Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 04
Author: Lytton, Edward Bulwer Lytton, Baron
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 "Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 04" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



BOOK IV.



CHAPTER I.

IT is somewhat more than a year and a half since Kenelm Chillingly
left England, and the scene now is in London, during that earlier and
more sociable season which precedes the Easter holidays,--season in
which the charm of intellectual companionship is not yet withered away
in the heated atmosphere of crowded rooms,--season in which parties
are small, and conversation extends beyond the interchange of
commonplace with one's next neighbour at a dinner-table,--season in
which you have a fair chance of finding your warmest friends not
absorbed by the superior claims of their chilliest acquaintances.

There was what is called a /conversazione/ at the house of one of
those Whig noblemen who yet retain the graceful art of bringing
agreeable people together, and collecting round them the true
aristocracy, which combines letters and art and science with
hereditary rank and political distinction,--that art which was the
happy secret of the Lansdownes and Hollands of the last generation.
Lord Beaumanoir was himself a genial, well-read man, a good judge of
art, and a pleasant talker.  He had a charming wife, devoted to him
and to her children, but with enough love of general approbation to
make herself as popular in the fashionable world as if she sought in
its gayeties a refuge from the dulness of domestic life.

Amongst the guests at the Beaumanoirs, this evening were two men,
seated apart in a small room, and conversing familiarly.  The one
might be about fifty-four; he was tall, strongly built, but not
corpulent, somewhat bald, with black eyebrows, dark eyes, bright and
keen, mobile lips round which there played a shrewd and sometimes
sarcastic smile.

This gentleman, the Right Hon. Gerard Danvers, was a very influential
member of Parliament.  He had, when young for English public life,
attained to high office; but--partly from a great distaste to the
drudgery of administration; partly from a pride of temperament, which
unfitted him for the subordination that a Cabinet owes to its chief;
partly, also, from a not uncommon kind of epicurean philosophy, at
once joyous and cynical, which sought the pleasures of life and held
very cheap its honours--he had obstinately declined to re-enter
office, and only spoke on rare occasions.  On such occasions he
carried great weight, and, by the brief expression of his opinions,
commanded more votes than many an orator infinitely more eloquent.
Despite his want of ambition, he was fond of power in his own
way,--power over the people who /had/ power; and, in the love of
political intrigue, he found an amusement for an intellect very subtle
and very active.  At this moment he was bent on a new combination
among the leaders of different sections in the same party, by which
certain veterans were to retire, and certain younger men to be
admitted into the Administration.  It was an amiable feature in his
character that he had a sympathy with the young, and had helped to
bring into Parliament, as well as into office, some of the ablest of a
generation later than his own.  He gave them sensible counsel, was
pleased when they succeeded, and encouraged them when they
failed,--always provided that they had stuff enough in them to redeem
the failure; if not, he gently dropped them from his intimacy, but
maintained sufficiently familiar terms with them to be pretty sure
that he could influence their votes whenever he so desired.

The gentleman with whom he was now conversing was young, about
five-and-twenty; not yet in Parliament, but with an intense desire to
obtain a seat in it, and with one of those reputations which a youth
carries away from school and college, justified, not by honours purely
academical, but by an impression of ability and power created on the
minds of his contemporaries and endorsed by his elders.  He had done
little at the University beyond taking a fair degree, except acquiring
at the debating society the fame of an exceedingly ready and adroit
speaker.  On quitting college he had written one or two political
articles in a quarterly review, which created a sensation; and though
belonging to no profession, and having but a small yet independent
income, society was very civil to him, as to a man who would some day
or other attain a position in which he could damage his enemies and
serve his friends.  Something in this young man's countenance and
bearing tended to favour the credit given to his ability and his
promise.  In his countenance there was no beauty; in his bearing no
elegance.  But in that countenance there was vigour, there was energy,
there was audacity.  A forehead wide but low, protuberant in those
organs over the brow which indicate the qualities fitted for
perception and judgment,--qualities for every-day life; eyes of the
clear English blue, small, somewhat sunken, vigilant, sagacious,
penetrating; a long straight upper lip, significant of resolute
purpose; a mouth in which a student of physiognomy would have detected
a dangerous charm.  The smile was captivating, but it was artificial,
surrounded by dimples, and displaying teeth white, small, strong, but
divided from each other.  The expression of that smile would have been
frank and candid to all who failed to notice that it was not in
harmony with the brooding forehead and the steely eye; that it seemed
to stand distinct from the rest of the face, like a feature that had
learned its part.  There was that physical power in the back of the
head which belongs to men who make their way in life,--combative and
destructive.  All gladiators have it; so have great debaters and great
reformers,--that is, reformers who can destroy, but not necessarily
reconstruct.  So, too, in the bearing of the man there was a hardy
self-confidence, much too simple and unaffected for his worst enemy to
call it self-conceit.  It was the bearing of one who knew how to
maintain personal dignity without seeming to care about it.  Never
servile to the great, never arrogant to the little; so little
over-refined that it was never vulgar,--a popular bearing.

The room in which these gentlemen were seated was separated from the
general suite of apartments by a lobby off the landing-place, and
served for Lady Beaumanoir's boudoir.  Very pretty it was, but simply
furnished, with chintz draperies.  The walls were adorned with
drawings in water-colours, and precious specimens of china on fanciful
Parian brackets.  At one corner, by a window that looked southward and
opened on a spacious balcony, glazed in and filled with flowers, stood
one of those high trellised screens, first invented, I believe, in
Vienna, and along which ivy is so trained as to form an arbour.

The recess thus constructed, and which was completely out of sight
from the rest of the room, was the hostess's favourite writing-nook.
The two men I have described were seated near the screen, and had
certainly no suspicion that any one could be behind it.

"Yes," said Mr. Danvers, from an ottoman niched in another recess of
the room, "I think there will be an opening at Saxboro' soon: Milroy
wants a Colonial Government; and if we can reconstruct the Cabinet as
I propose, he would get one.  Saxboro' would thus be vacant.  But, my
dear fellow, Saxboro' is a place to be wooed through love, and only
won through money.  It demands liberalism from a candidate,--two kinds
of liberalism seldom united; the liberalism in opinion which is
natural enough to a very poor man, and the liberalism in expenditure
which is scarcely to be obtained except from a very rich one.  You may
compute the cost of Saxboro' at L3000 to get in, and about L2000 more
to defend your seat against a petition,--the defeated candidate nearly
always petitions.  L5000 is a large sum; and the worst of it is, that
the extreme opinions to which the member for Saxboro' must pledge
himself are a drawback to an official career.  Violent politicians are
not the best raw material out of which to manufacture fortunate
placemen."

"The opinions do not so much matter; the expense does.  I cannot
afford L5000, or even L3000."

"Would not Sir Peter assist?  He has, you say, only one son; and if
anything happen to that son, you are the next heir."

"My father quarrelled with Sir Peter, and harassed him by an imprudent
and ungracious litigation.  I scarcely think I could apply to him for
money to obtain a seat in Parliament upon the democratic side of the
question; for, though I know little of his politics, I take it for
granted that a country gentleman of old family and L10,000 a year
cannot well be a democrat."

"Then I presume you would not be a democrat if, by the death of your
cousin, you became heir to the Chillinglys."

"I am not sure what I might be in that case.  There are times when a
democrat of ancient lineage and good estates could take a very high
place amongst the aristocracy."

"Humph! my dear Gordon, /vous irez loin/."

"I hope to do so.  Measuring myself against the men of my own day, I
do not see many who should outstrip me."

"What sort of a fellow is your cousin Kenelm?  I met him once or twice
when he was very young, and reading with Welby in London.  People then
said that he was very clever; he struck me as very odd."

"I never saw him, but from all I hear, whether he be clever or whether
he be odd, he is not likely to do anything in life,--a dreamer."

"Writes poetry perhaps?"

"Capable of it, I dare say."

Just then some other guests came into the room, amongst them a lady of
an appearance at once singularly distinguished and singularly
prepossessing, rather above the common height, and with a certain
indescribable nobility of air and presence.  Lady Glenalvon was one of
the queens of the London world, and no queen of that world was ever
less worldly or more queen-like.  Side by side with the lady was Mr.
Chillingly Mivers.  Gordon and Mivers interchanged friendly nods, and
the former sauntered away and was soon lost amid a crowd of other
young men, with whom, as he could converse well and lightly on things
which interested them, he was rather a favourite, though he was not an
intimate associate.  Mr. Danvers retired into a corner of the
adjoining lobby, where he favoured the French ambassador with his
views on the state of Europe and the reconstruction of Cabinets in
general.

"But," said Lady Glenalvon to Chillingly Mivers, "are you quite sure
that my old young friend Kenelm is here?  Since you told me so, I have
looked everywhere for him in vain.  I should so much like to see him
again."

"I certainly caught a glimpse of him half an hour ago; but before I
could escape from a geologist who was boring me about the Silurian
system, Kenelm had vanished."

"Perhaps it was his ghost!"

"Well, we certainly live in the most credulous and superstitious age
upon record; and so many people tell me that they converse with the
dead under the table that it seems impertinent in me to say that I
don't believe in ghosts."

"Tell me some of those incomprehensible stories about table-rapping,"
said Lady Glenalvon.  "There is a charming, snug recess here behind
the screen."

Scarcely had she entered the recess when she drew back with a start
and an exclamation of amaze.  Seated at the table within the recess,
his chin resting on his hand, and his face cast down in abstracted
revery, was a young man.  So still was his attitude, so calmly
mournful the expression of his face, so estranged did he seem from all
the motley but brilliant assemblage which circled around the solitude
he had made for himself, that he might well have been deemed one of
those visitants from another world whose secrets the intruder had
wished to learn.  Of that intruder's presence he was evidently
unconscious.  Recovering her surprise, she stole up to him, placed her
hand on his shoulder, and uttered his name in a low gentle voice.  At
that sound Kenelm Chillingly looked up.

"Do you not remember me?" asked Lady Glenalvon.  Before he could
answer, Mivers, who had followed the marchioness into the recess,
interposed.

"My dear Kenelm, how are you?  When did you come to London?  Why have
you not called on me; and what on earth are you hiding yourself for?"

Kenelm had now recovered the self-possession which he rarely lost long
in the presence of others.  He returned cordially his kinsman's
greeting, and kissed with his wonted chivalrous grace the fair hand
which the lady withdrew from his shoulder and extended to his
pressure.  "Remember you!" he said to Lady Glenalvon with the
kindliest expression of his soft dark eyes; "I am not so far advanced
towards the noon of life as to forget the sunshine that brightened its
morning.  My dear Mivers, your questions are easily answered.  I
arrived in England two weeks ago, stayed at Exmundham till this
morning, to-day dined with Lord Thetford, whose acquaintance I made
abroad, and was persuaded by him to come here and be introduced to his
father and mother, the Beaumanoirs.  After I had undergone that
ceremony, the sight of so many strange faces frightened me into
shyness.  Entering this room at a moment when it was quite deserted, I
resolved to turn hermit behind the screen."

"Why, you must have seen your cousin Gordon as you came into the
room."

