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horse walk the same pace as that brute."

"You mustn't abuse my pet, Sir Louis."

"It's a d - - shame on my mother's part;" said Sir Louis, who, even
when in his best behaviour, could not quite give up his ordinary mode
of conversation. "When she was fortunate enough to get such a girl as
you to come and stay with her, she ought to have had something proper
for her to ride upon; but I'll look to it as soon as I am a little
stronger, you see if I don't;" and, so saying, Sir Louis trotted off,
leaving Mary in peace with her donkey.

Sir Louis had now been living cleanly and forswearing sack for what
was to him a very long period, and his health felt the good effects
of it. No one rejoiced at this more cordially than did the doctor. To
rejoice at it was with him a point of conscience. He could not help
telling himself now and again that, circumstanced as he was, he was
most specially bound to take joy in any sign of reformation which
the baronet might show. Not to do so would be almost tantamount
to wishing that he might die in order that Mary might inherit his
wealth; and, therefore, the doctor did with all his energy devote
himself to the difficult task of hoping and striving that Sir Louis
might yet live to enjoy what was his own. But the task was altogether
a difficult one, for as Sir Louis became stronger in health, so
also did he become more exorbitant in his demands on the doctor's
patience, and more repugnant to the doctor's tastes.

In his worst fits of disreputable living he was ashamed to apply to
his guardian for money; and in his worst fits of illness he was,
through fear, somewhat patient under his doctor's hands; but just at
present he had nothing of which to be ashamed, and was not at all
patient.

"Doctor," - said he, one day, at Boxall Hill - "how about those
Greshamsbury title-deeds?"

"Oh, that will all be properly settled between my lawyer and your
own."

"Oh - ah - yes; no doubt the lawyers will settle it: settle it with a
fine bill of costs, of course. But, as Finnie says," - Finnie was Sir
Louis's legal adviser - "I have got a tremendously large interest at
stake in this matter; eighty thousand pounds is no joke. It ain't
everybody that can shell out eighty thousand pounds when they're
wanted; and I should like to know how the thing's going on. I've a
right to ask, you know; eh, doctor?"

"The title-deeds of a large portion of the Greshamsbury estate will
be placed with the mortgage-deeds before the end of next month."

"Oh, that's all right. I choose to know about these things; for
though my father did make such a con-found-ed will, that's no reason
I shouldn't know how things are going."

"You shall know everything that I know, Sir Louis."

"And now, doctor, what are we to do about money?"

"About money?"

"Yes; money, rhino, ready! 'put money in your purse and cut a dash;'
eh, doctor? Not that I want to cut a dash. No, I'm going on the quiet
line altogether now: I've done with all that sort of thing."

"I'm heartily glad of it; heartily," said the doctor.

"Yes, I'm not going to make way for my far-away cousin yet; not if I
know it, at least. I shall soon be all right now, doctor; shan't I?"

"'All right' is a long word, Sir Louis. But I do hope you will be all
right in time, if you will live with decent prudence. You shouldn't
take that filth in the morning though."

"Filth in the morning! That's my mother, I suppose! That's her
ladyship! She's been talking, has she? Don't you believe her, doctor.
There's not a young man in Barsetshire is going more regular, all
right within the posts, than I am."

The doctor was obliged to acknowledge that there did seem to be some
improvement.

"And now, doctor, how about money? Eh?"

Doctor Thorne, like other guardians similarly circumstanced, began to
explain that Sir Louis had already had a good deal of money, and had
begun also to promise that more should be forthcoming in the event
of good behaviour, when he was somewhat suddenly interrupted by Sir
Louis.

"Well, now; I'll tell you what, doctor; I've got a bit of news for
you; something that I think will astonish you."

The doctor opened his eyes, and tried to look as though ready to be
surprised.

"Something that will really make you look about; and something, too,
that will be very much to the hearer's advantage, - as the newspaper
advertisements say."

"Something to my advantage?" said the doctor.

"Well, I hope you'll think so. Doctor, what would you think now of my
getting married?"

"I should be delighted to hear of it - more delighted than I can
express; that is, of course, if you were to marry well. It was your
father's most eager wish that you should marry early."

"That's partly my reason," said the young hypocrite. "But then, if I
marry I must have an income fit to live on; eh, doctor?"

