« VorigeDoorgaan »
of hundred pounds at the outside. Then he wrote a very pretty note to Lord Tulla, thanking him for his former kindness, and telling the Irish Earl that it was not his intention to interfere with the borough of Loughshane at the next election.
"No!" said Phineas.
"But I have, Mr. Finn. I happened to hear what occurred that night at the door of the House of Commons."
"Not quite. I had a very hard tussle, and got it at last for two hundred and twenty pounds."
"Who told you, Miss Fitzgibbon?" "Never mind who told me. I heard it. A few days after this Phineas was very I knew before that you had been foolish much surprised at a visit that was made to enough to help Laurence about money, and him at his lodgings. Mr. Clarkson, after so I put two and two together. It isn't the that scene in the lobby of the House, called first time I have had to do with Mr. Clarkagain in Great Marlborough Street, and son. So I sent to him, and I've bought the was admitted. "You had better let him bill. There it is." And Miss Fitzgibbon sit in your armchair for half an hour or so," produced the document which bore the Fitzgibbon had said; and Phineas almost name of Phineas Finn across the front of it. believed that it would be better. The man And did you pay him two hundred and was a terrible nuisance to him, and he was fifty pounds for it?" beginning to think that he had better undertake to pay the debt by degrees. It was, he knew, quite on the cards that Mr. Clarkson should have him arrested while at "And did you do it yourself? Saulsby. Since that scene in the lobby Mr. "All myself. If I had employed a lawClarkson had been with him twice, and yer I should have had to pay two hundred there had been a preliminary conversation and forty pounds and five pounds for costs. as to real payment. Mr. Clarkson wanted And now, Mr. Finn, I hope you won't have a hundred pounds down, and another bill any more money engagements with my for two hundred and twenty at three months' brother Laurence." Phineas said that he date. "Think of my time and trouble in thought he might promise that he would coming here," Mr. Clarkson had urged have no more. "Because, if you do, I when Phineas had objected to these terms. shan't interfere. If Laurence began to find "Think of my time and trouble, and do be that he could get money out of me in that punctual, Mr. Finn." Phineas had offered way, there would be no end to it. Mr. him ten pounds a quarter, the payments to Clarkson would very soon be spending his be marked on the back of the bill, a tender spare time in my drawing-room. Good-bye, which Mr. Clarkson had not seemed to re- Mr. Finn. If Laurence says anything, just gard as strong evidence of punctuality. tell him that he'd better come to me." Then He had not been angry, but had simply Phineas was left looking at the bill. It was expressed his intention of calling again, certainly a great relief to him, giving Phineas to understand that business should be thus secured from the domiciliary would probably take him to the west of Ire-visits of Mr. Clarkson; a great relief to land in the autumn. If only business might him to be assured that Mr. Clarkson would not take him down either to Loughlinter or not find him out down at Loughton; but, to Saulsby! But the strange visitor who nevertheless, he had to suffer a pang of came to Phineas in the midst of these trou- shame as he felt that Miss Fitzgibbon had bles put an end to them all. become acquainted with his poverty and had found herself obliged to satisfy his pecuniary liabilities.
The strange visitor was Miss Aspasia Fitzgibbon."You'll be very much surprised at my coming to your chambers, no doubt," she said, as she sat down in the chair which Phineas placed for her. Phineas could only say that he was very proud to be so highly honoured, and that he hoped she was well. "Pretty well, I thank you. I have just come about a little business, Mr. Finn, and I hope you'll excuse me."
"I'm quite sure that there is no need for excuses," said Phineas.
"Laurence, when he hears about it, will say that I've been an impertinent old fool; but I never care for what Laurence says, either this way or that. I've been to that Mr. Clarkson, Mr. Finn, and I've paid him the money."
