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Phineas Finn the Irish Member

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<SPAN name="33"></SPAN>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>CHAPTER XXXIII</h3> <h3>Mr. Slide's Grievance<br />&nbsp;</h3> <p>Our hero was elected member for Loughton without any trouble to him or, as far as he could see, to any one else. He made one speech from a small raised booth that was called a platform, and that was all that he was called upon to do. Mr. Grating made a speech in proposing him, and Mr. Shortribs another in seconding him; and these were all the speeches that were required. The thing seemed to be so very easy that he was afterwards almost offended when he was told that the bill for so insignificant a piece of work came to &pound;247 13s. 9d. He had seen no occasion for spending even the odd forty-seven pounds. But then he was member for Loughton; and as he passed the evening alone at the inn, having dined in company with Messrs. Grating, Shortribs, and sundry other influential electors, he began to reflect that, after all, it was not so very great a thing to be a member of Parliament. It almost seemed that that which had come to him so easily could not be of much value.</p> <p>On the following day he went to the castle, and was there when the Earl arrived. They two were alone together, and the Earl was very kind to him. "So you had no opponent after all," said the great man of Loughton, with a slight smile.</p> <p>"Not the ghost of another candidate."</p> <p>"I did not think there would be. They have tried it once or twice and have always failed. There are only one or two in the place who like to go one way just because their neighbours go the other. But, in truth, there is no conservative feeling in the place!"</p> <p>Phineas, although he was at the present moment the member for Loughton himself, could not but enjoy the joke of this. Could there be any liberal feeling in such a place, or, indeed, any political feeling whatsoever? Would not Messrs. Grating and Shortribs have done just the same had it happened that Lord Brentford had been a Tory peer? "They all seemed to be very obliging," said Phineas, in answer to the Earl.</p> <p>"Yes, they are. There isn't a house in the town, you know, let for longer than seven years, and most of them merely from year to year. And, do you know, I haven't a farmer on the property with a lease,&mdash;not one; and they don't want leases. They know they're safe. But I do like the people round me to be of the same way of thinking as myself about politics."</p> <p>On the second day after dinner,&mdash;the last evening of Finn's visit to Saulsby,&mdash;the Earl fell suddenly into a confidential conversation about his daughter and his son, and about Violet Effingham. So sudden, indeed, and so confidential was the conversation, that Phineas was almost silenced for awhile. A word or two had been said about Loughlinter, of the beauty of the place and of the vastness of the property. "I am almost afraid," said Lord Brentford, "that Laura is not happy there."</p> <p>"I hope she is," said Phineas.</p> <p>"He is so hard and dry, and what I call exacting. That is just the word for it. Now Laura has never been used to that. With me she always had her own way in everything, and I always found her fit to have it. I do not understand why her husband should treat her differently."</p> <p>"Perhaps it is the temper of the man."</p> <p>"Temper, yes; but what a bad prospect is that for her! And she, too, has a temper, and so he will find if he tries her too far. I cannot stand Loughlinter. I told Laura so fairly. It is one of those houses in which a man cannot call his hours his own. I told Laura that I could not undertake to remain there for above a day or two."</p> <p>"It is very sad," said Phineas.</p> <p>"Yes, indeed; it is sad for her, poor girl; and very sad for me too. I have no one else but Laura,&mdash;literally no one; and now I am divided from her! It seems that she has been taken as much away from me as though her husband lived in China. I have lost them both now!"</p> <p>"I hope not, my lord."</p> <p>"I say I have. As to Chiltern, I can perceive that he becomes more and more indifferent to me every day. He thinks of me only as a man in his way who must die some day and may die soon."</p> <p>"You wrong him, Lord Brentford."</p> <p>"I do not wrong him at all. Why has he answered every offer I have made him with so much insolence as to make it impossible for me to put myself into further communion with him?"