so for a while Norman was, as it were, divided from his old
friends, whereas Tudor, as a matter of course, was one of
It was only natural that Mrs. Woodward should forgive Alaric and
receive him to her bosom, now that he was her son-in-law. After
all, such ties as these avail more than any predilections, more
than any effort of judgement in the choice of the objects of our
affections. We associate with those with whom the tenor of life
has thrown us, and from habit we learn to love those with whom we
are brought to associate.
THE HONOURABLE MRS. VAL AND MISS GOLIGHTLY
The first eighteen months of Gertrude's married life were not
unhappy, though, like all persons entering on the realities of
the world, she found much to disappoint her. At first her
husband's society was sufficient for her; and to give him his
due, he was not at first an inattentive husband. Then came the
baby, bringing with him, as first babies always should do, a sort
of second honeymoon of love, and a renewal of those services
which women so delight to receive from their bosoms' lord.
She had of course made acquaintances since she had settled
herself in London, and had, in her modest way, done her little
part in adding to the gaiety of the great metropolis. In this
respect indeed Alaric's commencement of life had somewhat
frightened Mrs. Woodward, and the more prudent of his friends.
Grand as his official promotion had been, his official income at
the time of his marriage did not exceed L600 a year, and though
this was to be augmented occasionally till it reached L800, yet
even with this advantage it could hardly suffice for a man and
his wife and a coming family to live in an expensive part of
London, and enable him to 'see his friends' occasionally, as the
act of feeding one's acquaintance is now generally called.
Gertrude, like most English girls of her age, was at first so
ignorant about money that she hardly knew whether L600 was or was
not a sufficient income to justify their present mode of living;
but she soon found reason to suspect that her husband at any rate
endeavoured to increase it by other means. We say to suspect,
because he never spoke to her on the subject; he never told her
of Mary Janes and New Friendships; or hinted that he had
extensive money dealings in connexion with Undy Scott.
But it can be taken for granted that no husband can carry on such
dealings long without some sort of cognizance on his wife's part
as to what he is doing; a woman who is not trusted by her lord
may choose to remain in apparent darkness, may abstain from
questions, and may consider it either her duty or her interest to
assume an ignorance as to her husband's affairs; but the partner
of one's bed and board, the minister who soothes one's headaches,
and makes one's tea, and looks after one's linen, can't but have
the means of guessing the thoughts which occupy her companion's
mind and occasionally darken his brow.
Much of Gertrude's society had consisted of that into which
Alaric was thrown by his friendship with Undy Scott. There was a
brother of Undy's living in town, one Valentine Scott - a captain
in a cavalry regiment, and whose wife was by no means of that
delightfully retiring disposition evinced by Undy's better half.
The Hon. Mrs. Valentine, or Mrs. Val Scott as she was commonly
called, was a very pushing woman, and pushed herself into a
prominent place among Gertrude's friends. She had been the widow
of Jonathan Golightly, Esq., umquhile sheriff of the city of
London, and stockbroker, and when she gave herself and her
jointure up to Captain Val, she also brought with her, to enliven
the house, a daughter Clementina, the only remaining pledge of
her love for the stockbroker.
When Val Scott entered the world, his father's precepts as to the
purposes of matrimony were deeply graven on his heart. He was the
best looking of the family, and, except Undy, the youngest. He
had not Undy's sharpness, his talent for public matters, or his
aptitude for the higher branches of the Civil Service; but he had
wit to wear his sash and epaulets with an easy grace, and to
captivate the heart, person, and some portion of the purse, of
the Widow Golightly. The lady was ten years older than the
gentleman; but then she had a thousand a year, and, to make
matters more pleasant, the beauteous Clementina had a fortune of
Under these circumstances the marriage had been contracted
without any deceit, or attempt at deceit, by either party. Val
wanted an income, and the sheriff's widow wanted the utmost
amount of social consideration which her not very extensive means
would purchase for her. On the whole, the two parties to the
transaction were contented with their bargain. Mrs. Val, it is
true, kept her income very much in her own hands; but still she
consented to pay Val's tailors' bills, and it is something for a
man to have bed and board found him for nothing. It is true,
again, the lady did not find that the noble blood of her husband
gave her an immediate right of entry into the best houses in
London; but it did bring her into some sort of contact with some
few people of rank and fame; and being a sensible woman, she had
not been unreasonable in her expectations.
