

"I have received no special favours here," rejoined St. Barbe, "though,
with my claims, I might have counted on the uttermost. However, it is
always so. I must depend on my own resources. I have a retainer, I can
tell you, my lord, from the 'Rigdum Funidos,' in my pocket, and it is in
my power to keep up such a crackling of jokes and sarcasms that a very
different view would soon be entertained in Europe of what is going
on here than is now the fashion. The 'Rigdum Funidos' is on the
breakfast-table of all England, and sells thousands in every capital of
the world. You do not appreciate its power; you will now feel it."

"I also am a subscriber to the 'Rigdum Funidos,'" said Waldershare,
"and tell you frankly, Mr. St. Barbe, that if I see in its columns the
slightest allusion to any persons or incident in this country, I will
take care that you be instantly consigned to the galleys; and, this
being a liberal government, I can do that without even the ceremony of a
primary inquiry."

"You do not mean that?" said St. Barbe; "of course, I was only jesting.
It is not likely that I should say or do anything disagreeable to those
whom I look upon as my patrons--I may say friends--through life. It
makes me almost weep when I remember my early connection with Mr.
Ferrars, now an under-secretary of state, and who will mount higher. I
never had a chance of being a minister, though I suppose I am not more
incapable than others who get the silver spoon into their mouths. And
then his divine sister! Quite an heroic character! I never had a sister,
and so I never had even a chance of being nearly related to royalty. But
so it has been throughout my life. No luck, my lord; no luck. And
then they say one is misanthropical. Hang it! who can help being
misanthropical when he finds everybody getting on in life except
himself?"

The court moved to their favourite summer residence, a Palladian palace
on a blue lake, its banks clothed with forests abounding with every
species of game, and beyond them loftier mountains. The king was devoted
to sport, and Endymion was always among his companions. Waldershare
rather attached himself to the ladies, who made gay parties floating in
gondolas, and refreshed themselves with picnics in sylvan retreats. It
was supposed Lord Waldershare was a great admirer of the Princess
of Montserrat, who in return referred to him as that "lovable
eccentricity." As the autumn advanced, parties of guests of high
distinction, carefully arranged, periodically arrived. Now, there was
more ceremony, and every evening the circle was formed, while the king
and queen exchanged words, and sometimes ideas, with those who were
so fortunate as to be under their roof. Frequently there were dramatic
performances, and sometimes a dance. The Princess of Montserrat was
invaluable in these scenes; vivacious, imaginative, a consummate mimic,
her countenance, though not beautiful, was full of charm. What was
strange, Adriana took a great fancy to her Highness, and they were
seldom separated. The only cloud for Endymion in this happy life was,
that every day the necessity of his return to England was more urgent,
and every day the days vanished more quickly. That return to England,
once counted by weeks, would soon be counted by hours. He had conferred
once or twice with Waldershare on the subject, who always turned
the conversation; at last Endymion reminded him that the time of his
departure was at hand, and that, originally, it had been agreed they
should return together.

"Yes, my dear Ferrars, we did so agree, but the agreement was
permissive, not compulsory. My views are changed. Perhaps I shall never
return to England again; I think of being naturalised here."

The queen was depressed at the prospect of being separated from her
brother. Sometimes she remonstrated with him for his devotion to sport
which deprived her of his society; frequently in a morning she sent for
him to her boudoir, that they might talk together as in old times. "The
king has invited Lord and Lady Beaumaris to pay us a visit, and they
are coming at once. I had hoped the dear Hainaults might have visited us
here. I think she would have liked it. However, they will certainly pass
the winter with us. It is some consolation to me not to lose Adriana."

"The greatest," said Endymion, "and she seems so happy here. She seems
quite changed."

"I hope she is happier," said the queen, "but I trust she is not
changed. I think her nearly perfection. So pure, even so exalted a mind,
joined with so sweet a temper, I have never met. And she is very much
admired too, I can tell you. The Prince of Arragon would be on his knees
to her to-morrow, if she would only give a single smile. But she smiles
enough with the Princess of Montserrat. I heard her the other day
absolutely in uncontrollable laughter. That is a strange friendship; it
amuses me."

"The princess has immense resource."

The queen suddenly rose from her seat; her countenance was disturbed.

"Why do we talk of her, or of any other trifler of the court, when there
hangs over us so great a sorrow, Endymion, as our separation? Endymion,
my best beloved," and she threw her arms round his neck, "my heart! my
life! Is it possible that you can leave me, and so miserable as I am?"

"Miserable!"

"Yes! miserable when I think of your position--and even my own. Mine own
has risen like a palace in a dream, and may vanish like one. But that
would not be a calamity if you were safe. If I quitted this world
to-morrow, where would you be? It gives me sleepless nights and anxious
days. If you really loved me as you say, you would save me this. I am
haunted with the perpetual thought that all this glittering prosperity
will vanish as it did with our father. God forbid that, under any
circumstances, it should lead to such an end--but who knows? Fate is
terribly stern; ironically just. O Endymion! if you really love me, your
twin, half of your blood and life, who have laboured for you so much,
and thought for you so much, and prayed for you so much--and yet I
sometimes feel have done so little--O Endymion! my adored, my own
Endymion, if you wish to preserve my life--if you wish me not only to
live, but really to be happy as I ought to be and could be, but for one
dark thought, help me, aid me, save me--you can, and by one single act."

"One single act!"

"Yes! marry Adriana."

"Ah!" and he sighed.

"Yes, Adriana, to whom we both of us owe everything. Were it not for
Adriana, you would not be here, you would be nothing," and she whispered
some words which made him start, and alternately blush and look pale.

"Is it possible?" he exclaimed. "My sister, my beloved sister, I have
tried to keep my brain cool in many trials. But I feel, as it were, as
if life were too much for me. You counsel me to that which we should all
repent."

"Yes, I know it; you may for a moment think it a sacrifice, but believe
me, that is all phantasy. I know you think your heart belongs to
another. I will grant everything, willingly grant everything you could
say of her. Yes, I admit, she is beautiful, she has many charms, has
been to you a faithful friend, you delight in her society; such things
have happened before to many men, to every man they say they happen, but
that has not prevented them from being wise, and very happy too. Your
present position, if you persist in it, is one most perilous. You have
no root in the country; but for an accident you could not maintain
the public position you have nobly gained. As for the great crowning
consummation of your life, which we dreamed over at unhappy Hurstley,
which I have sometimes dared to prophesy, that must be surrendered. The
country at the best will look upon you only as a reputable adventurer
to be endured, even trusted and supported, in some secondary post,
but nothing more. I touch on this, for I see it is useless to speak of
myself and my own fate and feelings; only remember, Endymion, I have
never deceived you. I cannot endure any longer this state of affairs.
When in a few days we part, we shall never meet again. And all the
devotion of Myra will end in your destroying her."

"My own, my beloved Myra, do with me what you like. If ----"

At this moment there was a gentle tap at the door, and the king entered.

"My angel," he said, "and you too, my dear Endymion. I have some news
from England which I fear may distress you. Lord Montfort is dead."



CHAPTER XCVI

There was ever, when separated, an uninterrupted correspondence between
Berengaria and Endymion. They wrote to each other every day, so
that when they met again there was no void in their lives and mutual
experience, and each was acquainted with almost every feeling and
incident that had been proved, or had occurred, since they parted. The
startling news, however, communicated by the king had not previously
reached Endymion, because he was on the eve of his return to England,
and his correspondents had been requested to direct their future letters
to his residence in London.

His voyage home was an agitated one, and not sanguine or inspiriting.
There was a terrible uncertainty in the future. What were the feelings
of Lady Montfort towards himself? Friendly, kind, affectionate, in a
certain sense, even devoted, no doubt; but all consistent with a deep
and determined friendship which sought and wished for no return more
ardent. But now she was free. Yes, but would she again forfeit her
freedom? And if she did, would it not be to attain some great end,
probably the great end of her life? Lady Montfort was a woman of
far-reaching ambition. In a certain degree, she had married to secure
her lofty aims; and yet it was only by her singular energy, and the
playfulness and high spirit of her temperament, that the sacrifice had
not proved a failure; her success, however, was limited, for the ally on
who she had counted rarely assisted and never sympathised with her. It
was true she admired and even loved her husband; her vanity, which was
not slight, was gratified by her conquest of one whom it had seemed no
one could subdue, and who apparently placed at her feet all the power
and magnificence which she appreciated.