</p> <p>"He thinks that you have wronged him."</p> <p>"Yes;&mdash;because I have been unable to shut my eyes to his mode of living. I was to go on paying his debts, and taking no other notice whatsoever of his conduct!"</p> <p>"I do not think he is in debt now."</p> <p>"Because his sister the other day spent every shilling of her fortune in paying them. She gave him &pound;40,000! Do you think she would have married Kennedy but for that? I don't. I could not prevent her. I had said that I would not cripple my remaining years of life by raising the money, and I could not go back from my word."</p> <p>"You and Chiltern might raise the money between you."</p> <p>"It would do no good now. She has married Mr. Kennedy, and the money is nothing to her or to him. Chiltern might have put things right by marrying Miss Effingham if he pleased."</p> <p>"I think he did his best there."</p> <p>"No;&mdash;he did his worst. He asked her to be his wife as a man asks for a railway-ticket or a pair of gloves, which he buys with a price; and because she would not jump into his mouth he gave it up. I don't believe he even really wanted to marry her. I suppose he has some disreputable connection to prevent it."</p> <p>"Nothing of the kind. He would marry her to-morrow if he could. My belief is that Miss Effingham is sincere in refusing him."</p> <p>"I don't doubt her sincerity."</p> <p>"And that she will never change."</p> <p>"Ah, well; I don't agree with you, and I daresay I know them both better than you do. But everything goes against me. I had set my heart upon it, and therefore of course I shall be disappointed. What is he going to do this autumn?"</p> <p>"He is yachting now."</p> <p>"And who are with him?"</p> <p>"I think the boat belongs to Captain Colepepper."</p> <p>"The greatest blackguard in all England! A man who shoots pigeons and rides steeple-chases! And the worst of Chiltern is this, that even if he didn't like the man, and if he were tired of this sort of life, he would go on just the same because he thinks it a fine thing not to give way." This was so true that Phineas did not dare to contradict the statement, and therefore said nothing. "I had some faint hope," continued the Earl, "while Laura could always watch him; because, in his way, he was fond of his sister. But that is all over now. She will have enough to do to watch herself!"</p> <p>Phineas had felt that the Earl had put him down rather sharply when he had said that Violet would never accept Lord Chiltern, and he was therefore not a little surprised when Lord Brentford spoke again of Miss Effingham the following morning, holding in his hand a letter which he had just received from her. "They are to be at Loughlinter on the tenth," he said, "and she purposes to come here for a couple of nights on her way."</p> <p>"Lady Baldock and all?"</p> <p>"Well, yes; Lady Baldock and all. I am not very fond of Lady Baldock, but I will put up with her for a couple of days for the sake of having Violet. She is more like a child of my own now than anybody else. I shall not see her all the autumn afterwards. I cannot stand Loughlinter."</p> <p>"It will be better when the house is full."</p> <p>"You will be there, I suppose?"</p> <p>"Well, no; I think not," said Phineas.</p> <p>"You have had enough of it, have you?" Phineas made no reply to this, but smiled slightly. "By Jove, I don't wonder at it," said the Earl. Phineas, who would have given all he had in the world to be staying in the same country house with Violet Effingham, could not explain how it had come to pass that he was obliged to absent himself. "I suppose you were asked?" said the Earl.</p> <p>"Oh, yes, I was asked. Nothing can be kinder than they are."</p> <p>"Kennedy told me that you were coming as a matter of course."</p> <p>"I explained to him after that," said Phineas, "that I should not return. I shall go over to Ireland. I have a deal of hard reading to do, and I can get through it there without interruption."