LADY LAURA KENNEDY'S HEADACHE. PHINEAS went down to Loughlinter early in July, taking Loughton in his way. He stayed there one night at the inn, and was introduced to sundry influential inhabitants of the borough by Mr. Grating, the ironmonger, who was known by those who knew Loughton to be a very strong supporter of the Earl's interest. Mr. Grating and about half a dozen others of the tradesmen of the town came to the inn, and met Phineas in the parlour. He told them he was a good sound Liberal and a supporter of Mr. Mild
may's Government, of which their neighbour | ter until after he had left it. There had the Earl was so conspicuous an ornament. come up lately a rumour that there would be This was almost all that was said about the an autumn session, Earl out loud; but each individual man of sit through October and a part of Novemthat the Houses would Loughton then present took an opportunity ber, in order that Mr. Mildmay might try during the meeting of whispering into Mr. the feeling of the new Parliament. If this Finn's ear a word or two to show that he were to be so, Phineas had resolved that, in also was admitted to the secret councils of the event of his election at Loughton, he the borough, that he too could see the would not return to Ireland til after this inside of the arrangement. must support the Earl," one said. Of course we autumn session should be over. He gave mind what you hear about a Tory candi- the Earl's son-in-law, of what had taken "Never an account to the Earl, in the presence of date, Mr. Finn," whispered a second; Earl can do what he pleases here." the place at Loughton, and the Earl expressed seemed to Phineas that it was thought by great satisfaction to Lord Brentford that he And it himself as satisfied. It was manifestly a them all to be rather a fine thing to be thus should still have a borough in his pocket, held in the hand by an English nobleman. and the more so because there were so very Phineas could not but reflect much upon few noblemen left who had such property this as he lay in his bed at the Loughton inn. belonging to them. He was very careful in The great political question on which the his speech, never saying in so many words political world was engrossed up in London that the privilege of returning a member was the enfranchisement of Englishmen, of Englishmen down to the rank of artisans less clear. was his own; but his meaning was not the and labourers; and yet when he found himself in contact with individual Englishmen, with men even very much above the artisan and the labourer, he found that they rather liked being bound hand and foot, and being kept as tools in the political pocket of a rich man. Every one of those Loughton tradesmen was proud of his own personal subjection to the Earl!
From Loughton he went to Loughlinter, having promised to be back in the borough for the election. Mr. Grating would propose him, and he was to be seconded by Mr. Shortribs, the butcher and grazier. Mention had been made of a Conservative candidate, and Mr. Shortribs had seemed to think that a good stand-up fight upon English principles, with a clear understanding, of course, that victory should prevail on the liberal side, would be a good thing for the borough. But the Earl's man of business saw Phineas on the morning of his departure, and told him not to regard Mr. Shortribs. They'd all like it," said the man of business;" and I daresay they'll have enough of it when this Reform Bill is passed; but at present no one will be fool enough to come and spend his money here. have them all in hand too well for that, Mr. We Finn!"
He found the great house at Loughlinter nearly empty. Mr. Kennedy's mother was there, and Lord Brentford was there, and Lord Brentford's private secretary and Mr. Kennedy's private secretary. At present that was the entire party. Lady Baldock was expected there, with her daughter and Violet. Effingham; but, as well as Phineas could learn, they would not be at Loughlin
There was fishing,
was it to like Lady Laura, now that Lady
he owed his position in the world entirely staining, when by doing so he could in no to Lady Laura, and that he was ungrateful wise benefit his friend, when the result of to feel himself ever dull in her society. his doing so would be that some interloper And, moreover, there was something to be would come in and carry off the prize? He done in the world beyond making love and would explain all this to Lady Laura, and, being merry. Mr. Kennedy could occupy if the prize would be kind to him, he would himself with a blue book for hours together disregard the anger of Lord Chiltern, even without wincing. So Phineas went to work though it might be anger to the knife. again with his Alison, and read away till he nodded.
In those days he often wandered up and down the Linter and across the moor to the Linn, and so down to the lake. He would take a book with him, and would seat himself down on spots which he loved, and would pretend to read; but I do not think that he got much advantage from his book. He was thinking of his life, and trying to calculate whether the wonderful success which he had achieved would ever be of permanent value to him. Would he be nearer to earning his bread when he should be member for Loughton than he had been when he was member for Loughshane? Or was there before him any slightest probability that he would ever earn his bread? And then he thought of Violet Effingham, and was angry with himself for remembering at that moment that Violet Effingham was the mistress of a large for
As he was thinking of all this Lady Laura stood before him where he was sitting at the top of the falls. At this moment he remembered well all the circumstances of the scene when he had been there with her at his last visit to Loughlinter. How things had changed since then! Then he had loved Lady Laura with all his heart, and he had now already brought himself to regard her as a discreet matron whom to love would be almost as unreasonable as though he were to entertain a passion for the Lord Chancellor. The reader will understand how thorough had been the cure effected by Lady Laura's marriage and the interval of a few months, when the swain was already prepared to make this lady the depositary of his confidence in another matter of love. "You are often here, I suppose?" said Lady Laura, looking down upon him as he sat upon the rock. "Well; - yes; not very often; I come here sometimes because the view down upon the lake is so fine."
"It is the prettiest spot about the place. hardly ever get here now. Indeed, this is only the second time that I have been up since we have been at home, and then I came to bring papa here." There was a little wooden seat near to the rock upon which Phineas had been lying, and upon this Lady Laura sat down. Phineas, with his eyes turned upon the lake, was considering how he might introduce the subject of his love for Violet Effingham; but he did not find the matter very easy. He had just resolved to begin by saying that Violet would certainly never accept Lord Chiltern, when Lady Laura spoke a word or two which stopped him altogether. "How well I remember," she said, "the day when you and I were here last autumn!"