"But you forget I don't know him by sight.  However, there was no one
in the room when I entered; a little later some others came in, for I
heard a faint buzz, like that of persons talking in a whisper.
However, I was no eavesdropper, as a person behind a screen is on the
dramatic stage."

This was true.  Even had Gordon and Danvers talked in a louder tone,
Kenelm had been too absorbed in his own thoughts to have heard a word
of their conversation.

"You ought to know young Gordon; he is a very clever fellow, and has
an ambition to enter Parliament.  I hope no old family quarrel between
his bear of a father and dear Sir Peter will make you object to meet
him."

"Sir Peter is the most forgiving of men, but he would scarcely forgive
me if I declined to meet a cousin who had never offended him."

"Well said.  Come and meet Gordon at breakfast to-morrow,--ten
o'clock.  I am still in the old rooms."

While the kinsmen thus conversed, Lady Glenalvon had seated herself on
the couch beside Kenelm, and was quietly observing his countenance.
Now she spoke.  "My dear Mr. Mivers, you will have many opportunities
of talking with Kenelm; do not grudge me five minutes' talk with him
now."

"I leave your ladyship alone in your hermitage.  How all the men in
this assembly will envy the hermit!"



CHAPTER II.

"I AM glad to see you once more in the world," said Lady Glenalvon;
"and I trust that you are now prepared to take that part in it which
ought to be no mean one if you do justice to your talents and your
nature."

KENELM.--"When you go to the theatre, and see one of the pieces which
appear now to be the fashion, which would you rather be,--an actor or
a looker-on?"

LADY GLENALVON.--"My dear young friend, your question saddens me."
(After a pause.)--"But though I used a stage metaphor when I expressed
my hope that you would take no mean part in the world, the world is
not really a theatre.  Life admits of no lookers-on.  Speak to me
frankly, as you used to do.  Your face retains its old melancholy
expression.  Are you not happy?"

KENELM.--"Happy, as mortals go, I ought to be.  I do not think I am
unhappy.  If my temper be melancholic, melancholy has a happiness of
its own.  Milton shows that there are as many charms in life to be
found on the /Penseroso/ side of it as there are on the /Allegro/."

LADY GLENALVON.--"Kenelm, you saved the life of my poor son, and when,
later, he was taken from me, I felt as if he had commended you to my
care.  When at the age of sixteen, with a boy's years and a man's
heart, you came to London, did I not try to be to you almost as a
mother? and did you not often tell me that you could confide to me the
secrets of your heart more readily than to any other?"

"You were to me," said Kenelm, with emotion, "that most precious and
sustaining good genius which a youth can find at the threshold of
life,--a woman gently wise, kindly sympathizing, shaming him by the
spectacle of her own purity from all grosser errors, elevating him
from mean tastes and objects by the exquisite, ineffable loftiness of
soul which is only found in the noblest order of womanhood.  Come, I
will open my heart to you still.  I fear it is more wayward than ever.
It still feels estranged from the companionship and pursuits natural
to my age and station.  However, I have been seeking to brace and
harden my nature, for the practical ends of life, by travel and
adventure, chiefly among rougher varieties of mankind than we meet in
drawing-rooms.  Now, in compliance with the duty I owe to my dear
father's wishes, I come back to these circles, which under your
auspices I entered in boyhood, and which even then seemed to me so
inane and artificial.  Take a part in the world of these circles; such
is your wish.  My answer is brief.  I have been doing my best to
acquire a motive power, and have not succeeded.  I see nothing that I
care to strive for, nothing that I care to gain.  The very times in
which we live are to me, as to Hamlet, out of joint; and I am not born
like Hamlet to set them right.  Ah! if I could look on society through
the spectacles with which the poor hidalgo in 'Gil Blas' looked on his
meagre board,--spectacles by which cherries appear the size of
peaches, and tomtits as large as turkeys!  The imagination which is
necessary to ambition is a great magnifier."

"I have known more than one man, now very eminent, very active, who at
your age felt the same estrangement from the practical pursuits of
others."

"And what reconciled those men to such pursuits?"

"That diminished sense of individual personality, that unconscious
fusion of one's own being into other existences, which belong to home
and marriage."

"I don't object to home, but I do to marriage."

"Depend on it there is no home for man where there is no woman."

"Prettily said.  In that case I resign the home."

"Do you mean seriously to tell me that you never see the woman you
could love enough to make her your wife, and never enter any home that
you do not quit with a touch of envy at the happiness of married
life?"

"Seriously, I never see such a woman; seriously, I never enter such a
home."

"Patience, then; your time will come, and I hope it is at hand.
Listen to me.  It was only yesterday that I felt an indescribable
longing to see you again,--to know your address that I might write to
you; for yesterday, when a certain young lady left my house after a
week's visit, I said this girl would make a perfect wife, and, above
all, the exact wife to suit Kenelm Chillingly."

"Kenelm Chillingly is very glad to hear that this young lady has left
your house."

"But she has not left London: she is here to-night.  She only stayed
with me till her father came to town, and the house he had taken for
the season was vacant; those events happened yesterday."

"Fortunate events for me: they permit me to call on you without
danger."

"Have you no curiosity to know, at least, who and what is the young
lady who appears to me so well suited to you?"

"No curiosity, but a vague sensation of alarm."

"Well, I cannot talk pleasantly with you while you are in this
irritating mood, and it is time to quit the hermitage.  Come, there
are many persons here, with some of whom you should renew old
acquaintance, and to some of whom I should like to make you known."

"I am prepared to follow Lady Glenalvon wherever she deigns to lead
me,--except to the altar with another."



CHAPTER III.

THE rooms were now full,--not overcrowded, but full,--and it was
rarely even in that house that so many distinguished persons were
collected together.  A young man thus honoured by so /grande/ a dame
as Lady Glenalvon could not but be cordially welcomed by all to whom
she presented him, Ministers and Parliamentary leaders, ball-givers,
and beauties in vogue,--even authors and artists; and there was
something in Kenelm Chillingly, in his striking countenance and
figure, in that calm ease of manner natural to his indifference to
effect, which seemed to justify the favour shown to him by the
brilliant princess of fashion and mark him out for general
observation.

That first evening of his reintroduction to the polite world was a
success which few young men of his years achieve.  He produced a
sensation.  Just as the rooms were thinning, Lady Glenalvon whispered
to Kenelm,--

"Come this way: there is one person I must reintroduce you to; thank
me for it hereafter."

Kenelm followed the marchioness, and found himself face to face with
Cecilia Travers.  She was leaning on her father's arm, looking very
handsome, and her beauty was heightened by the blush which overspread
her cheeks as Kenelm Chillingly approached.

Travers greeted him with great cordiality; and Lady Glenalvon asking
him to escort her to the refreshment-room, Kenelm had no option but to
offer his arm to Cecilia.

Kenelm felt somewhat embarrassed.  "Have you been long in town, Miss
Travers?"

"A little more than a week, but we only settled into our house
yesterday."

"Ah, indeed! were you then the young lady who--"  He stopped short,
and his face grew gentler and graver in its expression.

"The young lady who--what?" asked Cecilia with a smile.

"Who has been staying with Lady Glenalvon?"

"Yes; did she tell you?"

"She did not mention your name, but praised that young lady so justly
that I ought to have guessed it."

Cecilia made some not very audible answer, and on entering the
refreshment-room other young men gathered round her, and Lady
Glenalvon and Kenelm remained silent in the midst of a general
small-talk.  When Travers, after giving his address to Kenelm, and, of
course, pressing him to call, left the house with Cecilia, Kenelm said
to Lady Glenalvon, musingly, "So that is the young lady in whom I was
to see my fate: you knew that we had met before?"

"Yes, she told me when and where.  Besides, it is not two years since
you wrote to me from her father's house.  Do you forget?"

"Ah," said Kenelm, so abstractedly that he seemed to be dreaming, "no
man with his eyes open rushes on his fate: when he does so his sight
is gone.  Love is blind.  They say the blind are very happy, yet I
never met a blind man who would not recover his sight if he could."



CHAPTER IV.

Mr. CHILLINGLY MIVERS never gave a dinner at his own rooms.  When he
did give a dinner it was at Greenwich or Richmond.  But he gave
breakfast-parties pretty often, and they were considered pleasant.  He
had handsome bachelor apartments in Grosvenor Street, daintily
furnished, with a prevalent air of exquisite neatness, a good library
stored with books of reference, and adorned with presentation copies
from authors of the day, very beautifully bound.  Though the room
served for the study of the professed man of letters, it had none of
the untidy litter which generally characterizes the study of one whose
vocation it is to deal with books and papers.  Even the implements for
writing were not apparent, except when required.  They lay concealed
in a vast cylinder bureau, French made, and French polished.  Within
that bureau were numerous pigeon-holes and secret drawers, and a
profound well with a separate patent lock.  In the well were deposited
the articles intended for publication in "The Londoner," proof-sheets,
etc.; pigeon-holes were devoted to ordinary correspondence; secret
drawers to confidential notes, and outlines of biographies of eminent
men now living, but intended to be completed for publication the day
after their death.

No man wrote such funeral compositions with a livelier pen than that
of Chillingly Mivers; and the large and miscellaneous circle of his
visiting acquaintances allowed him to ascertain, whether by
authoritative report or by personal observation, the signs of mortal
disease in the illustrious friends whose dinners he accepted, and
whose failing pulses he instinctively felt in returning the pressure
of their hands; so that he was often able to put the finishing-stroke
to their obituary memorials days, weeks, even months, before their
fate took the public by surprise.  That cylinder bureau was in harmony
with the secrecy in which this remarkable man shrouded the productions
of his brain.  In his literary life Mivers had no "I," there he was
ever the inscrutable, mysterious "We."  He was only "I" when you met
him in the world, and called him Mivers.

Adjoining the library on one side was a small dining or rather
breakfast room, hung with valuable pictures,--presents from living
painters.  Many of these painters had been severely handled by Mr.
Mivers in his existence as "We,"--not always in "The Londoner."  His
most pungent criticisms were often contributed to other intellectual
journals conducted by members of the same intellectual clique.
Painters knew not how contemptuously "We" had treated them when they
met Mr. Mivers.  His "I" was so complimentary that they sent him a
tribute of their gratitude.

On the other side was his drawing-room, also enriched by many gifts,
chiefly from fair hands,--embroidered cushions and table-covers, bits
of Sevres or old Chelsea, elegant knick-knacks of all kinds.
Fashionable authoresses paid great court to Mr. Mivers; and in the
course of his life as a single man, he had other female adorers
besides fashionable authoresses.

Mr. Mivers had already returned from his early constitutional walk in
the Park, and was now seated by the cylinder /secretaire/ with a
mild-looking man, who was one of the most merciless contributors to
"The Londoner" and no unimportant councillor in the oligarchy of the
clique that went by the name of the "Intellectuals."