Poor Endymion, who loved her passionately, over whom she exercised the
influence of a divinity, who would do nothing without consulting her,
and who was moulded, and who wished to be moulded, by her inspiring
will, was also a shrewd man of the world, and did not permit his
sentiment to cloud his perception of life and its doings. He felt that
Lady Montfort had fallen from a lofty position, and she was not of a
temperament that would quietly brook her fate. Instead of being the
mistress of castles and palaces, with princely means, and all the
splendid accidents of life at her command, she was now a dowager with
a jointure! Still young, with her charms unimpaired, heightened even by
the maturity of her fascinating qualities, would she endure this? She
might retain her friendship for one who, as his sister ever impressed
upon him, had no root in the land, and even that friendship, he felt
conscious, must yield much of its entireness and intimacy to the
influence of new ties; but for their lives ever being joined together,
as had sometimes been his wild dreams, his cheek, though alone, burned
with the consciousness of his folly and self-deception.

"He is one of our rising statesmen," whispered the captain of the vessel
to a passenger, as Endymion, silent, lonely, and absorbed, walked, as
was his daily custom, the quarterdeck. "I daresay he has a good load
on his mind. Do you know, I would sooner be a captain of a ship than a
minister of state?"

Poor Endymion! Yes, he bore his burthen, but it was not secrets of state
that overwhelmed him. If his mind for a moment quitted the contemplation
of Lady Montfort, it was only to encounter the recollection of a
heart-rending separation from his sister, and his strange and now
perplexing relations with Adriana.

Lord Montfort had passed the summer, as he had announced, at Princedown,
and alone; that is to say, without Lady Montfort. She wrote to him
frequently, and if she omitted doing so for a longer interval than
usual, he would indite to her a little note, always courteous, sometimes
even almost kind, reminding her that her letters amused him, and that
of late they had been rarer than he wished. Lady Montfort herself made
Montfort Castle her home, paying sometimes a visit to her family in
the neighbourhood, and sometimes receiving them and other guests. Lord
Montfort himself did not live in absolute solitude. He had society
always at command. He always had a court about him; equerries, and
secretaries, and doctors, and odd and amusing men whom they found out
for him, and who were well pleased to find themselves in his
beautiful and magnificent Princedown, wandering in woods and parks and
pleasaunces, devouring his choice _entrees_, and quaffing his curious
wines. Sometimes he dined with them, sometimes a few dined with him,
sometimes he was not seen for weeks; but whether he were visible or not,
he was the subject of constant thought and conversation by all under his
roof.

Lord Montfort, it may be remembered, was a great fisherman. It was the
only sport which retained a hold upon him. The solitude, the charming
scenery, and the requisite skill, combined to please him. He had a love
for nature, and he gratified it in this pursuit. His domain abounded in
those bright chalky streams which the trout love. He liked to watch the
moor-hens, too, and especially a kingfisher.

Lord Montfort came home late one day after much wading. It had been a
fine day for anglers, soft and not too bright, and he had been tempted
to remain long in the water. He drove home rapidly, but it was in an
open carriage, and when the sun set there was a cold autumnal breeze.
He complained at night, and said he had been chilled. There was always
a doctor under the roof, who felt his patient's pulse, ordered the usual
remedies, and encouraged him. Lord Montfort passed a bad night, and his
physician in the morning found fever, and feared there were symptoms of
pleurisy. He prescribed accordingly, but summoned from town two great
authorities. The great authorities did not arrive until the next day.
They approved of everything that had been done, but shook their heads.
"No immediate danger, but serious."

Four-and-twenty hours afterwards they inquired of Lord Montfort whether
they should send for his wife. "On no account whatever," he replied. "My
orders on this head are absolute." Nevertheless, they did send for
Lady Montfort, and as there was even then a telegraph to the north,
Berengaria, who departed from her castle instantly, and travelled all
night, arrived in eight-and-forty hours at Princedown. The state of Lord
Montfort then was critical.

It was broken to Lord Montfort that his wife had arrived.

"I perceive then," he replied, "that I am going to die, because I am
disobeyed."

These were the last words he uttered. He turned in his bed as it were to
conceal his countenance, and expired without a sigh or sound.

There was not a single person at Princedown in whom Lady Montfort could
confide. She had summoned the family solicitor, but he could not arrive
until the next day, and until he came she insisted that none of her
late lord's papers should be touched. She at first thought he had made a
will, because otherwise all his property would go to his cousin, whom
he particularly hated, and yet on reflection she could hardly fancy
his making a will. It was a trouble to him--a disagreeable trouble; and
there was nobody she knew whom he would care to benefit. He was not a
man who would leave anything to hospitals and charities. Therefore, on
the whole, she arrived at the conclusion he had not made a will, though
all the guests at Princedown were of a different opinion, and each was
calculating the amount of his own legacy.

At last the lawyer arrived, and he brought the will with him. It was
very short, and not very recent. Everything he had in the world except
the settled estates, Montfort Castle and Montfort House, he bequeathed
to his wife. It was a vast inheritance; not only Princedown, but great
accumulations of personal property, for Lord Montfort was fond of
amassing, and admired the sweet simplicity of the three per cents.



CHAPTER XCVII

When Endymion arrived in London he found among his letters two brief
notes from Lady Montfort; one hurriedly written at Montfort Castle at
the moment of her departure, and another from Princedown, with these
words only, "All is over." More than a week had elapsed since the last
was written, and he had already learnt from the newspapers that the
funeral had taken place. It was a painful but still necessary duty to
fulfil, to write to her, which he did, but he received no answer to his
letter of sympathy, and to a certain degree, of condolence. Time flew
on, but he could not venture to write again, and without any absolute
cause for his discomfort, he felt harassed and unhappy. He had been so
accustomed all his life to exist under the genial influence of women
that his present days seemed lone and dark. His sister and Berengaria,
two of the most gifted and charming beings in the world, had seemed
to agree that their first duty had ever been to sympathise with his
fortunes and to aid them. Even his correspondence with Myra was changed.
There was a tone of constraint in their communications; perhaps it
was the great alteration in her position that occasioned it? His heart
assured him that such was not the case. He felt deeply and acutely what
was the cause. The subject most interesting to both of them could not be
touched on. And then he thought of Adriana, and contrasted his dull and
solitary home in Hill Street with what it might have been, graced by her
presence, animated by her devotion, and softened by the sweetness of her
temper.

Endymion began to feel that the run of his good fortune was dried. His
sister, when he had a trouble, would never hear of this; she always held
that the misery and calamities of their early years had exhausted the
influence of their evil stars, and apparently she had been right, and
perhaps she would have always been right had he not been perverse, and
thwarted her in the most important circumstances of his life.

In this state of mind, there was nothing for him to do but to plunge
into business; and affairs of state are a cure for many cares and
sorrows. What are our petty annoyances and griefs when we have to guard
the fortunes and the honour of a nation?

The November cabinets had commenced, and this brought all the chiefs
to town, Sidney Wilton among them; and his society was always a great
pleasure to Endymion; the only social pleasure now left to him was a
little dinner at Mr. Wilton's, and little dinners there abounded. Mr.
Wilton knew all the persons that he was always thinking about, but whom,
it might be noticed, they seemed to agree now rarely to mention. As for
the rest, there was nobody to call upon in the delightful hours between
official duties and dinner. No Lady Roehampton now, no brilliant
Berengaria, and not even the gentle Imogene with her welcome smile.
He looked in at the Coventry Club, a club of fashion, and also much
frequented by diplomatists. There were a good many persons there, and a
foreign minister immediately buttonholed the Under-Secretary of State.

"I called at the Foreign Office to-day," said the foreign minister. "I
assure you it is very pressing."

"I had the American with me," said Endymion, "and he is very lengthy.
However, as to your business, I think we might talk it over here, and
perhaps settle it." And so they left the room together.

