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offered it to Miss Brown, who, putting her own into it, poor soul! with the remembrance of her ancient allegiance, was like
"Well," he said, "if that is the case, I suppose I need not bother you any longer. You'll give me your good wishes all the same. I used to hear of Ashburton sometimes, but I never had the least idea he was so popular. And to tell the truth, I don't think he's any great things to brag of though I suppose it's not to be expected I should appreciate his qualities," Mr. Caven dish added, with a laugh. As for Miss Brown, it was all she could do to keep from crying as he went away. She said she could see, by the way he left the drawing-room, that he was a stricken deer; and yet, notwithstanding this sympathetic feeling, she could not but acknowledge, when Miss Marjoribanks mentioned it, that to have been such a handsome man, he was inconceivably gone off.
Mr. Cavendish went up Grange Lane with his hands in his pockets, and tried to think that he did not care; but he did care all the same, and was very bitter in his mind over the failure of friends and the vanity of expectations. The last time he had walked past those garden walls he had thought himself sure of the support of Carlingford, and the personal esteem of all the people in all the houses he was passing. It was after the Archdeacon had broken down in his case against the man whom he called an adventurer, and when Mr. Cavendish felt all the sweetness of being a member of an oligarchy, and entitled to the sympathy and support of his order. Now he went along the same path with his hat over his ears and his hands in his pockets, and rage and pain in his heart. Whose fault was it that his friends had deserted him and Carlingford knew him no more? He might as well have asked whose fault it was that he was getting stout and red in the face, and had not the same grace of figure nor ease of mind as he used to have? He had come very near to settling down and becoming a man of domestic respectability in this quiet place, and he had just escaped in time, and had laughed over it since, and imagined himself, with much glee, an old fogie looking after a lot of children. But the fact is that men do become old fogies even when they have no children to look after, and lose their figure and their elasticity just as soon and perhaps a little sooner in the midst of what is called life than in any milder scene of enjoyment. And it would have been very handy just
now to have been sure of his election without paying much for it. He had been liv ing fast, and spending a great deal of money, and this, after all, was the only real ambition he had ever had; and he had thought within himself that if he won he would change his mode of life, and turn over a new leaf, and become all at once a different man. When a man has made such a resolution, and feels not only that a mere success but a moral reformation depends upon his victory, he may be permitted to consider that he has a right to win; and it may be divined what his state of mind was when he had made the discovery that even his old friends did not see his election to be of any such importance as he did, and could think of a miserable little bit of self-importance or gratified vanity more than of his interests— even the women who had once been so kind to him! He had just got so far in his thoughts when he met Mr. Centum, who stared for a moment, and then burst into one of his great laughs as he greeted him. "Good Lord! Cavendish, is this you? I never expected to see you like that!" the banker said, in his coarse way. "You're stouter than I am, old fellow; and such an Adonis as you used to be!" Mr Cavendish had to bear all this without giving way to his feelings, or even showing them any more than he could help it. Nobody would spare him that imbecile suggestion as to how things used to be. To be growing stouter than Centum without Centum's excuse of being a well-to-do house-holder and father of a family, and respectable man from whom stoutness was expected, was very bitter to him; but he had to gulp it down, and recollect that Centum was as yet the only influential supporter, except his brother-in-law, whom he had in Carlingford.
"What have you been doing with yourself since you came that nobody has seen you?" said Mr. Centum. "If you are to do any good here, you know we shall have to look alive."
"I have been ill," said the unfortunate candidate, with a little natural loss of temper. "You would not have a man to trudge about at this time of year in all weathers when he is ill."