"Well," said Mivers, languidly, "I can't even get through the book; it
is as dull as the country in November.  But, as you justly say, the
writer is an 'Intellectual,' and a clique would be anything but
intellectual if it did not support its members.  Review the book
yourself; mind and make the dulness of it the signal proof of its
merit.  Say: 'To the ordinary class of readers this exquisite work may
appear less brilliant than the flippant smartness of'--any other
author you like to name; 'but to the well educated and intelligent
every line is pregnant with,' etc.  By the way, when we come by and by
to review the exhibition at Burlington House, there is one painter
whom we must try our best to crush.  I have not seen his pictures
myself, but he is a new man; and our friend, who has seen him, is
terribly jealous of him, and says that if the good judges do not put
him down at once, the villanous taste of the public will set him up as
a prodigy.  A low-lived fellow too, I hear.  There is the name of the
man and the subject of the pictures.  See to it when the time comes.
Meanwhile, prepare the way for onslaught on the pictures by occasional
sneers at the painter."  Here Mr. Mivers took out of his cylinder a
confidential note from the jealous rival and handed it to his
mild-looking /confrere/; then rising, he said, "I fear we must suspend
our business till to-morrow; I expect two young cousins to breakfast."

As soon as the mild-looking man was gone, Mr. Mivers sauntered to his
drawing-room window, amiably offering a lump of sugar to a canary-bird
sent to him as a present the day before, and who, in the gilded cage
which made part of the present, scanned him suspiciously and refused
the sugar.

Time had remained very gentle in its dealings with Chillingly Mivers.
He scarcely looked a day older than when he was first presented to the
reader on the birth of his kinsman Kenelm.  He was reaping the fruit
of his own sage maxims.  Free from whiskers and safe in wig, there was
no sign of gray, no suspicion of dye.  Superiority to passion,
abnegation of sorrow, indulgence of amusement, avoidance of excess,
had kept away the crow's-feet, preserved the elasticity of his frame
and the unflushed clearness of his gentlemanlike complexion.  The door
opened, and a well-dressed valet, who had lived long enough with
Mivers to grow very much like him, announced Mr. Chillingly Gordon.

"Good morning," said Mivers; "I was much pleased to see you talking so
long and so familiarly with Danvers: others, of course, observed it,
and it added a step to your career.  It does you great good to be seen
in a drawing-room talking apart with a Somebody.  But may I ask if the
talk itself was satisfactory?"

"Not at all: Danvers throws cold water on the notion of Saxboro', and
does not even hint that his party will help me to any other opening.
Party has few openings at its disposal nowadays for any young man.
The schoolmaster being abroad has swept away the school for statesmen
as he has swept away the school for actors,--an evil, and an evil of a
far greater consequence to the destinies of the nation than any good
likely to be got from the system that succeeded it."

"But it is of no use railing against things that can't be helped.  If
I were you, I would postpone all ambition of Parliament and read for
the bar."

"The advice is sound, but too unpalatable to be taken.  I am resolved
to find a seat in the House, and where there is a will there is a
way."

"I am not so sure of that."

"But I am."

"Judging by what your contemporaries at the University tell me of your
speeches at the Debating Society, you were not then an ultra-Radical.
But it is only an ultra-Radical who has a chance of success at
Saxboro'."

"I am no fanatic in politics.  There is much to be said on all sides:
/coeteris paribus/, I prefer the winning side to the losing; nothing
succeeds like success."

"Ay, but in politics there is always reaction.  The winning side one
day may be the losing side another.  The losing side represents a
minority, and a minority is sure to comprise more intellect than a
majority: in the long run intellect will force its way, get a majority
and then lose it, because with a majority it will become stupid."

"Cousin Mivers, does not the history of the world show you that a
single individual can upset all theories as to the comparative wisdom
of the few or the many?  Take the wisest few you can find, and one man
of genius not a tithe so wise crushes them into powder.  But then that
man of genius, though he despises the many, must make use of them.
That done, he rules them.  Don't you see how in free countries
political destinations resolve themselves into individual
impersonations?  At a general election it is one name around which
electors rally.  The candidate may enlarge as much as he pleases on
political principles, but all his talk will not win him votes enough
for success, unless he says, 'I go with Mr. A.,' the minister, or with
Mr. Z., the chief of the opposition.  It was not the Tories who beat
the Whigs when Mr. Pitt dissolved Parliament.  It was Mr. Pitt who
beat Mr. Fox, with whom in general political principle--slave-trade,
Roman Catholic emancipation, Parliamentary reform--he certainly agreed
much more than he did with any man in his own cabinet."

"Take care, my young cousin," cried Mivers, in accents of alarm;
"don't set up for a man of genius.  Genius is the worst quality a
public man can have nowadays: nobody heeds it, and everybody is
jealous of it."

"Pardon me, you mistake; my remark was purely objective, and intended
as a reply to your argument.  I prefer at present to go with the many
because it is the winning side. If we then want a man of genius to
keep it the winning side, by subjugating its partisans to his will, he
will be sure to come.  The few will drive him to us, for the few are
always the enemies of the one man of genius.  It is they who
distrust,--it is they who are jealous,--not the many.  You have
allowed your judgment, usually so clear, to be somewhat dimmed by your
experience as a critic.  The critics are the few.  They have
infinitely more culture than the many.  But when a man of real genius
appears and asserts himself, the critics are seldom such fair judges
of him as the many are.  If he be not one of their oligarchical
clique, they either abuse, or disparage, or affect to ignore him;
though a time at last comes when, having gained the many, the critics
acknowledge him.  But the difference between the man of action and the
author is this, that the author rarely finds this acknowledgment till
he is dead, and it is necessary to the man of action to enforce it
while he is alive.  But enough of this speculation: you ask me to meet
Kenelm; is he not coming?"

"Yes, but I did not ask him till ten o'clock.  I asked you at
half-past nine, because I wished to hear about Danvers and Saxboro',
and also to prepare you somewhat for your introduction to your cousin.
I must be brief as to the last, for it is only five minutes to the
hour, and he is a man likely to be punctual.  Kenelm is in all ways
your opposite.  I don't know whether he is cleverer or less clever;
there is no scale of measurement between you: but he is wholly void of
ambition, and might possibly assist yours.  He can do what he likes
with Sir Peter; and considering how your poor father--a worthy man,
but cantankerous--harassed and persecuted Sir Peter, because Kenelm
came between the estate and you, it is probable that Sir Peter bears
you a grudge, though Kenelm declares him incapable of it; and it would
be well if you could annul that grudge in the father by conciliating
the goodwill of the son."

"I should be glad so to annul it; but what is Kenelm's weak side?--the
turf? the hunting-field? women? poetry?  One can only conciliate a man
by getting on his weak side."

"Hist!  I see him from the windows.  Kenelm's weak side was, when I
knew him some years ago, and I rather fancy it still is--"

"Well, make haste!  I hear his ring at your door-bell."

"A passionate longing to find ideal truth in real life."

"Ah!" said Gordon, "as I thought,--a mere dreamer"



CHAPTER V.

KENELM entered the room.  The young cousins were introduced, shook
hands, receded a step, and gazed at each other.  It is scarcely
possible to conceive a greater contrast outwardly than that between
the two Chillingly representatives of the rising generation.  Each was
silently impressed by the sense of that contrast.  Each felt that the
contrast implied antagonism, and that if they two met in the same
arena it must be as rival combatants; still, by some mysterious
intuition, each felt a certain respect for the other, each divined in
the other a power that he could not fairly estimate, but against which
his own power would be strongly tasked to contend.  So might exchange
looks a thorough-bred deer-hound and a half-bred mastiff: the
bystander could scarcely doubt which was the nobler animal; but he
might hesitate which to bet on, if the two came to deadly quarrel.
Meanwhile the thorough-bred deer-hound and the half-bred mastiff
sniffed at each other in polite salutation.  Gordon was the first to
give tongue.

"I have long wished to know you personally," said he, throwing into
his voice and manner that delicate kind of deference which a well-born
cadet owes to the destined head of his house.  "I cannot conceive how
I missed you last night at Lady Beaumanoir's, where Mivers tells me he
met you; but I left early,"

Here Mivers led the way to the breakfast-room, and, there seated, the
host became the principal talker, running with lively glibness over
the principal topics of the day,--the last scandal, the last new book,
the reform of the army, the reform of the turf, the critical state of
Spain, and the debut of an Italian singer.  He seemed an embodied
Journal, including the Leading Article, the Law Reports, Foreign
Intelligence, the Court Circular, down to the Births, Deaths, and
Marriages.  Gordon from time to time interrupted this flow of soul
with brief, trenchant remarks, which evinced his own knowledge of the
subjects treated, and a habit of looking on all subjects connected
with the pursuits and business of mankind from a high ground
appropriated to himself, and through the medium of that blue glass
which conveys a wintry aspect to summer landscapes.  Kenelm said
little, but listened attentively.

The conversation arrested its discursive nature, to settle upon a
political chief, the highest in fame and station of that party to
which Mivers professed--not to belong, he belonged to himself alone,
but to appropinquate.  Mivers spoke of this chief with the greatest
distrust, and in a spirit of general depreciation.  Gordon acquiesced
in the distrust and the depreciation, adding, "But he is master of the
position, and must, of course, be supported through thick and thin for
the present."

"Yes, for the present," said Mivers, "one has no option.  But you will
see some clever articles in 'The Londoner' towards the close of the
session, which will damage him greatly, by praising him in the wrong
place, and deepening the alarm of important followers,--an alarm now
at work, though suppressed."

Here Kenelm asked, in humble tones, why Gordon thought that a minister
he considered so untrustworthy and dangerous must for the present be
supported through thick and thin.

"Because at present a member elected so to support him would lose his
seat if he did not: needs must when the devil drives."

KENELM.--"When the devil drives, I should have thought it better to
resign one's seat on the coach; perhaps one might be of some use, out
of it, in helping to put on the drag."

MIVERS.--"Cleverly said, Kenelm.  But, metaphor apart, Gordon is
right.  A young politician must go with his party; a veteran
journalist like myself is more independent.  So long as the journalist
blames everybody, he will have plenty of readers."

Kenelm made no reply, and Gordon changed the conversation from men to
measures.  He spoke of some Bills before Parliament with remarkable
ability, evincing much knowledge of the subject, much critical
acuteness, illustrating their defects, and proving the danger of their
ultimate consequences.

Kenelm was greatly struck with the vigour of this cold, clear mind,
and owned to himself that the House of Commons was a fitting place for
its development.

"But," said Mivers, "would you not be obliged to defend these Bills if
you were member for Saxboro'?"

"Before I answer your question, answer me this: dangerous as the Bills
are, is it not necessary that they shall pass?  Have not the public so
resolved?"

"There can be no doubt of that."

"Then the member for Saxboro' cannot be strong enough to go against
the public."

"Progress of the age!" said Kenelm, musingly.  "Do you think the class
of gentlemen will long last in England?"

"What do you call gentlemen?  The aristocracy by birth?--the
/gentilshommes/?"

