Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything
- He Knew He Was Right - 6/179 -
heard anything of your father's coming?'
'Yes; I have heard of it,' said Nora slowly.
'And why have I not been told?'
'It was to be kept a secret,' said Mrs Trevelyan boldly.
'A secret from me; and everybody else knows it! And why was it to be a secret?'
'Colonel Osborne did not wish that it should be known,' said Mrs Trevelyan.
'And what has Colonel Osborne to do between you and your father in any matter with which I may not be made acquainted? I will have nothing more between you and Colonel Osborne. You shall not see Colonel Osborne. Do you hear me?'
'Yes, I hear you, Louis.'
'And do you mean to obey me? By G--, you shall obey me. Remember this, that I lay my positive order upon you, that you shall not see Colonel Osborne again. You do not know it, perhaps, but you are already forfeiting your reputation as an honest woman, and bringing disgrace upon me by your familiarity with Colonel Osborne.'
'Oh, Louis, do not say that!' said Nora.
'You had better let him speak it all at once,' said Emily.
'I have said what I have got to say. It is now only necessary that you should give me your solemn assurance that you will obey me.'
'If you have said all that you have to say, perhaps you will listen to me,' said his wife.
'I will listen to nothing till you have given me your promise.' 'Then I certainly shall not give it you.'
'Dear Emily, pray, pray do what he tells you,' said Nora.
'She has yet to learn that it is her duty to do as I tell her,' said Trevelyan. 'And because she is obstinate, and will not learn from those who know better than herself what a woman may do, and what she may not, she will ruin herself, and destroy my happiness.'
'I know that you have destroyed my happiness by your unreasonable jealousy,' said the wife. 'Have you considered what I must feel in having such words addressed to me by my husband? If I am fit to be told that I must promise not to see any man living, I cannot be fit to be any man's wife.' Then she burst out into an hysterical fit of tears, and in this condition she got out of the carriage, entered her house, and hurried up to her own room.
'Indeed, she has not been to blame,' said Nora to Trevelyan on the staircase.
'Why has there been a secret kept from me between her and this man; and that too, after I had cautioned her against being intimate with him? I am sorry that she should suffer; but it is better that she should suffer a little now, than that we should both suffer much by-and-by.'
Nora endeavoured to explain to him the truth about the committee, and Colonel Osborne's promised influence, and the reason why there was to be a secret. But she was too much in a hurry to get to her sister to make the matter plain, and he was too much angered to listen to her. He shook his head when she spoke of Colonel Osborne's dislike to have his name mentioned in connection with the matter. 'All the world knows it,' he said with scornful laughter.
It was in vain that Nora tried to explain to him that though all the world might know it, Emily herself had only heard of the proposition as a thing quite unsettled, as to which nothing at present should be spoken openly. It was in vain to endeavour to make peace on that night. Nora hurried up to her sister, and found that the hysterical tears had again given place to anger. She would not see her husband, unless he would beg her pardon; and he would not see her unless she would give the promise he demanded. And the husband and wife did not see each other again on that night.
