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Treasurer and my Lord Halifax were equally anxious; and

2023-12-04 01:25:13 source:Lawless netauthor: year click:158Second-rate

It was her own choice that she did not go with her husband and Marian to John Yule's. She made an excuse that the house could not be left to one servant; but in any case she would have remained at home, for her presence must needs be an embarrassment both to father and daughter. Alfred was always ashamed of her before strangers; he could not conceal his feeling, either from her or from other people who had reason for observing him. Marian was not perhaps ashamed, but such companionship put restraint upon her freedom. And would it not always be the same? Supposing Mr Milvain were to come to this house, would it not repel him when he found what sort of person Marian's mother was?

Treasurer and my Lord Halifax were equally anxious; and

She shed a few tears over her needlework.

Treasurer and my Lord Halifax were equally anxious; and

At midnight the study door opened. Yule came to the dining-room to see that all was right, and it surprised him to find his wife still sitting there.

Treasurer and my Lord Halifax were equally anxious; and

'Forgotten, forgotten. Don't go back to that kind of language again. Come, put the light out.'


Of the acquaintances Yule had retained from his earlier years several were in the well-defined category of men with unpresentable wives. There was Hinks, for instance, whom, though in anger he spoke of him as a bore, Alfred held in some genuine regard. Hinks made perhaps a hundred a year out of a kind of writing which only certain publishers can get rid of and of this income he spent about a third on books. His wife was the daughter of a laundress, in whose house he had lodged thirty years ago, when new to London but already long-acquainted with hunger; they lived in complete harmony, but Mrs Hinks, who was four years the elder, still spoke the laundress tongue, unmitigated and immitigable. Another pair were Mr and Mrs Gorbutt. In this case there were no narrow circumstances to contend with, for the wife, originally a nursemaid, not long after her marriage inherited house property from a relative. Mr Gorbutt deemed himself a poet; since his accession to an income he had published, at his own expense, a yearly volume of verses; the only result being to keep alive rancour in his wife, who was both parsimonious and vain. Making no secret of it, Mrs Gorbutt rued the day on which she had wedded a man of letters, when by waiting so short a time she would have been enabled to aim at a prosperous tradesman, who kept his gig and had everything handsome about him. Mrs Yule suspected, not without reason, that this lady had an inclination to strong liquors. Thirdly came Mr and Mrs Christopherson, who were poor as church mice. Even in a friend's house they wrangled incessantly, and made tragi-comical revelations of their home life. The husband worked casually at irresponsible journalism, but his chosen study was metaphysics; for many years he had had a huge and profound book on hand, which he believed would bring him fame, though he was not so unsettled in mind as to hope for anything else. When an article or two had earned enough money for immediate necessities he went off to the British Museum, and then the difficulty was to recall him to profitable exertions. Yet husband and wife had an affection for each other. Mrs Christopherson came from Camberwell, where her father, once upon a time, was the smallest of small butchers. Disagreeable stories were whispered concerning her earlier life, and probably the metaphysician did not care to look back in that direction. They had had three children; all were happily buried.

These men were capable of better things than they had done or would ever do; in each case their failure to fulfil youthful promise was largely explained by the unpresentable wife. They should have waited; they might have married a social equal at something between fifty and sixty.

Another old friend was Mr Quarmby. Unwedded he, and perpetually exultant over men who, as he phrased it, had noosed themselves. He made a fair living, but, like Dr Johnson, had no passion for clean linen.

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