Kategoria: Obyczajowe i romanse Język: angielski Rok wydania: 1873

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Opinie o ebooku Phineas Redux - Anthony Trollope

Fragment ebooka Phineas Redux - Anthony Trollope

Chapter 1 - Temptation
Chapter 2 - Harrington Hall
Chapter 3 - Gerard Maule
Chapter 4 - Tankerville
Chapter 5 - Mr. Daubeny's Great Move
Chapter 6 - Phineas and His Old Friends
Chapter 7 - Coming Home from Hunting

About Trollope:

Anthony Trollope's father, Thomas Anthony Trollope, worked as a barrister. Thomas Trollope, though a clever and well-educated man and a Fellow of New College, Oxford, failed at the bar due to his bad temper. In addition, his ventures into farming proved unprofitable and he lost an expected inheritance when an elderly uncle married and had children. Nonetheless, he came from a genteel background, with connections to the landed gentry, and so wished to educate his sons as gentlemen and for them to attend Oxford or Cambridge. The disparity between his family's social background and its poverty would be the cause of much misery to Anthony Trollope during his boyhood. Born in London, Anthony attended Harrow School as a day-boy for three years from the age of seven, as his father's farm lay in that neighbourhood. After a spell at a private school, he followed his father and two older brothers to Winchester College, where he remained for three years. He returned to Harrow as a day-boy to reduce the cost of his education. Trollope had some very miserable experiences at these two public schools. They ranked as two of the most élite schools in England, but Trollope had no money and no friends, and got bullied a great deal. At the age of twelve, he fantasized about suicide. However, he also daydreamed, constructing elaborate imaginary worlds. In 1827, his mother Frances Trollope moved to America with Trollope's three younger siblings, where she opened a bazaar in Cincinnati, which proved unsuccessful. Thomas Trollope joined them for a short time before returning to the farm at Harrow, but Anthony stayed in England throughout. His mother returned in 1831 and rapidly made a name for herself as a writer, soon earning a good income. His father's affairs, however, went from bad to worse. He gave up his legal practice entirely and failed to make enough income from farming to pay rents to his landlord Lord Northwick. In 1834 he fled to Belgium to avoid arrest for debt. The whole family moved to a house near Bruges, where they lived entirely on Frances's earnings. In 1835, Thomas Trollope died. While living in Belgium, Anthony worked as a Classics usher (a junior or assistant teacher) in a school with a view to learning French and German, so that he could take up a promised commission in an Austrian cavalry regiment, which had to be cut short at six weeks. He then obtained a position as a civil servant in the British Post Office through one of his mother's family connections, and returned to London on his own. This provided a respectable, gentlemanly occupation, but not a well-paid one. (from Wikipedia)

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Chapter 1 Temptation

The circumstances of the general election of 18- will be well remembered by all those who take an interest in the political matters of the country. There had been a coming in and a going out of Ministers previous to that,-somewhat rapid, very exciting, and, upon the whole, useful as showing the real feeling of the country upon sundry questions of public interest. Mr. Gresham had been Prime Minister of England, as representative of the Liberal party in politics. There had come to be a split among those who should have been his followers on the terribly vexed question of the Ballot. Then Mr. Daubeny for twelve months had sat upon the throne distributing the good things of the Crown amidst Conservative birdlings, with beaks wide open and craving maws, who certainly for some years previous had not received their share of State honours or State emoluments. And Mr. Daubeny was still so sitting, to the infinite dismay of the Liberals, every man of whom felt that his party was entitled by numerical strength to keep the management of the Government within its own hands.

Let a man be of what side he may in politics,-unless he be much more of a partisan than a patriot,-he will think it well that there should be some equity of division in the bestowal of crumbs of comfort. Can even any old Whig wish that every Lord Lieutenant of a county should be an old Whig? Can it be good for the administration of the law that none but Liberal lawyers should become Attorney-Generals, and from thence Chief Justices or Lords of Appeal? Should no Conservative Peer ever represent the majesty of England in India, in Canada, or at St. Petersburgh? So arguing, moderate Liberals had been glad to give Mr. Daubeny and his merry men a chance. Mr. Daubeny and his merry men had not neglected the chance given them. Fortune favoured them, and they made their hay while the sun shone with an energy that had never been surpassed, improving upon Fortune, till their natural enemies waxed impatient. There had been as yet but one year of it, and the natural enemies, who had at first expressed themselves as glad that the turn had come, might have endured the period of spoliation with more equanimity. For to them, the Liberals, this cutting up of the Whitehall cake by the Conservatives was spoliation when the privilege of cutting was found to have so much exceeded what had been expected. Were not they, the Liberals, the real representatives of the people, and, therefore, did not the cake in truth appertain to them? Had not they given up the cake for a while, partly, indeed, through idleness and mismanagement, and quarrelling among themselves; but mainly with a feeling that a moderate slicing on the other side would, upon the whole, be advantageous? But when the cake came to be mauled like that-oh, heavens! So the men who had quarrelled agreed to quarrel no more, and it was decided that there should be an end of mismanagement and idleness, and that this horrid sight of the weak pretending to be strong, or the weak receiving the reward of strength, should be brought to an end. Then came a great fight, in the last agonies of which the cake was sliced manfully. All the world knew how the fight would go; but in the meantime lord-lieutenancies were arranged; very ancient judges retired upon pensions; vice-royal Governors were sent out in the last gasp of the failing battle; great places were filled by tens, and little places by twenties; private secretaries were established here and there; and the hay was still made even after the sun had gone down.

In consequence of all this the circumstances of the election of 18- were peculiar. Mr. Daubeny had dissolved the House, not probably with any idea that he could thus retrieve his fortunes, but feeling that in doing so he was occupying the last normal position of a properly-fought Constitutional battle. His enemies were resolved, more firmly than they were resolved before, to knock him altogether on the head at the general election which he had himself called into existence. He had been disgracefully out-voted in the House of Commons on various subjects. On the last occasion he had gone into his lobby with a minority of 37, upon a motion brought forward by Mr. Palliser, the late Liberal Chancellor of the Exchequer, respecting decimal coinage. No politician, not even Mr. Palliser himself, had expected that he would carry his Bill in the present session. It was brought forward as a trial of strength; and for such a purpose decimal coinage was as good a subject as any other. It was Mr. Palliser's hobby, and he was gratified at having this further opportunity of ventilating it. When in power, he had not succeeded in carrying his measure, awed, and at last absolutely beaten, by the infinite difficulty encountered in arranging its details. But his mind was still set upon it, and it was allowed by the whole party to be as good as anything else for the purpose then required. The Conservative Government was beaten for the third or fourth time, and Mr. Daubeny dissolved the House.

The whole world said that he might as well have resigned at once. It was already the end of July, and there must be an autumn Session with the new members. It was known to be impossible that he should find himself supported by a majority after a fresh election. He had been treated with manifest forbearance; the cake had been left in his hands for twelve months; the House was barely two years old; he had no "cry" with which to meet the country; the dissolution was factious, dishonest, and unconstitutional. So said all the Liberals, and it was deduced also that the Conservatives were in their hearts as angry as were their opponents. What was to be gained but the poor interval of three months? There were clever men who suggested that Mr. Daubeny had a scheme in his head-some sharp trick of political conjuring, some "hocus-pocus presto" sleight of hand, by which he might be able to retain power, let the elections go as they would. But, if so, he certainly did not make his scheme known to his own party.

He had no cry with which to meet the country, nor, indeed, had the leaders of the Opposition. Retrenchment, army reform, navy excellence, Mr. Palliser's decimal coinage, and general good government gave to all the old-Whig moderate Liberals plenty of matter for speeches to their future constituents. Those who were more advanced could promise the Ballot, and suggest the disestablishment of the Church. But the Government of the day was to be turned out on the score of general incompetence. They were to be made to go, because they could not command majorities. But there ought to have been no dissolution, and Mr. Daubeny was regarded by his opponents, and indeed by very many of his followers also, with an enmity that was almost ferocious. A seat in Parliament, if it be for five or six years, is a blessing; but the blessing becomes very questionable if it have to be sought afresh every other Session.

One thing was manifest to thoughtful, working, eager political Liberals. They must have not only a majority in the next Parliament, but a majority of good men-of men good and true. There must be no more mismanagement; no more quarrelling; no more idleness. Was it to be borne that an unprincipled so-called Conservative Prime Minister should go on slicing the cake after such a fashion as that lately adopted? Old bishops had even talked of resigning, and Knights of the Garter had seemed to die on purpose. So there was a great stir at the Liberal political clubs, and every good and true man was summoned to the battle.

Now no Liberal soldier, as a young soldier, had been known to be more good and true than Mr. Finn, the Irishman, who had held office two years ago to the satisfaction of all his friends, and who had retired from office because he had found himself compelled to support a measure which had since been carried by those very men from whom he had been obliged on this account to divide himself. It had always been felt by his old friends that he had been, if not ill-used, at least very unfortunate. He had been twelve months in advance of his party, and had consequently been driven out into the cold. So when the names of good men and true were mustered, and weighed, and discussed, and scrutinised by some active members of the Liberal party in a certain very private room not far removed from our great seat of parliamentary warfare; and when the capabilities, and expediencies, and possibilities were tossed to and fro among these active members, it came to pass that the name of Mr. Finn was mentioned more than once. Mr. Phineas Finn was the gentleman's name-which statement may be necessary to explain the term of endearment which was occasionally used in speaking of him.

"He has got some permanent place," said Mr. Ratler, who was living on the well-founded hope of being a Treasury Secretary under the new dispensation; "and of course he won't leave it."

It must be acknowledged that Mr. Ratler, than whom no judge in such matters possessed more experience, had always been afraid of Phineas Finn.

"He'll lave it fast enough, if you'll make it worth his while," said the Honourable Laurence Fitzgibbon, who also had his expectations.

"But he married when he went away, and he can't afford it," said Mr. Bonteen, another keen expectant.

"Devil a bit," said the Honourable Laurence; "or, anyways, the poor thing died of her first baby before it was born. Phinny hasn't an impidiment, no more than I have."

"He's the best Irishman we ever got hold of," said Barrington Erle-"present company always excepted, Laurence."

"Bedad, you needn't except me, Barrington. I know what a man's made of, and what a man can do. And I know what he can't do. I'm not bad at the outside skirmishing. I'm worth me salt. I say that with a just reliance on me own powers. But Phinny is a different sort of man. Phinny can stick to a desk from twelve to seven, and wish to come back again after dinner. He's had money left him, too, and 'd like to spend some of it on an English borough."

"You never can quite trust him," said Bonteen. Now Mr. Bonteen had never loved Mr. Finn.

"At any rate we'll try him again," said Barrington Erle, making a little note to that effect. And they did try him again.

Phineas Finn, when last seen by the public, was departing from parliamentary life in London to the enjoyment of a modest place under Government in his own country, with something of a shattered ambition. After various turmoils he had achieved a competency, and had married the girl of his heart. But now his wife was dead, and he was again alone in the world. One of his friends had declared that money had been left to him. That was true, but the money had not been much. Phineas Finn had lost his father as well as his wife, and had inherited about four thousand pounds. He was not at this time much over thirty; and it must be acknowledged in regard to him that, since the day on which he had accepted place and retired from London, his very soul had sighed for the lost glories of Westminster and Downing Street.

There are certain modes of life which, if once adopted, make contentment in any other circumstances almost an impossibility. In old age a man may retire without repining, though it is often beyond the power even of the old man to do so; but in youth, with all the faculties still perfect, with the body still strong, with the hopes still buoyant, such a change as that which had been made by Phineas Finn was more than he, or than most men, could bear with equanimity. He had revelled in the gas-light, and could not lie quiet on a sunny bank. To the palate accustomed to high cookery, bread and milk is almost painfully insipid. When Phineas Finn found himself discharging in Dublin the routine duties of his office,-as to which there was no public comment, no feeling that such duties were done in the face of the country,-he became sick at heart and discontented. Like the warhorse out at grass he remembered the sound of the battle and the noise of trumpets. After five years spent in the heat and full excitement of London society, life in Ireland was tame to him, and cold, and dull. He did not analyse the difference between metropolitan and quasi-metropolitan manners; but he found that men and women in Dublin were different from those to whom he had been accustomed in London. He had lived among lords, and the sons and daughters of lords; and though the official secretaries and assistant commissioners among whom his lot now threw him were for the most part clever fellows, fond of society, and perhaps more than his equals in the kind of conversation which he found to be prevalent, still they were not the same as the men he had left behind him,-men alive with the excitement of parliamentary life in London. When in London he had often told himself that he was sick of it, and that he would better love some country quiet life. Now Dublin was his Tibur, and the fickle one found that he could not be happy unless he were back again at Rome. When, therefore, he received the following letter from his friend, Barrington Erle, he neighed like the old warhorse, and already found himself shouting "Ha, ha," among the trumpets.

My dear Finn,

Although you are not now immediately concerned in such trifling matters you have no doubt heard that we are all to be sent back at once to our constituents, and that there will be a general election about the end of September. We are sure that we shall have such a majority as we never had before; but we are determined to make it as strong as possible, and to get in all the good men that are to be had. Have you a mind to try again? After all, there is nothing like it.