</p> <p>He went up from Saulsby to London on that day, and found himself quite alone in Mrs. Bunce's lodgings. I mean not only that he was alone at his lodgings, but he was alone at his club, and alone in the streets. July was not quite over, and yet all the birds of passage had migrated. Mr. Mildmay, by his short session, had half ruined the London tradesmen, and had changed the summer mode of life of all those who account themselves to be anybody. Phineas, as he sat alone in his room, felt himself to be nobody. He had told the Earl that he was going to Ireland, and to Ireland he must go;&mdash;because he had nothing else to do. He had been asked indeed to join one or two parties in their autumn plans. Mr. Monk had wanted him to go to the Pyrenees, and Lord Chiltern had suggested that he should join the yacht;&mdash;but neither plan suited him. It would have suited him to be at Loughlinter with Violet Effingham, but Loughlinter was a barred house to him. His old friend, Lady Laura, had told him not to come thither, explaining, with sufficient clearness, her reasons for excluding him from the number of her husband's guests. As he thought of it the past scenes of his life became very marvellous to him. Twelve months since he would have given all the world for a word of love from Lady Laura, and had barely dared to hope that such a word, at some future day, might possibly be spoken. Now such a word had in truth been spoken, and it had come to be simply a trouble to him. She had owned to him,&mdash;for, in truth, such had been the meaning of her warning to him,&mdash;that, though she had married another man, she had loved and did love him. But in thinking of this he took no pride in it. It was not till he had thought of it long that he began to ask himself whether he might not be justified in gathering from what happened some hope that Violet also might learn to love him. He had thought so little of himself as to have been afraid at first to press his suit with Lady Laura. Might he not venture to think more of himself, having learned how far he had succeeded?</p> <p>But how was he to get at Violet Effingham? From the moment at which he had left Saulsby he had been angry with himself for not having asked Lord Brentford to allow him to remain there till after the Baldock party should have gone on to Loughlinter. The Earl, who was very lonely in his house, would have consented at once. Phineas, indeed, was driven to confess to himself that success with Violet would at once have put an end to all his friendship with Lord Brentford;&mdash;as also to all his friendship with Lord Chiltern. He would, in such case, be bound in honour to vacate his seat and give back Loughton to his offended patron. But he would have given up much more than his seat for Violet Effingham! At present, however, he had no means of getting at her to ask her the question. He could hardly go to Loughlinter in opposition to the wishes of Lady Laura.</p> <p>A little adventure happened to him in London which somewhat relieved the dulness of the days of the first week in August. He remained in London till the middle of August, half resolving to rush down to Saulsby when Violet Effingham should be there,&mdash;endeavouring to find some excuse for such a proceeding, but racking his brains in vain,&mdash;and then there came about his little adventure. The adventure was commenced by the receipt of the following letter:&mdash;<br />&nbsp;</p> <blockquote> <p class="jright"><i>Banner of the People Office,<br /> 3rd August, 186&ndash;&ndash;</i>.</p> <p class="noindent"><span class="smallcaps">My dear Finn</span>,</p> <p>I must say I think you have treated me badly, and without that sort of brotherly fairness which we on the public press expect from one another. However, perhaps we can come to an understanding, and if so, things may yet go smoothly. Give me a turn and I am not at all adverse to give you one. Will you come to me here, or shall I call upon you?</p> <p class="ind10">Yours always, Q. S.<br />&nbsp;</p> </blockquote> <p>Phineas was not only surprised, but disgusted also, at the receipt of this letter. He could not imagine what was the deed by which he had offended Mr. Slide. He thought over all the circumstances of his short connection with the <i>People's Banner</i>, but could remember nothing which might have created offence. But his disgust was greater than his surprise. He thought that he had done nothing and said nothing to justify Quintus Slide in calling him "dear Finn." He, who had Lady Laura's secret in his keeping; he who hoped to be the possessor of Violet Effingham's affections,&mdash;he to be called "dear Finn" by such a one as Quintus Slide! He soon made up his mind that he would not answer the note, but would go at once to the <i>People's Banner</i> office at the hour at which Quintus Slide was always there. He certainly would not write to "dear Slide;" and, until he had heard something more of this cause of offence, he would not make an enemy for ever by calling the man "dear Sir." He went to the office of the <i>People's Banner</i>, and found Mr. Slide ensconced in a little glass cupboard, writing an article for the next day's copy.