"Nay, I suppose no laws can take away a man's ancestors, and a class
of well-born men is not to be exterminated.  But a mere class of
well-born men--without duties, responsibilities, or sentiment of that
which becomes good birth in devotion to country or individual
honour--does no good to a nation.  It is a misfortune which statesmen
of democratic creed ought to recognize, that the class of the
well-born cannot be destroyed: it must remain as it remained in Rome
and remains in France, after all efforts to extirpate it, as the most
dangerous class of citizens when you deprive it of the attributes
which made it the most serviceable.  I am not speaking of that class;
I speak of that unclassified order peculiar to England, which, no
doubt, forming itself originally from the ideal standard of honour and
truth supposed to be maintained by the /gentilshommes/, or well-born,
no longer requires pedigrees and acres to confer upon its members the
designation of gentleman; and when I hear a 'gentleman' say that he
has no option but to think one thing and say another, at whatever risk
to his country, I feel as if in the progress of the age the class of
gentleman was about to be superseded by some finer development of
species."

Therewith Kenelm rose, and would have taken his departure, if Gordon
had not seized his hand and detained him.

"My dear cousin, if I may so call you," he said, with the frank manner
which was usual to him, and which suited well the bold expression of
his face and the clear ring of his voice, "I am one of those who, from
an over-dislike to sentimentality and cant, often make those not
intimately acquainted with them think worse of their principles than
they deserve.  It may be quite true that a man who goes with his party
dislikes the measures he feels bound to support, and says so openly
when among friends and relations, yet that man is not therefore devoid
of loyalty and honour; and I trust, when you know me better, you will
not think it likely I should derogate from that class of gentlemen to
which we both belong."

"Pardon me if I seemed rude," answered Kenelm; "ascribe it to my
ignorance of the necessities of public life.  It struck me that where
a politician thought a thing evil, he ought not to support it as good.
But I dare say I am mistaken."

"Entirely mistaken," said Mivers, "and for this reason: in politics
formerly there was a direct choice between good and evil.  That rarely
exists now.  Men of high education, having to choose whether to accept
or reject a measure forced upon their option by constituent bodies of
very low education, are called upon to weigh evil against evil,--the
evil of accepting or the evil of rejecting; and if they resolve on the
first, it is as the lesser evil of the two."

"Your definition is perfect," said Gordon, "and I am contented to rest
on it my excuse for what my cousin deems insincerity."

"I suppose that is real life," said Kenelm, with his mournful smile.

"Of course it is," said Mivers.

"Every day I live," sighed Kenelm, "still more confirms my conviction
that real life is a phantasmal sham.  How absurd it is in philosophers
to deny the existence of apparitions! what apparitions we, living men,
must seem to the ghosts!


           "'The spirits of the wise
     Sit in the clouds and mock us.'"



CHAPTER VI.

CHILLINGLY GORDON did not fail to confirm his acquaintance with
Kenelm.  He very often looked in upon him of a morning, sometimes
joined him in his afternoon rides, introduced him to men of his own
set who were mostly busy members of Parliament, rising barristers, or
political journalists, but not without a proportion of brilliant
idlers,--club men, sporting men, men of fashion, rank, and fortune.
He did so with a purpose, for these persons spoke well of him,--spoke
well not only of his talents, but of his honourable character.  His
general nickname amongst them was "HONEST GORDON."  Kenelm at first
thought this sobriquet must be ironical; not a bit of it.  It was
given to him on account of the candour and boldness with which he
expressed opinions embodying that sort of cynicism which is vulgarly
called "the absence of humbug."  The man was certainly no hypocrite;
he affected no beliefs which he did not entertain.  And he had very
few beliefs in anything, except the first half of the adage, "Every
man for himself,--and God for us all."

But whatever Chillingly Gordon's theoretical disbeliefs in things
which make the current creed of the virtuous, there was nothing in his
conduct which evinced predilection for vices: he was strictly upright
in all his dealings, and in delicate matters of honour was a favourite
umpire amongst his coevals.  Though so frankly ambitious, no one could
accuse him of attempting to climb on the shoulders of patrons.  There
was nothing servile in his nature; and, though he was perfectly
prepared to bribe electors if necessary, no money could have bought
himself.  His one master-passion was the desire of power.  He sneered
at patriotism as a worn-out prejudice, at philanthropy as a
sentimental catch-word.  He did not want to serve his country, but to
rule it.  He did not want to raise mankind, but to rise himself.  He
was therefore unscrupulous, unprincipled, as hungerers after power for
itself too often are; yet still if he got power he would probably use
it well, from the clearness and strength of his mental perceptions.
The impression he made on Kenelm may be seen in the following
letter:--


TO SIR PETER CHILLINGLY, BART., ETC.

MY DEAR FATHER,--You and my dear mother will be pleased to hear that
London continues very polite to me: that "arida nutrix leonum" enrolls
me among the pet class of lions which ladies of fashion admit into the
society of their lapdogs.  It is somewhere about six years since I was
allowed to gaze on this peep-show through the loopholes of Mr. Welby's
retreat.  It appears to me, perhaps erroneously, that even within that
short space of time the tone of "society" is perceptibly changed.
That the change is for the better is an assertion I leave to those who
belong to the /progressista/ party.

I don't think nearly so many young ladies six years ago painted their
eyelids and dyed their hair: a few of them there might be, imitators
of the slang invented by schoolboys and circulated through the medium
of small novelists; they might use such expressions as "stunning,"
"cheek," "awfully jolly," etc.  But now I find a great many who have
advanced to a slang beyond that of verbal expressions,--a slang of
mind, a slang of sentiment, a slang in which very little seems left of
the woman and nothing at all of the lady.

Newspaper essayists assert that the young men of the day are to blame
for this; that the young men like it; and the fair husband-anglers
dress their flies in the colours most likely to attract a nibble.
Whether this excuse be the true one I cannot pretend to judge; but it
strikes me that the men about my own age who affect to be fast are a
more languid race than the men from ten to twenty years older, whom
they regard as /slow/.  The habit of dram-drinking in the morning is a
very new idea, an idea greatly in fashion at the moment.  Adonis calls
for a "pick-me-up" before he has strength enough to answer a
/billet-doux/ from Venus.  Adonis has not the strength to get nobly
drunk, but his delicate constitution requires stimulants, and he is
always tippling.

The men of high birth or renown for social success belonging, my dear
father, to your time, are still distinguished by an air of good
breeding, by a style of conversation more or less polished and not
without evidences of literary culture, from men of the same rank in my
generation, who appear to pride themselves on respecting nobody and
knowing nothing, not even grammar.  Still we are assured that the
world goes on steadily improving.  /That/ new idea is in full vigour.

Society in the concrete has become wonderfully conceited as to its own
progressive excellences, and the individuals who form the concrete
entertain the same complacent opinion of themselves.  There are, of
course, even in my brief and imperfect experience, many exceptions to
what appear to me the prevalent characteristics of the rising
generation in "society."  Of these exceptions I must content myself
with naming the most remarkable.  /Place aux dames/, the first I name
is Cecilia Travers.  She and her father are now in town, and I meet
them frequently.  I can conceive no civilized era in the world which a
woman like Cecilia Travers would not grace and adorn, because she is
essentially the type of woman as man likes to imagine woman; namely,
on the fairest side of the womanly character.  And I say "woman"
rather than "girl," because among "Girls of the Period" Cecilia
Travers cannot be classed.  You might call her damsel, virgin, maiden,
but you could no more call her girl than you could call a well-born
French demoiselle /fille/.  She is handsome enough to please the eye
of any man, however fastidious, but not that kind of beauty which
dazzles all men too much to fascinate one man; for--speaking, thank
Heaven, from mere theory--I apprehend that the love for woman has in
it a strong sense of property; that one requires to individualize
one's possession as being wholly one's own, and not a possession which
all the public are invited to admire.  I can readily understand how a
rich man, who has what is called a show place, in which the splendid
rooms and the stately gardens are open to all inspectors, so that he
has no privacy in his own demesnes, runs away to a pretty cottage
which he has all to himself, and of which he can say, "/This/ is home;
/this/ is all mine."

But there are some kinds of beauty which are eminently show
places,--which the public think they have as much a right to admire as
the owner has; and the show place itself would be dull and perhaps
fall out of repair, if the public could be excluded from the sight of
it.

The beauty of Cecilia Travers is not that of a show place.  There is a
feeling of safety in her.  If Desdemona had been like her, Othello
would not have been jealous.  But then Cecilia would not have deceived
her father; nor I think have told a blackamoor that she wished "Heaven
had made her such a man."  Her mind harmonizes with her person: it is
a companionable mind.  Her talents are not showy, but, take them
altogether, they form a pleasant whole: she has good sense enough in
the practical affairs of life, and enough of that ineffable womanly
gift called tact to counteract the effects of whimsical natures like
mine, and yet enough sense of the humouristic views of life not to
take too literally all that a whimsical man like myself may say.  As
to temper, one never knows what a woman's temper is--till one puts her
out of it.  But I imagine hers, in its normal state, to be serene, and
disposed to be cheerful.  Now, my dear father, if you were not one of
the cleverest of men you would infer from this eulogistic mention of
Cecilia Travers that I was in love with her.  But you no doubt will
detect the truth that a man in love with a woman does not weigh her
merits with so steady a hand as that which guides this steel pen.  I
am not in love with Cecilia Travers.  I wish I were.  When Lady
Glenalvon, who remains wonderfully kind to me, says, day after day,
"Cecilia Travers would make you a perfect wife," I have no answer to
give; but I don't feel the least inclined to ask Cecilia Travers if
she would waste her perfection on one who so coldly concedes it.

I find that she persisted in rejecting the man whom her father wished
her to marry, and that he has consoled himself by marrying somebody
else.  No doubt other suitors as worthy will soon present themselves.

Oh, dearest of all my friends,--sole friend whom I regard as a
confidant,--shall I ever be in love? and if not, why not?  Sometimes I
feel as if, with love as with ambition, it is because I have some
impossible ideal in each, that I must always remain indifferent to the
sort of love and the sort of ambition which are within my reach.  I
have an idea that if I did love, I should love as intensely as Romeo,
and that thought inspires me with vague forebodings of terror; and if
I did find an object to arouse my ambition, I could be as earnest in
its pursuit as--whom shall I name?--Caesar or Cato?  I like Cato's
ambition the better of the two.  But people nowadays call ambition an
impracticable crotchet, if it be invested on the losing side.  Cato
would have saved Rome from the mob and the dictator; but Rome could
not be saved, and Cato falls on his own sword.  Had we a Cato now, the
verdict at a coroner's inquest would be, "suicide while in a state of
unsound mind;" and the verdict would have been proved by his senseless
resistance to a mob and a dictator!  Talking of ambition, I come to
the other exception to the youth of the day; I have named a
/demoiselle/, I now name a /damoiseau/.  Imagine a man of about
five-and-twenty, and who is morally about fifty years older than a
healthy man of sixty,--imagine him with the brain of age and the
flower of youth; with a heart absorbed into the brain, and giving warm
blood to frigid ideas: a man who sneers at everything I call lofty,
yet would do nothing that he thinks mean; to whom vice and virtue are
as indifferent as they were to the Aesthetics of Goethe; who would
never jeopardize his career as a practical reasoner by an imprudent
virtue, and never sully his reputation by a degrading vice.  Imagine
this man with an intellect keen, strong, ready, unscrupulous,
dauntless,--all cleverness and no genius.  Imagine this man, and then
do not be astonished when I tell you he is a Chillingly.