"I would not be ill again, if I were you, till it's all over," said Mr. Centum. "We shall have to fight every inch of our ground; and I tell you that fellow Ashburton knows what he's about - he goes at everything in a steady sort of way. He's not brilliant, you know, but he's sure"
"Brilliant!" said Mr Cavendish, "Iped in his brougham. The Doctor was should think not. It is Lucilla Marjori- looking very strange that morning, though banks who is putting him up to it. You nobody had particularly remarked it know she had an old grudge at me." perhaps because he smoothed his countenance when he was out of the brougham, which was his refuge when he had anything to think about. But he stopped suddenly to speak to Mr. Cavendish, and perhaps he had not time to perform that ceremony. He looked dark and cloudy, and constrained, and as if he forced himself to speak; which, to be sure, under the circumstances, was not so very strange.
"Oh, nonsense about Lucilla," said Mr. Centum. "I can tell you Ashburton is not at all a contemptible adversary. He is going to work in the cunningest way a woman's sort of thing; and he's not a ladies'-man like you," the banker added, with a laugh.
"I am very glad to see you," the Doctor said, "though you were a day too late you know. Why didn't you give us warning before we all went and committed ourselves? If we had known that you were coming".
"Ah, that's what old Brown said,” said Mr. Cavendish, with a slight shrug of his shoulders; which was imprudent, for the Major was not so old as the Doctor, and besides was a much less important man in Grange Lane.
"So you have been to see old Brown," said Dr. Marjoribanks, in his dry way. "He always was a great admirer of yours. I can't wish you luck, you know, for if you win we lose "
“But I am afraid you can't go in for that sort of thing as you used to do, Cavendish. You should marry, and settle, and become a steady member of society, now you've grown so stout." This was the kind of way in which he was addressed even by his own supporter, who uttered another great laugh as he went off upon his busy way. It was a sort of thing Mr. Cavendish was not used to, and he felt it accordingly. To be sure he knew that he was ten years older, and that there were several things which he could not do with the same facility as in his youth. But he had saved up Carlingford in his imagination as a spot in which he would always be young, and where nobody should find out the difference; and instead of that, it was precisely in Carlingford that he was fated to hear how changed he was, with a frankness which only old friends would have been justified in using. As for Lucilla Marjoribanks, she was rather better looking than otherwise, and absolutely had not gone off. It did not occur to Mr. Cavendish that this might be because Lucilla at present was not still so old as he had been ten years ago, in the period which he now considered his youth. He was rather disposed, on the contrary, to take a moral view, and to consider that it was her feminine incapacity for going too far, which had kept years and amusements from having their due effect upon Miss Marjoribanks. And, poor fellow, he had He had not been as caregone too far. ful in his life as he might have been had he stayed at Carlingford; and now he was paying the penalty. Such was the edifying state of mind which he had come to when he reached the top of Grove Street. And there a waft of soft recollections came across his mind. In the absence of all sympathy he could not help turning back to the thought of the enchantress of old who used to sing to him, and listen to him, and storm at him. Probably he would have ended by strolling along the familiar street, and canvassing for Mr. Lake's vote, which would have done him no good in Carling- his tone. "Have you heard Woodburn ford, but just then Dr. Marjoribanks stop-talking of that great crash in town?" he said
"You young men always go too fast," said the Doctor, with a strange little smile; but the term at least was consolatory; and after that Dr. Marjoribanks quite changed
"Oh, I don't want you to wish me luck. I don't suppose there can be much comparison between my chance and that of a new man whom nobody ever heard of in my time," said the candidate for Carlingford. "I thought you Scotchmen, Doctor, always liked to be on the winning side."
"We've a way of making our side the winning side," said Dr. Marjoribanks, grimly, for he was touchy where his nationality was Health all right, I hope?" he added, looking at Mr. Cavendish with that critical medical glance which shows that a verbal response is quite unnecessary. This time there was in the look a certain insinuation of doubt on the subject, which was not pleasant. · You are getting stout, I see," Dr. Marjoribanks added- -not laughing, but as if that too was poor Mr. Cavendish's fault.
Yes, I'm very well," he answered, curtly; but the truth was that he did not feel sure that he was quite well after he had seen the critical look in Dr. Marjoribanks's eye.