When she had got what she could from her husband in this
particular, she did not trouble him much further. He delighted in
the Rag, and there spent the most of his time; happily, she
delighted in what she called the charms of society, and as
society expanded itself before her, she was also, we must
suppose, happy. She soon perceived that more in her immediate
line was to be obtained from Undy than from her own member of the
Gaberlunzie family, and hence had sprung up her intimacy with
It cannot be said that Gertrude was very fond of the Honourable
Mrs. Val, nor even of her daughter, Clementina Golightly, who was
more of her own age. These people had become her friends from the
force of circumstances, and not from predilection. To tell the
truth, Mrs. Val, who had in her day encountered, with much
patience, a good deal of snubbing, and who had had to be thankful
when she was patronized, now felt that her day for being a great
lady had come, and that it behoved her to patronize others. She
tried her hand upon Gertrude, and found the practice so congenial
to her spirits, so pleasantly stimulating, so well adapted to
afford a gratifying compensation for her former humility, that
she continued to give up a good deal of her time to No. 5, Albany
Row, Westbourne Terrace, at which house the Tudors resided.
The young bride was not exactly the woman to submit quietly to
patronage from any Mrs. Val, however honourable she might be; but
for a while Gertrude hardly knew what it meant; and at her first
outset the natural modesty of youth, and her inexperience in her
new position, made her unwilling to take offence and unequal to
rebellion. By degrees, however, this feeling of humility wore
off; she began to be aware of the assumed superiority of Mrs.
Val's friendship, and by the time that their mutual affection was
of a year's standing, Gertrude had determined, in a quiet way,
without saying anything to anybody, to put herself on a footing
of more perfect equality with the Honourable Mrs. Val.
Clementina Golightly was, in the common parlance of a large
portion of mankind, a 'doosed fine gal.' She stood five feet six,
and stood very well, on very good legs, but with rather large
feet. She was as straight as a grenadier, and had it been her
fate to carry a milk-pail, she would have carried it to
perfection. Instead of this, however, she was permitted to expend
an equal amount of energy in every variation of waltz and polka
that the ingenuity of the dancing professors of the age has been
able to produce. Waltzes and polkas suited her admirably; for she
was gifted with excellent lungs and perfect powers of breathing,
and she had not much delight in prolonged conversation. Her
fault, if she had one, was a predilection for flirting; but she
did her flirtations in a silent sort of way, much as we may
suppose the fishes do theirs, whose amours we may presume to
consist in swimming through their cool element in close
contiguity with each other. 'A feast of reason and a flow of
soul' were not the charms by which Clementina Golightly essayed
to keep her admirers spell-bound at her feet. To whirl rapidly
round a room at the rate of ten miles an hour, with her right
hand outstretched in the grasp of her partner's, and to know that
she was tightly buoyed up, like a horse by a bearing-rein, by his
other hand behind her back, was for her sufficient. To do this,
as she did do it, without ever crying for mercy, with no
slackness of breath, and apparently without distress, must have
taken as much training as a horse gets for a race. But the
training had in nowise injured her; and now, having gone through
her gallops and run all her heats for three successive seasons,
she was still sound of wind and limb, and fit to run at any
moment when called upon.
We have said nothing about the face of the beauteous Clementina,
and indeed nothing can be said about it. There was no feature in
it with which a man could have any right to find fault; that she
was a 'doosed fine girl' was a fact generally admitted; but
nevertheless you might look at her for four hours consecutively
on a Monday evening, and yet on Tuesday you would not know her.
She had hair which was brownish and sufficiently silky - and which
she wore, as all other such girls do, propped out on each side of
her face by thick round velvet pads, which, when the waltzing
pace became exhilarating, occasionally showed themselves, looking
greasy. She had a pair of eyes set straight in her head,
faultless in form, and perfectly inexpressive. She had a nose
equally straight, but perhaps a little too coarse in dimensions.
She had a mouth not over large, with two thin lips and small
whitish teeth; and she had a chin equal in contour to the rest of
her face, but on which Venus had not deigned to set a dimple.