The Chillingly race culminates in him, and becomes Chillinglyest.  In
fact, it seems to me that we live in a day precisely suited to the
Chillingly idiosyncrasies.  During the ten centuries or more that our
race has held local habitation and a name, it has been as airy
nothings.  Its representatives lived in hot-blooded times, and were
compelled to skulk in still water with their emblematic daces.  But
the times now, my dear father, are so cold-blooded that you can't be
too cold-blooded to prosper.  What could Chillingly Mivers have been
in an age when people cared twopence-halfpenny about their religious
creeds, and their political parties deemed their cause was sacred and
their leaders were heroes?  Chillingly Mivers would not have found
five subscribers to "The Londoner."  But now "The Londoner" is the
favourite organ of the intellectual public; it sneers away all the
foundations of the social system, without an attempt at
reconstruction; and every new journal set up, if it keep its head
above water, models itself on "The Londoner."  Chillingly Mivers is a
great man, and the most potent writer of the age, though nobody knows
what he has written.  Chillingly Gordon is a still more notable
instance of the rise of the Chillingly worth in the modern market.

There is a general impression in the most authoritative circles that
Chillingly Gordon will have high rank in the van of the coming men.
His confidence in himself is so thorough that it infects all with whom
he comes into contact,--myself included.

He said to me the other day, with a /sang-froid/ worthy of the iciest
Chillingly, "I mean to be Prime Minister of England: it is only a
question of time."  Now, if Chillingly Gordon is to be Prime Minister,
it will be because the increasing cold of our moral and social
atmosphere will exactly suit the development of his talents.

He is the man above all others to argue down the declaimers of
old-fashioned sentimentalities,--love of country, care for its
position among nations, zeal for its honour, pride in its renown.
(Oh, if you could hear him philosophically and logically sneer away
the word "prestige"!)  Such notions are fast being classified as
"bosh."  And when that classification is complete,--when England has
no colonies to defend, no navy to pay for, no interest in the affairs
of other nations, and has attained to the happy condition of
Holland,--then Chillingly Gordon will be her Prime Minister.

Yet while, if ever I am stung into political action, it will be by
abnegation of the Chillingly attributes, and in opposition, however
hopeless, to Chillingly Gordon, I feel that this man cannot be
suppressed, and ought to have fair play; his ambition will be
infinitely more dangerous if it become soured by delay.  I propose, my
dear father, that you should have the honour of laying this clever
kinsman under an obligation, and enabling him to enter Parliament.  In
our last conversation at Exmundham, you told me of the frank
resentment of Gordon /pere/, when my coming into the world shut him
out from the Exmundham inheritance; you confided to me your intention
at that time to lay by yearly a sum that might ultimately serve as a
provision for Gordon /fils/, and as some compensation for the loss of
his expectations when you realized your hope of an heir; you told me
also how this generous intention on your part had been frustrated by a
natural indignation at the elder Gordon's conduct in his harassing and
costly litigation, and by the addition you had been tempted to make to
the estate in a purchase which added to its acreage, but at a rate of
interest which diminished your own income, and precluded the
possibility of further savings.  Now, chancing to meet your lawyer,
Mr. Vining, the other day, I learned from him that it had been long a
wish which your delicacy prevented your naming to me, that I, to whom
the fee-simple descends, should join with you in cutting off the
entail and resettling the estate.  He showed me what an advantage this
would be to the property, because it would leave your hands free for
many improvements in which I heartily go with the progress of the age,
for which, as merely tenant for life, you could not raise the money
except upon ruinous terms; new cottages for labourers, new buildings
for tenants, the consolidation of some old mortgages and charges on
the rent-roll, etc.  And allow me to add that I should like to make a
large increase to the jointure of my dear mother.  Vining says, too,
that there is a part of the outlying land which, as being near a town,
could be sold to considerable profit if the estate were resettled.

Let us hasten to complete the necessary deeds, and so obtain the
L20,000 required for the realization of your noble and, let me add,
your just desire to do something for Chillingly Gordon.  In the new
deeds of settlement we could insure the power of willing the estate as
we pleased, and I am strongly against devising it to Chillingly
Gordon.  It may be a crotchet of mine, but one which I think you
share, that the owner of English soil should have a son's love for the
native land, and Gordon will never have that.  I think, too, that it
will be best for his own career, and for the establishment of a frank
understanding between us and himself, that he should be fairly told
that he would not be benefited in the event of our death.  Twenty
thousand pounds given to him now would be a greater boon to him than
ten times the sum twenty years later.  With that at his command, he
can enter Parliament, and have an income, added to what he now
possesses, if modest, still sufficient to make him independent of a
minister's patronage.

Pray humour me, my dearest father, in the proposition I venture to
submit to you.

     Your affectionate son,  KENELM.


FROM SIR PETER CHILLINGLY TO KENELM CHILLINGLY.

MY DEAR BOY,--You are not worthy to be a Chillingly; you are decidedly
warm-blooded: never was a load lifted off a man's mind with a gentler
hand.  Yes, I have wished to cut off the entail and resettle the
property; but, as it was eminently to my advantage to do so, I shrank
from asking it, though eventually it would be almost as much to your
own advantage.  What with the purchase I made of the Faircleuch
lands--which I could only effect by money borrowed at high interest on
my personal security, and paid off by yearly instalments, eating
largely into income--and the old mortgages, etc., I own I have been
pinched of late years.  But what rejoices me the most is the power to
make homes for our honest labourers more comfortable, and nearer to
their work, which last is the chief point, for the old cottages in
themselves are not bad; the misfortune is, when you build an extra
room for the children, the silly people let it out to a lodger.

My dear boy, I am very much touched by your wish to increase your
mother's jointure,--a very proper wish, independently of filial
feeling, for she brought to the estate a very pretty fortune, which,
the trustees consented to my investing in land; and though the land
completed our ring-fence, it does not bring in two per cent, and the
conditions of the entail limited the right of jointure to an amount
below that which a widowed Lady Chillingly may fairly expect.

I care more about the provision on these points than I do for the
interests of old Chillingly Gordon's son.  I had meant to behave very
handsomely to the father; and when the return for behaving handsomely
is being put into Chancery--A Worm Will Turn.  Nevertheless, I agree
with you that a son should not be punished for his father's faults;
and, if the sacrifice of L20,000 makes you and myself feel that we are
better Christians and truer gentlemen, we shall buy that feeling very
cheaply.


Sir Peter then proceeded, half jestingly, half seriously, to combat
Kenelm's declaration that he was not in love with Cecilia Travers;
and, urging the advantages of marriage with one whom Kenelm allowed
would be a perfect wife, astutely remarked that unless Kenelm had a
son of his own it did not seem to him quite just to the next of kin to
will the property from him, upon no better plea than the want of love
for his native country.  "He would love his country fast enough if he
had 10,000 acres in it."

Kenelm shook his head when he came to this sentence.

"Is even then love for one's country but cupboard-love after all?"
said he; and he postponed finishing the perusal of his father's
letter.



CHAPTER VII.

KENELM CHILLINGLY did not exaggerate the social position he had
acquired when he classed himself amongst the lions of the fashionable
world.  I dare not count the number of three-cornered notes showered
upon him by the fine ladies who grow romantic upon any kind of
celebrity; or the carefully sealed envelopes, containing letters from
fair Anonymas, who asked if he had a heart, and would be in such a
place in the Park at such an hour.  What there was in Kenelm
Chillingly that should make him thus favoured, especially by the fair
sex, it would be difficult to say, unless it was the two-fold
reputation of being unlike other people, and of being unaffectedly
indifferent to the gain of any reputation at all.  He might, had he so
pleased, have easily established a proof that the prevalent though
vague belief in his talents was not altogether unjustified.  For the
articles he had sent from abroad to "The Londoner" and by which his
travelling expenses were defrayed, had been stamped by that sort of
originality in tone and treatment which rarely fails to excite
curiosity as to the author, and meets with more general praise than
perhaps it deserves.

But Mivers was true to his contract to preserve inviolable the
incognito of the author, and Kenelm regarded with profound contempt
the articles themselves and the readers who praised them.

Just as misanthropy with some persons grows out of benevolence
disappointed, so there are certain natures--and Kenelm Chillingly's
was perhaps one of them--in which indifferentism grows out of
earnestness baffled.

He had promised himself pleasure in renewing acquaintance with his old
tutor, Mr. Welby,--pleasure in refreshing his own taste for
metaphysics and casuistry and criticism.  But that accomplished
professor of realism had retired from philosophy altogether, and was
now enjoying a holiday for life in the business of a public office.  A
minister in favour of whom, when in opposition, Mr. Welby, in a moment
of whim, wrote some very able articles in a leading journal, had, on
acceding to power, presented the realist with one of those few good
things still left to ministerial patronage,--a place worth about
L1,200 a year.  His mornings thus engaged in routine work, Mr. Welby
enjoyed his evenings in a convivial way.

"/Inveni portum/," he said to Kenelm; "I plunge into no troubled
waters now.  But come and dine with me to-morrow, tete-a-tete.  My
wife is at St. Leonard's with my youngest born for the benefit of
sea-air."  Kenelm accepted the invitation.

The dinner would have contented a Brillat-Savarin: it was faultless;
and the claret was that rare nectar, the Lafitte of 1848.

"I never share this," said Welby, "with more than one friend at a
time."

Kenelm sought to engage his host in discussion on certain new works in
vogue, and which were composed according to purely realistic canons of
criticism.  "The more realistic; these books pretend to be, the less
real they are," said Kenelm.  "I am half inclined to think that the
whole school you so systematically sought to build up is a mistake,
and that realism in art is a thing impossible."

"I dare say you are right.  I took up that school in earnest because I
was in a passion with pretenders to the Idealistic school; and
whatever one takes up in earnest is generally a mistake, especially if
one is in a passion.  I was not in earnest and I was not in a passion
when I wrote those articles to which I am indebted for my office."
Mr. Welby here luxuriously stretched his limbs, and lifting his glass
to his lips, voluptuously inhaled its bouquet.

"You sadden me," returned Kenelm.  "It is a melancholy thing to find
that one's mind was influenced in youth by a teacher who mocks at his
own teachings."

Welby shrugged his shoulders.  "Life consists in the alternate process
of learning and unlearning; but it is often wiser to unlearn than to
learn.  For the rest, as I have ceased to be a critic, I care little
whether I was wrong or right when I played that part.  I think I am
right now as a placeman.  Let the world go its own way, provided the
world lets you live upon it.  I drain my wine to the lees, and cut
down hope to the brief span of life.  Reject realism in art if you
please, and accept realism in conduct.  For the first time in my life
I am comfortable: my mind, having worn out its walking-shoes, is now
enjoying the luxury of slippers.  Who can deny the realism of
comfort?"

"Has a man a right," Kenelm said to himself, as he entered his
brougham, "to employ all the brilliancy of a rare wit, all the
acquisitions of as rare a scholarship, to the scaring of the young
generation out of the safe old roads which youth left to itself would
take,--old roads skirted by romantic rivers and bowery trees,--
directing them into new paths on long sandy flats, and then,
when they are faint and footsore, to tell them that he cares not a pin
whether they have worn out their shoes in right paths or wrong paths,
for that he has attained the /summum bonum/ of philosophy in the
comfort of easy slippers?"