"It's a great pity," said the Doctor: "I knew old Linchfield once, the chief partner -I am very sorry to hear it's true;" and then the two shook hands, and the brougham drove on. As for Mr. Cavendish, he made up his mind at once that the Doctor was involved, and was not sorry, and felt that it was a sort of judicial recompense for his desertion of his friends. And he went home to tell his sister of it, who shared in his sentiments. And then it was not worth while going out any more that day -for the electioneering agent, who knew all about it, was not coming till the last train. "I suppose I shall have to work when he is here," Mr. Cavendish said. And in the mean time he threw himself into an easy-chair. Perhaps that was why he was getting so stout.
"that India house, you know-I suppose it's quite true?" "Quite true," said Mr. Cavendish, THERE were a great many reasons why promptly, and somehow he felt a pleasure this should be a critical period in Miss Marin saying it. "I got all the particulars to- joribanks's life. For one thing, it was the day in one of my letters and lots of limit she had always proposed to herself for private people involved, which is always her term of young-ladyhood; and naturally, the way with these old houses," he added, as she outgrew the age for them, she felt with a mixture of curiosity and malice- disposed to put away childish things. To "widows, and all sorts of superannuated have the control of society in her hands folks." was a great thing; but still the mere means, without any end, was not worth Lucilla's while and her Thursdays were almost a bore to her in her present stage of development. They occurred every week, to be sure, as usual; but the machinery was all perfect, and went on by itself, and it was not in the nature of things that such a light adjunct of existence should satisfy Lucilla, as she opened out into the ripeness of her thirtieth year. It was this that made Mr. Ashburton so interesting to her, and his election a matter into which she entered so warmly, for she had come to an age at which she might have gone into Parliament herself had there been no disqualification of sex; and when it was almost a necessity for her to make some use of her social influence. Miss Marjoribanks had her own ideas in respect to charity, and never went upon ladies' committees, nor took any further share than what was proper and necessary in parish work; and when a woman has an active mind, and still does not care for parish work, it is a little hard for her to find a "sphere." And Lucilla, though she said nothing about a sphere, was still more or less in that condition of mind which has been so often and so fully described to the British public when the ripe female intelligence, not having the natural resource of a nursery and a husband to manage, turns inwards, and begins to "make a protest' against the existing order of society, and to call the world to account for giving it no due occupation and to consume itself. She was not the woman to make protests, nor to claim for herself the doubtful honours of a false position; but she felt all the same that at her age she had outlived the occupations that were sufficient for her youth. To be sure, there were still the dinners to attend to, a branch of human affairs worthy of the weightiest consideration, and she had a house of her own, as much as if she had been half-a-dozen times married; but still there are instincts which go even beyond dinners, and Lucilla had become conscious that her capabilities were greater than her
And in the mean time the Doctor went on visiting his patients. When he came back to his brougham between his visits, and went bowling along in that comfortable way, along the familiar roads, there was a certain glumness upon his face. He was not a demonstrative man, but when he was alone you could tell by certain lines about the well-worn cordage of his countenance whether all was right with the Doctor; and it was easy to see just at this moment that all was not right with him. But he did not say anything about it when he got home; on the contrary, he was just at usual, and told his daughter all about his encounter with Mr. Cavendish. "A man at his time of life has no right to get fat - it's a sort of thing I don't like to see. And he'll never be a ladies' man no more, Lucilla," said the Doctor, with a gleam of humour in his eye.
"He is exactly like George the Fourth, papa," said Miss Marjoribanks; and the Doctor laughed as he sat down to dinner. If he had anything on his mind he bore it like a hero, and gave no sign; but then, as Mrs. John very truly remarked, when a man does not disclose his annoyances they always tell more upon him in the end.
work. She was a Power in Carlingford, and she knew it; but still there is little good in the existence of a Power unless it can be made use of for some worthy end.
