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serious contests on the ballot. I hated seeing Fulbright

source:Cashier's Netedit:knowledgetime:2023-12-04 11:51:39

"Gertrude!" exclaimed Ayala, who also knew of the engagement with Mr Houston.

serious contests on the ballot. I hated seeing Fulbright

"But the worst of it is", continued Sir Harry, "that he is not at all happy. The young lady has come back, while nobody knows what has become of Benjamin."

serious contests on the ballot. I hated seeing Fulbright

"Benjamin never will get a wife," said Lady Albury. Thus all the details of the little event became known at Stalham -- except the immediate condition and whereabouts of the lover.

serious contests on the ballot. I hated seeing Fulbright

Of the Captain's condition and whereabouts something must be told. When the great disruption came, and he had been abused and ridiculed by Sir Thomas at Ostend, he felt that he could neither remain there where the very waiters knew what had happened, nor could he return to Dover in the same vessel with Sir Thomas and his daughter. He therefore took the first train and went to Brussels.

But Brussels did not offer him many allurements in his present frame of mind. He found nobody there whom he particularly knew, and nothing particular to do. Solitude in a continental town with no amusements beyond those offered by the table d'hote and the theatre is oppressing. His time he endeavoured to occupy with thinking of the last promise he had made to Gertrude. Should he break it or should he keep it? Sir Thomas Tringle was, no doubt, a very rich man -- and then there was the fact which would become known to all the world, that he had run off with a young lady. Should he ultimately succeed in marrying the young lady the enterprise would bear less of an appearance of failure than it would do otherwise. But then, should the money not be forthcoming, the consolation coming from the possession of Gertrude herself would hardly suffice to make him a happy man. Sir Thomas, when he came to consider the matter, would certainly feel that his daughter had compromised herself by the journey, and that it would be good for her to be married to the man who had taken her. It might be that Sir Thomas would yield, and consent to make, at any rate, some compromise. A rumour had reached his ears that Traffick had received L#200,000 with the elder daughter. He would consent to take half that sum. After a week spent amidst the charms of Brussels he returned to London, without any public declaration of his doing so -- "sneaked back", as a friend of his said of him at the club -- and then went to work to carry out his purpose as best he might. All that was known of it at Stalham was that he had returned to his lodgings in London.

On Friday, the 11th of April, when Ayala was a promised bride of nearly two weeks' standing and all the uncles and aunts were aware that her lot in life had been fixed for her, Sir Thomas was alone in the back room in Lombard Street, with his mind sorely diverted from the only joy of his life. The whole family were now in town, and Septimus Traffick with his wife was actually occupying a room in Queen's Gate. How it had come to pass Sir Thomas hardly knew. Some word had been extracted from him signifying a compliance with a request that Augusta might come to the house for a night or two until a fitting residence should be prepared for her. Something had been said of Lord Boardotrade's house being vacated for her and her husband early in April. An occurrence to which married ladies are liable was about to take place with Augusta, and Sir Thomas certainly understood that the occurrence was to be expected under the roof of the coming infant's noble grandfather. Something as to ancestral halls had been thrown out in the chance way of conversation. Then he certainly had assented to some minimum of London hospitality for his daughter -- as certainly not including the presence of his son-in-law; and now both of them were domiciled in the big front spare bedroom at Queen's Gate! This perplexed him sorely. And then Tom had been brought up from the country still as an invalid, his mother moaning and groaning over him as though he were sick almost past hope of recovery. And yet the nineteenth of the month, now only eight days distant, was still fixed for his departure. Tom, on the return of his mother from Stalham, had to a certain extent accepted as irrevocable the fact of which she bore the tidings. Ayala was engaged to Stubbs, and would, doubtless, with very little delay, become Mrs Jonathan Stubbs. "I knew it," he said; "I knew it. Nothing could have prevented it unless I had shot him through the heart. He told me that she had refused him; but no man could have looked like that after being refused by Ayala." Then he never expressed a hope again. It was all over for him as regarded Ayala. But he still refused to be well, or even, for a day or two, to leave his bed. He had allowed his mother to understand that if the fact of her engagement were indubitably brought home to him he would gird up his loins for his journey and proceed at once wherever it might be thought good to send him. His father had sternly reminded him of his promise; but, when so reminded, Tom had turned himself in his bed and uttered groans instead of replies. Now he had been brought up to London and was no longer actually in bed; but even yet he had not signified his intention of girding up his loins and proceeding upon his journey. Nevertheless the preparations were going on, and, under Sir Thomas's directions, the portmanteaus were already being packed. Gertrude also was a source of discomfort to her father. She considered herself to have been deprived of her two lovers, one after the other, in a spirit of cruel parsimony. And with this heavy weight upon her breast she refused to take any part in the family conversations. Everything had been done for Augusta, and everything was to be done for Tom. For her nothing had been done, and nothing had been promised -- and she was therefore very sulky. With these troubles all around him, Sir Thomas was sitting oppressed and disheartened in Lombard Street on Friday, the 11th of April.

Then there entered to him one of the junior clerks with a card announcing the name of Captain Batsby. He looked at it for some seconds before he gave any notification of his intention, and then desired the young man to tell the gentleman that he would not see him. The message had been delivered, and Captain Batsby with a frown of anger on his brow was about to shake the dust off from his feet on the uncourteous threshold when there came another message, saying that Captain Batsby could go in and see Sir Thomas if he wished it. Upon this he turned round and was shown into the little sitting-room. "Well, Captain Batsby," said Sir Thomas; "what can I do for you now? I am glad to see that you have come back safely from foreign parts."

"I have called", said the Captain, "to say something about your daughter."

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