Nature might have defied a French passport officer to give a
description of her, by which even her own mother or a detective
policeman might have recognized her.
When to the above list of attractions it is added that Clementina
Golightly had L20,000 of her own, and a reversionary interest in
her mother's jointure, it may be imagined that she did not want
for good-winded cavaliers to bear her up behind, and whirl around
with her with outstretched hands.
'I am not going to stay a moment, my dear,' said Mrs. Val,
seating herself on Gertrude's sofa, having rushed up almost
unannounced into the drawing-room, followed by Clementina;
'indeed, Lady Howlaway is waiting for me this moment; but I must
settle with you about the June flower-show.'
'Oh! thank you, Mrs. Scott, don't trouble yourself about me,'
said Gertrude; 'I don't think I shall go.'
'Oh! nonsense, my dear; of course you'll go; it's the show of the
year, and the Grand duke is to be there - baby is all right now,
you know; I must not hear of your not going.'
'All the same - I fear I must decline,' said Gertrude; 'I think I
shall be at Hampton.'
'Oh! nonsense, my dear; of course you must show yourself. People
will say all manner of things else. Clementina has promised to
meet Victoire Jaquetanapes there and a party of French people,
people of the very highest ton. You'll be delighted, my dear.'
'M. Jaquetanapes is the most delicious polkist you ever met,'
said Clementina. 'He has got a new back step that will quite
amaze you.' As Gertrude in her present condition was not much
given to polkas, this temptation did not have great effect.
'Oh, you must come, of course, my dear - and pray let me recommend
you to go to Madame Bosconi for your bonnet; she has such darling
little ducks, and as cheap as dirt. But I want you to arrange
about the carriage; you can do that with Mr. Tudor, and I can
settle with you afterwards. Captain Scott won't go, of course;
but I have no doubt Undecimus and Mr. Tudor will come later and
bring us home; we can manage very well with the one carriage.'
In spite of her thousand a year the Honourable Mrs. Val was not
ashamed to look after the pounds, shillings, and pence. And
so, having made her arrangements, Mrs. Val took herself off,
hurrying to appease the anger of Lady Howlaway, and followed by
Clementina, who since her little outburst as to the new back step
of M. Jaquetanapes had not taken much part in the conversation.
Flower-shows are a great resource for the Mrs. Scotts of London
life. They are open to ladies who cannot quite penetrate the
inner sancta of fashionable life, and yet they are frequented by
those to whom those sancta are everyday household walks. There at
least the Mrs. Scotts of the outer world can show themselves in
close contiguity, and on equal terms, with the Mrs. Scotts of the
inner world. And then, who is to know the difference? If also one
is an Honourable Mrs. Scott, and can contrive to appear as such
in the next day's _Morning Post_, may not one fairly boast
that the ends of society have been attained? Where is the
citadel? How is one to know when one has taken it?
Gertrude could not be quite so defiant with her friends as she
would have wished to have been, as they were borne with and
encouraged by her husband. Of Undy's wife Alaric saw nothing and
heard little, but it suited Undy to make use of his sister-in-
law's house, and it suited Alaric to be intimate with Undy's
sister-in-law. Moreover, had not Clementina Golightly L20,000,
and was she not a 'doosed fine girl?' This was nothing to Alaric
now, and might not be considered to be much to Undy. But that
far-seeing, acute financier knew that there were other means of
handling a lady's money than that of marrying her. He could not
at present acquire a second fortune in that way; but he might
perhaps acquire the management of this L20,000 if he could
provide the lady with a husband of the proper temperament. Undy
Scott did not want to appropriate Miss Golightly's fortune, he
only wanted to have the management of it.
Looking round among his acquaintance for a fitting _parti_
for the sweet Clementina, his mind, after much consideration,
settled upon Charley Tudor. There were many young men much nearer
and dearer to Undy than Charley, who might be equally desirous of
so great a prize; but he could think of none over whom he might
probably exercise so direct a control. Charley was a handsome gay
fellow, and waltzed _au ravir_; he might, therefore, without
difficulty, make his way with the fair Clementina. He was
distressingly poor, and would therefore certainly jump at an
heiress - he was delightfully thoughtless and easy of leading, and
therefore the money, when in his hands, might probably be
manageable. He was also Alaric's cousin, and therefore acceptable.