Once before when he was sitting beside the Linter he had made up his mind to declare his passion to Lady Laura; and he had I done so on the very spot. Now, within a twelvemonth of that time, he made up his mind on the same spot to declare his passion to Miss Effingham, and he thought his best mode of carrying his suit would be to secure the assistance of Lady Laura. Lady Laura, no doubt, had been very anxious that her brother should marry Violet; but Lord Chiltern, as Phineas knew, had asked for Violet's hand twice in vain; and, moreover, Chiltern himself had declared to Phineas that he would never ask for it again. Lady Laura, who was always reasonable, would surely perceive that there was no hope of success for her brother. That Chiltern would quarrel with him-would quarrel with him to the knife - he did not doubt; but he felt that no fear of such a quarrel as that should deter him. He loved Violet Effingham, and he must indeed be pusillanimous if, loving her as he did, he was deterred from expressing his love from any fear of a suitor whom she did not favour. He would not willingly be untrue to his friendship for Lady Laura's brother. Had there been a chance for Lord Chiltern he would have abstained from putting himself forward. But what was the use of his ab
"So do I. You told me then that you were going to marry Mr. Kennedy. How much has happened since then!"
Much indeed! Enough for a whole life-time. And yet how slow the time has gone!
"I do not think it has been slow with me," said Phineas.
"No; you have been active. You have had your hands full of work. I am 'beginning to think that it is a great curse to have been born a woman."
"And yet I have heard you say that a | Mrs. Low had called him Phineas when she woman may do as much as a man."
"That was before I had learned my lesson properly. I know better than that Oh dear! I have no doubt it is all for the best as it is, but I have a kind of wish that I might be allowed to go out and milk the cows. 19
"And may you not milk the cows if you wish it, Lady Laura ? ”
By no means-not only not milk them, but hardly look at them. At any rate, I must not talk about them." Phineas of course understood that she was complaining of her husband, and hardly knew how to reply to her. He had been sharp enough to perceive already that Mr. Kennedy was an autocrat in his own house, and he knew Lady Laura well enough to be sure that such masterdom would be very irksome to her. But he had not imagined that she would complain to him. "It was so different at Saulsby," Lady Laura continued. Everything there seemed to be my own." And everything here is your own."
Yes, according to the prayer-book. And everything in truth is my own, -as all the dainties at the banquet belonged to Sancho the Governor."
"You mean," said he, and then he hesitated;" you mean that Mr. Kennedy stands over you, guarding you for your own welfare, as the doctor stood over Sancho and guarded him?"
There was a pause before she answered, a long pause, during which he was looking away over the lake, and thinking how he might introduce the subject of his love. But long as was the pause, he had not begun when Lady Laura was again speaking. The truth is, my friend," she said, "that I have made a mistake."
regarded him as her husband's most cherished pupil; and Mrs. Bunce had called him Mr. Phineas. He had always been Phineas to everybody at Killaloe. But still he was quite sure that Lady Laura had never so called him before. Nor would she have done so now in her husband's presence. He was sure of that also.
You mean that you are unhappy?" he said, still looking away from her towards the lake.
Yes, I do mean that. Though I do not know why I should come and tell you so, except that I am still blundering and stumbling, and have fallen into a way of hurting myself at every step."
"You can tell no one who is more anxious for your happiness," said Phineas.
That is a very pretty speech, but what would you do for my happiness? Indeed, what is it possible that you should do? I mean it as no rebuke when I say that my happiness or unhappiness is a matter as to which you will soon become perfectly indifferent."
"Why should you say so, Lady Laura ?" "Because it is natural that it should be So. You and Mr. Kennedy might have been friends. Not that you will be, because you are unlike each other in all your ways. But it might have been so."
"And are not you and I to be friends ?" he asked.
"No. In a very few months you will not think of telling me what are your desires or what your sorrows; and as for me, it will be out of the question that I should tell mine to you. How can you be my friend?"
"If you were not quite sure of my friendship, Lady Laura, you would not speak to me as you are speaking now." Still he did "Yes, Phineas, a mistake. I have blun- not look at her, but lay with his face supdered as fools blunder, thinking that I was ported on his hands, and his eyes turned clever enough to pick my footsteps aright away upon the lake. But she, where she without asking counsel from any one. I was sitting, could see him, and was aided have blundered and stumbled and fallen, by her sight in making comparisons in her and now I am so bruised that I am not able mind between the two men who had been to stand upon my feet." The word that her lovers, between him whom she had struck him most in all this was his own taken and him whom she had left. There Christian name. She had never called him was something in the hard, dry, unsympaPhineas before. He was aware that the thising, unchanging virtues of her husband circle of his acquaintance had fallen into a which almost revolted her. He had not a way of miscalling him by his Christian fault, but she had tried him at every point name, as one observes to be done now and and had been able to strike no spark of fire again in reference to some special young from him. Even by disobeying she could man. Most of the men whom he called produce no heat, only an access of firmhis friends called him Phineas. Even the ness. How would it have been with her Earl had done so more than once on occa- had she thrown all ideas of fortune to the sions in which the greatness of his position winds, and linked her lot to that of the had dropped for a moment out of his mind. young Phoebus who was lying at her feet?