"I wonder what is going to happen to that gentleman," said Mr. Ormsby,
glancing at Endymion, and speaking to Mr. Cassilis.

"Why?" replied Mr. Cassilis, "is anything up?"

"Will he marry Lady Montfort?"

"Poh!" said Mr. Cassilis.

"You may poh!" said Mr. Ormsby, "but he was a great favourite."

"Lady Montfort will never marry. She had always a poodle, and always
will have. She was never so _liee_ with Ferrars as with the Count of
Ferroll, and half a dozen others. She must have a slave."

"A very good mistress with thirty thousand a year."

"She has not that," said Mr. Cassilis doubtingly.

"What do you put Princedown at?" said Mr. Ormsby.

"That I can tell you to a T," replied Mr. Cassilis, "for it was offered
to me when old Rambrooke died. You will never get twelve thousand a year
out of it."

"Well, I will answer for half a million consols," said Ormsby, "for my
lawyer, when he made a little investment for me the other day, saw the
entry himself in the bank-books; our names are very near, you know--M,
and O. Then there is her jointure, something like ten thousand a year."

"No, no; not seven."

"Well, that would do."

"And what is the amount of your little investment in consols altogether,
Ormsby?"

"Well, I believe I top Montfort," said Mr. Ormsby with a complacent
smile, "but then you know, I am not a swell like you; I have no land."

"Lady Montfort, thirty thousand a year," said Mr. Cassilis musingly.
"She is only thirty. She is a woman who will set the Thames on fire,
but she will never marry. Do you dine to-day, by any chance, with Sidney
Wilton?"

When Endymion returned home this evening, he found a letter from Lady
Montfort. It was a month since he had written to her. He was so nervous
that he absolutely for a moment could not break the seal, and the
palpitation of his heart was almost overpowering.

Lady Montfort thanked him for his kind letter, which she ought to
have acknowledged before, but she had been very busy--indeed, quite
overwhelmed with affairs. She wished to see him, but was sorry she could
not ask him to come down to Princedown, as she was living in complete
retirement, only her aunt with her, Lady Gertrude, whom, she believed,
he knew. He was aware, probably, how good Lord Montfort had been to her.
Sincerely she could say, nothing could have been more unexpected. If she
could have seen her husband before the fatal moment, it would have been
a consolation to her. He had always been kind to Endymion; she really
believed sometimes that Lord Montfort was even a little attached to
him. She should like Endymion to have some souvenir of her late husband.
Would he choose something, or would he leave it to her?

One would rather agree, from the tone of this letter, that Mr. Cassilis
knew what he was talking about. It fell rather odd on Endymion's heart,
and he passed a night of some disquietude; not one of those nights,
exactly, when we feel that the end of the world has at length arrived,
and that we are the first victim, but a night when you slumber rather
than sleep, and wake with the consciousness of some indefinable chagrin.

This was a dull Christmas for Endymion Ferrars. He passed it, as he had
passed others, at Gaydene, but what a contrast to the old assemblies
there! Every source of excitement that could make existence absolutely
fascinating seemed then to unite in his happy fate. Entrancing love and
the very romance of domestic affection, and friendships of honour
and happiness, and all the charms of an accomplished society, and
the feeling of a noble future, and the present and urgent interest in
national affairs--all gone, except some ambition which might tend to
consequences not more successful than those that had ultimately visited
his house with irreparable calamity.

The meeting of parliament was a great relief to Endymion. Besides his
office, he had now the House of Commons to occupy him. He was never
absent from his place; no little runnings up to Montfort House or Hill
Street just to tell them the authentic news, or snatch a hasty repast
with furtive delight, with persons still more delightful, and flattering
one's self all the time that, so far as absence was concerned, the
fleetness of one's gifted brougham horse really made it no difference
between Mayfair and Bellamy's.

Endymion had replied, but not very quickly, to Lady Montfort's letter,
and he had heard from her again, but her letter requiring no reply, the
correspondence had dropped. It was the beginning of March when she wrote
to him to say, that she was obliged to come to town to see her lawyer
and transact some business; that she would be "at papa's in Grosvenor
Square," though the house was shut up, on a certain day, that she much
wished to see Endymion, and begged him to call on her.

It was a trying moment when about noon he lifted the knocker to
Grosvenor Square. The door was not opened rapidly, and the delay made
him more nervous. He almost wished the door would never open. He
was shown into a small back room on the ground floor in which was a
bookcase, and which chamber, in the language of Grosvenor Square, is
called a library.

"Her ladyship will see you presently," said the servant, who had come up
from Princedown.

Endymion was standing before the fire, and as nervous as a man could
well be. He sighed, and he sighed more than once. His breathing was
oppressed; he felt that life was too short to permit us to experience
such scenes and situations. He heard the lock of the door move, and it
required all his manliness to endure it.

She entered; she was in weeds, but they became her admirably; her
countenance was grave and apparently with an effort to command it. She
did not move hurriedly, but held out both her hands to Endymion and
retained his, and all without speaking. Her lips then seemed to move,
when, rather suddenly, withdrawing her right hand, and placing it on his
shoulder and burying her face in her arm, she wept.

He led her soothingly to a seat, and took a chair by her side. Not a
word had yet been spoken by either of them; only a murmur of sympathy on
the part of Endymion. Lady Montfort spoke first.

"I am weaker than I thought, but it is a great trial." And then she said
how sorry she was, that she could not receive him at Princedown; but
she thought it best that he should not go there. "I have a great deal of
business to transact--you would not believe how much. I do not dislike
it, it occupies me, it employs my mind. I have led so active a life,
that solitude is rather too much for me. Among other business, I must
buy a town house, and that is the most difficult of all affairs. There
never was so great a city with such small houses. I shall feel the loss
of Montfort House, though I never used it half so much as I wished. I
want a mansion; I should think you could help me in this. When I return
to society, I mean to receive. There must be therefore good reception
rooms; if possible, more than good. And now let us talk about our
friends. Tell me all about your royal sister, and this new marriage;
it rather surprised me, but I think it excellent. Ah! you can keep
a secret, but you see it is no use having a secret with me. Even in
solitude everything reaches me."

"I assure you most seriously, that I can annex no meaning to what you
are saying."

"Then I can hardly think it true; and yet it came from high authority,
and it was not told me as a real secret."

"A marriage, and whose?"

"Miss Neuchatel's,--Adriana."

"And to whom?" inquired Endymion, changing colour.

"To Lord Waldershare."

"To Lord Waldershare!"

"And has not your sister mentioned it to you?"

"Not a word; it cannot be true."

"I will give to you my authority," said Lady Montfort. "Though I came
here in the twilight of a hired brougham, and with a veil, I was caught
before I could enter the house by, of all people in the world, Mrs.
Rodney. And she told me this in what she called 'real confidence,' and
it was announced to her in a letter from her sister, Lady Beaumaris.
They seem all delighted with the match."



CHAPTER XCVIII

The marriage of Adriana was not an event calculated to calm the
uneasy and dissatisfied temperament of Endymion. The past rendered it
impossible that this announcement should not in some degree affect him.
Then the silence of his sister on such a subject was too significant;
the silence even of Waldershare. Somehow or other, it seemed that all
these once dear and devoted friends stood in different relations to him
and to each other from what they once filled. They had become more
near and intimate together, but he seemed without the pale; he, that
Endymion, who once seemed the prime object, if not the centre, of all
their thoughts and sentiment. And why was this? What was the influence
that had swayed him to a line contrary to what was once their hopes and
affections? Had he an evil genius? And was it she? Horrible thought!

The interview with Lady Montfort had been deeply interesting--had for a
moment restored him to himself. Had it not been for this news, he might
have returned home, soothed, gratified, even again indulging in dreams.
But this news had made him ponder; had made him feel what he had lost,
and forced him to ask himself what he had gained.

There was one thing he had gained, and that was the privilege of calling
on Lady Montfort the next day. That was a fact that sometimes dissipated
all the shadows. Under the immediate influence of her presence, he
became spell-bound as of yore, and in the intoxication of her beauty,
the brightness of her mind, and her ineffable attraction, he felt
he would be content with any lot, provided he might retain her kind
thoughts and pass much of his life in her society.