Undy did not exactly open his mind to Alaric Tudor in this
matter. Alaric's education was going on rapidly; but his mind had
not yet received with sufficient tenacity those principles of
philosophy which would enable him to look at this scheme in its
proper light. He had already learnt the great utility, one may
almost say the necessity, of having a command of money; he was
beginning also to perceive that money was a thing not to be
judged of by the ordinary rules which govern a man's conduct. In
other matters it behoves a gentleman to be open, above-board,
liberal, and true; good-natured, generous, confiding, self-
denying, doing unto others as he would wish that others should do
unto him; but in the acquirement and use of money - that is, its
use with the object of acquiring more, its use in the usurer's
sense - his practice should be exactly the reverse; he should be
close, secret, exacting, given to concealment, not over troubled
by scruples; suspicious, without sympathies, self-devoted, and
always doing unto others exactly that which he is on his guard to
prevent others from doing unto him - viz., making money by them.
So much Alaric had learnt, and had been no inapt scholar. But he
had not yet appreciated the full value of the latitude allowed by
the genius of the present age to men who deal successfully in
money. He had, as we have seen, acknowledged to himself that a
sportsman may return from the field with his legs and feet a
little muddy; but he did not yet know how deep a man may wallow
in the mire, how thoroughly he may besmear himself from head to
foot in the blackest, foulest mud, and yet be received an
honoured guest by ladies gay and noble lords, if only his bag be
Rem..., quocunque modo rem!
The remainder of the passage was doubtless applicable to former
times, but now is hardly worth repeating.
As Alaric's stomach was not yet quite suited for strong food,
Undy fitted this matter to his friend's still juvenile capacities.
There was an heiress, a 'doosed fine girl' as Undy insisted,
laying peculiar strength on the word of emphasis, with L20,000,
and there was Charley Tudor, a devilish decent fellow, without
a rap. Why not bring them together? This would only be a
mark of true friendship on the part of Undy; and on Alaric's
part, it would be no more than one cousin would be bound to do
for another. Looking at it in this light, Alaric saw nothing in
the matter which could interfere with his quiet conscience.
'I'll do what I can,' said Undy. 'Mrs. Val is inclined to have a
way of her own in most things; but if anybody can lead her, I
can. Charley must take care that Val himself doesn't take his
part, that's all. If he interferes, it would be all up with us.'
And thus Alaric, intent mainly on the interest of his cousin, and
actuated perhaps a little by the feeling that a rich cousin would
be more serviceable than a poor one, set himself to work, in
connexion with Undy Scott, to make prey of Clementina Golightly's
But if Undy had no difficulty in securing the co-operation of
Alaric in this matter, Alaric by no means found it equally easy
to secure the co-operation of Charley. Charley Tudor had not yet
learnt to look upon himself as a marketable animal, worth a
certain sum of money, in consequence of such property in good
appearance, address, &c., as God had been good enough to endow
He daily felt the depth and disagreeable results of his own
poverty, and not unfrequently, when specially short of the
Queen's medium, sighed for some of those thousands and tens of
thousands with which men's mouths are so glibly full. He had
often tried to calculate what would be his feelings if some
eccentric, good-natured old stranger should leave him, say, five
thousand a year; he had often walked about the street, with his
hands in his empty pockets, building delicious castles in the
air, and doing the most munificent actions imaginable with his
newly-acquired wealth, as all men in such circumstances do;
relieving distress, rewarding virtue, and making handsome
presents to all his friends, and especially to Mrs. Woodward. So
far Charley was not guiltless of coveting wealth; but he had
never for a moment thought of realizing his dreams by means of
his personal attractions. It had never occurred to him that any
girl having money could think it worth her while to marry him.
He, navvy as he was, with his infernal friends and pot-house
love, with his debts and idleness and low associations, with his
saloons of Seville, his Elysium in Fleet Street, and his Paradise
near the Surrey Gardens, had hitherto thought little enough of
his own attractions. No kind father had taught him that he was
worth L10,000 in any market in the world. When he had dreamt of
money, he had never dreamt of it as accruing to him in return for
any value or worth which he had inherent in himself. Even in his
lighter moments he had no such conceit; and at those periods, few
and far between, in which he did think seriously Of the world at
large, this special method of escaping from his difficulties -
never once presented itself to his mind.