If she had ever loved any one she had loved him. And she had not thrown away her love for money. So she swore to herself over and over again, trying to console herself in her cold unhappiness. She had married a rich man in order that she might be able to do something in the world; and now that she was this rich man's wife she found that she could do nothing. The rich man thought it to be quite enough for her to sit at home and look after his welfare. In the meantime young Phoebus, - her Phoebus as he had been once, was thinking altogether of some one else.
Phineas," she said, slowly, "I have in you such perfect confidence that I will tell you the truth;-as one man may tell it to another. I wish you would go from here." "What, at once?"
"Not to-day, or to-morrow. Stay here now till the election; but do not return. He will ask you to come, and press you hard, and will be hurt;-for, strange to say, with all his coldness, he really likes you. He has a pleasure in seeing you here. But he must not have that pleasure at the expense of trouble to me."
And why is it a trouble to you?" he asked. Men are such fools; — so awkward, so unready, with their wits ever behind the occasion by a dozen seconds or so! As soon as the words were uttered, he knew that they should not have been spoken.
“Because I am a fool," she said. “Why else? Is not that enough for you?" "Laura," he said.
"No, no; I will have none of that. I am a fool, but not such a fool as to suppose that any cure is to be found there."
"Only say what I can do for you, though it be with my entire life, and I will do it." "You can do nothing, except to keep away from me."
"Are you earnest in telling me that ?" Now at last he had turned himself round and was looking at her, and as he looked he saw the hat of a man appearing up the path, and immediately afterwards the face. It was the hat and face of the laird of Loughlinter. "Here is Mr. Kennedy," said Phineas, in a tone of voice not devoid of dismay and trouble.
"So I perceive," said Lady Laura. But there was no dismay or trouble in the tone of her voice.
In the countenance of Mr. Kennedy, as he approached closer, there was not much to be read, only, perhaps, some slight addition of gloom, or rather, perhaps, of that frigid propriety of moral demeanour for which he had always been conspicuous, which had grown upon him at his marriage, and
which had been greatly increased by the double action of being made a Cabinet Minister and being garrotted. "I am glad that your headache is better," he said to his wife, who had risen from her seat to meet him. Phineas also had risen, and was now looking somewhat sheepish where he stood.
"I came out because it was worse," she said. "It irritated me so that I could not stand the house any longer."
"I will send to Callender for Dr. Macnuthrie."
"Pray do nothing of the kind, Robert. I do not want Dr. Macnuthrie at all." "Where there is illness, medical advice is always expedient."
"I am not ill. A headache is not illness." “I had thought it was," said Mr. Kennedy, very drily.
"At any rate, I would rather not have Doctor Macnuthrie."
"I am sure it cannot do you any good to climb up here in the heat of the sun. Had you been here long, Finn?"
"All the morning;-here, or hereabouts. I clambered up from the lake and had a book in my pocket."
"And you happened to come across him by accident?" Mr. Kennedy asked. There was something so simple in the question that its very simplicity proved that there was no suspicion.
Yes;-by chance," said Lady Laura. "But every one at Loughlinter always comes up here. If any one ever were missing whom I wanted to find, this is where I should look,"
"I am going on towards Linter forest to meet Blane," said Mr. Kennedy. Blane was the gamekeeper. "If you don't mind the trouble, Finn, I wish you'd take Lady Laura down to the house. Do not let her stay out in the heat. I will take care that somebody goes over to Callender for Dr. Macnuthrie." Then Mr. Kennedy went on, and Phineas was left with the charge of taking Lady Laura back to the house. When Mr. Kennedy's hat had first appeared coming up the walk, Phineas had been ready to proclaim himself prepared for any devotion in the service of Lady Laura. Indeed, he had begun to reply with criminal tenderness to the indiscreet avowal which Lady Laura had made to him. But he felt now, after what had just occurred in the husband's presence, that any show of tenderness → of criminal tenderness was impossible. The absence of all suspicion on the part of Mr. Kennedy had made Phineas feel that he was bound by all social laws to refrain from such tenderness. Lady Laura began to descend the path before him without a