Before he could answer the question he thus put to himself, his
brougham stopped at the door of the minister whom Welby had
contributed to bring into power.

That night there was a crowded muster of the fashionable world at the
great man's house.  It happened to be a very critical moment for the
minister.  The fate of his cabinet depended on the result of a motion
about to be made the following week in the House of Commons.  The
great man stood at the entrance of the apartments to receive his
guests, and among the guests were the framers of the hostile motion
and the leaders of the opposition.  His smile was not less gracious to
them than to his dearest friends and stanchest supporters.

"I suppose this is realism," said Kenelm to himself; "but it is not
truth, and it is not comfort."  Leaning against the wall near the
doorway, he contemplated with grave interest the striking countenance
of his distinguished host.  He detected beneath that courteous smile
and that urbane manner the signs of care.  The eye was absent, the
cheek pinched, the brow furrowed.  Kenelm turned away his looks, and
glanced over the animated countenances of the idle loungers along
commoner thoroughfares in life.  Their eyes were not absent; their
brows were not furrowed; their minds seemed quite at home in
exchanging nothings.  Interest many of them had in the approaching
struggle, but it was much such an interest as betters of small sums
may have on the Derby day,--just enough to give piquancy to the race;
nothing to make gain a great joy, or loss a keen anguish.

"Our host is looking ill," said Mivers, accosting Kenelm.  "I detect
symptoms of suppressed gout.  You know my aphorism, 'nothing so gouty
as ambition,' especially Parliamentary ambition."

"You are not one of those friends who press on my choice of life that
source of disease; allow me to thank you."

"Your thanks are misplaced.  I strongly advise you to devote yourself
to a political career."

"Despite the gout?"

"Despite the gout.  If you could take the world as I do, my advice
might be different.  But your mind is overcrowded with doubts and
fantasies and crotchets, and you have no choice but to give them vent
in active life."

"You had something to do in making me what I am,--an idler; something
to answer for as to my doubts, fantasies, and crotchets.  It was by
your recommendation that I was placed under the tuition of Mr. Welby,
and at that critical age in which the bent of the twig forms the shape
of the tree."

"And I pride myself on that counsel.  I repeat the reasons for which I
gave it: it is an incalculable advantage for a young man to start in
life thoroughly initiated into the New Ideas which will more or less
influence his generation.  Welby was the ablest representative of
these ideas.  It is a wondrous good fortune when the propagandist of
the New Ideas is something more than a bookish philosopher,--when he
is a thorough 'man of the world,' and is what we emphatically call
'practical.'  Yes, you owe me much that I secured to you such tuition,
and saved you from twaddle and sentiment, the poetry of Wordsworth and
the muscular Christianity of Cousin John."

"What you say that you saved me from might have done me more good than
all you conferred on me.  I suspect that when education succeeds in
placing an old head upon young shoulders the combination is not
healthful: it clogs the blood and slackens the pulse.  However, I must
not be ungrateful; you meant kindly.  Yes, I suppose Welby is
practical: he has no belief, and he has got a place.  But our host, I
presume, is also practical; his place is a much higher one than
Welby's, and yet he is surely not without belief?"

"He was born before the new ideas came into practical force; but in
proportion as they have done so, his beliefs have necessarily
disappeared.  I don't suppose that he believes in much now, except the
two propositions: firstly, that if he accept the new ideas he will
have power and keep it, and if he does not accept them power is out of
the question; and, secondly, that if the new ideas are to prevail he
is the best man to direct them safely,--beliefs quite enough for a
minister.  No wise minister should have more."

"Does he not believe that the motion he is to resist next week is a
bad one?"

"A bad one of course, in its consequences, for if it succeed it will
upset him; a good one in itself I am sure he must think it, for he
would bring it on himself if he were in opposition."

"I see that Pope's definition is still true, 'Party is the madness of
the many for the gain of the few.'"

"No, it is not true.  Madness is a wrong word applied to the many: the
many are sane enough; they know their own objects, and they make use
of the intellect of the few in order to gain their objects.  In each
party it is the many that control the few who nominally lead them.  A
man becomes Prime Minister because he seems to the many of his party
the fittest person to carry out their views.  If he presume to differ
from these views, they put him into a moral pillory, and pelt him with
their dirtiest stones and their rottenest eggs."

"Then the maxim should be reversed, and party is rather the madness of
the few for the gain of the many?

"Of the two, that is the more correct definition."

"Let me keep my senses and decline to be one of the few."

Kenelm moved away from his cousin's side, and entering one of the less
crowded rooms, saw Cecilia Travers seated there in a recess with Lady
Glenalvon.  He joined them, and after a brief interchange of a few
commonplaces, Lady Glenalvon quitted her post to accost a foreign
ambassadress, and Kenelm sank into the chair she vacated.

It was a relief to his eye to contemplate Cecilia's candid brow; to
his ear to hearken to the soft voice that had no artificial tones, and
uttered no cynical witticisms.

"Don't you think it strange," said Kenelm, "that we English should so
mould all our habits as to make even what we call pleasure as little
pleasurable as possible?  We are now in the beginning of June, the
fresh outburst of summer, when every day in the country is a delight
to eye and ear, and we say, 'The season for hot rooms is beginning.'
We alone of civilized races spend our summer in a capital, and cling
to the country when the trees are leafless and the brooks frozen."

"Certainly that is a mistake; but I love the country in all seasons,
even in winter."

"Provided the country house is full of London people?"

"No; that is rather a drawback.  I never want companions in the
country."

"True; I should have remembered that you differ from young ladies in
general, and make companions of books.  They are always more
conversable in the country than they are in town; or rather, we listen
there to them with less distracted attention.  Ha! do I not recognize
yonder the fair whiskers of George Belvoir?  Who is the lady leaning
on his arm?"

"Don't you know?--Lady Emily Belvoir, his wife."

"Ah!  I was told that he had married.  The lady is handsome.  She will
become the family diamonds.  Does she read Blue-books?"

"I will ask her if you wish."

"Nay, it is scarcely worth while.  During my rambles abroad I saw but
few English newspapers.  I did, however, learn that George had won his
election.  Has he yet spoken in Parliament?"

"Yes; he moved the answer to the Address this session, and was much
complimented on the excellent tone and taste of his speech.  He spoke
again a few weeks afterwards, I fear not so successfully."

"Coughed down?"

"Something like it."

"Do him good; he will recover the cough, and fulfil my prophecy of his
success."

"Have you done with poor George for the present?  If so, allow me to
ask whether you have quite forgotten Will Somers and Jessie Wiles?"

"Forgotten them! no."

"But you have never asked after them?"

"I took it for granted that they were as happy as could be expected.
Pray assure me that they are."

"I trust so now; but they have had trouble, and have left Graveleigh."

"Trouble! left Graveleigh!  You make me uneasy.  Pray explain."

"They had not been three months married and installed in the home they
owed to you, when poor Will was seized with a rheumatic fever.  He was
confined to his bed for many weeks; and, when at last he could move
from it, was so weak as to be still unable to do any work.  During his
illness Jessie had no heart and little leisure to attend to the shop.
Of course I--that is, my dear father--gave them all necessary
assistance; but--"

"I understand; they were reduced to objects of charity.  Brute that I
am, never to have thought of the duties I owed to the couple I had
brought together.  But pray go on."

"You are aware that just before you left us my father received a
proposal to exchange his property at Graveleigh for some lands more
desirable to him?"

"I remember.  He closed with that offer."

"Yes; Captain Stavers, the new landlord of Graveleigh, seems to be a
very bad man; and though he could not turn the Somerses out of the
cottage so long as they paid rent, which we took care they did
pay,--yet out of a very wicked spite he set up a rival shop in one of
his other cottages in the village, and it became impossible for these
poor young people to get a livelihood at Graveleigh."

"What excuse for spite against so harmless a young couple could
Captain Stavers find or invent?"

Cecilia looked down and coloured.  "It was a revengeful feeling
against Jessie."

"Ah, I comprehend."

"But they have now left the village, and are happily settled
elsewhere.  Will has recovered his health, and they are prospering
much more than they could ever have done at Graveleigh."

"In that change you were their benefactress, Miss Travers?" said
Kenelm, in a more tender voice and with a softer eye than he had ever
before evinced towards the heiress.

"No, it is not I whom they have to thank and bless."

"Who, then, is it?  Your father?"

"No.  Do not question me.  I am bound not to say.  They do not
themselves know; they rather believe that their gratitude is due to
you."

"To me!  Am I to be forever a sham in spite of myself?  My dear Miss
Travers, it is essential to my honour that I should undeceive this
credulous pair; where can I find them?"

"I must not say; but I will ask permission of their concealed
benefactor, and send you their address."

A touch was laid on Kenelm's arm, and a voice whispered, "May I ask
you to present me to Miss Travers?"

"Miss Travers," said Kenelm, "I entreat you to add to the list of your
acquaintances a cousin of mine,--Mr. Chillingly Gordon."

While Gordon addressed to Cecilia the well-bred conventionalisms with
which acquaintance in London drawing-rooms usually commences, Kenelm,
obedient to a sign from Lady Glenalvon, who had just re-entered the
room, quitted his seat, and joined the marchioness.

"Is not that young man whom you left talking with Miss Travers your
clever cousin Gordon?"

"The same."

"She is listening to him with great attention.  How his face brightens
up as he talks!  He is positively handsome, thus animated."

"Yes, I could fancy him a dangerous wooer.  He has wit and liveliness
and audacity; he could be very much in love with a great fortune, and
talk to the owner of it with a fervour rarely exhibited by a
Chillingly.  Well, it is no affair of mine."

"It ought to be."

Alas and alas! that "ought to be;" what depths of sorrowful meaning
lie within that simple phrase!  How happy would be our lives, how
grand our actions, how pure our souls, if all could be with us as it
ought to be!



CHAPTER VIII.

WE often form cordial intimacies in the confined society of a country
house, or a quiet watering-place, or a small Continental town, which
fade away into remote acquaintanceship in the mighty vortex of London
life, neither party being to blame for the estrangement.  It was so
with Leopold Travers and Kenelm Chillingly.  Travers, as we have seen,
had felt a powerful charm in the converse of the young stranger, so in
contrast with the routine of the rural companionships to which his
alert intellect had for many years circumscribed its range.  But on
reappearing in London the season before Kenelm again met him, he had
renewed old friendships with men of his own standing,--officers in the
regiment of which he had once been a popular ornament, some of them
still unmarried, a few of them like himself widowed, others who had
been his rivals in fashion, and were still pleasant idlers about town;
and it rarely happens in a metropolis that we have intimate
friendships with those of another generation, unless there be some
common tie in the cultivation of art and letters, or the action of
kindred sympathies in the party strife of politics.  Therefore Travers
and Kenelm had had little familiar communication with each other since
they first met at the Beaumanoirs'.  Now and then they found
themselves at the same crowded assemblies, and interchanged nods and
salutations.  But their habits were different; the houses at which
they were intimate were not the same, neither did they frequent the
same clubs.  Kenelm's chief bodily exercise was still that of long and
early rambles into rural suburbs; Leopold's was that of a late ride in
the Row.  Of the two, Leopold was much more the man of pleasure.  Once
restored to metropolitan life, a temper constitutionally eager,
ardent, and convivial took kindly, as in earlier youth, to its light
range of enjoyments.