</p> <p>"I suppose you're very busy," said Phineas, inserting himself with some difficulty on to a little stool in the corner of the cupboard.</p> <p>"Not so particular but what I'm glad to see you. You shoot, don't you?"</p> <p>"Shoot!" said Phineas. It could not be possible that Mr. Slide was intending, after this abrupt fashion, to propose a duel with pistols.</p> <p>"Grouse and pheasants, and them sort of things?" asked Mr. Slide.</p> <p>"Oh, ah; I understand. Yes, I shoot sometimes."</p> <p>"Is it the 12th or 20th for grouse in Scotland?"</p> <p>"The 12th," said Phineas. "What makes you ask that just now?"</p> <p>"I'm doing a letter about it,&mdash;advising men not to shoot too many of the young birds, and showing that they'll have none next year if they do. I had a fellow here just now who knew all about it, and he put down a lot; but I forgot to make him tell me the day of beginning. What's a good place to date from?"</p> <p>Phineas suggested Callender or Stirling.</p> <p>"Stirling's too much of a town, isn't it? Callender sounds better for game, I think."</p> <p>So the letter which was to save the young grouse was dated from Callender; and Mr. Quintus Slide having written the word, threw down his pen, came off his stool, and rushed at once at his subject.</p> <p>"Well, now, Finn," he said, "don't you know that you've treated me badly about Loughton?"</p> <p>"Treated you badly about Loughton!" Phineas, as he repeated the words, was quite in the dark as to Mr. Slide's meaning. Did Mr. Slide intend to convey a reproach because Phineas had not personally sent some tidings of the election to the <i>People's Banner</i>?</p> <p>"Very badly," said Mr. Slide, with his arms akimbo,&mdash;"very badly indeed! Men on the press together do expect that they're to be stuck by, and not thrown over. Damn it, I say; what's the good of a brotherhood if it ain't to be brotherhood?"</p> <p>"Upon my word, I don't know what you mean," said Phineas.</p> <p>"Didn't I tell you that I had Loughton in my heye?" said Quintus.</p> <p>"Oh&mdash;h!"</p> <p>"It's very well to say ho, and look guilty, but didn't I tell you?"</p> <p>"I never heard such nonsense in my life."</p> <p>"Nonsense?"</p> <p>"How on earth could you have stood for Loughton? What interest would you have there? You could not even have found an elector to propose you."</p> <p>"Now, I'll tell you what I'll do, Finn. I think you have thrown me over most shabby, but I won't stand about that. You shall have Loughton this session if you'll promise to make way for me after the next election. If you'll agree to that, we'll have a special leader to say how well Lord What's-his-name has done with the borough; and we'll be your horgan through the whole session."</p> <p>"I never heard such nonsense in my life. In the first place, Loughton is safe to be in the schedule of reduced boroughs. It will be thrown into the county, or joined with a group."</p> <p>"I'll stand the chance of that. Will you agree?"</p> <p>"Agree! No! It's the most absurd proposal that was ever made. You might as well ask me whether I would agree that you should go to heaven. Go to heaven if you can, I should say. I have not the slightest objection. But it's nothing to me."</p> <p>"Very well," said Quintus Slide. "Very well! Now we understand each other, and that's all that I desire. I think that I can show you what it is to come among gentlemen of the press, and then to throw them over. Good morning."</p> <p>Phineas, quite satisfied at the result of the interview as regarded himself, and by no means sorry that there should have arisen a cause of separation between Mr. Quintus Slide and his "dear Finn," shook off a little dust from his foot as he left the office of the <i>People's Banner</i>, and resolved that in future he would attempt to make no connection in that direction. As he returned home he told himself that a member of Parliament should be altogether independent of the press. On the second morning after his meeting with his late friend, he saw the result of his independence. There was a startling article, a tremendous article, showing the pressing necessity of immediate reform, and proving the necessity by an illustration of the borough-mongering rottenness of the present system. When such a patron as Lord Brentford,&mdash;himself a Cabinet Minister with a sinecure,&mdash;could by his mere word put into the House such a stick as Phineas Finn,&mdash;a man who had struggled to stand on his legs before the Speaker, but had wanted both the courage and the capacity, nothing further could surely be wanted to prove that the Reform Bill of 1832 required to be supplemented by some more energetic measure.