She was only staying three or four days in town, and was much engaged
in the mornings; but Endymion called on her every afternoon, and sate
talking with her till dinner-time, and they both dined very late. As
he really on personal and domestic affairs never could have any reserve
with her, he told her, in that complete confidence in which they always
indulged, of the extraordinary revelation which his sister had made
to him about the parliamentary qualification. Lady Montfort was deeply
interested in this; she was even agitated, and looked very grave.

"I am sorry," she said, "we know this. Things cannot remain now as they
are. You cannot return the money, that would be churlish; besides, you
cannot return all the advantages which it gained for you, and they must
certainly be considered part of the gift, and the most precious; and
then, too, it would betray what your sister rightly called a 'sacred
confidence.' And yet something must be done--you must let me think. Do
not mention it again." And then they talked a little of public affairs.
Lady Montfort saw no one, and heard from no one now; but judging from
the journals, she thought the position of the government feeble. "There
cannot be a Protectionist government," she said; "and yet that is the
only parliamentary party of importance. Things will go on till some
blow, and perhaps a slight one, will upset you all. And then who is
to succeed? I think some queer _melange_ got up perhaps by Mr. Bertie
Tremaine."

The last day came. She parted from Endymion with kindness, but not
with tenderness. He was choking with emotion, and tried to imitate her
calmness.

"Am I to write to you?" he asked in a faltering voice.

"Of course you are," she said, "every day, and tell me all the news."

The Hainaults, and the Beaumaris, and Waldershare, did not return to
England until some time after Easter. The marriage was to take place
in June--Endymion was to be Waldershare's best man. There were many
festivities, and he was looked upon as an indispensable guest in all.
Adriana received his congratulations with animation, but with affection.
She thanked him for a bracelet which he had presented to her; "I value
it more," she said, "than all my other presents together, except
what dear Waldershare has given to me." Even with that exception, the
estimate was high, for never a bride in any land ever received the
number of splendid offerings which crowded the tables of Lord Hainault's
new palace, which he had just built in Park Lane. There was not a
Neuchatel in existence, and they flourished in every community, who did
not send her, at least, a riviere of brilliants. King Florestan and
his queen sent offerings worthy of their resplendent throne and their
invaluable friendship. But nothing surpassed, nothing approached,
the contents of a casket, which, a day before the wedding, arrived
at Hainault House. It came from a foreign land, and Waldershare
superintended the opening of the case, and the appearance of a casket of
crimson velvet, with genuine excitement. But when it was opened! There
was a coronet of brilliants; a necklace of brilliants and emeralds,
and all the stones more than precious; gems of Golconda no longer
obtainable, and lustrous companions which only could have been created
in the hot earth of Asia. From whom? Not a glimpse of meaning. All that
was written, in a foreign handwriting on a sheet of notepaper, was, "For
the Lady Viscountess Waldershare."

"When the revolution comes," said Lord Hainault, "Lord Waldershare and
my daughter must turn jewellers. Their stock in trade is ready."

The correspondence between Lady Montfort and Endymion had resumed its
ancient habit. They wrote to each other every day, and one day she told
him that she had purchased a house, and that she must come up to town to
examine and to furnish it. She probably should be a month in London,
and remaining there until the end of the season, in whose amusements
and business, of course, she could not share. She should "be at papa's,"
though he and his family were in town; but that was no reason why
Endymion should not call on her. And he came, and called every day. Lady
Montfort was full of her new house; it was in Carlton Gardens, the house
she always wished, always intended to have. There is nothing like will;
everybody can do exactly what they like in this world, provided they
really like it. Sometimes they think they do, but in general, it is a
mistake. Lady Montfort, it seemed, was a woman who always could do what
she liked. She could do what she liked with Endymion Ferrars; that
was quite certain. Supposed by men to have a strong will and a calm
judgment, he was a nose of wax with this woman. He was fascinated by
her, and he had been fascinated now for nearly ten years. What would be
the result of this irresistible influence upon him? Would it make or
mar those fortunes that once seemed so promising? The philosophers
of White's and the Coventry were generally of opinion that he had no
chance.

Lady Montfort was busy every morning with her new house, but she never
asked Endymion to accompany her, though it seemed natural to do so.
But he saw her every day, and "papa," who was a most kind and courtly
gentleman, would often ask him, "if he had nothing better to do," to
dine there, and he dined there frequently; and if he were engaged, he
was always of opinion that he had nothing better to do.

At last, however, the season was over; the world had gone to Goodwood,
and Lady Montfort was about to depart to Princedown. It was a dreary
prospect for Endymion, and he could not conceal his feelings. He could
not help saying one day, "Do you know, now that you are going I almost
wish to die."

Alas! she only laughed. But he looked grave. "I am very unhappy," he
sighed rather than uttered.

She looked at him with seriousness. "I do not think our separation need
be very long. Papa and all my family are coming to me in September to
pay me a very long visit. I really do not see why you should not come
too."

Endymion's countenance mantled with rapture. "If I might come, I think I
should be the happiest of men!"

The month that was to elapse before his visit, Endymion was really, as
he said, the happiest of men; at least, the world thought him so.
He seemed to walk upon tip-toe. Parliament was prorogued, office was
consigned to permanent secretaries, and our youthful statesman seemed
only to live to enjoy, and add to, the revelry of existence. Now
at Cowes, now stalking in the Highlands, dancing at balls in the
wilderness, and running races of fantastic feats, full of health, and
frolic, and charm; he was the delight of society, while, the whole time,
he had only one thought, and that was the sacred day when he should
again see the being whom he adored, and that in her beautiful home,
which her presence made more lovely.

Yes! he was again at Princedown, in the bosom of her family; none others
there; treated like one of themselves. The courtly father pressed his
hand; the amiable and refined mother smiled upon him; the daughters,
pretty, and natural as the air, treated him as if they were sisters, and
even the eldest son, who generally hates you, after a little stiffness,
announced in a tone never questioned under the family roof, that
"Ferrars was a first-rate shot."

And so a month rolled on; immensely happy, as any man who has loved,
and loved in a beautiful scene, alone can understand. One morning Lady
Montfort said to him, "I must go up to London about my house. I want
to go and return the same day. Do you know, I think you had better come
with me? You shall give me a luncheon in Hill Street, and we shall
be back by the last train. It will be late, but we shall wake in the
morning in the country, and that I always think a great thing."

And so it happened; they rose early and arrived in town in time to give
them a tolerably long morning. She took him to her house in Carlton
Gardens, and showed to him exactly how it was all she wanted;
accommodation for a first-rate establishment; and then the reception
rooms, few houses in London could compare with them; a gallery and three
saloons. Then they descended to the dining-room. "It is a dining-room,
not a banqueting hall," she said, "which we had at Montfort House, but
still it is much larger than most dining-rooms in London. But, I think
this room, at least I hope you do, quite charming," and she took him to
a room almost as large as the dining-room, and looking into the garden.
It was fitted up with exquisite taste; calm subdued colouring, with
choice marble busts of statesmen, ancient and of our times, but the
shelves were empty.

"They are empty," she said, "but the volumes to fill them are already
collected. Yes," she added in a tremulous voice, and slightly pressing
the arm on which she leant. "If you will deign to accept it, this is the
chamber I have prepared for you."

"Dearest of women!" and he took her hand.

"Yes," she murmured, "help me to realise the dream of my life;" and she
touched his forehead with her lips.



CHAPTER XCIX

The marriage of Mr. Ferrars with Lady Montfort surprised some, but, on
the whole, pleased everybody. They were both of them popular, and no one
seemed to envy them their happiness and prosperity. The union took place
at a season of the year when there was no London world to observe and to
criticise. It was a quiet ceremony; they went down to Northumberland
to Lady Montfort's father, and they were married in his private chapel.
After that they went off immediately to pay a visit to King Florestan
and his queen; Myra had sent her a loving letter.

"Perhaps it will be the first time that your sister ever saw me with
satisfaction," remarked Lady Montfort, "but I think she will love me
now! I always loved her; perhaps because she is so like you."