When, therefore, Alaric first spoke to him of marrying L20,000
and Clementina Golightly, his surprise was unbounded.
'L20,000!' said Alaric, 'and a doosed fine girl, you know;' and
he also laid great stress on the latter part of the offer,
knowing how inflammable was Charley's heart, and at the same time
how little mercenary was his mind.
But Charley was not only surprised at the proposed arrangement,
but apparently also unwilling to enter into, it. He argued that
in the first place no girl in her senses would accept him. To
this Alaric replied that as Clementina had not much sense to
speak of, that objection might fall to the ground. Then Charley
expressed an idea that Miss Golightly's friends might probably
object when they learnt what were the exact pecuniary resources
of the expectant husband; to which Alaric argued that the
circumstances of the case were very lucky, inasmuch as some of
Clementina's natural friends were already prepossessed in favour
of such an arrangement.
Driven thus from two of his strongholds, Charley, in the most
modest of voices, in a voice one may say quite shamefaced and
conscious of its master's weakness - suggested that he was not
quite sure that at the present moment he was very much in love
with the lady in question.
Alaric had married for love, and was not two years married, yet
had his education so far progressed in that short period as to
enable him to laugh at such an objection.
'Then, my dear fellow, what the deuce do you mean to do with
yourself? You'll certainly go to the dogs.
Charley had an idea that he certainly should; and also had an
idea that Miss Clementina and her L20,000 might not improbably go
in the same direction, if he had anything to do with them.
'And as for loving her,' continued Alaric, 'that's all my eye.
Love is a luxury which none but the rich or the poor can afford.
We middle-class paupers, who are born with good coats on our
backs, but empty purses, can have nothing to do with it.'
'But you married for love, Alaric?'
'My marriage was not a very prudent one, and should not be taken
as an example. And then I did get some fortune with my wife; and
what is more, I was not so fearfully in want of it as you are.'
Charley acknowledged the truth of this, said that he would think
of the matrimonial project, and promised, at any rate, to call on
Clementina on an early occasion. He had already made her
acquaintance, had already danced with her, and certainly could
not take upon himself to deny that she was a 'doosed fine girl.'
But Charley had reasons of his own, reasons which he could not
make known to Alaric, for not thinking much of, or trusting much
to, Miss Golightly's fortune. In the first place, he regarded
marriage on such a grand scale as that now suggested, as a
ceremony which must take a long time to adjust; the wooing of a
lady with so many charms could not be carried on as might be the
wooing of a chambermaid or a farmer's daughter. It must take
months at least to conciliate the friends of so rich an heiress,
and months at the end of them to prepare the wedding gala. But
Charley could not wait for months; before one month was over he
would probably be laid up in some vile limbo, an unfortunate poor
prisoner at the suit of an iron-hearted tailor.
At this very moment of Alaric's proposition, at this instant when
he found himself talking with so much coolness of the expedience
or inexpedience of appropriating to his own purpose a slight
trifle of L20,000, he was in dire strait as to money difficulties.
He had lately, that is, within the last twelve months, made
acquaintance with an interesting gentleman named Jabesh M'Ruen.
Mr. Jabesh M'Ruen was in the habit of relieving the distresses of
such impoverished young gentlemen as Charley Tudor; and though he
did this with every assurance of philanthropic regard, though in
doing so he only made one stipulation, 'Pray be punctual, Mr.
Tudor, now pray do be punctual, sir, and you may always count on
me,' nevertheless, in spite of all his goodness, Mr. M'Ruen's
young friends seldom continued to hold their heads well up over
the world's waters.
On the morning after this conversation with Alaric, Charley
intended to call on his esteemed old friend. Many were the
morning calls he did make; many were the weary, useless, aimless
walks which he took to that little street at the back of
Mecklenburg Square, with the fond hope of getting some relief
from Mr. M'Ruen; and many also were the calls, the return visits,
as it were, which Mr. M'Ruen made at the Internal Navigation, and