</p> <p>Phineas laughed as he read the article, and declared to himself that the joke was a good joke. But, nevertheless, he suffered. Mr. Quintus Slide, when he was really anxious to use his thong earnestly, could generally raise a wale.</p> <p><SPAN name="34"></SPAN>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <h3>CHAPTER XXXIV</h3> <h3>Was He Honest?<br />&nbsp;</h3> <p>On the 10th of August, Phineas Finn did return to Loughton. He went down by the mail train on the night of the 10th, having telegraphed to the inn for a bed, and was up eating his breakfast in that hospitable house at nine o'clock. The landlord and landlady with all their staff were at a loss to imagine what had brought down their member again so quickly to his borough; but the reader, who will remember that Lady Baldock with her daughter and Violet Effingham were to pass the 11th of the month at Saulsby, may perhaps be able to make a guess on the subject.</p> <p>Phineas had been thinking of making this sudden visit to Loughton ever since he had been up in town, but he could suggest to himself no reason to be given to Lord Brentford for his sudden reappearance. The Earl had been very kind to him, but he had said nothing which could justify his young friend in running in and out of Saulsby Castle at pleasure, without invitation and without notice. Phineas was so well aware of this himself that often as he had half resolved during the last ten days to return to Saulsby, so often had he determined that he could not do so. He could think of no excuse. Then the heavens favoured him, and he received a letter from Lord Chiltern, in which there was a message for Lord Brentford. "If you see my father, tell him that I am ready at any moment to do what is necessary for raising the money for Laura." Taking this as his excuse he returned to Loughton.</p> <p>As chance arranged it, he met the Earl standing on the great steps before his own castle doors. "What, Finn; is this you? I thought you were in Ireland."</p> <p>"Not yet, my lord, as you see." Then he opened his budget at once, and blushed at his own hypocrisy as he went on with his story. He had, he said, felt the message from Chiltern to be so all-important that he could not bring himself to go over to Ireland without delivering it. He urged upon the Earl that he might learn from this how anxious Lord Chiltern was to effect a reconciliation. When it occurred to him, he said, that there might be a hope of doing anything towards such an object, he could not go to Ireland leaving the good work behind him. In love and war all things are fair. So he declared to himself; but as he did so he felt that his story was so weak that it would hardly gain for him an admittance into the Castle. In this he was completely wrong. The Earl, swallowing the bait, put his arm through that of the intruder, and, walking with him through the paths of the shrubbery, at length confessed that he would be glad to be reconciled to his son if it were possible. "Let him come here, and she shall be here also," said the Earl, speaking of Violet. To this Phineas could say nothing out loud, but he told himself that all should be fair between them. He would take no dishonest advantage of Lord Chiltern. He would give Lord Chiltern the whole message as it was given to him by Lord Brentford. But should it so turn out that he himself got an opportunity of saying to Violet all that he had come to say, and should it also turn out,&mdash;an event which he acknowledged to himself to be most unlikely,&mdash;that Violet did not reject him, then how could he write his letter to Lord Chiltern? So he resolved that the letter should be written before he saw Violet. But how could he write such a letter and instantly afterwards do that which would be false to the spirit of a letter so written? Could he bid Lord Chiltern come home to woo Violet Effingham, and instantly go forth to woo her for himself? He found that he could not do so,&mdash;unless he told the whole truth to Lord Chiltern. In no other way could he carry out his project and satisfy his own idea of what was honest.