It was a happy meeting and a delightful visit. They did not talk much of
the past. The enormous change in the position of their host and hostess
since the first days of their acquaintance, and, on their own part, some
indefinite feeling of delicate reserve, combined to make them rather
dwell on a present which was full of novelty so attractive and so
absorbing. In his manner, the king was unchanged; he was never a
demonstrative person, but simple, unaffected, rather silent; with a
sweet temper and a tender manner, he seemed to be gratified that he had
the power of conferring happiness on those around him. His feeling to
his queen was one of idolatry, and she received Berengaria as a sister
and a much-loved one. Their presence and the season of the year made
their life a festival, and when they parted, there were entreaties and
promises that the visit should be often repeated.

"Adieu! my Endymion," said Myra at the last moment they were alone. "All
has happened for you beyond my hopes; all now is safe. I might wish we
were in the same land, but not if I lost my husband, whom I adore."

The reason that forced them to curtail their royal visit was the state
of politics at home, which had suddenly become critical. There were
symptoms, and considerable ones, of disturbance and danger when
they departed for their wedding tour, but they could not prevail on
themselves to sacrifice a visit on which they had counted so much,
and which could not be fulfilled on another occasion under the same
interesting circumstances. Besides, the position of Mr. Ferrars, though
an important, was a subordinate one, and though cabinet ministers were
not justified in leaving the country, an under-secretary of state and
a bridegroom might, it would seem, depart on his irresponsible holiday.
Mr. Sidney Wilton, however, shook his head; "I do not like the state of
affairs," he said, "I think you will have to come back sooner than you
imagine."

"You are not going to be so foolish as to have an early session?"
inquired Lady Montfort.

He only shrugged his shoulders, and said, "We are in a mess."

What mess? and what was the state of affairs?

This had happened. At the end of the autumn, his Holiness the Pope had
made half a dozen new cardinals, and to the surprise of the world, and
the murmurs of the Italians, there appeared among them the name of an
Englishman, Nigel Penruddock, archbishop _in partibus_. Shortly after
this, a papal bull, "given at St. Peter's, Rome, under the seal of the
fisherman," was issued, establishing a Romish hierarchy in England. This
was soon followed by a pastoral letter by the new cardinal "given out of
the Appian Gate," announcing that "Catholic England had been restored to
its orbit in the ecclesiastical firmament."

The country at first was more stupefied than alarmed. It was conscious
that something extraordinary had happened, and some great action taken
by an ecclesiastical power, which from tradition it was ever inclined to
view with suspicion and some fear. But it held its breath for a while.
It so happened that the prime minister was a member of a great house
which had become illustrious by its profession of Protestant principles,
and even by its sufferings in a cause which England had once looked
on as sacred. The prime minister, a man of distinguished ability,
not devoid even of genius, was also a wily politician, and of almost
unrivalled experience in the management of political parties. The
ministry was weak and nearly worn out, and its chief, influenced partly
by noble and historical sentiments, partly by a conviction that he had
a fine occasion to rally the confidence of the country round himself
and his friends, and to restore the repute of his political connection,
thought fit, without consulting his colleagues, to publish a manifesto
denouncing the aggression of the Pope upon our Protestantism as insolent
and insidious, and as expressing a pretension of supremacy over the
realm of England which made the minister indignant.

A confused public wanted to be led, and now they were led. They
sprang to their feet like an armed man. The corporation of London, the
universities of Oxford and Cambridge had audiences of the Queen; the
counties met, the municipalities memorialised; before the first of
January there had been held nearly seven thousand public meetings,
asserting the supremacy of the Queen and calling on Her Majesty's
Government to vindicate it by stringent measures.

Unfortunately, it was soon discovered by the minister that there had
been nothing illegal in the conduct of the Pope or the Cardinal, and
a considerable portion of the Liberal party began to express the
inconvenient opinion, that the manifesto of their chief was opposed
to those principles of civil and religious liberty of which he was the
hereditary champion. Some influential members of his own cabinet did
not conceal their disapprobation of a step on which they had not been
consulted.

Immediately after Christmas, Endymion and Lady Montfort settled in
London. She was anxious to open her new mansion as soon as parliament
met, and to organise continuous receptions. She looked upon the ministry
as in a critical state, and thought it was an occasion when social
influences might not inconsiderably assist them.

But though she exhibited for this object her wonted energy and high
spirit, a fine observer--Mr. Sidney Wilton, for example--might have
detected a change in the manner of Berengaria. Though the strength of
her character was unaltered, there was an absence of that restlessness,
it might be said, that somewhat feverish excitement, from which formerly
she was not always free. The truth is, her heart was satisfied, and that
brought repose. Feelings of affection, long mortified and pent up, were
now lavished and concentrated on a husband of her heart and adoration,
and she was proud that his success and greatness might be avowed as the
objects of her life.

The campaign, however, for which such preparations were made, ended
almost before it began. The ministry, on the meeting of parliament,
found themselves with a discontented House of Commons, and discordant
counsels among themselves. The anti-papal manifesto was the secret cause
of this evil state, but the prime minister, to avoid such a mortifying
admission, took advantage of two unfavourable divisions on other
matters, and resigned.

Here was a crisis--another crisis! Could the untried Protectionists,
without men, form an administration? It was whispered that Lord Derby
had been sent for, and declined the attempt. Then there was another
rumour, that he was going to try. Mr. Bertie Tremaine looked mysterious.
The time for the third party had clearly arrived. It was known that he
had the list of the next ministry in his breast-pocket, but it was only
shown to Mr. Tremaine Bertie, who confided in secrecy to the initiated
that it was the strongest government since "All the Talents."

Notwithstanding this great opportunity, "All the Talents" were not
summoned. The leader of the Protectionists renounced the attempt in
despair, and the author of the anti-papal manifesto was again sent
for, and obliged to introduce the measure which had already destroyed a
government and disorganised a party.

"Sidney Wilton," said Lady Montfort to her husband, "says that they are
in the mud, and he for one will not go back--but he will go. I know him.
He is too soft-hearted to stand an appeal from colleagues in distress.
But were I you, Endymion, I would not return. I think you want a little
rest, or you have got a great deal of private business to attend to,
or something of that kind. Nobody notices the withdrawal of an
under-secretary except those in office. There is no necessity why you
should be in the mud. I will continue to receive, and do everything
that is possible for our friends, but I think my husband has been an
under-secretary long enough."

Endymion quite agreed with his wife. The minister offered him preferment
and the Privy Council, but Lady Montfort said it was really not so
important as the office he had resigned. She was resolved that he should
not return to them, and she had her way. Ferrars himself now occupied a
rather peculiar position, being the master of a great fortune and of an
establishment which was the headquarters of the party of which he was
now only a private member; but, calm and collected, he did not lose his
head; always said and did the right thing, and never forgot his early
acquaintances. Trenchard was his bosom political friend. Seymour Hicks,
who, through Endymion's kindness, had now got into the Treasury, and
was quite fashionable, had the run of the House, and made himself
marvellously useful, while St. Barbe, who had become by mistake a member
of the Conservative Club, drank his frequent claret cup every Saturday
evening at Lady Montfort's receptions with many pledges to the welfare
of the Liberal administration.

The flag of the Tory party waved over the magnificent mansion of which
Imogene Beaumaris was the graceful life. As parties were nearly equal,
and the ministry was supposed to be in decay, the rival reception was as
well attended as that of Berengaria. The two great leaders were friends,
intimate, but not perhaps quite so intimate as a few years before. "Lady
Montfort is very kind to me," Imogene would say, "but I do not think
she now quite remembers we are cousins." Both Lord and Lady Waldershare
seemed equally devoted to Lady Beaumaris. "I do not think," he would
say, "that I shall ever get Adriana to receive. It is an organic gift,
and very rare. What I mean to do is to have a first-rate villa and give
the party strawberries. I always say Adriana is like Nell Gwyn, and she
shall go about with a pottle. One never sees a pottle of strawberries
now. I believe they went out, like all good things, with the Stuarts."

And so, after all these considerable events, the season rolled on and
closed tranquilly. Lord and Lady Hainault continued to give banquets,
over which the hostess sighed; Sir Peter Vigo had the wisdom to retain
his millions, which few manage to do, as it is admitted that it is
easier to make a fortune than to keep one. Mrs. Rodney, supremely
habited, still drove her ponies, looking younger and prettier than ever,
and getting more fashionable every day, and Mr. Ferrars and Berengaria,
Countess of Montfort, retired in the summer to their beautiful and
beloved Princedown.