The doctor had some fear that his interesting protégée was desirous
of a wife for the sake of the income, instead of desiring the income
for the sake of the wife. But let the cause be what it would,
marriage would probably be good for him; and he had no hesitation,
therefore, in telling him, that if he married well, he should be put
in possession of sufficient income to maintain the new Lady Scatcherd
in a manner becoming her dignity.

"As to marrying well," said Sir Louis, "you, I take it, will the be
the last man, doctor, to quarrel with my choice."

"Shall I?" said the doctor, smiling.

"Well, you won't disapprove, I guess, as the Yankee says. What would
you think of Miss Mary Thorne?"

It must be said in Sir Louis's favour that he had probably no idea
whatever of the estimation in which such young ladies as Mary Thorne
are held by those who are nearest and dearest to them. He had no sort
of conception that she was regarded by her uncle as an inestimable
treasure, almost too precious to be rendered up to the arms of any
man; and infinitely beyond any price in silver and gold, baronets'
incomes of eight or ten thousand a year, and such coins usually
current in the world's markets. He was a rich man and a baronet,
and Mary was an unmarried girl without a portion. In Sir Louis's
estimation he was offering everything, and asking for nothing. He
certainly had some idea that girls were apt to be coy, and required
a little wooing in the shape of presents, civil speeches - perhaps
kisses also. The civil speeches he had, he thought, done, and
imagined that they had been well received. The other things were to
follow; an Arab pony, for instance, - and the kisses probably with it;
and then all these difficulties would be smoothed.

But he did not for a moment conceive that there would be any
difficulty with the uncle. How should there be? Was he not a baronet
with ten thousand a year coming to him? Had he not everything which
fathers want for portionless daughters, and uncles for dependant
nieces? Might he not well inform the doctor that he had something to
tell him for his advantage?

And yet, to tell the truth, the doctor did not seem to be overjoyed
when the announcement was first made to him. He was by no means
overjoyed. On the contrary, even Sir Louis could perceive his
guardian's surprise was altogether unmixed with delight.

What a question was this that was asked him! What would he think of
a marriage between Mary Thorne - his Mary and Sir Louis Scatcherd?
Between the alpha of the whole alphabet, and him whom he could not
but regard as the omega! Think of it! Why he would think of it as
though a lamb and a wolf were to stand at the altar together. Had Sir
Louis been a Hottentot, or an Esquimaux, the proposal could not have
astonished him more. The two persons were so totally of a different
class, that the idea of the one falling in love with the other had
never occurred to him. "What would you think of Miss Mary Thorne?"
Sir Louis had asked; and the doctor, instead of answering him
with ready and pleased alacrity, stood silent, thunderstruck with
amazement.

"Well, wouldn't she be a good wife?" said Sir Louis, rather in a tone
of disgust at the evident disapproval shown at his choice. "I thought
you'd have been so delighted."

"Mary Thorne!" ejaculated the doctor at last. "Have you spoken to my
niece about this, Sir Louis?"

"Well, I have and yet I haven't; I haven't, and yet in a manner I
have."

"I don't understand you," said the doctor.

"Why, you see, I haven't exactly popped to her yet; but I have been
doing the civil; and if she's up to snuff, as I take her to be, she
knows very well what I'm after by this time."

Up to snuff! Mary Thorne, his Mary Thorne, up to snuff! To snuff too
of such a very disagreeable description!

"I think, Sir Louis, that you are in mistake about this. I think you
will find that Mary will not be disposed to avail herself of the
great advantages - for great they undoubtedly are - which you are able
to offer to your intended wife. If you will take my advice, you will
give up thinking of Mary. She would not suit you."

"Not suit me! Oh, but I think she just would. She's got no money, you
mean?"

"No, I did not mean that. It will not signify to you whether your
wife has money or not. You need not look for money. But you should
think of some one more nearly of your own temperament. I am quite
sure that my niece would refuse you."

These last words the doctor uttered with much emphasis. His intention
was to make the baronet understand that the matter was quite
hopeless, and to induce him if possible to drop it on the spot. But
he did not know Sir Louis; he ranked him too low in the scale of
human beings, and gave him no credit for any strength of character.
Sir Louis in his way did love Mary Thorne; and could not bring
himself to believe that Mary did not, or at any rate, would not soon
return his passion. He was, moreover, sufficiently obstinate, firm we
ought perhaps to say, - for his pursuit in this case was certainly not
an evil one, - and he at once made up his mind to succeed in spite of
the uncle.