</p> <p>The Earl bade him send to the hotel for his things. "The Baldock people are all here, you know, but they go very early to-morrow." Then Phineas declared that he also must return to London very early on the morrow;&mdash;but in the meantime he would go to the inn and fetch his things. The Earl thanked him again and again for his generous kindness; and Phineas, blushing as he received the thanks, went back and wrote his letter to Lord Chiltern. It was an elaborate letter, written, as regards the first and larger portion of it, with words intended to bring the prodigal son back to the father's home. And everything was said about Miss Effingham that could or should have been said. Then, on the last page, he told his own story. "Now," he said, "I must speak of myself:"&mdash;and he went on to explain to his friend, in the plainest language that he could use, his own position. "I have loved her," he said, "for six months, and I am here with the express intention of asking her to take me. The chances are ten to one that she refuses me. I do not deprecate your anger,&mdash;if you choose to be angry. But I am endeavouring to treat you well, and I ask you to do the same by me. I must convey to you your father's message, and after doing so I cannot address myself to Miss Effingham without telling you. I should feel myself to be false were I to do so. In the event,&mdash;the probable, nay, almost certain event of my being refused,&mdash;I shall trust you to keep my secret. Do not quarrel with me if you can help it;&mdash;but if you must I will be ready." Then he posted the letter and went up to the Castle.</p> <p>He had only the one day for his action, and he knew that Violet was watched by Lady Baldock as by a dragon. He was told that the Earl was out with the young ladies, and was shown to his room. On going to the drawing-room he found Lady Baldock, with whom he had been, to a certain degree, a favourite, and was soon deeply engaged in a conversation as to the practicability of shutting up all the breweries and distilleries by Act of Parliament. But lunch relieved him, and brought the young ladies in at two. Miss Effingham seemed to be really glad to see him, and even Miss Boreham, Lady Baldock's daughter, was very gracious to him. For the Earl had been speaking well of his young member, and Phineas had in a way grown into the good graces of sober and discreet people. After lunch they were to ride;&mdash;the Earl, that is, and Violet. Lady Baldock and her daughter were to have the carriage. "I can mount you, Finn, if you would like it," said the Earl. "Of course he'll like it," said Violet; "do you suppose Mr. Finn will object to ride with me in Saulsby Woods? It won't be the first time, will it?" "Violet," said Lady Baldock, "you have the most singular way of talking." "I suppose I have," said Violet; "but I don't think I can change it now. Mr. Finn knows me too well to mind it much."</p> <p>It was past five before they were on horseback, and up to that time Phineas had not found himself alone with Violet Effingham for a moment. They had sat together after lunch in the dining-room for nearly an hour, and had sauntered into the hall and knocked about the billiard balls, and then stood together at the open doors of a conservatory. But Lady Baldock or Miss Boreham had always been there. Nothing could be more pleasant than Miss Effingham's words, or more familiar than her manner to Phineas. She had expressed strong delight at his success in getting a seat in Parliament, and had talked to him about the Kennedys as though they had created some special bond of union between her and Phineas which ought to make them intimate. But, for all that, she could not be got to separate herself from Lady Baldock;&mdash;and when she was told that if she meant to ride she must go and dress herself, she went at once.</p> <p>But he thought that he might have a chance on horseback; and after they had been out about half an hour, chance did favour him. For awhile he rode behind with the carriage, calculating that by his so doing the Earl would be put off his guard, and would be disposed after awhile to change places with him. And so it fell out. At a certain fall of ground in the park, where the road turned round and crossed a bridge over the little river, the carriage came up with the first two horses, and Lady Baldock spoke a word to the Earl. Then Violet pulled up, allowing the vehicle to pass the bridge first, and in this way she and Phineas were brought together,&mdash;and in this way they rode on. But he was aware that he must greatly increase the distance between them and the others of their party before he could dare to plead his suit, and even were that done he felt that he would not know how to plead it on horseback.