Perhaps you may have some Irish seat in your eye for which you would be safe. To tell the truth we know very little of the Irish seats-not so much as, I think, we ought to do. But if you are not so lucky I would suggest Tankerville in Durham. Of course there would be a contest, and a little money will be wanted; but the money would not be much. Browborough has sat for the place now for three Parliaments, and seems to think it all his own. I am told that nothing could be easier than to turn him out. You will remember the man-a great, hulking, heavy, speechless fellow, who always used to sit just over Lord Macaw's shoulder. I have made inquiry, and I am told that he must walk if anybody would go down who could talk to the colliers every night for a week or so. It would just be the work for you. Of course, you should have all the assistance we could give you, and Molescroft would put you into the hands of an agent who wouldn't spend money for you. L500 would do it all.

I am very sorry to hear of your great loss, as also was Lady Laura, who, as you are aware, is still abroad with her father. We have all thought that the loneliness of your present life might perhaps make you willing to come back among us. I write instead of Ratler, because I am helping him in the Northern counties. But you will understand all about that.

Yours, ever faithfully,

Barrington Erle.

Of course Tankerville has been dirty. Browborough has spent a fortune there. But I do not think that that need dishearten you. You will go there with clean hands. It must be understood that there shall not be as much as a glass of beer. I am told that the fellows won't vote for Browborough unless he spends money, and I fancy he will be afraid to do it heavily after all that has come and gone. If he does you'll have him out on a petition. Let us have an answer as soon as possible.

He at once resolved that he would go over and see; but, before he replied to Erle's letter, he walked half-a-dozen times the length of the pier at Kingston meditating on his answer. He had no one belonging to him. He had been deprived of his young bride, and left desolate. He could ruin no one but himself. Where could there be a man in all the world who had a more perfect right to play a trick with his own prospects? If he threw up his place and spent all his money, who could blame him? Nevertheless, he did tell himself that, when he should have thrown up his place and spent all his money, there would remain to him his own self to be disposed of in a manner that might be very awkward to him. A man owes it to his country, to his friends, even to his acquaintance, that he shall not be known to be going about wanting a dinner, with never a coin in his pocket. It is very well for a man to boast that he is lord of himself, and that having no ties he may do as he pleases with that possession. But it is a possession of which, unfortunately, he cannot rid himself when he finds that there is nothing advantageous to be done with it. Doubtless there is a way of riddance. There is the bare bodkin. Or a man may fall overboard between Holyhead and Kingston in the dark, and may do it in such a cunning fashion that his friends shall think that it was an accident. But against these modes of riddance there is a canon set, which some men still fear to disobey.

The thing that he was asked to do was perilous. Standing in his present niche of vantage he was at least safe. And added to his safety there were material comforts. He had more than enough for his wants. His work was light: he lived among men and women with whom he was popular. The very fact of his past parliamentary life had caused him to be regarded as a man of some note among the notables of the Irish capital. Lord Lieutenants were gracious to him, and the wives of judges smiled upon him at their tables. He was encouraged to talk of those wars of the gods at which he had been present, and was so treated as to make him feel that he was somebody in the world of Dublin. Now he was invited to give all this up; and for what?

He answered that question to himself with enthusiastic eloquence. The reward offered to him was the thing which in all the world he liked best. It was suggested to him that he should again have within his reach that parliamentary renown which had once been the very breath of his nostrils. We all know those arguments and quotations, antagonistic to prudence, with which a man fortifies himself in rashness. "None but the brave deserve the fair." "Where there's a will there's a way." "Nothing venture nothing have." "The sword is to him who can use it." "Fortune favours the bold!" But on the other side there is just as much to be said. "A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush." "Look before you leap." "Thrust not out your hand further than you can draw it back again." All which maxims of life Phineas Finn revolved within his own heart, if not carefully, at least frequently, as he walked up and down the long pier of Kingston Harbour.

But what matter such revolvings? A man placed as was our Phineas always does that which most pleases him at the moment, being but poor at argument if he cannot carry the weight to that side which best satisfies his own feelings. Had not his success been very great when he before made the attempt? Was he not well aware at every moment of his life that, after having so thoroughly learned his lesson in London, he was throwing away his hours amidst his present pursuits in Dublin? Did he not owe himself to his country? And then, again, what might not London do for him? Men who had begun as he begun had lived to rule over Cabinets, and to sway the Empire. He had been happy for a short twelvemonth with his young bride,-for a short twelvemonth,-and then she had been taken from him. Had she been spared to him he would never have longed for more than Fate had given him. He would never have sighed again for the glories of Westminster had his Mary not gone from him. Now he was alone in the world; and, though he could look forward to possible and not improbable events which would make that future disposition of himself a most difficult question for him, still he would dare to try.

As the first result of Erle's letter Phineas was over in London early in August. If he went on with this matter, he must, of course, resign the office for holding which he was now paid a thousand a year. He could retain that as long as he chose to earn the money, but the earning of it would not be compatible with a seat in Parliament. He had a few thousand pounds with which he could pay for the contest at Tankerville, for the consequent petition which had been so generously suggested to him, and maintain himself in London for a session or two should he be so fortunate as to carry his election. Then he would be penniless, with the world before him as a closed oyster to be again opened, and he knew,-no one better,-that this oyster becomes harder and harder in the opening as the man who has to open it becomes older. It is an oyster that will close to again with a snap, after you have got your knife well into it, if you withdraw your point but for a moment. He had had a rough tussle with the oyster already, and had reached the fish within the shell. Nevertheless, the oyster which he had got was not the oyster which he wanted. So he told himself now, and here had come to him the chance of trying again.

Early in August he went over to England, saw Mr. Molescroft, and made his first visit to Tankerville. He did not like the look of Tankerville; but nevertheless he resigned his place before the month was over. That was the one great step, or rather the leap in the dark,-and that he took. Things had been so arranged that the election at Tankerville was to take place on the 20th of October. When the dissolution had been notified to all the world by Mr. Daubeny an earlier day was suggested; but Mr. Daubeny saw reasons for postponing it for a fortnight. Mr. Daubeny's enemies were again very ferocious. It was all a trick. Mr. Daubeny had no right to continue Prime Minister a day after the decided expression of opinion as to unfitness which had been pronounced by the House of Commons. Men were waxing very wrath. Nevertheless, so much power remained in Mr. Daubeny's hand, and the election was delayed. That for Tankerville would not be held till the 20th of October. The whole House could not be chosen till the end of the month,-hardly by that time-and yet there was to be an autumn Session. The Ratlers and Bonteens were at any rate clear about the autumn Session. It was absolutely impossible that Mr. Daubeny should be allowed to remain in power over Christmas, and up to February.

Mr. Molescroft, whom Phineas saw in London, was not a comfortable counsellor. "So you are going down to Tankerville?" he said.

"They seem to think I might as well try."

"Quite right;-quite right. Somebody ought to try it, no doubt. It would be a disgrace to the whole party if Browborough were allowed to walk over. There isn't a borough in England more sure to return a Liberal than Tankerville if left to itself. And yet that lump of a legislator has sat there as a Tory for the last dozen years by dint of money and brass."

"You think we can unseat him?"

"I don't say that. He hasn't come to the end of his money, and as to his brass that is positively without end."

"But surely he'll have some fear of consequences after what has been done?"

"None in the least. What has been done? Can you name a single Parliamentary aspirant who has been made to suffer?"

"They have suffered in character," said Phineas. "I should not like to have the things said of me that have been said of them."

"I don't know a man of them who stands in a worse position among his own friends than he occupied before. And men of that sort don't want a good position among their enemies. They know they're safe. When the seat is in dispute everybody is savage enough; but when it is merely a question of punishing a man, what is the use of being savage? Who knows whose turn it may be next?"

"He'll play the old game, then?"

"Of course he'll play the old game," said Mr. Molescroft. "He doesn't know any other game. All the purists in England wouldn't teach him to think that a poor man ought not to sell his vote, and that a rich man oughtn't to buy it. You mean to go in for purity?"

"Certainly I do."

"Browborough will think just as badly of you as you will of him. He'll hate you because he'll think you are trying to rob him of what he has honestly bought; but he'll hate you quite as much because you try to rob the borough. He'd tell you if you asked him that he doesn't want his seat for nothing, any more than he wants his house or his carriage-horses for nothing. To him you'll be a mean, low interloper. But you won't care about that."

"Not in the least, if I can get the seat."

"But I'm afraid you won't. He will be elected. You'll petition. He'll lose his seat. There will be a commission. And then the borough will be disfranchised. It's a fine career, but expensive; and then there is no reward beyond the self-satisfaction arising from a good action. However, Ruddles will do the best he can for you, and it certainly is possible that you may creep through." This was very disheartening, but Barrington Erle assured our hero that such was Mr. Molescroft's usual way with candidates, and that it really meant little or nothing. At any rate, Phineas Finn was pledged to stand.

Chapter 2 Harrington Hall

Phineas, on his first arrival in London, found a few of his old friends, men who were still delayed by business though the Session was over. He arrived on the 10th of August, which may be considered as the great day of the annual exodus, and he remembered how he, too, in former times had gone to Scotland to shoot grouse, and what he had done there besides shooting. He had been a welcome guest at Loughlinter, the magnificent seat of Mr. Kennedy, and indeed there had been that between him and Mr. Kennedy which ought to make him a welcome guest there still. But of Mr. Kennedy he had heard nothing directly since he had left London. From Mr. Kennedy's wife, Lady Laura, who had been his great friend, he had heard occasionally; but she was separated from her husband, and was living abroad with her father, the Earl of Brentford. Has it not been written in a former book how this Lady Laura had been unhappy in her marriage, having wedded herself to a man whom she had never loved, because he was rich and powerful, and how this very Phineas had asked her to be his bride after she had accepted the rich man's hand? Thence had come great trouble, but nevertheless there had been that between Mr. Kennedy and our hero which made Phineas feel that he ought still to be welcomed as a guest should he show himself at the door of Loughlinter Castle. The idea came upon him simply because he found that almost every man for whom he inquired had just started, or was just starting, for the North; and he would have liked to go where others went. He asked a few questions as to Mr. Kennedy from Barrington Erle and others, who had known him, and was told that the man now lived quite alone. He still kept his seat in Parliament, but had hardly appeared during the last Session, and it was thought that he would not come forward again. Of his life in the country nothing was known. "No one fishes his rivers, or shoots his moors, as far as I can learn," said Barrington Erle. "I suppose he looks after the sheep and says his prayers, and keeps his money together."

"And there has been no attempt at a reconciliation?" Phineas asked.

"She went abroad to escape his attempts, and remains there in order that she may be safe. Of all hatreds that the world produces, a wife's hatred for her husband, when she does hate him, is the strongest."

In September Finn was back in Ireland, and about the end of that month he made his first visit to Tankerville. He remained there for three or four days, and was terribly disgusted while staying at the "Yellow" inn, to find that the people of the town would treat him as though he were rolling in wealth. He was soon tired of Tankerville, and as he could do nothing further, on the spot, till the time for canvassing should come on, about ten days previous to the election, he returned to London, somewhat at a loss to know how to bestir himself. But in London he received a letter from another old friend, which decided him:-

My dear Mr. Finn, (said the letter) of course you know that Oswald is now master of the Brake hounds. Upon my word, I think it is the place in the world for which he is most fit. He is a great martinet in the field, and works at it as though it were for his bread. We have been here looking after the kennels and getting up the horses since the beginning of August, and have been cub-hunting ever so long. Oswald wants to know whether you won't come down to him till the election begins in earnest.

We were so glad to hear that you were going to appear again. I have always known that it would be so. I have told Oswald scores of times that I was sure you would never be happy out of Parliament, and that your real home must be somewhere near the Treasury Chambers. You can't alter a man's nature. Oswald was born to be a master of hounds, and you were born to be a Secretary of State. He works the hardest and gets the least pay for it; but then, as he says, he does not run so great a risk of being turned out.

We haven't much of a house, but we have plenty of room for you. As for the house, it was a matter of course, whether good or bad. It goes with the kennels, and I should as little think of having a choice as though I were one of the horses. We have very good stables, and such a stud! I can't tell you how many there are. In October it seems as though their name were legion. In March there is never anything for any body to ride on. I generally find then that mine are taken for the whips. Do come and take advantage of the flush. I can't tell you how glad we shall be to see you. Oswald ought to have written himself, but he says-; I won't tell you what he says. We shall take no refusal. You can have nothing to do before you are wanted at Tankerville.

I was so sorry to hear of your great loss. I hardly know whether to mention it or to be silent in writing. If you were here of course I should speak of her. And I would rather renew your grief for a time than allow you to think that I am indifferent. Pray come to us.

Yours ever most sincerely,

Violet Chiltern.

Harrington Hall, Wednesday.