Had the intercourse between the two men been as frankly familiar as it
had been at Neesdale Park, Kenelm would probably have seen much more
of Cecilia at her own home; and the admiration and esteem with which
she already inspired him might have ripened into much warmer feeling,
had he thus been brought into clearer comprehension of the soft and
womanly heart, and its tender predisposition towards himself.

He had said somewhat vaguely in his letter to Sir Peter, that
"sometimes he felt as if his indifference to love, as to ambition, was
because he had some impossible ideal in each."  Taking that conjecture
to task, he could not honestly persuade himself that he had formed any
ideal of woman and wife with which the reality of Cecilia Travers was
at war.  On the contrary, the more he thought over the characteristics
of Cecilia, the more they seemed to correspond to any ideal that had
floated before him in the twilight of dreamy revery; and yet he knew
that he was not in love with her, that his heart did not respond to
his reason; and mournfully he resigned himself to the conviction that
nowhere in this planet, from the normal pursuits of whose inhabitants
he felt so estranged, was there waiting for him the smiling playmate,
the earnest helpmate.  As this conviction strengthened, so an
increased weariness of the artificial life of the metropolis, and of
all its objects and amusements, turned his thoughts with an intense
yearning towards the Bohemian freedom and fresh excitements of his
foot ramblings.  He often thought with envy of the wandering minstrel,
and wondered whether, if he again traversed the same range of country,
he might encounter again that vagrant singer.



CHAPTER IX.

IT is nearly a week since Kenelm had met Cecilia, and he is sitting in
his rooms with Lord Thetford at that hour of three in the afternoon
which is found the most difficult to dispose of by idlers about town.
Amongst young men of his own age and class with whom Kenelm assorted
in the fashionable world, perhaps the one whom he liked the best, and
of whom he saw the most, was this young heir of the Beaumanoirs; and
though Lord Thetford has nothing to do with the direct stream of my
story, it is worth pausing a few minutes to sketch an outline of one
of the best whom the last generation has produced for a part that,
owing to accidents of birth and fortune, young men like Lord Thetford
must play on that stage from which the curtain is not yet drawn up.
Destined to be the head of a family that unites with princely
possessions and a historical name a keen though honourable ambition
for political power, Lord Thetford has been care fully educated,
especially in the new ideas of his time.  His father, though a man of
no ordinary talents, has never taken a prominent part in public life.
He desires his eldest son to do so.  The Beaumanoirs have been Whigs
from the time of William III.  They have shared the good and the ill
fortunes of a party which, whether we side with it or not, no
politician who dreads extremes in the government of a State so
pre-eminently artificial that a prevalent extreme at either end of the
balance would be fatal to equilibrium, can desire to become extinct or
feeble so long as a constitutional monarchy exists in England.  From
the reign of George I. to the death of George IV., the Beaumanoirs
were in the ascendant.  Visit their family portrait gallery, and you
must admire the eminence of a house which, during that interval of
less than a century, contributed so many men to the service of the
State or the adornment of the Court,--so many Ministers, Ambassadors,
Generals, Lord Chamberlains, and Masters of the Horse.  When the
younger Pitt beat the great Whig Houses, the Beaumanoirs vanish into
comparative obscurity; they reemerge with the accession of William
IV., and once more produce bulwarks of the State and ornaments of the
Crown.  The present Lord of Beaumanoir, /poco curante/ in politics
though he be, has at least held high offices at Court; and, as a
matter of course, he is Lord Lieutenant of his county, as well as
Knight of the Garter.  He is a man whom the chiefs of his party have
been accustomed to consult on critical questions.  He gives his
opinions confidentially and modestly, and when they are rejected never
takes offence.  He thinks that a time is coming when the head of the
Beaumanoirs should descend into the lists and fight hand-to-hand with
any Hodge or Hobson in the cause of his country for the benefit of the
Whigs.  Too lazy or too old to do this himself, he says to his son,
"You must do it: without effort of mine the thing may last my life.
It needs effort of yours that the thing may last through your own."

Lord Thetford cheerfully responds to the paternal admonition.  He
curbs his natural inclinations, which are neither inelegant nor
unmanly; for, on the one side, he is very fond of music and painting,
an accomplished amateur, and deemed a sound connoisseur in both; and,
on the other side, he has a passion for all field sports, and
especially for hunting.  He allows no such attractions to interfere
with diligent attention to the business of the House of Commons.  He
serves in Committees, he takes the chair at public meetings on
sanitary questions or projects for social improvement, and acquits
himself well therein.  He has not yet spoken in debate, but he has
only been two years in Parliament, and he takes his father's wise
advice not to speak till the third.  But he is not without weight
among the well-born youth of the party, and has in him the stuff out
of which, when it becomes seasoned, the Corinthian capitals of a
Cabinet may be very effectively carved.  In his own heart he is
convinced that his party are going too far and too fast; but with that
party he goes on light-heartedly, and would continue to do so if they
went to Erebus.  But he would prefer their going the other way.  For
the rest, a pleasant, bright-eyed young fellow, with vivid animal
spirits; and, in the holiday moments of reprieve from public duty he
brings sunshine into draggling hunting-fields, and a fresh breeze into
heated ballrooms.

"My dear fellow," said Lord Thetford, as he threw aside his cigar, "I
quite understand that you bore yourself: you have nothing else to do."

"What can I do?"

"Work."

"Work!"

"Yes, you are clever enough to feel that you have a mind; and mind is
a restless inmate of body: it craves occupation of some sort, and
regular occupation too; it needs its daily constitutional exercise.
Do you give your mind that?"

"I am sure I don't know, but my mind is always busying itself about
something or other."

"In a desultory way,--with no fixed object."

"True."

"Write a book, and then it will have its constitutional."

"Nay, my mind is always writing a book (though it may not publish
one), always jotting down impressions, or inventing incidents, or
investigating characters; and between you and me, I do not think that
I do bore myself so much as I did formerly.  Other people bore me more
than they did."

"Because you will not create an object in common with other people:
come into Parliament, side with a party, and you have that object."

"Do you mean seriously to tell me that you are not bored in the House
of Commons?"

"With the speakers very often, yes; but with the strife between the
speakers, no.  The House of Commons life has a peculiar excitement
scarcely understood out of it; but you may conceive its charm when you
observe that a man who has once been in the thick of it feels forlorn
and shelved if he lose his seat, and even repines when the accident of
birth transfers him to the serener air of the Upper House.  Try that
life, Chillingly."

"I might if I were an ultra-Radical, a Republican, a Communist, a
Socialist, and wished to upset everything existing, for then the
strife would at least be a very earnest one."

"But could not you be equally in earnest against those revolutionary
gentlemen?"

"Are you and your leaders in earnest against them?  They don't appear
to me so."

Thetford was silent for a minute.  "Well, if you doubt the principles
of my side, go with the other side.  For my part, I and many of our
party would be glad to see the Conservatives stronger."

"I have no doubt they would.  No sensible man likes to be carried off
his legs by the rush of the crowd behind him; and a crowd is less
headlong when it sees a strong force arrayed against it in front.  But
it seems to me that, at present, Conservatism can but be what it now
is,--a party that may combine for resistance, and will not combine for
inventive construction.  We are living in an age in which the process
of unsettlement is going blindly at work, as if impelled by a Nemesis
as blind as itself.  New ideas come beating into surf and surge
against those which former reasoners had considered as fixed banks and
breakwaters; and the new ideas are so mutable, so fickle, that those
which were considered novel ten years ago are deemed obsolete to-day,
and the new ones of to-day will in their turn be obsolete to-morrow.
And, in a sort of fatalism, you see statesmen yielding way to these
successive mockeries of experiment,--for they are experiments against
experience,--and saying to each other with a shrug of the shoulders,
'Bismillah! it must be so; the country will have it, even though it
sends the country to the dogs.'  I don't feel sure that the country
will not go there the sooner, if you can only strengthen the
Conservative element enough to set it up in office, with the certainty
of knocking it down again.  Alas!  I am too dispassionate a looker-on
to be fit for a partisan: would I were not!  Address yourself to my
cousin Gordon."

"Ay, Chillingly Gordon is a coming man, and has all the earnestness
you find absent in party and in yourself."

"You call him earnest?"

"Thoroughly, in the pursuit of one object,--the advancement of
Chillingly Gordon.  If he get into the House of Commons, and succeed
there, I hope he will never become my leader; for if he thought
Christianity in the way of his promotion, he would bring in a bill for
its abolition."

"In that case would he still be your leader?"

"My dear Kenelm, you don't know what is the spirit of party, and how
easily it makes excuses for any act of its leader.  Of course, if
Gordon brought in a bill for the abolition of Christianity, it would
be on the plea that the abolition was good for the Christians, and his
followers would cheer that enlightened sentiment."

"Ah," said Kenelm, with a sigh, "I own myself the dullest of
blockheads; for instead of tempting me into the field of party
politics, your talk leaves me in stolid amaze that you do not take to
your heels, where honour can only be saved by flight."

"Pooh! my dear Chillingly, we cannot run away from the age in which we
live: we must accept its conditions and make the best of them; and if
the House of Commons be nothing else, it is a famous debating society
and a capital club.  Think over it.  I must leave you now.  I am going
to see a picture at the Exhibition which has been most truculently
criticised in 'The Londoner,' but which I am assured, on good
authority, is a work of remarkable merit.  I can't bear to see a man
snarled and sneered down, no doubt by jealous rivals, who have their
influence in journals, so I shall judge of the picture for myself.  If
it be really as good as I am told, I shall talk about it to everybody
I meet; and in matters of art I fancy my word goes for something.
Study art, my dear Kenelm.  No gentleman's education is complete if he
does n't know a good picture from a bad one.  After the Exhibition I
shall just have time for a canter round the Park before the debate of
the session, which begins to-night."

With a light step the young man quitted the room, humming an air from
the "Figaro" as he descended the stairs.  From the window Kenelm
watched him swinging himself with careless grace into his saddle and
riding briskly down the street,--in form and face and bearing a very
model of young, high-born, high-bred manhood.  "The Venetians,"
muttered Kenelm, "decapitated Marino Faliero for conspiring against
his own order,--the nobles.  The Venetians loved their institutions,
and had faith in them.  Is there such love and such faith among the
English?"

As he thus soliloquized he heard a shrilling sort of squeak; and a
showman stationed before his window the stage on which Punch satirizes
the laws and moralities of the world, "kills the beadle and defies the
devil."



CHAPTER X.

KENELM turned from the sight of Punch and Punch's friend the cur, as
his servant, entering, said a person from the country, who would not
give his name, asked to see him.