CHAPTER C

Although the past life of Endymion had, on the whole, been a happy life,
and although he was destined also to a happy future, perhaps the four
years which elapsed from the time he quitted office, certainly in his
experience had never been exceeded, and it was difficult to imagine
could be exceeded, in felicity. He had a great interest, and even
growing influence in public life without any of its cares; he was
united to a woman whom he had long passionately loved, and who had every
quality and a fortune which secured him all those advantages which are
appreciated by men of taste and generosity. He became a father, and a
family name which had been originally borne by a courtier of the elder
Stuarts was now bestowed on the future lord of Princedown.

Lady Montfort herself had no thought but her husband. His happiness, his
enjoyment of existence, his success and power in life, entirely absorbed
her. The anxiety which she felt that in everything he should be master
was touching. Once looked upon as the most imperious of women, she would
not give a direction on any matter without his opinion and sanction. One
would have supposed from what might be observed under their roof, that
she was some beautiful but portionless maiden whom Endymion had raised
to wealth and power.

All this time, however, Lady Montfort sedulously maintained that
commanding position in social politics for which she was singularly
fitted. Indeed, in that respect, she had no rival. She received the
world with the same constancy and splendour, as if she were the wife of
a minister. Animated by Waldershare, Lady Beaumaris maintained in this
respect a certain degree of rivalry. She was the only hope and refuge of
the Tories, and rich, attractive, and popular, her competition could not
be disregarded. But Lord Beaumaris was a little freakish. Sometimes he
would sail in his yacht to odd places, and was at Algiers or in Egypt
when, according to Tadpole, he ought to have been at Piccadilly Terrace.
Then he occasionally got crusty about his hunting. He would hunt,
whatever were the political consequences, but whether he were in Africa
or Leicestershire, Imogene must be with him. He could not exist without
her constant presence. There was something in her gentleness, combined
with her quick and ready sympathy and playfulness of mind and manner,
which alike pleased and soothed his life.

The Whigs tottered on for a year after the rude assault of Cardinal
Penruddock, but they were doomed, and the Protectionists were called
upon to form an administration. As they had no one in their ranks who
had ever been in office except their chief, who was in the House of
Lords, the affair seemed impossible. The attempt, however, could not be
avoided. A dozen men, without the slightest experience of official life,
had to be sworn in as privy councillors, before even they could receive
the seals and insignia of their intended offices. On their knees,
according to the constitutional custom, a dozen men, all in the act
of genuflexion at the same moment, and headed, too, by one of the most
powerful peers in the country, the Lord of Alnwick Castle himself,
humbled themselves before a female Sovereign, who looked serene and
imperturbable before a spectacle never seen before, and which, in all
probability, will never be seen again.

One of this band, a gentleman without any official experience whatever,
was not only placed in the cabinet, but was absolutely required to
become the leader of the House of Commons, which had never occurred
before, except in the instance of Mr. Pitt in 1782. It has been said
that it was unwise in the Protectionists assuming office when, on this
occasion and on subsequent ones, they were far from being certain of
a majority in the House of Commons. It should, however, be remembered,
that unless they had dared these ventures, they never could have formed
a body of men competent, from their official experience and their
practice in debate, to form a ministry. The result has rather proved
that they were right. Had they continued to refrain from incurring
responsibility, they must have broken up and merged in different
connections, which, for a party numerically so strong as the
Protectionists, would have been a sorry business, and probably have led
to disastrous results.

Mr. Bertie Tremaine having been requested to call on the Protectionist
prime minister, accordingly repaired to headquarters with the list
of his colleagues in his pocket. He was offered for himself a post of
little real importance, but which secured to him the dignity of the
privy council. Mr. Tremaine Bertie and several of his friends had
assembled at his house, awaiting with anxiety his return. He had to
communicate to them that he had been offered a privy councillor's post,
and to break to them that it was not proposed to provide for any other
member of his party. Their indignation was extreme; but they naturally
supposed that he had rejected the offer to himself with becoming scorn.
Their leader, however, informed them that he had not felt it his duty
to be so peremptory. They should remember that the recognition of their
political status by such an offer to their chief was a considerable
event. For his part, he had for some time been painfully aware that the
influence of the House of Commons in the constitutional scheme was fast
waning, and that the plan of Sir William Temple for the reorganisation
of the privy council, and depositing in it the real authority of the
State, was that to which we should be obliged to have recourse. This
offer to him of a seat in the council was, perhaps, the beginning of
the end. It was a crisis; they must look to seats in the privy council,
which, under Sir William Temple's plan, would be accompanied with
ministerial duties and salaries. What they had all, at one time, wished,
had not exactly been accomplished, but he had felt it his duty to
his friends not to shrink from responsibility. So he had accepted the
minister's offer.

Mr. Bertie Tremaine was not long in the busy enjoyment of his easy post.
Then the country was governed for two years by all its ablest men, who,
by the end of that term, had succeeded, by their coalesced genius, in
reducing that country to a state of desolation and despair. "I did not
think it would have lasted even so long," said Lady Montfort; "but then
I was acquainted with their mutual hatreds and their characteristic
weaknesses. What is to happen now? Somebody must be found of commanding
private character and position, and with as little damaged a public one
as in this wreck of reputations is possible. I see nobody but Sidney
Wilton. Everybody likes him, and he is the only man who could bring
people together."

And everybody seemed to be saying the same thing at the same time. The
name of Sidney Wilton was in everybody's mouth. It was unfortunate that
he had been a member of a defunct ministry, but then it had always been
understood that he had always disapproved of all their measures. There
was not the slightest evidence of this, but everybody chose to believe
it.

Sidney Wilton was chagrined with life, and had become a martyr to the
gout, which that chagrin had aggravated; but he was a great gentleman,
and too chivalric to refuse a royal command when the Sovereign was
in distress. Sidney Wilton became Premier, and the first colleague
he recommended to fill the most important post after his own, the
Secretaryship of State for Foreign Affairs, was Mr. Ferrars.

"It ought to last ten years," said Lady Montfort. "I see no danger
except his health. I never knew a man so changed. At his time of life
five years ought to make no difference in a man. I cannot believe he
is the person who used to give us those charming parties at Gaydene.
Whatever you may say, Endymion, I feel convinced that something must
have passed between your sister and him. Neither of them ever gave me a
hint of such a matter, or of the possibility of its ever happening, but
feminine instinct assures me that something took place. He always had
the gout, and his ancestors have had the gout for a couple of centuries;
and all prime ministers have the gout. I dare say you will not escape,
darling, but I hope it will never make you look as if you had just lost
paradise, or, what would be worst, become the last man."

Lady Montfort was right. The ministry was strong and it was popular.
There were no jealousies in it; every member was devoted to his chief,
and felt that he was rightly the chief, whereas, as Lady Montfort said,
the Whigs never had a ministry before in which there were not at least a
couple of men who had been prime ministers, and as many more who thought
they ought to be.

There were years of war, and of vast and critical negotiations. Ferrars
was equal to the duties, for he had much experience, and more thought,
and he was greatly aided by the knowledge of affairs, and the clear and
tranquil judgment of the chief minister. There was only one subject on
which there was not between them that complete and cordial unanimity
which was so agreeable and satisfactory. And even in this case, there
was no difference of opinion, but rather of sentiment and feeling.
It was when Prince Florestan expressed his desire to join the
grand alliance, and become our active military ally. It was perhaps
impossible, under any circumstances, for the Powers to refuse such
an offer, but Endymion was strongly in favour of accepting it. It
consolidated our interests in a part of Europe where we required
sympathy and support, and it secured for us the aid and influence of the
great Liberal party of the continent as distinguished from the secret
societies and the socialist republicans. The Count of Ferroll, also,
whose opinion weighed much with Her Majesty's Government, was decidedly
in favour of the combination. The English prime minister listened to
their representations frigidly; it was difficult to refute the arguments
which were adverse to his own feelings, and to resist the unanimous
opinion not only of his colleagues, but of our allies. But he was cold
and silent, or made discouraging remarks.