"If she consents, however, you will do so too?" asked he.

"It is impossible she should consent," said the doctor.

"Impossible! I don't see anything at all impossible. But if she
does?"

"But she won't."

"Very well, - that's to be seen. But just tell me this, if she does,
will you consent?"

"The stars would fall first. It's all nonsense. Give it up, my dear
friend; believe me you are only preparing unhappiness for yourself;"
and the doctor put his hand kindly on the young man's arm. "She will
not, cannot accept such an offer."

"Will not! cannot!" said the baronet, thinking over all the reasons
which in his estimation could possibly be inducing the doctor to be
so hostile to his views, and shaking the hand off his arm. "Will not!
cannot! But come, doctor, answer my question fairly. If she'll have
me for better or worse, you won't say aught against it; will you?"

"But she won't have you; why should you give her and yourself the
pain of a refusal?"

"Oh, as for that, I must stand my chances like another. And as for
her, why d - - , doctor, you wouldn't have me believe that any young
lady thinks it so very dreadful to have a baronet with ten thousand
pounds a year at her feet, specially when that same baronet ain't
very old, nor yet particularly ugly. I ain't so green as that,
doctor."

"I suppose she must go through it, then," said the doctor, musing.

"But, Dr Thorne, I did look for a kinder answer from you, considering
all that you so often say about your great friendship with my father.
I did think you'd at any rate answer me when I asked you a question."

But the doctor did not want to answer that special question. Could
it be possible that Mary should wish to marry this odious man, could
such a state of things be imagined to be the case, he would not
refuse his consent, infinitely as he would be disgusted by her
choice. But he would not give Sir Louis any excuse for telling Mary
that her uncle approved of so odious a match.

"I cannot say that in any case I should approve of such a marriage,
Sir Louis. I cannot bring myself to say so; for I know it would make
you both miserable. But on that matter my niece will choose wholly
for herself."

"And about the money, doctor?"

"If you marry a decent woman you shall not want the means of
supporting her decently," and so saying the doctor walked away,
leaving Sir Louis to his meditations.




CHAPTER XXIX

The Donkey Ride


Sir Louis, when left to himself, was slightly dismayed and somewhat
discouraged; but he was not induced to give up his object. The first
effort of his mind was made in conjecturing what private motive
Dr Thorne could possibly have in wishing to debar his niece from
marrying a rich young baronet. That the objection was personal to
himself, Sir Louis did not for a moment imagine. Could it be that the
doctor did not wish that his niece should be richer, and grander, and
altogether bigger than himself? Or was it possible that his guardian
was anxious to prevent him from marrying from some view of the
reversion of the large fortune? That there was some such reason, Sir
Louis was well sure; but let it be what it might, he would get the
better of the doctor. "He knew," so he said to himself, "what stuff
girls were made of. Baronets did not grow like blackberries." And so,
assuring himself with such philosophy, he determined to make his
offer.

The time he selected for doing this was the hour before dinner; but
on the day on which his conversation with the doctor had taken place,
he was deterred by the presence of a strange visitor. To account for
this strange visit it will be necessary that we should return to
Greshamsbury for a few minutes.

Frank, when he returned home for his summer vacation, found that
Mary had again flown; and the very fact of her absence added fuel to
the fire of his love, more perhaps than even her presence might have
done. For the flight of the quarry ever adds eagerness to the pursuit
of the huntsman. Lady Arabella, moreover, had a bitter enemy; a
foe, utterly opposed to her side in the contest, where she had once
fondly looked for her staunchest ally. Frank was now in the habit
of corresponding with Miss Dunstable, and received from her most
energetic admonitions to be true to the love which he had sworn. True
to it he resolved to be; and therefore, when he found that Mary was
flown, he resolved to fly after her.

He did not, however, do this till he had been in a measure provoked
to it by it by the sharp-tongued cautions and blunted irony of his
mother. It was not enough for her that she had banished Mary out of
the parish, and made Dr Thorne's life miserable; not enough that
she harassed her husband with harangues on the constant subject of
Frank's marrying money, and dismayed Beatrice with invectives against
the iniquity of her friend. The snake was so but scotched; to kill it
outright she must induce Frank utterly to renounce Miss Thorne.