</p> <p>They had gone on some half mile in this way when they reached a spot on which a green ride led away from the main road through the trees to the left. "You remember this place, do you not?" said Violet. Phineas declared that he remembered it well. "I must go round by the woodman's cottage. You won't mind coming?" Phineas said that he would not mind, and trotted on to tell them in the carriage.</p> <p>"Where is she going?" asked Lady Baldock; and then, when Phineas explained, she begged the Earl to go back to Violet. The Earl, feeling the absurdity of this, declared that Violet knew her way very well herself, and thus Phineas got his opportunity.</p> <p>They rode on almost without speaking for nearly a mile, cantering through the trees, and then they took another turn to the right, and came upon the cottage. They rode to the door, and spoke a word or two to the woman there, and then passed on. "I always come here when I am at Saulsby," said Violet, "that I may teach myself to think kindly of Lord Chiltern."</p> <p>"I understand it all," said Phineas.</p> <p>"He used to be so nice;&mdash;and is so still, I believe, only that he has taught himself to be so rough. Will he ever change, do you think?"</p> <p>Phineas knew that in this emergency it was his especial duty to be honest. "I think he would be changed altogether if we could bring him here,&mdash;so that he should live among his friends."</p> <p>"Do you think he would? We must put our heads together, and do it. Don't you think that it is to be done?"</p> <p>Phineas replied that he thought it was to be done. "I'll tell you the truth at once, Miss Effingham," he said. "You can do it by a single word."</p> <p>"Yes;&mdash;yes;" she said; "but I do not mean that;&mdash;without that. It is absurd, you know, that a father should make such a condition as that." Phineas said that he thought it was absurd; and then they rode on again, cantering through the wood. He had been bold to speak to her about Lord Chiltern as he had done, and she had answered just as he would have wished to be answered. But how could he press his suit for himself while she was cantering by his side?</p> <p>Presently they came to rough ground over which they were forced to walk, and he was close by her side. "Mr. Finn," she said, "I wonder whether I may ask a question?"</p> <p>"Any question," he replied.</p> <p>"Is there any quarrel between you and Lady Laura?"</p> <p>"None."</p> <p>"Or between you and him?"</p> <p>"No;&mdash;none. We are greater allies than ever."</p> <p>"Then why are you not going to be at Loughlinter? She has written to me expressly saying you would not be there."</p> <p>He paused a moment before he replied. "It did not suit," he said at last.</p> <p>"It is a secret then?"</p> <p>"Yes;&mdash;it is a secret. You are not angry with me?"</p> <p>"Angry; no."</p> <p>"It is not a secret of my own, or I should not keep it from you."</p> <p>"Perhaps I can guess it," she said. "But I will not try. I will not even think of it."</p> <p>"The cause, whatever it be, has been full of sorrow to me. I would have given my left hand to have been at Loughlinter this autumn."</p> <p>"Are you so fond of it?"</p> <p>"I should have been staying there with you," he said. He paused, and for a moment there was no word spoken by either of them; but he could perceive that the hand in which she held her whip was playing with her horse's mane with a nervous movement. "When I found how it must be, and that I must miss you, I rushed down here that I might see you for a moment. And now I am here I do not dare to speak to you of myself." They were now beyond the rocks, and Violet, without speaking a word, again put her horse into a trot. He was by her side in a moment, but he could not see her face. "Have you not a word to say to me?" he asked.</p> <p>"No;&mdash;no;&mdash;no;" she replied, "not a word when you speak to me like that. There is the carriage. Come;&mdash;we will join them." Then she cantered on, and he followed her till they reached the Earl and Lady Baldock and Miss Boreham. "I have done my devotions now," said Miss Effingham, "and am ready to return to ordinary life."</p> <p>Phineas could not find another moment in which to speak to her. Though he spent the evening with her, and stood over her as she sang at the Earl's request, and pressed her hand as she went to bed, and was up to see her start in the morning, he could not draw from her either a word or a look.</p> <p>
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