Phineas Finn at once made up his mind that he would go to Harrington Hall. There was the prospect in this of an immediate return to some of the most charming pleasures of the old life, which was very grateful to him. It pleased him much that he should have been so thought of by this lady,-that she should have sought him out at once, at the moment of his reappearance. That she would have remembered him, he was quite sure, and that her husband, Lord Chiltern, should remember him also, was beyond a doubt. There had been passages in their joint lives which people cannot forget. But it might so well have been the case that they should not have cared to renew their acquaintance with him. As it was, they must have made close inquiry, and had sought him at the first day of his reappearance. The letter had reached him through the hands of Barrington Erle, who was a cousin of Lord Chiltern, and was at once answered as follows:-

Fowler's Hotel, Jermyn Street,

October 1st.

My dear Lady Chiltern,

I cannot tell you how much pleasure the very sight of your handwriting gave me. Yes, here I am again, trying my hand at the old game. They say that you can never cure a gambler or a politician; and, though I had very much to make me happy till that great blow came upon me, I believe that it is so. I am uneasy till I can see once more the Speaker's wig, and hear bitter things said of this "right honourable gentleman," and of that noble friend. I want to be once more in the midst of it; and as I have been left singularly desolate in the world, without a tie by which I am bound to aught but an honourable mode of living, I have determined to run the risk, and have thrown up the place which I held under Government. I am to stand for Tankerville, as you have heard, and I am told by those to whose tender mercies I have been confided by B. E. that I have not a chance of success.

Your invitation is so tempting that I cannot refuse it. As you say, I have nothing to do till the play begins. I have issued my address, and must leave my name and my fame to be discussed by the Tankervillians till I make my appearance among them on the 10th of this month. Of course, I had heard that Chiltern has the Brake, and I have heard also that he is doing it uncommonly well. Tell him that I have hardly seen a hound since the memorable day on which I pulled him out from under his horse in the brook at Wissindine. I don't know whether I can ride a yard now. I will get to you on the 4th, and will remain if you will keep me till the 9th. If Chiltern can put me up on anything a little quieter than Bonebreaker, I'll go out steadily, and see how he does his cubbing. I may, perhaps, be justified in opining that Bonebreaker has before this left the establishment. If so I may, perhaps, find myself up to a little very light work.

Remember me very kindly to him. Does he make a good nurse with the baby?

Yours, always faithfully,

Phineas Finn.

I cannot tell you with what pleasure I look forward to seeing you both again.

The next few days went very heavily with him. There had, indeed, been no real reason why he should not have gone to Harrington Hall at once, except that he did not wish to seem to be utterly homeless. And yet were he there, with his old friends, he would not scruple for a moment in owning that such was the case. He had fixed his day, however, and did remain in London till the 4th. Barrington Erle and Mr. Ratler he saw occasionally, for they were kept in town on the affairs of the election. The one was generally full of hope; but the other was no better than a Job's comforter. "I wouldn't advise you to expect too much at Tankerville, you know," said Mr. Ratler.

"By no means," said Phineas, who had always disliked Ratler, and had known himself to be disliked in return. "I expect nothing."

"Browborough understands such a place as Tankerville so well! He has been at it all his life. Money is no object to him, and he doesn't care a straw what anybody says of him. I don't think it's possible to unseat him."

"We'll try at least," said Phineas, upon whom, however, such remarks as these cast a gloom which he could not succeed in shaking off, though he could summon vigour sufficient to save him from showing the gloom. He knew very well that comfortable words would be spoken to him at Harrington Hall, and that then the gloom would go. The comforting words of his friends would mean quite as little as the discourtesies of Mr. Ratler. He understood that thoroughly, and felt that he ought to hold a stronger control over his own impulses. He must take the thing as it would come, and neither the flatterings of friends nor the threatenings of enemies could alter it; but he knew his own weakness, and confessed to himself that another week of life by himself at Fowler's Hotel, refreshed by occasional interviews with Mr. Ratler, would make him altogether unfit for the coming contest at Tankerville.

He reached Harrington Hall in the afternoon about four, and found Lady Chiltern alone. As soon as he saw her he told himself that she was not in the least altered since he had last been with her, and yet during the period she had undergone that great change which turns a girl into a mother. She had the baby with her when he came into the room, and at once greeted him as an old friend,-as a loved and loving friend who was to be made free at once to all the inmost privileges of real friendship, which are given to and are desired by so few. "Yes, here we are again," said Lady Chiltern, "settled, as far as I suppose we ever shall be settled, for ever so many years to come. The place belongs to old Lord Gunthorpe, I fancy, but really I hardly know. I do know that we should give it up at once if we gave up the hounds, and that we can't be turned out as long as we have them. Doesn't it seem odd to have to depend on a lot of yelping dogs?"

"Only that the yelping dogs depend on you."

"It's a kind of give and take, I suppose, like other things in the world. Of course, he's a beautiful baby. I had him in just that you might see him. I show Baby, and Oswald shows the hounds. We've nothing else to interest anybody. But nurse shall take him now. Come out and have a turn in the shrubbery before Oswald comes back. They're gone to-day as far as Trumpeton Wood, out of which no fox was ever known to break, and they won't be home till six."

"Who are 'they'?" asked Phineas, as he took his hat.

"The 'they' is only Adelaide Palliser. I don't think you ever knew her?"

"Never. Is she anything to the other Pallisers?"

"She is everything to them all; niece and grand-niece, and first cousin and grand-daughter. Her father was the fourth brother, and as she was one of six her share of the family wealth is small. Those Pallisers are very peculiar, and I doubt whether she ever saw the old duke. She has no father or mother, and lives when she is at home with a married sister, about seventy years older than herself, Mrs. Attenbury."

"I remember Mrs. Attenbury."

"Of course you do. Who does not? Adelaide was a child then, I suppose. Though I don't know why she should have been, as she calls herself one-and-twenty now. You'll think her pretty. I don't. But she is my great new friend, and I like her immensely. She rides to hounds, and talks Italian, and writes for the Times."

"Writes for the Times!"

"I won't swear that she does, but she could. There's only one other thing about her. She's engaged to be married."

"To whom?"

"I don't know that I shall answer that question, and indeed I'm not sure that she is engaged. But there's a man dying for her."

"You must know, if she's your friend."

"Of course I know; but there are ever so many ins and outs, and I ought not to have said a word about it. I shouldn't have done so to any one but you. And now we'll go in and have some tea, and go to bed."

"Go to bed!"

"We always go to bed here before dinner on hunting days. When the cubbing began Oswald used to be up at three."

"He doesn't get up at three now."

"Nevertheless we go to bed. You needn't if you don't like, and I'll stay with you if you choose till you dress for dinner. I did know so well that you'd come back to London, Mr. Finn. You are not a bit altered."

"I feel to be changed in everything."

"Why should you be altered? It's only two years. I am altered because of Baby. That does change a woman. Of course I'm thinking always of what he will do in the world; whether he'll be a master of hounds or a Cabinet Minister or a great farmer;-or perhaps a miserable spendthrift, who will let everything that his grandfathers and grandmothers have done for him go to the dogs."

"Why do you think of anything so wretched, Lady Chiltern?"

"Who can help thinking? Men do do so. It seems to me that that is the line of most young men who come to their property early. Why should I dare to think that my boy should be better than others? But I do; and I fancy that he will be a great statesman. After all, Mr. Finn, that is the best thing that a man can be, unless it is given him to be a saint and a martyr and all that kind of thing,-which is not just what a mother looks for."

"That would only be better than the spendthrift and gambler."

"Hardly better you'll say, perhaps. How odd that is! We all profess to believe when we're told that this world should be used merely as a preparation for the next; and yet there is something so cold and comfortless in the theory that we do not relish the prospect even for our children. I fancy your people have more real belief in it than ours."

Now Phineas Finn was a Roman Catholic. But the discussion was stopped by the noise of an arrival in the hall.

"There they are," said Lady Chiltern; "Oswald never comes in without a sound of trumpets to make him audible throughout the house." Then she went to meet her husband, and Phineas followed her out of the drawing-room.

Lord Chiltern was as glad to see him as she had been, and in a very few minutes he found himself quite at home. In the hall he was introduced to Miss Palliser, but he was hardly able to see her as she stood there a moment in her hat and habit. There was ever so much said about the day's work. The earths had not been properly stopped, and Lord Chiltern had been very angry, and the owner of Trumpeton Wood, who was a great duke, had been much abused, and things had not gone altogether straight.

"Lord Chiltern was furious," said Miss Palliser, laughing, "and therefore, of course, I became furious too, and swore that it was an awful shame. Then they all swore that it was an awful shame, and everybody was furious. And you might hear one man saying to another all day long, 'By George, this is too bad.' But I never could quite make out what was amiss, and I'm sure the men didn't know."

"What was it, Oswald?"

"Never mind now. One doesn't go to Trumpeton Wood expecting to be happy there. I've half a mind to swear I'll never draw it again."

"I've been asking him what was the matter all the way home," said Miss Palliser, "but I don't think he knows himself."

"Come upstairs, Phineas, and I'll show you your room," said Lord Chiltern. "It's not quite as comfortable as the old 'Bull', but we make it do."

Phineas, when he was alone, could not help standing for awhile with his back to the fire thinking of it all. He did already feel himself to be at home in that house, and his doing so was a contradiction to all the wisdom which he had been endeavouring to teach himself for the last two years. He had told himself over and over again that that life which he had lived in London had been, if not a dream, at any rate not more significant than a parenthesis in his days, which, as of course it had no bearing on those which had gone before, so neither would it influence those which were to follow. The dear friends of that period of feverish success would for the future be to him as-nothing. That was the lesson of wisdom which he had endeavoured to teach himself, and the facts of the last two years had seemed to show that the lesson was a true lesson. He had disappeared from among his former companions, and had heard almost nothing from them. From neither Lord Chiltern or his wife had he received any tidings. He had expected to receive none,-had known that in the common course of things none was to be expected. There were many others with whom he had been intimate-Barrington Erle, Laurence Fitzgibbon, Mr. Monk, a politician who had been in the Cabinet, and in consequence of whose political teaching he, Phineas Finn, had banished himself from the political world;-from none of these had he received a line till there came that letter summoning him back to the battle. There had never been a time during his late life in Dublin at which he had complained to himself that on this account his former friends had forgotten him. If they had not written to him, neither had he written to them. But on his first arrival in England he had, in the sadness of his solitude, told himself that he was forgotten. There would be no return, so he feared, of those pleasant intimacies which he now remembered so well, and which, as he remembered them, were so much more replete with unalloyed delights than they had ever been in their existing realities. And yet here he was, a welcome guest in Lord Chiltern's house, a welcome guest in Lady Chiltern's drawing-room, and quite as much at home with them as ever he had been in the old days.

Who is there that can write letters to all his friends, or would not find it dreary work to do so even in regard to those whom he really loves? When there is something palpable to be said, what a blessing is the penny post! To one's wife, to one's child, one's mistress, one's steward if there be a steward; one's gamekeeper, if there be shooting forward; one's groom, if there be hunting; one's publisher, if there be a volume ready or money needed; or one's tailor occasionally, if a coat be required, a man is able to write. But what has a man to say to his friend,-or, for that matter, what has a woman? A Horace Walpole may write to a Mr. Mann about all things under the sun, London gossip or transcendental philosophy, and if the Horace Walpole of the occasion can write well and will labour diligently at that vocation, his letters may be worth reading by his Mr. Mann, and by others; but, for the maintenance of love and friendship, continued correspondence between distant friends is naught. Distance in time and place, but especially in time, will diminish friendship. It is a rule of nature that it should be so, and thus the friendships which a man most fosters are those which he can best enjoy. If your friend leave you, and seek a residence in Patagonia, make a niche for him in your memory, and keep him there as warm as you may. Perchance he may return from Patagonia and the old joys may be repeated. But never think that those joys can be maintained by the assistance of ocean postage, let it be at never so cheap a rate. Phineas Finn had not thought this matter out very carefully, and now, after two years of absence, he was surprised to find that he was still had in remembrance by those who had never troubled themselves to write to him a line during his absence.

When he went down into the drawing-room he was surprised to find another old friend sitting there alone. "Mr. Finn," said the old lady, "I hope I see you quite well. I am glad to meet you again. You find my niece much changed, I dare say?"

"Not in the least, Lady Baldock," said Phineas, seizing the proffered hand of the dowager. In that hour of conversation, which they had had together, Lady Chiltern had said not a word to Phineas of her aunt, and now he felt himself to be almost discomposed by the meeting. "Is your daughter here, Lady Baldock?"

Lady Baldock shook her head solemnly and sadly. "Do not speak of her, Mr. Finn. It is too sad! We never mention her name now." Phineas looked as sad as he knew how to look, but he said nothing. The lamentation of the mother did not seem to imply that the daughter was dead; and, from his remembrance of Augusta Boreham, he would have thought her to be the last woman in the world to run away with the coachman. At the moment there did not seem to be any other sufficient cause for so melancholy a wagging of that venerable head. He had been told to say nothing, and he could ask no questions; but Lady Baldock did not choose that he should be left to imagine things more terrible than the truth. "She is lost to us for ever, Mr. Finn."