She was coming up Grange Lane rather late one evening, pondering upon these things-thinking within herself compassionately of poor Mr. Cavendish, a little in the same way as he had been thinking of her, but from the opposite point of view. For Lucilla could not but see the antithesis of their position, and how he was the foolish apprentice who had chosen his own way and was coming to a bad end, while she was the steady one about to ride by in her Lord Mayor's coach. And Miss Marjoribanks was thinking at the same time of the other candidate, whose canvass was going on so successfully; and that, after the election and all the excitement was over, she would feel a blank. There could be no doubt she would feel a blank and Lucilla did not see how the blank was to be filled up as she looked into the future; for, as has been said, parish work was not much in her way, and for a woman who feels that she is a Power, there are so few other outlets. She was a little disheartened as she thought it all over. Gleams of possibility, it is true, crossed her mind, such as that of marrying the member for Carlingford, for instance, and thus beginning a new and more important career; but she was too experienced a woman not to be aware by this time, that possibilities which did not depend upon herself alone had better not be calculated upon. And there did occur to her, among other things, the idea of making a great Experiment which could be carried out only by a woman of genius of marrying a poor man, and affording to Carlingford and England an example which might influence unborn generations. Such were the thoughts that were passing through her mind when, to her great surprise, she came up to her father, walking up Grange Lane over the dirty remains of the snow- for there was a great deal of snow that year. It was so strange a sight to see Dr. Marjoribanks walking that at the first glance Lucilla was startled, and thought something was the matter; but, of course, it all arose from a perfectly natural and explainable cause.
"I have been down to see Mrs. Chiley," said the Doctor; "she has her rheumatism very bad again; and the horse has been so long out that I thought I would walk home. I think the old lady is a little upset about Cavendish, Lucilla. He was always a pet of hers."
"Dear Mrs. Chiley! she is not very bad, I hope?" said Miss Marjoribanks.
"Oh no, she is not very bad," said the Doctor, in a dreary tone. "The poor old machine is just about breaking up, that is all. We can cobble it this once, but next time perhaps "
"Don't talk in such a disheartening way, papa," said Lucilla. "I am sure she is not so very old."
"We're all pretty old, for that matter," said the Doctor; we can't run on for ever, you know. If you had been a boy like that stupid fellow, Tom, you might have carried on my practice, Lucilla and even extended it, I shouldn't wonder," Dr. Marjoribanks added, with a little grunt, as who should say that is the way of the world.
"But I am not a boy," said Lucilla, mildly; " and even if I had been, you know, I might have chosen another profession. Tom never had any turn for medicine that I ever heard of"
"I hope you know pretty well about all the turns he ever had with that old-woman," said the Doctor, pulling himself up sharply, "always at your ear. I suppose she never talks of anything else. But I hope you have too much sense for that sort of thing, Lucilla. Tom will never be anything but a poor man if he were to live a hundred years."
"Perhaps not, papa," said Lucilla, with a little sigh. The Doctor knew nothing about the great social experiment which it had entered into Miss Marjoribanks's mind to make for the regeneration of her contemporaries and the good of society, or possibly he might not have distinguished Tom by that particular title. Was it he, perhaps, who was destined to be the hero of a domestic drama embodying the best principles of that Moral Philosophy which Lucilla had studied with sush success at Mount Pleasant? She d not ask herself the question, for things had not as yet come to that point, but it gleamed upon her mind as by a side-light.
"I don't know how you would get on if you were poor," said the Doctor. "I don't think that would suit you. You would make somebody a capital wife, I can say that for you, Lucilla, that had plenty of money and a liberal disposition like yourself. But poverty is another sort of thing, I can tell you. Luckily your're old enough to have got over all the love-in-a-cottage ideas-if you ever had them," Dr. Marjoribanks added. He was a worldly man himself, and he thought his daughter a
worldly woman; and yet, though he thoroughly approved of it, he still despised Lucilla a little for her prudence, which is a paradoxical state of mind not very unusual in the world.