It has been already stated that Nora Rowley was not quite so well disposed as perhaps she ought to have been to fall in love with the Honourable Charles Glascock, there having come upon her the habit of comparing him with another gentleman whenever this duty of falling in love with Mr Glascock was exacted from her. That other gentleman was one with whom she knew that it was quite out of the question that she should fall in love, because he had not a shilling in the world; and the other gentleman was equally aware that it was not open to him to fall in love with Nora Rowley for the same reason. In regard to such matters Nora Rowley had been properly brought up, having been made to understand by the best and most cautious of mothers, that in that matter of falling in love it was absolutely necessary that bread and cheese should be considered. 'Romance is a very pretty thing,' Lady Rowley had been wont to say to her daughters, 'and I don't think life would be worth having without a little of it. I should be very sorry to think that either of my girls would marry a man only because he had money. But you can't even be romantic without something to eat and drink.' Nora thoroughly understood all this, and being well aware that her fortune in the world, if it ever was to be made at all, could only be made by marriage, had laid down for herself certain hard lines lines intended to be as fast as they were hard. Let what might come to her in the way of likings and dislikings, let the temptation to her be ever so strong, she would never allow her heart to rest on a man who, if he should ask her to be his wife, would not have the means of supporting her. There were many, she knew, who would condemn such a resolution as cold, selfish, and heartless. She heard people saying so daily. She read in books that it ought to be so regarded. But she declared to herself that she would respect the judgment neither of the people nor of the books. To be poor alone, to have to live without a husband, to look forward to a life in which there would be nothing of a career, almost nothing to do, to await the vacuity of an existence in which she would be useful to no one, was a destiny which she could teach herself to endure, because it might probably be forced upon her by necessity. Were her father to die there would hardly be bread for that female flock to eat. As it was, she was eating the bread of a man in whose house she was no more than a visitor. The lot of a woman; as she often told herself, was wretched, unfortunate, almost degrading. For a woman such as herself there was no path open to her energy, other than that of getting a husband. Nora Rowley thought of all this till she was almost sick of the prospect of her life--especially sick of it when she was told with much authority by the Lady Milboroughs of her acquaintance, that it was her bounden duty to fall in love with Mr Glascock. As to falling in love with Mr Glascock, she had not as yet quite made up her mind. There was so much to be said on that side of the question, if such falling in love could only be made possible. But she had quite made up her mind that she would never fall in love with a poor man. In spite, however, of all that, she felt herself compelled to make comparisons between Mr Glascock and one Mr Hugh Stanbury, a gentleman who had not a shilling.
Mr Hugh Stanbury had been at college the most intimate friend of Louis Trevelyan, and at Oxford had been, in spite of Trevelyan's successes, a bigger man than his friend. Stanbury had not taken so high a degree as Trevelyan, indeed had not gone out in honours at all. He had done little for the credit of his college, and had never put himself in the way of wrapping himself up for life in the scanty lambswool of a fellowship. But he had won for himself reputation as a clever speaker, as a man who had learned much that college tutors do not profess to teach, as a hard-headed, ready-witted fellow, who, having the world as an oyster before him, which it was necessary that he should open, would certainly find either a knife or a sword with which to open it.
Immediately on leaving college he had come to town, and had entered himself at Lincoln's Inn. Now, at the time of our story, he was a barrister of four years' standing, but had never yet made a guinea. He had never made a guinea by his work as a barrister, and was beginning to doubt of himself whether he ever would do so. Not, as he knew well, that guineas are generally made with ease by barristers of four years' standing, but because, as he said to his friends, he did not see his way to the knack of it. He did not know an attorney in the world, and could not conceive how any attorney should ever be induced to apply to him for legal aid. He had done his work of learning his trade about as well as other young men, but had had no means of distinguishing himself within his reach. He went the Western Circuit because his aunt, old Miss Stanbury, lived at Exeter, but, as he declared of himself, had he had another aunt living at York, he would have had nothing whatsoever to guide him in his choice. He sat idle in the courts, and hated himself for so sitting. So it had been with him for two years without any consolation or additional burden from other employment than that of his profession. After that, by some chance, he had become acquainted with the editor of the Daily Record, and by degrees had taken to the writing of articles. He had been told by all his friends, and especially by Trevelyan, that if he did this, he might as well sell his gown and wig. He declared, in reply, that he had no objection to sell his gown and wig. He did not see how he should ever make more money out of them than he would do by such sale. But for the articles which he wrote, he received instant payment, a process which he found to be most consolatory, most comfortable, and, as he said to Trevelyan, as warm to him as a blanket in winter.
Trevelyan, who was a year younger than Stanbury, had taken upon himself to be very angry. He professed that he did not think much of the trade of a journalist, and told Stanbury that he was sinking from the highest to almost the lowest business by which an educated man and a gentleman could earn his bread. Stanbury had simply replied that he saw some bread on the one side, but none on the other; and that bread from some side was indispensable to him. Then there had come to be that famous war between Great Britain and the republic of Patagonia, and Hugh Stanbury had been sent out as a special correspondent by the editor and proprietor of the Daily Record. His letters had been much read, and had called up a great deal of newspaper pugnacity. He had made important statements which had been flatly denied, and found to be utterly false; which again had been warmly reasserted and proved to be most remarkably true to the letter. In this way the correspondence, and he as its author, became so much talked about that, on his return to England, he did
Previous Page Next Page
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 110 120 130 140 150 160 170 179
Schulers Books Online
books - games - software - wallpaper - everything