"How very sad."

"Sad, indeed! We don't know how she took it."

"Took what, Lady Baldock?"

"I am sure it was nothing that she ever saw at home. If there is a thing I'm true to, it is the Protestant Established Church of England. Some nasty, low, lying, wheedling priest got hold of her, and now she's a nun, and calls herself-Sister Veronica John!" Lady Baldock threw great strength and unction into her description of the priest; but as soon as she had told her story a sudden thought struck her. "Oh, laws! I quite forgot. I beg your pardon, Mr. Finn; but you're one of them!"

"Not a nun, Lady Baldock." At that moment the door was opened, and Lord Chiltern came in, to the great relief of his wife's aunt.

Chapter 3 Gerard Maule

"Why didn't you tell me?" said Phineas that night after Lady Baldock was gone to bed. The two men had taken off their dress coats, and had put on smoking caps,-Lord Chiltern, indeed, having clothed himself in a wonderful Chinese dressing-gown, and they were sitting round the fire in the smoking-room; but though they were thus employed and thus dressed the two younger ladies were still with them.

"How could I tell you everything in two minutes?" said Lady Chiltern.

"I'd have given a guinea to have heard her," said Lord Chiltern, getting up and rubbing his hands as he walked about the room. "Can't you fancy all that she'd say, and then her horror when she'd remember that Phineas was a Papist himself?"

"But what made Miss Boreham turn nun?"

"I fancy she found the penances lighter than they were at home," said the lord. "They couldn't well be heavier."

"Dear old aunt!"

"Does she never go to see Sister Veronica?" asked Miss Palliser.

"She has been once," said Lady Chiltern.

"And fumigated herself first so as to escape infection," said the husband. "You should hear Gerard Maule imitate her when she talks about the filthy priest."

"And who is Gerard Maule?" Then Lady Chiltern looked at her friend, and Phineas was almost sure that Gerard Maule was the man who was dying for Adelaide Palliser.

"He's a great ally of mine," said Lady Chiltern,

"He's a young fellow who thinks he can ride to hounds," said Lord Chiltern, "and who very often does succeed in riding over them."

"That's not fair, Lord Chiltern," said Miss Palliser.

"Just my idea of it," replied the Master. "I don't think it's at all fair. Because a man has plenty of horses, and nothing else to do, and rides twelve stone, and doesn't care how he's sworn at, he's always to be over the scent, and spoil every one's sport. I don't call it at all fair."

"He's a very nice fellow, and a great friend of Oswald's. He is to be here to-morrow, and you'll like him very much. Won't he, Adelaide?"

"I don't know Mr. Finn's tastes quite so well as you do, Violet. But Mr. Maule is so harmless that no one can dislike him very much."

"As for being harmless, I'm not so sure," said Lady Chiltern. After that they all went to bed.

Phineas remained at Harrington Hall till the ninth, on which day he went to London so that he might be at Tankerville on the tenth. He rode Lord Chiltern's horses, and took an interest in the hounds, and nursed the baby. "Now tell me what you think of Gerard Maule," Lady Chiltern asked him, the day before he started.

"I presume that he is the young man that is dying for Miss Palliser."

"You may answer my question, Mr. Finn, without making any such suggestion."

"Not discreetly. Of course if he is to be made happy, I am bound at the present moment to say all good things of him. At such a crisis it would be wicked to tinge Miss Palliser's hopes with any hue less warm than rose colour."

"Do you suppose that I tell everything that is said to me?"

"Not at all; but opinions do ooze out. I take him to be a good sort of a fellow; but why doesn't he talk a bit more?"

"That's just it."

"And why does he pretend to do nothing? When he's out he rides hard; but at other times there's a ha-ha, lack a-daisical air about him which I hate. Why men assume it I never could understand. It can recommend them to nobody. A man can't suppose that he'll gain anything by pretending that he never reads, and never thinks, and never does anything, and never speaks, and doesn't care what he has for dinner, and, upon the whole, would just as soon lie in bed all day as get up. It isn't that he is really idle. He rides and eats, and does get up, and I daresay talks and thinks. It's simply a poor affectation."

"That's your rose colour, is it?"

"You've promised secrecy, Lady Chiltern. I suppose he's well off?"

"He is an eldest son. The property is not large, and I'm afraid there's something wrong about it."

"He has no profession?"

"None at all. He has an allowance of L800 a year, which in some sort of fashion is independent of his father. He has nothing on earth to do. Adelaide's whole fortune is four thousand pounds. If they were to marry what would become of them?"

"That wouldn't be enough to live on?"

"It ought to be enough,-as he must, I suppose, have the property some day,-if only he had something to do. What sort of a life would he lead?"

"I suppose he couldn't become a Master of Hounds?"

"That is ill-natured, Mr. Finn."

"I did not mean it so. I did not indeed. You must know that I did not."

"Of course Oswald had nothing to do, and, of course, there was a time when I wished that he should take to Parliament. No one knew all that better than you did. But he was very different from Mr. Maule."

"Very different, indeed."

"Oswald is a man full of energy, and with no touch of that affectation which you described. As it is, he does work hard. No man works harder. The learned people say that you should produce something, and I don't suppose that he produces much. But somebody must keep hounds, and nobody could do it better than he does."

"You don't think that I mean to blame him?"

"I hope not."

"Are he and his father on good terms now?"

"Oh, yes. His father wishes him to go to Saulsby, but he won't do that. He hates Saulsby."

Saulsby was the country seat of the Earl of Brentford, the name of the property which must some day belong to this Lord Chiltern, and Phineas, as he heard this, remembered former days in which he had ridden about Saulsby Woods, and had thought them to be anything but hateful. "Is Saulsby shut up?" he asked.

"Altogether, and so is the house in Portman Square. There never was anything more sad or desolate. You would find him altered, Mr. Finn. He is quite an old man now. He was here in the spring, for a week or two;-in England, that is; but he stayed at an hotel in London. He and Laura live at Dresden now, and a very sad time they must have."

"Does she write?"

"Yes; and keeps up all her interest about politics. I have already told her that you are to stand for Tankerville. No one,-no other human being in the world will be so interested for you as she is. If any friend ever felt an interest almost selfish for a friend's welfare, she will feel such an interest for you. If you were to succeed it would give her a hope in life." Phineas sat silent, drinking in the words that were said to him. Though they were true, or at least meant to be true, they were full of flattery. Why should this woman of whom they were speaking love him so dearly? She was nothing to him. She was highly born, greatly gifted, wealthy, and a married woman, whose character, as he well knew, was beyond the taint of suspicion, though she had been driven by the hard sullenness of her husband to refuse to live under his roof. Phineas Finn and Lady Laura Kennedy had not seen each other for two years, and when they had parted, though they had lived as friends, there had been no signs of still living friendship. True, indeed, she had written to him, but her letters had been short and cold, merely detailing certain circumstances of her outward life. Now he was told by this woman's dearest friend that his welfare was closer to her heart than any other interest!

"I daresay you often think of her?" said Lady Chiltern.

"Indeed, I do."

"What virtues she used to ascribe to you! What sins she forgave you! How hard she fought for you! Now, though she can fight no more, she does not think of it all the less."

"Poor Lady Laura!"

"Poor Laura, indeed! When one sees such shipwreck it makes a woman doubt whether she ought to marry at all."

"And yet he was a good man. She always said so."

"Men are so seldom really good. They are so little sympathetic. What man thinks of changing himself so as to suit his wife? And yet men expect that women shall put on altogether new characters when they are married, and girls think that they can do so. Look at this Mr. Maule, who is really over head and ears in love with Adelaide Palliser. She is full of hope and energy. He has none. And yet he has the effrontery to suppose that she will adapt herself to his way of living if he marries her."

"Then they are to be married?"

"I suppose it will come to that. It always does if the man is in earnest. Girls will accept men simply because they think it ill-natured to return the compliment of an offer with a hearty 'No.'"

"I suppose she likes him?"

"Of course she does. A girl almost always likes a man who is in love with her,-unless indeed she positively dislikes him. But why should she like him? He is good-looking, is a gentleman, and not a fool. Is that enough to make such a girl as Adelaide Palliser think a man divine?"

"Is nobody to be accepted who is not credited with divinity?"

"The man should be a demigod, at least in respect to some part of his character. I can find nothing even demi-divine about Mr. Maule."

"That's because you are not in love with him, Lady Chiltern."

Six or seven very pleasant days Phineas Finn spent at Harrington Hall, and then he started alone, and very lonely, for Tankerville. But he admitted to himself that the pleasure which he had received during his visit was quite sufficient to qualify him in running any risk in an attempt to return to the kind of life which he had formerly led. But if he should fail at Tankerville what would become of him then?

Chapter 4 Tankerville

The great Mr. Molescroft himself came over to Tankerville for the purpose of introducing our hero to the electors and to Mr. Ruddles, the local Liberal agent, who was to be employed. They met at the Lambton Arms, and there Phineas established himself, knowing well that he had before him ten days of unmitigated vexation and misery. Tankerville was a dirty, prosperous, ungainly town, which seemed to exude coal-dust or coal-mud at every pore. It was so well recognised as being dirty that people did not expect to meet each other with clean hands and faces. Linen was never white at Tankerville, and even ladies who sat in drawing-rooms were accustomed to the feel and taste and appearance of soot in all their daintiest recesses. We hear that at Oil City the flavour of petroleum is hardly considered to be disagreeable, and so it was with the flavour of coal at Tankerville. And we know that at Oil City the flavour of petroleum must not be openly declared to be objectionable, and so it was with coal at Tankerville. At Tankerville coal was much loved, and was not thought to be dirty. Mr. Ruddles was very much begrimed himself, and some of the leading Liberal electors, upon whom Phineas Finn had already called, seemed to be saturated with the product of the district. It would not, however, in any event be his duty to live at Tankerville, and he had believed from the first moment of his entrance into the town that he would soon depart from it, and know it no more. He felt that the chance of his being elected was quite a forlorn hope, and could hardly understand why he had allowed himself to be embarrassed by so very unprofitable a speculation.

Phineas Finn had thrice before this been chosen to sit in Parliament-twice for the Irish borough of Loughshane, and once for the English borough of Loughton; but he had been so happy as hitherto to have known nothing of the miseries and occasional hopelessness of a contested election. At Loughton he had come forward as the nominee of the Earl of Brentford, and had been returned without any chance of failure by that nobleman's influence. At Loughshane things had nearly been as pleasant with him. He had almost been taught to think that nothing could be easier than getting into Parliament if only a man could live when he was there. But Loughton and Loughshane were gone, with so many other comfortable things of old days, and now he found himself relegated to a borough to which, as it seemed to him, he was sent to fight, not that he might win, but because it was necessary to his party that the seat should not be allowed to be lost without fighting. He had had the pleasant things of parliamentary adventure, and now must undergo those which were unpleasant. No doubt he could have refused, but he had listened to the tempter, and could not now go back, though Mr. Ruddles was hardly more encouraging than Mr. Molescroft.

"Browborough has been at work for the last three days," said Mr. Ruddles, in a tone of reproach. Mr. Ruddles had always thought that no amount of work could be too heavy for his candidates.

"Will that make much difference?" asked Mr. Molescroft.

"Well, it does. Of course, he has been among the colliers,-when we ought to have been before him."

"I came when I was told," said Phineas.

"I'd have telegraphed to you if I'd known where you were. But there's no help for spilt milk. We must get to work now,-that's all. I suppose you're for disestablishing the Church?"

"Not particularly," said Phineas, who felt that with him, as a Roman Catholic, this was a delicate subject.

"We needn't go into that, need we?" said Mr. Molescroft, who, though a Liberal, was a good Churchman.

Mr. Ruddles was a Dissenter, but the very strong opinion which Mr. Ruddles now expressed as to the necessity that the new candidate should take up the Church question did not spring at all from his own religious convictions. His present duty called upon him to have a Liberal candidate if possible returned for the borough with which he was connected, and not to disseminate the doctrines of his own sect. Nevertheless, his opinion was very strong. "I think we must, Mr. Molescroft," said he; "I'm sure we must. Browborough has taken up the other side. He went to church last Sunday with the Mayor and two of the Aldermen, and I'm told he said all the responses louder than anybody else. He dined with the Vicar of Trinity on Monday. He has been very loud in denouncing Mr. Finn as a Roman Catholic, and has declared that everything will be up with the State if Tankerville returns a friend and supporter of the Pope. You'll find that the Church will be the cry here this election. You can't get anything by supporting it, but you may make a strong party by pledging yourself to disendowment."

"Wouldn't local taxation do?" asked Mr. Molescroft, who indeed preferred almost any other reform to disendowment.

"I have made up my mind that we must have some check on municipal expenditure," said Phineas.

"It won't do-not alone. If I understand the borough, the feeling at this election will altogether be about the Church. You see, Mr. Finn, your being a Roman Catholic gives them a handle, and they're already beginning to use it. They don't like Roman Catholics here; but if you can manage to give it a sort of Liberal turn,-as many of your constituents used to do, you know,-as though you disliked Church and State rather than cared for the Pope, may be it might act on our side rather than on theirs. Mr. Molescroft understands it all."