This task she essayed, but not exactly with success. "Well, mother,"
said Frank, at last turning very red, partly with shame, and partly
with indignation, as he made the frank avowal, "since you press me
about it, I tell you fairly that my mind is made up to marry Mary
sooner or later, if - "

"Oh, Frank! good heavens! you wicked boy; you are saying this
purposely to drive me distracted."

"If," continued Frank, not attending to his mother's interjections,
"if she will consent."

"Consent!" said Lady Arabella. "Oh, heavens!" and falling into the
corner of the sofa, she buried her face in her handkerchief.

"Yes, mother, if she will consent. And now that I have told you so
much, it is only just that I should tell you this also; that as far
as I can see at present I have no reason to hope that she will do
so."

"Oh, Frank, the girl is doing all she can to catch you," said Lady
Arabella, - not prudently.

"No, mother; there you wrong her altogether; wrong her most cruelly."

"You ungracious, wicked boy! you call me cruel!"

"I don't call you cruel; but you wrong her cruelly, most cruelly.
When I have spoken to her about this - for I have spoken to her - she
has behaved exactly as you would have wanted her to do; but not at
all as I wished her. She has given me no encouragement. You have
turned her out among you" - Frank was beginning to be very bitter
now - "but she has done nothing to deserve it. If there has been any
fault it has been mine. But it is well that we should all understand
each other. My intention is to marry Mary if I can." And, so
speaking, certainly without due filial respect, he turned towards the
door.

"Frank," said his mother, raising herself up with energy to make one
last appeal. "Frank, do you wish to see me die of a broken heart?"

"You know, mother, I would wish to make you happy, if I could."

"If you wish to see me ever happy again, if you do not wish to see
me sink broken-hearted to my grave, you must give up this mad idea,
Frank," - and now all Lady Arabella's energy came out. "Frank there is
but one course left open to you. You MUST _marry money_." And then
Lady Arabella stood up before her son as Lady Macbeth might have
stood, had Lady Macbeth lived to have a son of Frank's years.

"Miss Dunstable, I suppose," said Frank, scornfully. "No, mother; I
made an ass, and worse than an ass of myself once in that way, and I
won't do it again. I hate money."

"Oh, Frank!"

"I hate money."

"But, Frank, the estate?"

"I hate the estate - at least I shall hate it if I am expected to buy
it at such a price as that. The estate is my father's."

"Oh, no, Frank; it is not."

"It is in the sense I mean. He may do with it as he pleases; he will
never have a word of complaint from me. I am ready to go into a
profession to-morrow. I'll be a lawyer, or a doctor, or an engineer;
I don't care what." Frank, in his enthusiasm, probably overlooked
some of the preliminary difficulties. "Or I'll take a farm under him,
and earn my bread that way; but, mother, don't talk to me any more
about marrying money." And, so saying, Frank left the room.

Frank, it will be remembered, was twenty-one when he was first
introduced to the reader; he is now twenty-two. It may be said that
there was a great difference between his character then and now. A
year at that period will make a great difference; but the change has
been, not in his character, but in his feelings.

Frank went out from his mother and immediately ordered his black
horse to be got ready for him. He would at once go over to Boxall
Hill. He went himself to the stables to give his orders; and as he
returned to get his gloves and whip he met Beatrice in the corridor.

"Beatrice," said he, "step in here," and she followed him into his
room. "I'm not going to bear this any longer; I'm going to Boxall
Hill."

"Oh, Frank! how can you be so imprudent?"

"You, at any rate, have some decent feeling for Mary. I believe you
have some regard for her; and therefore I tell you. Will you send her
any message?"

"Oh, yes; my best, best love; that is if you will see her; but,
Frank, you are very foolish, very; and she will be infinitely
distressed."

"Do not mention this, that is, not at present; not that I mean to
make any secret of it. I shall tell my father everything. I'm off
now!" and then, paying no attention to her remonstrance, he turned
down the stairs and was soon on horseback.

He took the road to Boxall Hill, but he did not ride very fast: he
did not go jauntily as a jolly, thriving wooer; but musingly, and
often with diffidence, meditating every now and then whether it
would not be better for him to turn back: to turn back - but not from
fear of his mother; not from prudential motives; not because that
often-repeated lesson as to marrying money was beginning to take
effect; not from such causes as these; but because he doubted how he
might be received by Mary.