"Can you trust him?" he would say. "Remember he himself has been, and
still is, a member of the very secret societies whose baneful influence
we are now told he will neutralise or subdue. Whatever the cabinet
decides, and I fear that with this strong expression of opinion on the
part of our allies we have little option left, remember I gave you my
warning. I know the gentleman, and I do not trust him."

After this, the prime minister had a most severe attack of the gout,
remained for weeks at Gaydene, and saw no one on business except
Endymion and Baron Sergius.

While the time is elapsing which can alone decide whether the distrust
of Mr. Wilton were well-founded or the reverse, let us see how the world
is treating the rest of our friends.

Lord Waldershare did not make such a pattern husband as Endymion, but
he made a much better one than the world ever supposed he would. Had he
married Berengaria, the failure would have been great; but he was united
to a being capable of deep affection and very sensitive, yet grateful
for kindness from a husband to a degree not easily imaginable. And
Waldershare had really a good heart, though a bad temper, and he was
a gentleman. Besides, he had a great admiration and some awe of his
father-in-law, and Lord Hainault, with his good-natured irony, and
consummate knowledge of men and things, quite controlled him. With
Lady Hainault he was a favourite. He invented plausible theories and
brilliant paradoxes for her, which left her always in a state of charmed
wonder, and when she met him again, and adopted or refuted them, for her
intellectual power was considerable, he furnished her with fresh dogmas
and tenets, which immediately interested her intelligence, though she
generally forgot to observe that they were contrary to the views and
principles of the last visit. Between Adriana and Imogene there was
a close alliance, and Lady Beaumaris did everything in her power to
develop Lady Waldershare advantageously before her husband; and so,
not forgetting that Waldershare, with his romance, and imagination, and
fancy, and taste, and caprice, had a considerable element of worldliness
in his character, and that he liked to feel that, from living in
lodgings, he had become a Monte Cristo, his union with Adriana may be
said to be a happy and successful one.

The friendship between Sir Peter Vigo and his brother M.P., Mr.
Rodney, never diminished, and Mr. Rodney became richer every year. He
experienced considerable remorse at sitting in opposition to the son
of his right honourable friend, the late William Pitt Ferrars, and
frequently consulted Sir Peter on his embarrassment and difficulty. Sir
Peter, who never declined arranging any difficulty, told his friend
to be easy, and that he, Sir Peter, saw his way. It became gradually
understood, that if ever the government was in difficulties, Mr.
Rodney's vote might be counted on. He was peculiarly situated, for, in a
certain sense, his friend the Right Honourable William Pitt Ferrars had
entrusted the guardianship of his child to his care. But whenever the
ministry was not in danger, the ministry must not depend upon his vote.

Trenchard had become Secretary of the Treasury in the Wilton
administration, had established his reputation, and was looked upon as
a future minister. Jawett, without forfeiting his post and promotion
at Somerset House, had become the editor of a new periodical magazine,
called the "Privy Council." It was established and maintained by Mr.
Bertie Tremaine, and was chiefly written by that gentleman himself. It
was full of Greek quotations, to show that it was not Grub Street, and
written in a style as like that of Sir William Temple, as a paper in
"Rejected Addresses" might resemble the classic lucubrations of the
statesman-sage who, it is hoped, will be always remembered by a grateful
country for having introduced into these islands the Moor Park apricot.
What the pages of the "Privy Council" meant no human being had the
slightest conception except Mr. Tremaine Bertie.

Mr. Thornberry remained a respected member of the cabinet. It was
thought his presence there secured the sympathies of advanced Liberalism
throughout the country; but that was a tradition rather than a fact.
Statesmen in high places are not always so well acquainted with the
changes and gradations of opinion in political parties at home as they
are with those abroad. We hardly mark the growth of the tree we see
every day. Mr. Thornberry had long ceased to be popular with his former
friends, and the fact that he had become a minister was one of the
causes of this change of feeling. That was unreasonable, but in politics
unreasonable circumstances are elements of the problem to be solved.
It was generally understood that, on the next election, Mr. Thornberry
would have to look out for another seat; his chief constituents, those
who are locally styled the leaders of the party, were still faithful to
him, for they were proud of having a cabinet minister for their member,
to be presented by him at court, and occasionally to dine with him; but
the "masses," who do not go to court, and are never asked to dinner,
required a member who would represent their whims, and it was quite
understood that, on the very first occasion, this enlightened community
had resolved to send up to Westminster--Mr. Enoch Craggs.

It is difficult to say, whether in his private life Job found affairs
altogether more satisfactory than in his public. His wife had joined the
Roman Communion. An ingrained perverseness which prevented his son
from ever willingly following the advice or example of his parents, had
preserved John Hampden in the Anglican faith, but he had portraits of
Laud and Strafford over his mantelpiece, and embossed in golden letters
on a purple ground the magical word "THOROUGH." His library chiefly
consisted of the "Tracts for the Times," and a colossal edition of
the Fathers gorgeously bound. He was a very clever fellow, this young
Thornberry, a natural orator, and was leader of the High Church party in
the Oxford Union. He brought home his friends occasionally to Hurstley,
and Job had the opportunity of becoming acquainted with a class and
school of humanity--with which, notwithstanding his considerable
experience of life, he had no previous knowledge--young gentlemen,
apparently half-starved and dressed like priests, and sometimes an
enthusiastic young noble, in much better physical condition, and in
costume becoming a cavalier, ready to raise the royal standard at
Edgehill. What a little annoyed Job was that his son always addressed
him as "Squire," a habit even pedantically followed by his companions.
He was, however, justly entitled to this ancient and reputable honour,
for Job had been persuaded to purchase Hurstley, was a lord of several
thousand acres, and had the boar's head carried in procession at
Christmas in his ancient hall. It is strange, but he was rather
perplexed than annoyed by all these marvellous metamorphoses in his life
and family. His intelligence was as clear as ever, and his views on all
subjects unchanged; but he was, like many other men, governed at home by
his affections. He preferred the new arrangement, if his wife and
family were happy and contented, to a domestic system founded on his own
principles, accompanied by a sullen or shrewish partner of his own life
and rebellious offspring.

What really vexed him, among comparatively lesser matters, was
the extraordinary passion which in time his son exhibited for
game-preserving. He did at last interfere on this matter, but in vain.
John Hampden announced that he did not value land if he was only to look
at it, and that sport was the patriotic pastime of an English gentleman.
"You used in old days never to be satisfied with what I got out of the
land," said the old grandfather to Job, with a little amiable malice;
"there is enough, at any rate now for the hares and rabbits, but I doubt
for anybody else."

We must not forget our old friend St. Barbe. Whether he had written
himself out or had become lazy in the luxurious life in which he now
indulged, he rarely appealed to the literary public, which still admired
him. He was, by way of intimating that he was engaged in a great work,
which, though written in his taking prose, was to be really the epogee
of social life in this country. Dining out every day, and ever arriving,
however late, at those "small and earlies," which he once despised;
he gave to his friends frequent intimations that he was not there for
pleasure, but rather following his profession; he was in his studio,
observing and reflecting on all the passions and manners of mankind, and
gathering materials for the great work which was eventually to enchant
and instruct society, and immortalise his name.

"The fact is, I wrote too early," he would say. "I blush when I read my
own books, though compared with those of the brethren, they might still
be looked on as classics. They say no artist can draw a camel, and I say
no author ever drew a gentleman. How can they, with no opportunity of
ever seeing one? And so with a little caricature of manners, which
they catch second-hand, they are obliged to have recourse to outrageous
nonsense, as if polished life consisted only of bigamists, and that
ladies of fashion were in the habit of paying black mail to returned
convicts. However, I shall put an end to all this. I have now got the
materials, or am accumulating them daily. You hint that I give myself up
too much to society. You are talking of things you do not understand. A
dinner party is a chapter. I catch the Cynthia of the minute, sir, at
a _soiree_. If I only served a grateful country, I should be in the
proudest position of any of its sons; if I had been born in any country
but this, I should have been decorated, and perhaps made secretary of
state like Addison, who did not write as well as I do, though his style
somewhat resembles mine."