"Oh, yes; I understand."

Mr. Ruddles said a great deal more to the same effect, and though Mr. Molescroft did not express any acquiescence in these views, neither did he dissent. The candidate said but little at this interview, but turned the matter over in his mind. A seat in Parliament would be but a barren honour, and he could not afford to offer his services for barren honour. Honest political work he was anxious to do, but for what work he did he desired to be paid. The party to which he belonged had, as he knew, endeavoured to avoid the subject of the disendowment of the Church of England. It is the necessary nature of a political party in this country to avoid, as long as it can be avoided, the consideration of any question which involves a great change. There is a consciousness on the minds of leading politicians that the pressure from behind, forcing upon them great measures, drives them almost quicker than they can go, so that it becomes a necessity with them to resist rather than to aid the pressure which will certainly be at last effective by its own strength. The best carriage horses are those which can most steadily hold back against the coach as it trundles down the hill. All this Phineas knew, and was of opinion that the Barrington Erles and Ratlers of his party would not thank him for ventilating a measure which, however certain might be its coming, might well be postponed for a few years. Once already in his career he had chosen to be in advance of his party, and the consequences had been disastrous to him. On that occasion his feelings had been strong in regard to the measure upon which he broke away from his party; but, when he first thought of it, he did not care much about Church disendowment.

But he found that he must needs go as he was driven or else depart out of the place. He wrote a line to his friend Erle, not to ask advice, but to explain the circumstances. "My only possible chance of success will lie in attacking the Church endowments. Of course I think they are bad, and of course I think that they must go. But I have never cared for the matter, and would have been very willing to leave it among those things which will arrange themselves. But I have no choice here." And so he prepared himself to run his race on the course arranged for him by Mr. Ruddles. Mr. Molescroft, whose hours were precious, soon took his leave, and Phineas Finn was placarded about the town as the sworn foe to all Church endowments.

In the course of his canvass, and the commotions consequent upon it, he found that Mr. Ruddles was right. No other subject seemed at the moment to have any attraction in Tankerville. Mr. Browborough, whose life had not been passed in any strict obedience to the Ten Commandments, and whose religious observances had not hitherto interfered with either the pleasures or the duties of his life, repeated at every meeting which he attended, and almost to every elector whom he canvassed, the great Shibboleth which he had now adopted-"The prosperity of England depends on the Church of her people." He was not an orator. Indeed, it might be hard to find a man, who had for years been conversant with public life, less able to string a few words together for immediate use. Nor could he learn half-a-dozen sentences by rote. But he could stand up with unabashed brow and repeat with enduring audacity the same words a dozen times over-"The prosperity of England depends on the Church of her people." Had he been asked whether the prosperity which he promised was temporal or spiritual in its nature, not only could he not have answered, but he would not in the least have understood the question. But the words as they came from his mouth had a weight which seemed to ensure their truth, and many men in Tankerville thought that Mr. Browborough was eloquent.

Phineas, on the other hand, made two or three great speeches every evening, and astonished even Mr. Ruddles by his oratory. He had accepted Mr. Ruddles's proposition with but lukewarm acquiescence, but in the handling of the matter he became zealous, fiery, and enthusiastic. He explained to his hearers with gracious acknowledgment that Church endowments had undoubtedly been most beneficent in past times. He spoke in the interests of no special creed. Whether in the so-called Popish days of Henry VIII and his ancestors, or in the so-called Protestant days that had followed, the state of society had required that spiritual teaching should be supplied from funds fixed and devoted to the purpose. The increasing intelligence and population of the country made this no longer desirable,-or, if desirable, no longer possible. Could these endowments be increased to meet the needs of the increasing millions? Was it not the fact that even among members of the Church of England they were altogether inefficient to supply the wants of our great towns? Did the people of Tankerville believe that the clergymen of London, of Liverpool, and of Manchester were paid by endowments? The arguments which had been efficacious in Ireland must be efficacious in England. He said this without reference to one creed or to another. He did believe in religious teaching. He had not a word to say against a Protestant Episcopal Church. But he thought, nay he was sure, that Church and State, as combined institutions, could no longer prevail in this country. If the people of Tankerville would return him to Parliament it should be his first object to put an end to this anomaly.

The Browboroughites were considerably astonished by his success. The colliers on this occasion did not seem to regard the clamour that was raised against Irish Papists. Much dirt was thrown and some heads were broken; but Phineas persevered. Mr. Ruddles was lost in admiration. They had never before had at Tankerville a man who could talk so well. Mr. Browborough without ceasing repeated his well-worn assurance, and it was received with the loudest exclamations of delight by his own party. The clergymen of the town and neighbourhood crowded round him and pursued him, and almost seemed to believe in him. They were at any rate fighting their battle as best they knew how to fight it. But the great body of the colliers listened to Phineas, and every collier was now a voter. Then Mr. Ruddles, who had many eyes, began to perceive that the old game was to be played. "There'll be money going to-morrow after all," he whispered to Finn the evening before the election.

"I suppose you expected that."

"I wasn't sure. They began by thinking they could do without it. They don't want to sacrifice the borough."

"Nor do I, Mr. Ruddles."

"But they'll sooner do that than lose the seat. A couple of dozen of men out of the Fallgate would make us safe." Mr. Ruddles smiled as he said this.

And Phineas smiled as he answered, "If any good can be done by talking to the men at the Fallgate, I'll talk to them by the hour together."

"We've about done all that," said Mr. Ruddles.

Then came the voting. Up to two o'clock the polling was so equal that the numbers at Mr. Browborough's committee room were always given in his favour, and those at the Liberal room in favour of Phineas Finn. At three o'clock Phineas was acknowledged to be ten ahead. He himself was surprised at his own success, and declared to himself that his old luck had not deserted him.

"They're giving L2 10s. a vote at the Fallgate this minute," said Ruddles to him at a quarter-past three.

"We shall have to prove it."

"We can do that, I think," said Ruddles.

At four o'clock, when the poll was over, Browborough was declared to have won on the post by seven votes. He was that same evening declared by the Mayor to have been elected sitting member for the borough, and he again assured the people in his speech that the prosperity of England depends on the Church of her people.

"We shall carry the seat on a scrutiny as sure as eggs," said Mr. Ruddles, who had been quite won by the gallant way in which Phineas had fought his battle.

Chapter 5 Mr. Daubeny's Great Move

The whole Liberal party was taken very much by surprise at the course which the election ran. Or perhaps it might be more proper to say that the parliamentary leaders of the party were surprised. It had not been recognised by them as necessary that the great question of Church and State should be generally discussed on this occasion. It was a matter of course that it should be discussed at some places, and by some men. Eager Dissenters would, of course, take advantage of the opportunity to press their views, and no doubt the entire abolition of the Irish Church as a State establishment had taught Liberals to think and Conservatives to fear that the question would force itself forward at no very distant date. But it had not been expected to do so now. The general incompetence of a Ministry who could not command a majority on any measure was intended to be the strong point of the Liberal party, not only at the election, but at the meeting of Parliament. The Church question, which was necessarily felt by all statesmen to be of such magnitude as to dwarf every other, was not wanted as yet. It might remain in the background as the future standing-point for some great political struggle, in which it would be again necessary that every Liberal should fight, as though for life, with his teeth and nails. Men who ten years since regarded almost with abhorrence, and certainly with distrust, the idea of disruption between Church and State in England, were no doubt learning to perceive that such disruption must come, and were reconciling themselves to it after that slow, silent, inargumentative fashion in which convictions force themselves among us. And from reconciliation to the idea some were advancing to enthusiasm on its behalf. "It is only a question of time," was now said by many who hardly remembered how devoted they had been to the Established Church of England a dozen years ago. But the fruit was not yet ripe, and the leaders of the Liberal party by no means desired that it should be plucked. They were, therefore, surprised, and but little pleased, when they found that the question was more discussed than any other on the hustings of enthusiastically political boroughs.

Barrington Erle was angry when he received the letter of Phineas Finn. He was at that moment staying with the Duke of St. Bungay, who was regarded by many as the only possible leader of the Liberal party, should Mr. Gresham for any reason fail them. Indeed the old Whigs, of whom Barrington Erle considered himself to be one, would have much preferred the Duke to Mr. Gresham, had it been possible to set Mr. Gresham aside. But Mr. Gresham was too strong to be set aside; and Erle and the Duke, with all their brethren, were minded to be thoroughly loyal to their leader. He was their leader, and not to be loyal was, in their minds, treachery. But occasionally they feared that the man would carry them whither they did not desire to go. In the meantime heavy things were spoken of our poor friend, Finn.

"After all, that man is an ass," said Erle.

"If so, I believe you are altogether responsible for him," said the Duke.

"Well, yes, in a measure; but not altogether. That, however, is a long story. He has many good gifts. He is clever, good-tempered, and one of the pleasantest fellows that ever lived. The women all like him."

"So the Duchess tells me."

"But he is not what I call loyal. He cannot keep himself from running after strange gods. What need had he to take up the Church question at Tankerville? The truth is, Duke, the thing is going to pieces. We get men into the House now who are clever, and all that sort of thing, and who force their way up, but who can't be made to understand that everybody should not want to be Prime Minister." The Duke, who was now a Nestor among politicians, though very green in his age, smiled as he heard remarks which had been familiar to him for the last forty years. He, too, liked his party, and was fond of loyal men; but he had learned at last that all loyalty must be built on a basis of self-advantage. Patriotism may exist without it, but that which Erle called loyalty in politics was simply devotion to the side which a man conceives to be his side, and which he cannot leave without danger to himself.

But if discontent was felt at the eagerness with which this subject was taken up at certain boroughs, and was adopted by men whose votes and general support would be essentially necessary to the would-be coming Liberal Government, absolute dismay was occasioned by a speech that was made at a certain county election. Mr. Daubeny had for many years been member for East Barsetshire, and was as sure of his seat as the Queen of her throne. No one would think of contesting Mr. Daubeny's right to sit for East Barsetshire, and no doubt he might have been returned without showing himself to the electors. But he did show himself to the electors; and, as a matter of course, made a speech on the occasion. It so happened that the day fixed for the election in this division of the county was quite at the close of this period of political excitement. When Mr. Daubeny addressed his friends in East Barsetshire the returns throughout the kingdom were nearly complete. No attention had been paid to this fact during the elections, but it was afterwards asserted that the arrangement had been made with a political purpose, and with a purpose which was politically dishonest. Mr. Daubeny, so said the angry Liberals, had not chosen to address his constituents till his speech at the hustings could have no effect on other counties. Otherwise,-so said the Liberals,-the whole Conservative party would have been called upon to disavow at the hustings the conclusion to which Mr. Daubeny hinted in East Barsetshire that he had arrived. The East Barsetshire men themselves,-so said the Liberals,-had been too crass to catch the meaning hidden under his ambiguous words; but those words, when read by the light of astute criticism, were found to contain an opinion that Church and State should be dissevered. "By G——! he's going to take the bread out of our mouths again," said Mr. Ratler.

The speech was certainly very ambiguous, and I am not sure that the East Barsetshire folk were so crass as they were accused of being, in not understanding it at once. The dreadful hint was wrapped up in many words, and formed but a small part of a very long oration. The bucolic mind of East Barsetshire took warm delight in the eloquence of the eminent personage who represented them, but was wont to extract more actual enjoyment from the music of his periods than from the strength of his arguments. When he would explain to them that he had discovered a new, or rather hitherto unknown, Conservative element in the character of his countrymen, which he could best utilise by changing everything in the Constitution, he manipulated his words with such grace, was so profound, so broad, and so exalted, was so brilliant in mingling a deep philosophy with the ordinary politics of the day, that the bucolic mind could only admire. It was a great honour to the electors of that agricultural county that they should be made the first recipients of these pearls, which were not wasted by being thrown before them. They were picked up by the gentlemen of the Press, and became the pearls, not of East Barsetshire, but of all England. On this occasion it was found that one pearl was very big, very rare, and worthy of great attention; but it was a black pearl, and was regarded by many as an abominable prodigy. "The period of our history is one in which it becomes essential for us to renew those inquiries which have prevailed since man first woke to his destiny, as to the amount of connection which exists and which must exist between spiritual and simply human forms of government,-between our daily religion and our daily politics, between the Crown and the Mitre." The East Barsetshire clergymen and the East Barsetshire farmers like to hear something of the mitre in political speeches at the hustings. The word sounds pleasantly in their ears, as appertaining to good old gracious times and good old gracious things. As honey falls fast from the mouth of the practised speaker, the less practised hearer is apt to catch more of the words than of the sense. The speech of Mr. Daubeny was taken all in good part by his assembled friends. But when it was read by the quidnuncs on the following day it was found to contain so deep a meaning that it produced from Mr. Ratler's mouth those words of fear which have been already quoted.