Thinking it might be some message from his father, Kenelm ordered the
stranger to be admitted, and in another minute there entered a young
man of handsome countenance and powerful frame, in whom, after a
surprised stare, Kenelm recognized Tom Bowles.  Difficult indeed would
have been that recognition to an unobservant beholder: no trace was
left of the sullen bully or the village farrier; the expression of the
face was mild and intelligent,--more bashful than hardy; the brute
strength of the form had lost its former clumsiness, the simple dress
was that of a gentleman,--to use an expressive idiom, the whole man
was wonderfully "toned down."

"I am afraid, sir, I am taking a liberty," said Tom, rather nervously,
twiddling his hat between his fingers.

"I should be a greater friend to liberty than I am if it were always
taken in the same way," said Kenelm, with a touch of his saturnine
humour; but then yielding at once to the warmer impulse of his nature,
he grasped his old antagonist's hand and exclaimed, "My dear Tom, you
are so welcome.  I am so glad to see you.  Sit down, man; sit down:
make yourself at home."

"I did not know you were back in England, sir, till within the last
few days; for you did say that when you came back I should see or hear
from you," and there was a tone of reproach in the last words.

"I am to blame, forgive me," said Kenelm, remorsefully.  But how did
you find me out? you did not then, I think, even know my name.  That,
however, it was easy enough to discover; but who gave you my address
in this lodging?"

"Well, sir, it was Miss Travers; and she bade me come to you.
Otherwise, as you did not send for me, it was scarcely my place to
call uninvited."

"But, my dear Tom, I never dreamed that you were in London.  One don't
ask a man whom one supposes to be more than a hundred miles off to pay
one an afternoon call.  You are still with your uncle, I presume? and
I need not ask if all thrives well with you: you look a prosperous
man, every inch of you, from crown to toe."

"Yes," said Tom; "thank you kindly, sir, I am doing well in the way of
business, and my uncle is to give me up the whole concern at
Christmas."

While Tom thus spoke Kenelm had summoned his servant, and ordered up
such refreshments as could be found in the larder of a bachelor in
lodgings.  "And what brings you to town, Tom?"

"Miss Travers wrote to me about a little business which she was good
enough to manage for me, and said you wished to know about it; and so,
after turning it over in my mind for a few days, I resolved to come to
town: indeed," added Tom, heartily, "I did wish to see your face
again."

"But you talk riddles.  What business of yours could Miss Travers
imagine I wished to know about?"

Tom coloured high, and looked very embarrassed.  Luckily, the servant
here entering with the refreshment-tray allowed him time to recover
himself.  Kenelm helped him to a liberal slice of cold pigeon-pie,
pressed wine on him, and did not renew the subject till he thought his
guest's tongue was likely to be more freely set loose; then he said,
laying a friendly hand on Tom's shoulders, "I have been thinking over
what passed between me and Miss Travers.  I wished to have the new
address of Will Somers; she promised to write to his benefactor to ask
permission to give it.  You are that benefactor?"

"Don't say benefactor, sir.  I will tell how it came about if you will
let me.  You see, I sold my little place at Graveleigh to the new
Squire, and when Mother removed to Luscombe to be near me, she told me
how poor Jessie had been annoyed by Captain Stavers, who seems to
think his purchase included the young women on the property along with
the standing timber; and I was half afraid that she had given some
cause for his persecution, for you know she has a blink of those soft
eyes of hers that might charm a wise man out of his skin and put a
fool there instead."

"But I hope she has done with those blinks since her marriage."

"Well, and I honestly think she has.  It is certain she did not
encourage Captain Stavers, for I went over to Graveleigh myself on the
sly, and lodged concealed with one of the cottagers who owed me a
kindness; and one day, as I was at watch, I saw the Captain peering
over the stile which divides Holmwood from the glebe,--you remember
Holmwood?"

"I can't say I do."

"The footway from the village to Squire Travers's goes through the
wood, which is a few hundred yards at the back of Will Somers's
orchard.  Presently the Captain drew himself suddenly back from the
stile, and disappeared among the trees, and then I saw Jessie coming
from the orchard with a basket over her arm, and walking quick towards
the wood.  Then, sir, my heart sank.  I felt sure she was going to
meet the Captain.  However, I crept along the hedgerow, hiding myself,
and got into the wood almost as soon as Jessie got there, by another
way.  Under the cover of the brushwood I stole on till I saw the
Captain come out from the copse on the other side of the path, and
plant himself just before Jessie.  Then I saw at once I had wronged
her.  She had not expected to see him, for she hastily turned back,
and began to run homeward; but he caught her up, and seized her by the
arm.  I could not hear what he said, but I heard her voice quite sharp
with fright and anger.  And then he suddenly seized her round the
waist, and she screamed, and I sprang forward--"

"And thrashed the Captain?"

"No, I did not," said Tom; "I had made a vow to myself that I never
would be violent again if I could help it.  So I took him with one
hand by the cuff of the neck, and with the other by the waistband, and
just pitched him on a bramble bush,--quite mildly.  He soon picked
himself up, for he is a dapper little chap, and became very blustering
and abusive.  But I kept my temper, and said civilly, 'Little
gentleman, hard words break no bones; but if ever you molest Mrs.
Somers again, I will carry you into her orchard, souse you into the
duck-pond there, and call all the villagers to see you scramble out of
it again; and I will do it now if you are not off.  I dare say you
have heard of my name: I am Tom Bowles.'  Upon that his face, which
was before very red, grew very white, and muttering something I did
not hear, he walked away.

"Jessie--I mean Mrs. Somers--seemed at first as much frightened at me
as she had been at the Captain; and though I offered to walk with her
to Miss Travers's, where she was going with a basket which the young
lady had ordered, she refused, and went back home.  I felt hurt, and
returned to my uncle's the same evening; and it was not for months
that I heard the Captain had been spiteful enough to set up an
opposition shop, and that poor Will had been taken ill, and his wife
was confined about the same time, and the talk was that they were in
distress and might have to be sold up.

"When I heard all this, I thought that after all it was my rough
tongue that had so angered the Captain and been the cause of his
spite, and so it was my duty to make it up to poor Will and his wife.
I did not know how to set about mending matters, but I thought I'd go
and talk to Miss Travers; and if ever there was a kind heart in a
girl's breast, hers is one."

"You are right there, I guess.  What did Miss Travers say?"

"Nay; I hardly know what she did say, but she set me thinking, and it
struck me that Jessie--Mrs. Somers--had better move to a distance, and
out of the Captain's reach, and that Will would do better in a less
out-of-the-way place.  And then, by good luck, I read in the newspaper
that a stationary and a fancywork business, with a circulating
library, was to be sold on moderate terms at Moleswich, the other side
of London.  So I took the train and went to the place, and thought the
shop would just suit these young folks, and not be too much work for
either; then I went to Miss Travers, and I had a lot of money lying by
me from the sale of the old forge and premises, which I did not know
what to do with; and so, to cut short a long story, I bought the
business, and Will and his wife are settled at Moleswich, thriving and
happy, I hope, sir."

Tom's voice quivered at the last words, and he turned aside quickly,
passing his hand over his eyes.

Kenelm was greatly moved.

"And they don't know what you did for them?"

"To be sure not.  I don't think Will would have let him self be
beholden to me.  Ah! the lad has a spirit of his own, and Jessie--Mrs.
Somers--would have felt pained and humbled that I should even think of
such a thing.  Miss Travers managed it all.  They take the money as a
loan which is to be paid by instalments.  They have sent Miss Travers
more than one instalment already, so I know they are doing well."

"A loan from Miss Travers?"

"No; Miss Travers wanted to have a share in it, but I begged her not.
It made me happy to do what I did all myself; and Miss Travers felt
for me and did not press.  They perhaps think it is Squire Travers
(though he is not a man who would like to say it, for fear it should
bring applicants on him), or some other gentleman who takes an
interest in them."

"I always said you were a grand fellow, Tom.  But you are grander
still than I thought you."

"If there be any good in me, I owe it to you, sir.  Think what a
drunken, violent brute I was when I first met you.  Those walks with
you, and I may say that other gentleman's talk, and then that long
kind letter I had from you, not signed in your name, and written from
abroad,--all these changed me, as the child is changed at nurse."

"You have evidently read a good deal since we parted."

"Yes; I belong to our young men's library and institute; and when of
an evening I get hold of a book, especially a pleasant story-book, I
don't care for other company."

"Have you never seen any other girl you could care for, and wish to
marry?"

"Ah, sir," answered Tom, "a man does not go so mad for a girl as I did
for Jessie Wiles, and when it is all over, and he has come to his
senses, put his heart into joint again as easily as if it were only a
broken leg.  I don't say that I may not live to love and to marry
another woman: it is my wish to do so.  But I know that I shall love
Jessie to my dying day; but not sinfully, sir,--not sinfully.  I would
not wrong her by a thought."

There was a long pause.

At last Kenelm said, "You promised to be kind to that little girl with
the flower-ball; what has become of her?"

"She is quite well, thank you, sir.  My aunt has taken a great fancy
to her, and so has my mother.  She comes to them very often of an
evening, and brings her work with her.  A quick, intelligent little
thing, and full of pretty thoughts.  On Sundays, if the weather is
fine, we stroll out together in the fields."

"She has been a comfort to you, Tom."

"Oh, yes."

"And loves you?"

"I am sure she does; an affectionate, grateful child."

"She will be a woman soon, Tom, and may love you as a woman then."

Tom looked indignant and rather scornful at that suggestion, and
hastened to revert to the subject more immediately at his heart.

"Miss Travers said you would like to call on Will Somers and his wife;
will you?  Moleswich is not far from London, you know."

"Certainly, I will call."

"I do hope you will find them happy; and if so, perhaps you will
kindly let me know; and--and--I wonder whether Jessie's child is like
her?  It is a boy; somehow or other I would rather it had been a
girl."

"I will write you full particulars.  But why not come with me?"

"No, I don't think I could do that, just at present.  It unsettled me
sadly when I did again see her sweet face at Graveleigh, and she was
still afraid of me too! that was a sharp pang."

"She ought to know what you have done for her, and will."

"On no account, sir; promise me that.  I should feel mean if I humbled
them,--that way."

"I understand, though I will not as yet make you any positive promise.
Meanwhile, if you are staying in town, lodge with me; my landlady can
find you a room."

"Thank you heartily, sir; but I go back by the evening train; and,
bless me! how late it is now!  I must wish you good-by.  I have some
commissions to do for my aunt, and I must buy a new doll for Susey."

"Susey is the name of the little girl with the flower-ball?"

"Yes.  I must run off now; I feel quite light at heart seeing you
again and finding that you receive me still so kindly, as if we were
equals."

"Ah, Tom, I wish I was your equal,--nay, half as noble as Heaven has
made you!"

Tom laughed incredulously, and went his way.

"This mischievous passion of love," said Kenelm to himself, "has its
good side, it seems, after all.  If it was nearly making a wild beast
of that brave fellow,--nay, worse than wild beast, a homicide doomed
to the gibbet,--so, on the other hand, what a refined, delicate,
chivalrous nature of gentleman it has developed out of the stormy
elements of its first madness!  Yes, I will go and look at this
new-married couple.  I dare say they are already snarling and spitting
at each other like cat and dog.  Moleswich is within reach of a walk."





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Kenelm Chillingly — Volume 04" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home