Notwithstanding these great plans, it came in time to Endymion's ear,
that poor St. Barbe was in terrible straits. Endymion delicately helped
him and then obtained for him a pension, and not an inconsiderable one.
Relieved from anxiety, St. Barbe resumed his ancient and natural vein.
He passed his days in decrying his friend and patron, and comparing his
miserable pension with the salary of a secretary of state, who, so
far as his experience went, was generally a second-rate man. Endymion,
though he knew St. Barbe was always decrying him, only smiled, and
looked upon it all as the necessary consequence of his organisation,
which involved a singular combination of vanity and envy in the
highest degree. St. Barbe was not less a guest in Carlton Terrace than
heretofore, and was even kindly invited to Princedown to profit by the
distant sea-breeze. Lady Montfort, whose ears some of his pranks had
reached, was not so tolerant as her husband. She gave him one day her
views of his conduct. St. Barbe was always a little afraid of her,
and on this occasion entirely lost himself; vented the most solemn
affirmations that there was not a grain of truth in these charges;
that he was the victim, as he had been all his life, of slander and
calumny--the sheer creatures of envy, and then began to fawn upon his
hostess, and declared that he had ever thought there was something
godlike in the character of her husband.

"And what is there in yours, Mr. St. Barbe?" asked Lady Montfort.

The ministry had lasted several years; its foreign policy had been
successful; it had triumphed in war and secured peace. The military
conduct of the troops of King Florestan had contributed to these
results, and the popularity of that sovereign in England was for a
foreigner unexampled. During this agitated interval, Endymion and Myra
had met more than once through the providential medium of those favoured
spots of nature--German baths.

There had arisen a public feeling, that the ally who had served us so
well should be invited to visit again a country wherein he had so long
sojourned, and where he was so much appreciated. The only evidence that
the Prime Minister gave that he was conscious of this feeling was an
attack of gout. Endymion himself, though in a difficult and rather
painful position in this matter, did everything to shield and protect
his chief, but the general sentiment became so strong, sanctioned too,
as it was understood, in the highest quarter, that it could no longer
be passed by unnoticed; and, in due time, to the great delight and
satisfaction of the nation, an impending visit from our faithful ally
King Florestan and his beautiful wife, Queen Myra, was authoritatively
announced.

Every preparation was made to show them honour. They were the guests of
our Sovereign; but from the palace which they were to inhabit, to the
humblest tenement in the meanest back street, there was only one feeling
of gratitude, and regard, and admiration. The English people are the
most enthusiastic people in the world; there are other populations which
are more excitable, but there is no nation, when it feels, where the
sentiment is so profound and irresistible.

The hour arrived. The season and the weather were favourable. From the
port where they landed to their arrival at the metropolis, the whole
country seemed poured out into the open air; triumphal arches, a way
of flags and banners, and bits of bunting on every hovel. The King and
Queen were received at the metropolitan station by Princes of the blood,
and accompanied to the palace, where the great officers of state and
the assembled ministry were gathered together to do them honour. A great
strain was thrown upon Endymion throughout these proceedings, as the
Prime Minister, who had been suffering the whole season, and rarely
present in his seat in parliament, was, at this moment, in his worst
paroxysm. He could not therefore be present at the series of balls
and banquets, and brilliant public functions, which greeted the royal
guests. Their visit to the City, when they dined with the Lord Mayor,
and to which they drove in royal carriages through a sea of population
tumultuous with devotion, was the most gratifying of all these splendid
receptions, partly from the associations of mysterious power and
magnificence connected with the title and character of LORD MAYOR.
The Duke of St. Angelo, the Marquis of Vallombrosa, and the Prince of
Montserrat, quite lost their presence of mind. Even the Princess of
Montserrat, with more quarterings on her own side than any house in
Europe, confessed that she trembled when Her Serene Highness courtesied
before the Lady Mayoress. Perhaps, however, the most brilliant, the most
fanciful, infinitely the most costly entertainment that was given on
this memorable occasion, was the festival at Hainault. The whole route
from town to the forest was lined with thousands, perhaps hundreds
of thousands, of spectators; a thousand guests were received at the
banquet, and twelve palaces were raised by that true magician, Mr.
Benjamin Edgington, in the park, for the countless visitors in the
evening. At night the forest was illuminated. Everybody was glad except
Lady Hainault, who sighed, and said, "I have no doubt the Queen would
have preferred her own room, and that we should have had a quiet dinner,
as in old days, in the little Venetian parlour."

When Endymion returned home at night, he found a summons to Gaydene; the
Prime Minister being, it was feared, in a dangerous state.

The next day, late in the afternoon, there was a rumour that the Prime
Minister had resigned. Then it was authoritatively contradicted, and
then at night another rumour rose that the minister had resigned, but
that the resignation would not be accepted until after the termination
of the royal visit. The King and Queen had yet to remain a short week.

The fact is, the resignation had taken place, but it was known only
to those who then could not have imparted the intelligence. The public
often conjectures the truth, though it clothes its impression or
information in the vague shape of a rumour. In four-and-twenty hours
the great fact was authoritatively announced in all the journals,
with leading articles speculating on the successor to the able and
accomplished minister of whose services the Sovereign and the country
were so unhappily deprived. Would his successor be found in his own
cabinet? And then several names were mentioned; Rawchester, to Lady
Montfort's disgust. Rawchester was a safe man, and had had much
experience, which, as with most safe men, probably left him as wise
and able as before he imbibed it. Would there be altogether a change of
parties? Would the Protectionists try again? They were very strong, but
always in a minority, like some great continental powers, who have the
finest army in the world, and yet get always beaten. Would that band of
self-admiring geniuses, who had upset every cabinet with whom they were
ever connected, return on the shoulders of the people, as they always
dreamed, though they were always the persons of whom the people never
seemed to think?

Lady Montfort was in a state of passive excitement. She was quite pale,
and she remained quite pale for hours. She would see no one. She sat
in Endymion's room, and never spoke, while he continued writing and
transacting his affairs. She thought she was reading the "Morning
Post," but really could not distinguish the advertisements from leading
articles.

There was a knock at the library door, and the groom of the chambers
brought in a note for Endymion. He glanced at the handwriting of the
address, and then opened it, as pale as his wife. Then he read it again,
and then he gave it to her. She threw her eyes over it, and then her
arms around his neck.

"Order my brougham at three o'clock."



CHAPTER CI

Endymion was with his sister.

"How dear of you to come to me," she said, "when you cannot have a
moment to yourself."

"Well, you know," he replied, "it is not like forming a government. That
is an affair. I have reason to think all my colleagues will remain with
me. I shall summon them for this afternoon, and if we agree, affairs
will go on as before. I should like to get down to Gaydene to-night."

"To-night!" said the queen musingly. "We have only one day left, and I
wanted you to do something for me."

"It shall be done, if possible; I need not say that."

"It is not difficult to do, if we have time--if we have to-morrow
morning, and early. But if you go to Gaydene you will hardly return
to-night, and I shall lose my chance,--and yet it is to me a business
most precious."

"It shall be managed; tell me then."

"I learnt that Hill Street is not occupied at this moment. I want to
visit the old house with you, before I leave England, probably for
ever. I have only got the early morn to-morrow, but with a veil and your
brougham, I think we might depart unobserved, before the crowd begins to
assemble. Do you think you could be here at nine o'clock?"

So it was settled, and being hurried, he departed.

And next morning he was at the palace before nine o'clock; and the
queen, veiled, entered his brougham. There were already some loiterers,
but the brother and sister passed through the gates unobserved.

They reached Hill Street. The queen visited all the principal rooms, and
made many remarks appropriate to many memories. "But," she said, "it
was not to see these rooms I came, though I was glad to do so, and
the corridor on the second story whence I called out to you when you
returned, and for ever, from Eton, and told you there was bad news. What
I came for was to see our old nursery, where we lived so long together,
and so fondly! Here it is; here we are. All I have desired, all I have
dreamed, have come to pass. Darling, beloved of my soul, by all our
sorrows, by all our joys, in this scene of our childhood and bygone
days, let me give you my last embrace."





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