Could it really be the case that the man intended to perform so audacious a trick of legerdemain as this for the preservation of his power, and that if he intended it he should have the power to carry it through? The renewal of inquiry as to the connection which exists between the Crown and the Mitre, when the bran was bolted could only mean the disestablishment of the Church. Mr. Ratler and his friends were not long in bolting the bran. Regarding the matter simply in its own light, without bringing to bear upon it the experience of the last half-century, Mr. Ratler would have thought his party strong enough to defy Mr. Daubeny utterly in such an attempt. The ordinary politician, looking at Mr. Daubeny's position as leader of the Conservative party, as a statesman depending on the support of the Church, as a Minister appointed to his present place for the express object of defending all that was left of old, and dear, and venerable in the Constitution, would have declared that Mr. Daubeny was committing political suicide, as to which future history would record a verdict of probably not temporary insanity. And when the speech was a week old this was said in many a respectable household through the country. Many a squire, many a parson, many a farmer was grieved for Mr. Daubeny when the words had been explained to him, who did not for a moment think that the words could be portentous as to the great Conservative party. But Mr. Ratler remembered Catholic emancipation, had himself been in the House when the Corn Laws were repealed, and had been nearly broken-hearted when household suffrage had become the law of the land while a Conservative Cabinet and a Conservative Government were in possession of dominion in Israel.

Mr. Bonteen was disposed to think that the trick was beyond the conjuring power even of Mr. Daubeny. "After all, you know, there is the party," he said to Mr. Ratler. Mr. Ratler's face was as good as a play, and if seen by that party would have struck that party with dismay and shame. The meaning of Mr. Ratler's face was plain enough. He thought so little of that party, on the score either of intelligence, honesty, or fidelity, as to imagine that it would consent to be led whithersoever Mr. Daubeny might choose to lead it. "If they care about anything, it's about the Church," said Mr. Bonteen.

"There's something they like a great deal better than the Church," said Mr. Ratler. "Indeed, there's only one thing they care about at all now. They've given up all the old things. It's very likely that if Daubeny were to ask them to vote for pulling down the Throne and establishing a Republic they'd all follow him into the lobby like sheep. They've been so knocked about by one treachery after another that they don't care now for anything beyond their places."

"It's only a few of them get anything, after all."

"Yes, they do. It isn't just so much a year they want, though those who have that won't like to part with it. But they like getting the counties, and the Garters, and the promotion in the army. They like their brothers to be made bishops, and their sisters like the Wardrobe and the Bedchamber. There isn't one of them that doesn't hang on somewhere,-or at least not many. Do you remember Peel's bill for the Corn Laws?"

"There were fifty went against him then," said Bonteen.

"And what are fifty? A man doesn't like to be one of fifty. It's too many for glory, and not enough for strength. There has come up among them a general feeling that it's just as well to let things slide,-as the Yankees say. They're down-hearted about it enough within their own houses, no doubt. But what can they do, if they hold back? Some stout old cavalier here and there may shut himself up in his own castle, and tell himself that the world around him may go to wrack and ruin, but that he will not help the evil work. Some are shutting themselves up. Look at old Quin, when they carried their Reform Bill. But men, as a rule, don't like to be shut up. How they reconcile it to their conscience,-that's what I can't understand." Such was the wisdom, and such were the fears of Mr. Ratler. Mr. Bonteen, however, could not bring himself to believe that the Arch-enemy would on this occasion be successful. "It mayn't be too hot for him," said Mr. Bonteen, when he reviewed the whole matter, "but I think it'll be too heavy."

They who had mounted higher than Mr. Ratler and Mr. Bonteen on the political ladder, but who had mounted on the same side, were no less astonished than their inferiors; and, perhaps, were equally disgusted, though they did not allow themselves to express their disgust as plainly. Mr. Gresham was staying in the country with his friend, Lord Cantrip, when the tidings reached them of Mr. Daubeny's speech to the electors of East Barsetshire. Mr. Gresham and Lord Cantrip had long sat in the same Cabinet, and were fast friends, understanding each other's views, and thoroughly trusting each other's loyalty. "He means it," said Lord Cantrip.

"He means to see if it be possible," said the other. "It is thrown out as a feeler to his own party."

"I'll do him the justice of saying that he's not afraid of his party. If he means it, he means it altogether, and will not retract it, even though the party should refuse as a body to support him. I give him no other credit, but I give him that."

Mr. Gresham paused for a few moments before he answered. "I do not know," said he, "whether we are justified in thinking that one man will always be the same. Daubeny has once been very audacious, and he succeeded. But he had two things to help him,-a leader, who, though thoroughly trusted, was very idle, and an ill-defined question. When he had won his leader he had won his party. He has no such tower of strength now. And in the doing of this thing, if he means to do it, he must encounter the assured conviction of every man on his own side, both in the upper and lower House. When he told them that he would tap a Conservative element by reducing the suffrage they did not know whether to believe him or not. There might be something in it. It might be that they would thus resume a class of suffrage existing in former days, but which had fallen into abeyance, because not properly protected. They could teach themselves to believe that it might be so, and those among them who found it necessary to free their souls did so teach themselves. I don't see how they are to free their souls when they are invited to put down the State establishment of the Church."

"He'll find a way for them."

"It's possible. I'm the last man in the world to contest the possibility, or even the expediency, of changes in political opinion. But I do not know whether it follows that because he was brave and successful once he must necessarily be brave and successful again. A man rides at some outrageous fence, and by the wonderful activity and obedient zeal of his horse is carried over it in safety. It does not follow that his horse will carry him over a house, or that he should be fool enough to ask the beast to do so."

"He intends to ride at the house," said Lord Cantrip; "and he means it because others have talked of it. You saw the line which my rash young friend Finn took at Tankerville."

"And all for nothing."

"I am not so sure of that. They say he is like the rest. If Daubeny does carry the party with him, I suppose the days of the Church are numbered."

"And what if they be?" Mr. Gresham almost sighed as he said this, although he intended to express a certain amount of satisfaction. "What if they be? You know, and I know, that the thing has to be done. Whatever may be our own individual feelings, or even our present judgment on the subject,-as to which neither of us can perhaps say that his mind is not so made up that it may not soon be altered,-we know that the present union cannot remain. It is unfitted for that condition of humanity to which we are coming, and if so, the change must be for good. Why should not he do it as well as another? Or rather would not he do it better than another, if he can do it with less of animosity than we should rouse against us? If the blow would come softer from his hands than from ours, with less of a feeling of injury to those who dearly love the Church, should we not be glad that he should undertake the task?"

"Then you will not oppose him?"

"Ah;-there is much to be considered before we can say that. Though he may not be bound by his friends, we may be bound by ours. And then, though I can hint to you at a certain condition of mind, and can sympathise with you, feeling that such may become the condition of your mind, I cannot say that I should act upon it as an established conviction, or that I can expect that you will do so. If such be the political programme submitted to us when the House meets, then we must be prepared."

Lord Cantrip also paused a moment before he answered, but he had his answer ready. "I can frankly say that I should follow your leading, but that I should give my voice for opposition."

"Your voice is always persuasive," said Mr. Gresham.

But the consternation felt among Mr. Daubeny's friends was infinitely greater than that which fell among his enemies, when those wonderful words were read, discussed, criticised, and explained. It seemed to every clergyman in England that nothing short of disestablishment could be intended by them. And this was the man to whom they had all looked for protection! This was the bulwark of the Church, to whom they had trusted! This was the hero who had been so sound and so firm respecting the Irish Establishment, when evil counsels had been allowed to prevail in regard to that ill-used but still sacred vineyard! All friends of the Church had then whispered among themselves fearfully, and had, with sad looks and grievous forebodings, acknowledged that the thin edge of the wedge had been driven into the very rock of the Establishment. The enemies of the Church were known to be powerful, numerous, and of course unscrupulous. But surely this Brutus would not raise a dagger against this Caesar! And yet, if not, what was the meaning of those words? And then men and women began to tell each other,-the men and women who are the very salt of the earth in this England of ours,-that their Brutus, in spite of his great qualities, had ever been mysterious, unintelligible, dangerous, and given to feats of conjuring. They had only been too submissive to their Brutus. Wonderful feats of conjuring they had endured, understanding nothing of the manner in which they were performed,-nothing of their probable results; but this feat of conjuring they would not endure. And so there were many meetings held about the country, though the time for combined action was very short.

Nothing more audacious than the speaking of those few words to the bucolic electors of East Barsetshire had ever been done in the political history of England. Cromwell was bold when he closed the Long Parliament. Shaftesbury was bold when he formed the plot for which Lord Russell and others suffered. Walpole was bold when, in his lust for power, he discarded one political friend after another. And Peel was bold when he resolved to repeal the Corn Laws. But in none of these instances was the audacity displayed more wonderful than when Mr. Daubeny took upon himself to make known throughout the country his intention of abolishing the Church of England. For to such a declaration did those few words amount. He was now the recognised parliamentary leader of that party to which the Church of England was essentially dear. He had achieved his place by skill, rather than principle,-by the conviction on men's minds that he was necessary rather than that he was fit. But still, there he was; and, though he had alarmed many,-had, probably, alarmed all those who followed him by his eccentric and dangerous mode of carrying on the battle; though no Conservative regarded him as safe; yet on this question of the Church it had been believed that he was sound. What might be the special ideas of his own mind regarding ecclesiastical policy in general, it had not been thought necessary to consider. His utterances had been confusing, mysterious, and perhaps purposely unintelligible; but that was matter of little moment so long as he was prepared to defend the establishment of the Church of England as an institution adapted for English purposes. On that point it was believed that he was sound. To that mast it was supposed he had nailed his own colours and those of his party. In defending that fortress it was thought that he would be ready to fall, should the defence of it require a fall. It was because he was so far safe that he was there. And yet he spoke these words without consulting a single friend, or suggesting the propriety of his new scheme to a single supporter. And he knew what he was doing. This was the way in which he had thought it best to make known to his own followers, not only that he was about to abandon the old Institution, but that they must do so too!

As regarded East Barsetshire itself, he was returned, and feted, and sent home with his ears stuffed with eulogy, before the bucolic mind had discovered his purpose. On so much he had probably calculated. But he had calculated also that after an interval of three or four days his secret would be known to all friends and enemies. On the day after his speech came the report of it in the newspapers; on the next day the leading articles, in which the world was told what it was that the Prime Minister had really said. Then, on the following day, the startled parsons, and the startled squires and farmers, and, above all, the startled peers and members of the Lower House, whose duty it was to vote as he should lead them, were all agog. Could it be that the newspapers were right in this meaning which they had attached to these words? On the day week after the election in East Barsetshire, a Cabinet Council was called in London, at which it would, of course, be Mr. Daubeny's duty to explain to his colleagues what it was that he did purpose to do.

In the meantime he saw a colleague or two.

"Let us look it straight in the face," he said to a noble colleague; "we must look it in the face before long."

"But we need not hurry it forward."

"There is a storm coming. We knew that before, and we heard the sound of it from every husting in the country. How shall we rule the storm so that it may pass over the land without devastating it? If we bring in a bill-"

"A bill for disestablishing the Church!" said the horror-stricken lord.

"If we bring in a bill, the purport of which shall be to moderate the ascendancy of the Church in accordance with the existing religious feelings of the population, we shall save much that otherwise must fall. If there must be a bill, would you rather that it should be modelled by us who love the Church, or by those who hate it?"

That lord was very wrath, and told the right honourable gentleman to his face that his duty to his party should have constrained him to silence on that subject till he had consulted his colleagues. In answer to this Mr. Daubeny said with much dignity that, should such be the opinion of his colleagues in general, he would at once abandon the high place which he held in their councils. But he trusted that it might be otherwise. He had felt himself bound to communicate his ideas to his constituents, and had known that in doing so some minds must be shocked. He trusted that he might be able to allay this feeling of dismay. As regarded this noble lord, he did succeed in lessening the dismay before the meeting was over, though he did not altogether allay it.

Another gentleman who was in the habit of sitting at Mr. Daubeny's elbow daily in the House of Commons was much gentler with him, both as to words and manner. "It's a bold throw, but I'm afraid it won't come up sixes," said the right honourable gentleman.

"Let it come up fives, then. It's the only chance we have; and if you think, as I do, that it is essentially necessary for the welfare of the country that we should remain where we are, we must run the risk."

With another colleague, whose mind was really set on that which the Church is presumed to represent, he used another argument. "I am convinced at any rate of this," said Mr. Daubeny; "that by sacrificing something of that ascendancy which the Establishment is supposed to give us, we can bring the Church, which we love, nearer to the wants of the people." And so it came about that before the Cabinet met, every member of it knew what it was that was expected of him.

Chapter 6 Phineas and His Old Friends

Phineas Finn returned from Tankerville to London in much better spirits than those which had accompanied him on his journey thither. He was not elected; but then, before the election, he had come to believe that it was quite out of the question that he should be elected. And now he did think it probable that he should get the seat on a petition. A scrutiny used to be a very expensive business, but under the existing law, made as the scrutiny would be in the borough itself, it would cost but little; and that little, should he be successful, would fall on the shoulders of Mr. Browborough. Should he knock off eight votes and lose none himself, he would be member for Tankerville. He knew that many votes had been given for Browborough which, if the truth were known of them, would be knocked off; and he did not know that the same could be said of any one of those by which he had been supported. But, unfortunately, the judge by whom all this would be decided might not reach Tankerville in his travels till after Christmas, perhaps not till after Easter; and in the meantime, what should he do with himself?