"I don't think I ever had them," said Lucilla "not that kind of poverty. I know what a cottage means; it means a wretched man, always about the house with his feet in slippers, you knowwhat poor dear Mr. Cavendish would come to if he was poor
The Doctor laughed, though he had not seemed up to this moment much disposed for laughing. "So that is all your opinion of Cavendish," he said; "and I don't think you are far wrong either; and yet that was a young fellow that might have done better," Dr. Marjoribanks said reflectively, perhaps not without a slight prick of conscience that he had forsaken an old friend. "Yes," said Lucilla, with a certain solemnity- "but you know, papa, if a man will not when he may"- And she sighed, though the Doctor, who had not been thinking of Mr. Cavendish's prospects in that light, laughed once more; but it was a sharp sort of sudden laugh without much heart in it. He had most likely other things of more importance in his mind.
"Well, there have been a great many off and on since that time," he said, smiling rather grimly. "It is time you were thinking about it seriously, Lucilla. I am not so sure about some things as I once was, and I'd rather like to see you well settled before- It's a kind of prejudice a man has," the Doctor said abruptly, which, whatever he might mean by it, was a dismal sort of speech to make.
"Before what, papa?" asked Lucilla, with a little alarm.
"Tut before long, to be sure," he said, impatiently. "Ashburton would not be at all amiss if he liked it and you liked it; but it's no use making any suggestions about those things. So long as you don't marry a fool"-Dr. Marjoribanks said, with energy. "I know - that is, of course, I've seen what that is; you can't expect to get perfection, as you might have looked for perhaps at twenty; but I advise you to marry, Lucilla. I don't think you are cut out for a single woman, for my part."
"I don't see the good of single women," said Lucilla, “unless they are awfully rich; and I don't suppose I shall ever be awfully rich. But, papa, so long as I can be a comfort to you"
"Yes," said the Doctor, with that tone which Lucilla could remember fifteen years
ago, when she made the same magnanimous suggestion, "but I can't live for ever, you know. It would be a pity to sacrifice yourself to me, and then perhaps next morning find that it was a useless sacrifice. It very often happens like that when self-devotion is carried too far. You've behaved very well, and shown a great deal of good sense, Lucilla more than I gave you credit for when you commenced - I may say that; and if there was to be any change, for in
"What change?" said Lucilla, not without some anxiety; for it was an odd way of talking, to say the least of it; but the Doctor had come to a pause, and did not seem disposed to resume.
It is not so pleasant as I thought walking over this snow," he said. "I can't give that up, that I can see. And there's more snow in the air if I'm any judge of the weather. There-go in-go in; don't wait for me;- - but mind you make haste and dress, for I want my dinner. I may have to go down to Mrs. Chiley again tonight."
It was an odd way of talking, and it was odd to break off like this; but then, to be sure, there was no occasion for any more conversation, since they had just arrived at their own door. It made Lucilla uneasy for the moment, but while she was dressing she managed to explain it to herself, and to think, after all, it was only natural that her papa should have seen a little into the movement and commotion of her thoughts; and then poor dear old Mrs. Chiley being so ill, who was one of his own set, so to speak. He was quite cheerful later in the evening, and enjoyed his dinner, and was even more civil than usual to Mrs. John. And though he did not come up to tea, he made his appearance afterwards with a flake of new-fallen snow still upon his rusty grey whiskers. He had gone to see his patient again, notwithstanding the silent storm outside. And his countenance was a little overcast this time, no doubt by the late walk, and the serious state Mrs. Chiley was in, and his encounter with the snow.
"Oh yes, she is better," he said. "I knew she would do this time. People at our time of life don't go off in that accidental kind of a way. When a woman has been so long used to living, it takes her a time to get into the way of dying. She might be a long time thinking about it yet, if all goes well".
แ Papa, don't speak like that!" said Lucilla. Dying! I can't bear to think of snch a thing. She is not so very old."