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in the jury room more than an hour longer just to make

source:Cashier's Netedit:methodtime:2023-12-04 10:07:44

"And now what shall I say to Captain Batsby?"

in the jury room more than an hour longer just to make

"Tell him from me," said Sir Thomas, "that he cannot possibly set about his work more injudiciously than by making you his ambassador." Then Mr Traffick took his departure.

in the jury room more than an hour longer just to make

It may be as well to state here that Mr Traffick kept his threat religiously -- at any rate, to the end of the Session. He did not eat another meal during that period under his father-in-law's roof. But he slept there for the next two or three days until he had suited himself with lodgings in the neighbourhood of the House. In doing this, however, he contrived to get in and out without encountering Sir Thomas. His wife in her delicate condition -- and because of the inclemency of the weather -- awaited the occurrence at Queen's Gate.

in the jury room more than an hour longer just to make

The writer, in giving a correct chronicle of the doings of the Tringle family at this time, has to acknowledge that Gertrude, during the prolonged absence of Captain Batsby at Brussels -- an absence that was cruelly prolonged for more than a week -- did make another little effort in another direction. Her father, in his rough way, had expressed an opinion that she had changed very much for the worse in transferring her affections from Mr Houston to Captain Batsby, and had almost gone so far as to declare that had she been persistent with her Houston the money difficulty might have been overcome. This was imprudent -- unless, indeed, he was desirous of bringing back Mr Houston into the bosom of the Tringles. It instigated Gertrude to another attempt -- which, however, she did not make till Captain Batsby had been away from her for at least four days without writing a letter. Then it occurred to her that if she had a preference it certainly was for Frank Houston. No doubt the general desirability of marriage was her chief actuating motive. Will the world of British young ladies be much scandalised if I say that such is often an actuating motive? They would be justly scandalised if I pretended that many of its members were capable of the speedy transitions which Miss Tringle was strong enough to endure; but transitions do take place, and I claim, on behalf of my young lady, that she should be regarded as more strong-minded and more determined than the general crowd of young ladies. She had thought herself to be off with the old love before she was on with the new. Then the "new" had gone away to Brussels -- or heaven only knows where -- and there seemed to be an opportunity of renewing matters with the "old". Having perceived the desirability of matrimony, she simply carried out her purpose with a determined will. It was with a determined will, but perhaps with deficient judgment, that she had written as follows:

"Papa has altered his mind altogether. He speaks of you in the highest terms, and says that had you persevered he would have yielded about the money. Do try him again. When hearts have been united it is terrible that they should be dragged asunder." Mr Traffick had been quite right in telling his father-in-law that "the thing had been talked about everywhere." The thing talked about had been Gertrude's elopement. The daughter of a baronet and a millionaire cannot go off with the half-brother of another baronet and escape that penalty. The journey to Ostend was in everybody's mouth, and had surprised Frank Houston the more because of the recent termination of his own little affair with the lady. That he should already have re-accommodated himself with Imogene was intelligible to him, and seemed to admit of valid excuse before any jury of matrons. It was an old affair, and the love -- real, true love -- was already existing. He, at any rate, was going back to the better course -- as the jury of matrons would have admitted. But Gertrude's new affair had had to be arranged from the beginning, and shocked him by its celerity. "Already!" he had said to himself -- "gone off with another man already?" He felt himself to have been wounded in a tender part, and was conscious of a feeling that he should like to injure the successful lover -- blackball him at a club, or do him some other mortal mischief. When, therefore, he received from the young lady the little billet above given, he was much surprised. Could it be a hoax? It was certainly the young lady's handwriting. Was he to be enticed once again into Lombard Street, in order that the clerks might set upon him in a body and maltreat him? Was he to be decoyed into Queen's Gate, and made a sacrifice of by the united force of the housemaids? Not understanding the celerity of the young lady, he could hardly believe the billet. When he received the note of which we have here spoken two months had elapsed since he had seen Imogene and had declared to her his intention of facing the difficulties of matrimony in conjunction with herself as soon as she would be ready to undergo the ceremony with him. The reader will remember that her brother, Mudbury Docimer, had written to him with great severity, abusing both him and Imogene for the folly of their intention. And Houston, as he thought of their intention, thought to himself that perhaps they were foolish. The poverty, and the cradles, and the cabbages, were in themselves evils.

But still he encouraged himself to think that there might be an evil worse even than folly. After that scene with Imogene, in which she had offered to sacrifice herself altogether, and to be bound to him, even though they should never be married, on condition that he should take to himself no other wife, he had quite resolved that it behoved him not to be exceeded by her in generosity. He had stoutly repudiated her offer, which he had called a damnable compact. And then there had been a delightful scene between them, in which it had been agreed that they should face the cradles and the cabbages with bold faces. Since that he had never allowed himself to fluctuate in his purpose. Had Sir Thomas come to him with Gertrude in one hand and the much-desired L#120,000 in the other, he would have repudiated the lot of them. He declared to himself with stern resolution that he had altogether washed his hands from dirt of that kind. Cabbages and cradles for ever was the unpronounced cry of triumph with which he buoyed up his courage. He set himself to work earnestly, if not altogether steadfastly, to alter the whole tenor of his life. The champagne and the woodcocks -- or whatever might be the special delicacies of the season -- he did avoid. For some few days he absolutely dined upon a cut of mutton at an eating-house, and as he came forth from the unsavoury doors of the establishment regarded himself as a hero. Cabbages and cradles for ever! he would say to himself, as he went away to drink a cup of tea with an old maiden aunt, who was no less surprised than gratified by his new virtue. Therefore, when it had at last absolutely come home to him that the last little note had in truth been written by Gertrude with no object of revenge, but with the intention of once more alluring him into the wealth of Lombard Street, he simply put it into his breastcoat-pocket, and left it there unanswered. Mudbury Docimer did not satisfy himself with writing the very uncourteous letter which the reader has seen, but proceeded to do his utmost to prevent the threatened marriage. "She is old enough to look after herself," he had said, as though all her future actions must be governed by her own will. But within ten days of the writing of that letter he had found it expedient to go down into the country, and to take his sister with him. As the head of the Docimer family he possessed a small country house almost in the extremity of Cornwall; and thither he went. It was a fraternal effort made altogether on his sister's behalf, and was so far successful that Imogene was obliged to accompany him. It was all very well for her to feel that as she was of age she could do as she pleased. But a young lady is constrained by the exigencies of society to live with somebody. She cannot take a lodging by herself, as her brother may do. Therefore, when Mudbury Docimer went down to Cornwall, Imogene was obliged to accompany him.

"Is this intended for banishment?" she said to him when they had been about a week in the country.

"What do you call banishment? You used to like the country in the spring." It was now the middle of April.

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