As for going back to Dublin, that was now out of the question. He had entered upon a feverish state of existence in which it was impossible that he should live in Ireland. Should he ultimately fail in regard to his seat he must-vanish out of the world. While he remained in his present condition he would not even endeavour to think how he might in such case best bestow himself. For the present he would remain within the region of politics, and live as near as he could to the whirl of the wheel of which the sound was so dear to him. Of one club he had always remained a member, and he had already been re-elected a member of the Reform. So he took up his residence once more at the house of a certain Mr. and Mrs. Bunce, in Great Marlborough Street, with whom he had lodged when he first became a member of Parliament.

"So you're at the old game, Mr. Finn?" said his landlord.

"Yes; at the old game. I suppose it's the same with you?" Now Mr. Bunce had been a very violent politician, and used to rejoice in calling himself a Democrat.

"Pretty much the same, Mr. Finn. I don't see that things are much better than they used to be. They tell me at the People's Banner office that the lords have had as much to do with this election as with any that ever went before it."

"Perhaps they don't know much about it at the People's Banner office. I thought Mr. Slide and the People's Banner had gone over to the other side, Bunce?"

"Mr. Slide is pretty wide-awake whatever side he's on. Not but what he's disgraced himself by what he's been and done now." Mr. Slide in former days had been the editor of the People's Banner, and circumstances had arisen in consequence of which there had been some acquaintance between him and our hero. "I see you was hammering away at the Church down at Tankerville."

"I just said a word or two."

"You was all right, there, Mr. Finn. I can't say as I ever saw very much in your religion; but what a man keeps in the way of religion for his own use is never nothing to me;-as what I keeps is nothing to him."

"I'm afraid you don't keep much, Mr. Bunce."

"And that's nothing to you, neither, is it, sir?"

"No, indeed."

"But when we read of Churches as is called State Churches,-Churches as have bishops you and I have to pay for, as never goes into them-"

"But we don't pay the bishops, Mr. Bunce."

"Oh yes, we do; because, if they wasn't paid, the money would come to us to do as we pleased with it. We proved all that when we pared them down a bit. What's an Ecclesiastical Commission? Only another name for a box to put the money into till you want to take it out again. When we hear of Churches such as these, as is not kept up by the people who uses them,-just as the theatres are, Mr. Finn, or the gin shops,-then I know there's a deal more to be done before honest men can come by their own. You're right enough, Mr. Finn, you are, as far as churches go, and you was right, too, when you cut and run off the Treasury Bench. I hope you ain't going to sit on that stool again."

Mr. Bunce was a privileged person, and Mrs. Bunce made up for his apparent rudeness by her own affectionate cordiality. "Deary me, and isn't it a thing for sore eyes to have you back again! I never expected this. But I'll do for you, Mr. Finn, just as I ever did in the old days; and it was I that was sorry when I heard of the poor young lady's death; so I was, Mr. Finn; well, then, I won't mention her name never again. But after all there's been betwixt you and us it wouldn't be natural to pass it by without one word; would it, Mr. Finn? Well, yes; he's just the same man as ever, without a ha'porth of difference. He's gone on paying that shilling to the Union every week of his life, just as he used to do; and never got so much out of it, not as a junketing into the country. That he didn't. It makes me that sick sometimes when I think of where it's gone to, that I don't know how to bear it. Well, yes; that is true, Mr. Finn. There never was a man better at bringing home his money to his wife than Bunce, barring that shilling. If he'd drink it, which he never does, I think I'd bear it better than give it to that nasty Union. And young Jack writes as well as his father, pretty nigh, Mr. Finn, which is a comfort,"-Mr. Bunce was a journeyman scrivener at a law stationer's,-"and keeps his self; but he don't bring home his money, nor yet it can't be expected, Mr. Finn. I know what the young 'uns will do, and what they won't. And Mary Jane is quite handy about the house now,-only she do break things, which is an aggravation; and the hot water shall be always up at eight o'clock to a minute, if I bring it with my own hand, Mr. Finn."

And so he was established once more in his old rooms in Great Marlborough Street; and as he sat back in the arm-chair, which he used to know so well, a hundred memories of former days crowded back upon him. Lord Chiltern for a few months had lived with him; and then there had arisen a quarrel, which he had for a time thought would dissolve his old life into ruin. Now Lord Chiltern was again his very intimate friend. And there had used to sit a needy money-lender whom he had been unable to banish. Alas! alas! how soon might he now require that money-lender's services! And then he recollected how he had left these rooms to go into others, grander and more appropriate to his life when he had filled high office under the State. Would there ever again come to him such cause for migration? And would he again be able to load the frame of the looking-glass over the fire with countless cards from Countesses and Ministers' wives? He had opened the oyster for himself once, though it had closed again with so sharp a snap when the point of his knife had been withdrawn. Would he be able to insert the point again between those two difficult shells? Would the Countesses once more be kind to him? Would drawing-rooms be opened to him, and sometimes opened to him and to no other? Then he thought of certain special drawing-rooms in which wonderful things had been said to him. Since that he had been a married man, and those special drawing-rooms and those wonderful words had in no degree actuated him in his choice of a wife. He had left all those things of his own free will, as though telling himself that there was a better life than they offered to him. But was he sure that he had found it to be better? He had certainly sighed for the gauds which he had left. While his young wife was living he had kept his sighs down, so that she should not hear them; but he had been forced to acknowledge that his new life had been vapid and flavourless. Now he had been tempted back again to the old haunts. Would the Countesses' cards be showered upon him again?

One card, or rather note, had reached him while he was yet at Tankerville, reminding him of old days. It was from Mrs. Low, the wife of the barrister with whom he had worked when he had been a law student in London. She had asked him to come and dine with them after the old fashion in Baker Street, naming a day as to which she presumed that he would by that time have finished his affairs at Tankerville, intimating also that Mr. Low would then have finished his at North Broughton. Now Mr. Low had sat for North Broughton before Phineas left London, and his wife spoke of the seat as a certainty. Phineas could not keep himself from feeling that Mrs. Low intended to triumph over him; but, nevertheless, he accepted the invitation. They were very glad to see him, explaining that, as nobody was supposed to be in town, nobody had been asked to meet him. In former days he had been very intimate in that house, having received from both of them much kindness, mingled, perhaps, with some touch of severity on the part of the lady. But the ground for that was gone, and Mrs. Low was no longer painfully severe. A few words were said as to his great loss. Mrs. Low once raised her eyebrows in pretended surprise when Phineas explained that he had thrown up his place, and then they settled down on the question of the day. "And so," said Mrs. Low, "you've begun to attack the Church?" It must be remembered that at this moment Mr. Daubeny had not as yet electrified the minds of East Barsetshire, and that, therefore, Mrs. Low was not disturbed. To Mrs. Low, Church and State was the very breath of her nostrils; and if her husband could not be said to live by means of the same atmosphere it was because the breath of his nostrils had been drawn chiefly in the Vice-Chancellor's Court in Lincoln's Inn. But he, no doubt, would be very much disturbed indeed should he ever be told that he was required, as an expectant member of Mr. Daubeny's party, to vote for the Disestablishment of the Church of England.

"You don't mean that I am guilty of throwing the first stone?" said Phineas.

"They have been throwing stones at the Temple since first it was built," said Mrs. Low, with energy; "but they have fallen off its polished shafts in dust and fragments." I am afraid that Mrs. Low, when she allowed herself to speak thus energetically, entertained some confused idea that the Church of England and the Christian religion were one and the same thing, or, at least, that they had been brought into the world together.

"You haven't thrown the first stone," said Mr. Low; "but you have taken up the throwing at the first moment in which stones may be dangerous."

"No stones can be dangerous," said Mrs. Low.

"The idea of a State Church," said Phineas, "is opposed to my theory of political progress. What I hope is that my friends will not suppose that I attack the Protestant Church because I am a Roman Catholic. If I were a priest it would be my business to do so; but I am not a priest."

Mr. Low gave his old friend a bottle of his best wine, and in all friendly observances treated him with due affection. But neither did he nor did his wife for a moment abstain from attacking their guest in respect to his speeches at Tankerville. It seemed, indeed, to Phineas that as Mrs. Low was buckled up in such triple armour that she feared nothing, she might have been less loud in expressing her abhorrence of the enemies of the Church. If she feared nothing, why should she scream so loudly? Between the two he was a good deal crushed and confounded, and Mrs. Low was very triumphant when she allowed him to escape from her hands at ten o'clock. But, at that moment, nothing had as yet been heard in Baker Street of Mr. Daubeny's proposition to the electors of East Barsetshire! Poor Mrs. Low! We can foresee that there is much grief in store for her, and some rocks ahead, too, in the political career of her husband.

Phineas was still in London, hanging about the clubs, doing nothing, discussing Mr. Daubeny's wonderful treachery with such men as came up to town, and waiting for the meeting of Parliament, when he received the following letter from Lady Laura Kennedy:-

Dresden, November 18, ——

My dear Mr. Finn,

I have heard with great pleasure from my sister-in-law that you have been staying with them at Harrington Hall. It seems so like old days that you and Oswald and Violet should be together,-so much more natural than that you should be living in Dublin. I cannot conceive of you as living any other life than that of the House of Commons, Downing Street, and the clubs. Nor do I wish to do so. And when I hear of you at Harrington Hall I know that you are on your way to the other things.

Do tell me what life is like with Oswald and Violet. Of course he never writes. He is one of those men who, on marrying, assume that they have at last got a person to do a duty which has always hitherto been neglected. Violet does write, but tells me little or nothing of themselves. Her letters are very nice, full of anecdote, well written,-letters that are fit to be kept and printed; but they are never family letters. She is inimitable in discussing the miseries of her own position as the wife of a Master of Hounds; but the miseries are as evidently fictitious as the art is real. She told me how poor dear Lady Baldock communicated to you her unhappiness about her daughter in a manner that made even me laugh; and would make thousands laugh in days to come were it ever to be published. But of her inside life, of her baby, or of her husband as a husband, she never says a word. You will have seen it all, and have enough of the feminine side of a man's character to be able to tell me how they are living. I am sure they are happy together, because Violet has more common sense than any woman I ever knew.

And pray tell me about the affair at Tankerville. My cousin Barrington writes me word that you will certainly get the seat. He declares that Mr. Browborough is almost disposed not to fight the battle, though a man more disposed to fight never bribed an elector. But Barrington seems to think that you managed as well as you did by getting outside the traces, as he calls it. We certainly did not think that you would come out strong against the Church. Don't suppose that I complain. For myself I hate to think of the coming severance; but if it must come, why not by your hands as well as by any other? It is hardly possible that you in your heart should love a Protestant ascendant Church. But, as Barrington says, a horse won't get oats unless he works steady between the traces.

As to myself, what am I to say to you? I and my father live here a sad, sombre, solitary life, together. We have a large furnished house outside the town, with a pleasant view and a pretty garden. He does-nothing. He reads the English papers, and talks of English parties, is driven out, and eats his dinner, and sleeps. At home, as you know, not only did he take an active part in politics, but he was active also in the management of his own property. Now it seems to him to be almost too great a trouble to write a letter to his steward; and all this has come upon him because of me. He is here because he cannot bear that I should live alone. I have offered to return with him to Saulsby, thinking that Mr. Kennedy would trouble me no further,-or to remain here by myself; but he will consent to neither. In truth the burden of idleness has now fallen upon him so heavily that he cannot shake it off. He dreads that he may be called upon to do anything.

To me it is all one tragedy. I cannot but think of things as they were two or three years since. My father and my husband were both in the Cabinet, and you, young as you were, stood but one step below it. Oswald was out in the cold. He was very poor. Papa thought all evil of him. Violet had refused him over and over again. He quarrelled with you, and all the world seemed against him. Then of a sudden you vanished, and we vanished. An ineffable misery fell upon me and upon my wretched husband. All our good things went from us at a blow. I and my poor father became as it were outcasts. But Oswald suddenly retricked his beams, and is flaming in the forehead of the morning sky. He, I believe, has no more than he had deserved. He won his wife honestly;-did he not? And he has ever been honest. It is my pride to think I never gave him up. But the bitter part of my cup consists in this,-that as he has won what he has deserved, so have we. I complain of no injustice. Our castle was built upon the sand. Why should Mr. Kennedy have been a Cabinet Minister;-and why should I have been his wife? There is no one else of whom I can ask that question as I can of you, and no one else who can answer it as you can do.