He did, it is true, think something about his worldly prospects. He
had talked rather grandiloquently to his mother as to his hating
money, and hating the estate. His mother's never-ceasing worldly
cares on such subjects perhaps demanded that a little grandiloquence
should be opposed to them. But Frank did not hate the estate; nor did
he at all hate the position of an English country gentleman. Miss
Dunstable's eloquence, however, rang in his ears. For Miss Dunstable
had an eloquence of her own, even in her letters. "Never let them
talk you out of your own true, honest, hearty feelings," she had
said. "Greshamsbury is a very nice place, I am sure; and I hope I
shall see it some day; but all its green knolls are not half so nice,
should not be half so precious, as the pulses of your own heart. That
is your own estate, your own, your very own - your own and another's;
whatever may go to the money-lenders, don't send that there. Don't
mortgage that, Mr Gresham."

"No," said Frank, pluckily, as he put his horse into a faster trot,
"I won't mortgage that. They may do what they like with the estate;
but my heart's my own," and so speaking to himself, almost aloud, he
turned a corner of the road rapidly and came at once upon the doctor.

"Hallo, doctor! is that you?" said Frank, rather disgusted.

"What! Frank! I hardly expected to meet you here," said Dr Thorne,
not much better pleased.

They were now not above a mile from Boxall Hill, and the doctor,
therefore, could not but surmise whither Frank was going. They had
repeatedly met since Frank's return from Cambridge, both in the
village and in the doctor's house; but not a word had been said
between them about Mary beyond what the merest courtesy had required.
Not that each did not love the other sufficiently to make a full
confidence between them desirable to both; but neither had had the
courage to speak out.

Nor had either of them the courage to do so now. "Yes," said Frank,
blushing, "I am going to Lady Scatcherd's. Shall I find the ladies at
home?"

"Yes; Lady Scatcherd is there; but Sir Louis is there also - an
invalid: perhaps you would not wish to meet him."

"Oh! I don't mind," said Frank, trying to laugh; "he won't bite, I
suppose?"

The doctor longed in his heart to pray to Frank to return with him;
not to go and make further mischief; not to do that which might cause
a more bitter estrangement between himself and the squire. But he had
not the courage to do it. He could not bring himself to accuse Frank
of being in love with his niece. So after a few more senseless words
on either side, words which each knew to be senseless as he uttered
them, they both rode on their own ways.

And then the doctor silently, and almost unconsciously, made such a
comparison between Louis Scatcherd and Frank Gresham as Hamlet made
between the dead and live king. It was Hyperion to a satyr. Was it
not as impossible that Mary should not love the one, as that she
should love the other? Frank's offer of his affections had at first
probably been but a boyish ebullition of feeling; but if it should
now be, that this had grown into a manly and disinterested love, how
could Mary remain unmoved? What could her heart want more, better,
more beautiful, more rich than such a love as his? Was he not
personally all that a girl could like? Were not his disposition,
mind, character, acquirements, all such as women most delight to
love? Was it not impossible that Mary should be indifferent to him?

So meditated the doctor as he rode along, with only too true a
knowledge of human nature. Ah! it was impossible, it was quite
impossible that Mary should be indifferent. She had never been
indifferent since Frank had uttered his first half-joking word of
love. Such things are more important to women than they are to men,
to girls than they are to boys. When Frank had first told her that he
loved her; aye, months before that, when he merely looked his love,
her heart had received the whisper, had acknowledged the glance,
unconscious as she was herself, and resolved as she was to rebuke his
advances. When, in her hearing, he had said soft nothings to Patience
Oriel, a hated, irrepressible tear had gathered in her eye. When he
had pressed in his warm, loving grasp the hand which she had offered
him as a token of mere friendship, her heart had forgiven him the
treachery, nay, almost thanked him for it, before her eyes or
her words had been ready to rebuke him. When the rumour of his
liaison with Miss Dunstable reached her ears, when she heard of
Miss Dunstable's fortune, she had wept, wept outright, in her
chamber - wept, as she said to herself, to think that he should be so
mercenary; but she had wept, as she should have said to herself, at
finding that he was so faithless. Then, when she knew at last that



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