Of Mr. Kennedy it is singular how little I know, and how little I ever hear. There is no one whom I can ask to tell me of him. That he did not attend during the last Session I do know, and we presume that he has now abandoned his seat. I fear that his health is bad,-or perhaps, worse still, that his mind is affected by the gloom of his life. I suppose that he lives exclusively at Loughlinter. From time to time I am implored by him to return to my duty beneath his roof. He grounds his demand on no affection of his own, on no presumption that any affection can remain with me. He says no word of happiness. He offers no comfort. He does not attempt to persuade with promises of future care. He makes his claim simply on Holy Writ, and on the feeling of duty which thence ought to weigh upon me. He has never even told me that he loves me; but he is persistent in declaring that those whom God has joined together nothing human should separate. Since I have been here I have written to him once,-one sad, long, weary letter. Since that I am constrained to leave his letters unanswered.

And now, my friend, could you not do for me a great kindness? For a while, till the inquiry be made at Tankerville, your time must be vacant. Cannot you come and see us? I have told Papa that I should ask you, and he would be delighted. I cannot explain to you what it would be to me to be able to talk again to one who knows all the errors and all the efforts of my past life as you do. Dresden is very cold in the winter. I do not know whether you would mind that. We are very particular about the rooms, but my father bears the temperature wonderfully well, though he complains. In March we move down south for a couple of months. Do come if you can.

Most sincerely yours,

Laura Kennedy.

If you come, of course you will have yourself brought direct to us. If you can learn anything of Mr. Kennedy's life, and of his real condition, pray do. The faint rumours which reach me are painfully distressing.

Chapter 7 Coming Home from Hunting

Lady Chiltern was probably right when she declared that her husband must have been made to be a Master of Hounds,-presuming it to be granted that somebody must be Master of Hounds. Such necessity certainly does exist in this, the present condition of England. Hunting prevails; hunting men increase in numbers; foxes are preserved; farmers do not rebel; owners of coverts, even when they are not hunting men themselves, acknowledge the fact, and do not dare to maintain their pheasants at the expense of the much better-loved four-footed animal. Hounds are bred, and horses are trained specially to the work. A master of fox hounds is a necessity of the period. Allowing so much, we cannot but allow also that Lord Chiltern must have been made to fill the situation. He understood hunting, and, perhaps, there was nothing else requiring acute intelligence that he did understand. And he understood hunting, not only as a huntsman understands it,-in that branch of the science which refers simply to the judicious pursuit of the fox, being probably inferior to his own huntsman in that respect,-but he knew exactly what men should do, and what they should not. In regard to all those various interests with which he was brought in contact, he knew when to hold fast to his own claims, and when to make no claims at all. He was afraid of no one, but he was possessed of a sense of justice which induced him to acknowledge the rights of those around him. When he found that the earths were not stopped in Trumpeton Wood,-from which he judged that the keeper would complain that the hounds would not or could not kill any of the cubs found there,-he wrote in very round terms to the Duke who owned it. If His Grace did not want to have the wood drawn, let him say so. If he did, let him have the earths stopped. But when that great question came up as to the Gartlow coverts-when that uncommonly disagreeable gentleman, Mr. Smith, of Gartlow, gave notice that the hounds should not be admitted into his place at all,-Lord Chiltern soon put the whole matter straight by taking part with the disagreeable gentleman. The disagreeable gentleman had been ill used. Men had ridden among his young laurels. If gentlemen who did hunt,-so said Lord Chiltern to his own supporters,-did not know how to conduct themselves in a matter of hunting, how was it to be expected that a gentleman who did not hunt should do so? On this occasion Lord Chiltern rated his own hunt so roundly that Mr. Smith and he were quite in a bond together, and the Gartlow coverts were re-opened. Now all the world knows that the Gartlow coverts, though small, are material as being in the very centre of the Brake country.

It is essential that a Master of Hounds should be somewhat feared by the men who ride with him. There should be much awe mixed with the love felt for him. He should be a man with whom other men will not care to argue; an irrational, cut and thrust, unscrupulous, but yet distinctly honest man; one who can be tyrannical, but will tyrannise only over the evil spirits; a man capable of intense cruelty to those alongside of him, but who will know whether his victim does in truth deserve scalping before he draws his knife. He should be savage and yet good-humoured; severe and yet forbearing; truculent and pleasant in the same moment. He should exercise unflinching authority, but should do so with the consciousness that he can support it only by his own popularity. His speech should be short, incisive, always to the point, but never founded on argument. His rules are based on no reason, and will never bear discussion. He must be the most candid of men, also the most close;-and yet never a hypocrite. He must condescend to no explanation, and yet must impress men with an assurance that his decisions will certainly be right. He must rule all as though no man's special welfare were of any account, and yet must administer all so as to offend none. Friends he must have, but not favourites. He must be self-sacrificing, diligent, eager, and watchful. He must be strong in health, strong in heart, strong in purpose, and strong in purse. He must be economical and yet lavish; generous as the wind and yet obdurate as the frost. He should be assured that of all human pursuits hunting is the best, and that of all living things a fox is the most valuable. He must so train his heart as to feel for the fox a mingled tenderness and cruelty which is inexplicable to ordinary men and women. His desire to preserve the brute and then to kill him should be equally intense and passionate. And he should do it all in accordance with a code of unwritten laws, which cannot be learnt without profound study. It may not perhaps be truly asserted that Lord Chiltern answered this description in every detail; but he combined so many of the qualities required that his wife showed her discernment when she declared that he seemed to have been made to be a Master of Hounds.

Early in that November he was riding home with Miss Palliser by his side, while the huntsmen and whips were trotting on with the hounds before him. "You call that a good run, don't you?"

"No; I don't."

"What was the matter with it? I declare it seems to me that something is always wrong. Men like hunting better than anything else, and yet I never find any man contented."

"In the first place we didn't kill."

"You know you're short of foxes at Gartlow," said Miss Palliser, who, as is the manner with all hunting ladies, liked to show that she understood the affairs of the hunt.

"If I knew there were but one fox in a county, and I got upon that one fox, I would like to kill that one fox,-barring a vixen in March."

"I thought it very nice. It was fast enough for anybody."

"You might go as fast with a drag, if that's all. I'll tell you something else. We should have killed him if Maule hadn't once ridden over the hounds when we came out of the little wood. I spoke very sharply to him."

"I heard you, Lord Chiltern."

"And I suppose you thought I was a brute."

"Who? I? No, I didn't;-not particularly, you know. Men do say such things to each other!"

"He doesn't mind it, I fancy."

"I suppose a man does not like to be told that directly he shows himself in a run the sport is all over and the hounds ought to be taken home."

"Did I say that? I don't remember now what I said, but I know he made me angry. Come, let us trot on. They can take the hounds home without us."

"Good night, Cox," said Miss Palliser, as they passed by the pack. "Poor Mr. Maule! I did pity him, and I do think he does care for it, though he is so impassive. He would be with us now, only he is chewing the cud of his unhappiness in solitude half a mile behind us."

"That is hard upon you."

"Hard upon me, Lord Chiltern! It is hard upon him, and, perhaps, upon you. Why should it be hard upon me?"

"Hard upon him, I should have said. Though why it shouldn't be the other way I don't know. He's a friend of yours."


"And an especial friend, I suppose. As a matter of course Violet talks to me about you both."

"No doubt she does. When once a woman is married she should be regarded as having thrown off her allegiance to her own sex. She is sure to be treacherous at any rate in one direction. Not that Lady Chiltern can tell anything of me that might not be told to all the world as far as I am concerned."

"There is nothing in it, then?"

"Nothing at all."

"Honour bright?"

"Oh,-honour as bright as it ever is in such matters as these."

"I am sorry for that,-very sorry."

"Why so, Lord Chiltern?"

"Because if you were engaged to him I thought that perhaps you might have induced him to ride a little less forward."

"Lord Chiltern," said Miss Palliser, seriously; "I will never again speak to you a word on any subject except hunting."

At this moment Gerard Maule came up behind them, with a cigar in his mouth, apparently quite unconscious of any of that displeasure as to which Miss Palliser had supposed that he was chewing the cud in solitude. "That was a goodish thing, Chiltern," he said.

"Very good."

"And the hounds hunted him well to the end."

"Very well."

"It's odd how the scent will die away at a moment. You see they couldn't carry on a field after we got out of the copse."

"Not a field."

"Considering all things I am glad we didn't kill him."

"Uncommon glad," said Lord Chiltern. Then they trotted on in silence a little way, and Maule again dropped behind. "I'm blessed if he knows that I spoke to him, roughly," said Chiltern. "He's deaf, I think, when he chooses to be."

"You're not sorry, Lord Chiltern."

"Not in the least. Nothing will ever do any good. As for offending him, you might as well swear at a tree, and think to offend it. There's comfort in that, anyway. I wonder whether he'd talk to you if I went away?"

"I hope that you won't try the experiment."

"I don't believe he would, or I'd go at once. I wonder whether you really do care for him?"

"Not in the least."

"Or he for you."

"Quite indifferent, I should say; but I can't answer for him, Lord Chiltern, quite as positively as I can for myself. You know, as things go, people have to play at caring for each other."

"That's what we call flirting."

"Just the reverse. Flirting I take to be the excitement of love, without its reality, and without its ordinary result in marriage. This playing at caring has none of the excitement, but it often leads to the result, and sometimes ends in downright affection."

"If Maule perseveres then you'll take him, and by-and-bye you'll come to like him."

"In twenty years it might come to that, if we were always to live in the same house; but as he leaves Harrington to-morrow, and we may probably not meet each other for the next four years, I think the chance is small."

Then Maule trotted up again, and after riding in silence with the other two for half an hour, he pulled out his case and lit a fresh cigar from the end of the old one, which he threw away. "Have a baccy, Chiltern?" he said.

"No, thank you, I never smoke going home; my mind is too full. I've all that family behind to think of, and I'm generally out of sorts with the miseries of the day. I must say another word to Cox, or I should have to go to the kennels on my way home." And so he dropped behind.

Gerard Maule smoked half his cigar before he spoke a word, and Miss Palliser was quite resolved that she would not open her mouth till he had spoken. "I suppose he likes it?" he said at last.

"Who likes what, Mr. Maule?"

"Chiltern likes blowing fellows up."

"It's a part of his business."

"That's the way I look at it. But I should think it must be disagreeable. He takes such a deal of trouble about it. I heard him going on to-day to some one as though his whole soul depended on it."

"He is very energetic."

"Just so. I'm quite sure it's a mistake. What does a man ever get by it? Folks around you soon discount it till it goes for nothing."

"I don't think energy goes for nothing, Mr. Maule."

"A bull in a china shop is not a useful animal, nor is he ornamental, but there can be no doubt of his energy. The hare was full of energy, but he didn't win the race. The man who stands still is the man who keeps his ground."

"You don't stand still when you're out hunting."

"No;-I ride about, and Chiltern swears at me. Every man is a fool sometimes."

"And your wisdom, perfect at all other times, breaks down in the hunting-field?"

"I don't in the least mind your chaffing. I know what you think of me just as well as though you told me."

"What do I think of you?"

"That I'm a poor creature, generally half asleep, shallow-pated, slow-blooded, ignorant, useless, and unambitious."

"Certainly unambitious, Mr. Maule."

"And that word carries all the others. What's the good of ambition? There's the man they were talking about last night,-that Irishman."

"Mr. Finn?"

"Yes; Phineas Finn. He is an ambitious fellow. He'll have to starve, according to what Chiltern was saying. I've sense enough to know I can't do any good."

"You are sensible, I admit."

"Very well, Miss Palliser. You can say just what you like, of course. You have that privilege."

"I did not mean to say anything severe. I do admit that you are master of a certain philosophy, for which much may be said. But you are not to expect that I shall express an approval which I do not feel."

"But I want you to approve it."

"Ah!-there, I fear, I cannot oblige you."

"I want you to approve it, though no one else may."

"Though all else should do so, I cannot."

"Then take the task of curing the sick one, and of strengthening the weak one, into your own hands. If you will teach, perhaps I may learn."

"I have no mission for teaching, Mr. Maule."

"You once said that,-that-"

"Do not be so ungenerous as to throw in my teeth what I once said,-if I ever said a word that I would not now repeat."

"I do not think that I am ungenerous, Miss Palliser."

"I am sure you are not."

"Nor am I self-confident. I am obliged to seek comfort from such scraps of encouragement as may have fallen in my way here and there. I once did think that you intended to love me."

"Does love go by intentions?"

"I think so,-frequently with men, and much more so with girls."

"It will never go so with me. I shall never intend to love any one. If I ever love any man it will be because I am made to do so, despite my intentions."

"As a fortress is taken?"

"Well,-if you like to put it so. Only I claim this advantage,-that I can always get rid of my enemy when he bores me."

"Am I boring you now?"

"I didn't say so. Here is Lord Chiltern again, and I know by the rattle of his horse's feet that something is the matter."

Lord Chiltern came up full of wrath. One of the men's horses was thoroughly broken down, and, as the Master said, wasn't worth the saddle he carried. He didn't care a —— for the horse, but the man hadn't told him. "At this rate there won't be anything to carry anybody by Christmas."

"You'll have to buy some more," said Gerard Maule.

"Buy some more!" said Lord Chiltern, turning round, and looking at the man. "He talks of buying horses as he would sugar plums!" Then they trotted in at the gate, and in two minutes were at the hall door.