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must be strong now; strong to endure, not to attack. I think you have
that strength; but, if not, perhaps it will be better that we should
go away."

"I will be strong," said she, rising up and going towards the door.
"Never mind me, uncle; don't follow me; I will be strong. It will be
base, cowardly, mean, to run away; very base in me to make you do
so."

"No, dearest, not so; it will be the same to me."

"No," said she, "I will not run away from Lady Arabella. And, as for
him - if he loves this other one, he shall hear no reproach from me.
Uncle, I will be strong;" and running back to him, she threw her
arms round him and kissed him. And, still restraining her tears, she
got safely to her bedroom. In what way she may there have shown her
strength, it would not be well for us to inquire.




CHAPTER XXXIV

A Barouche and Four Arrives at Greshamsbury


During the last twelve months Sir Louis Scatcherd had been very
efficacious in bringing trouble, turmoil, and vexation upon
Greshamsbury. Now that it was too late to take steps to save himself,
Dr Thorne found that the will left by Sir Roger was so made as to
entail upon him duties that he would find it almost impossible to
perform. Sir Louis, though his father had wished to make him still
a child in the eye of the law, was no child. He knew his own rights
and was determined to exact them; and before Sir Roger had been dead
three months, the doctor found himself in continual litigation with
a low Barchester attorney, who was acting on behalf of his, the
doctor's, own ward.

And if the doctor suffered so did the squire, and so did those who
had hitherto had the management of the squire's affairs. Dr Thorne
soon perceived that he was to be driven into litigation, not only
with Mr Finnie, the Barchester attorney, but with the squire himself.
While Finnie harassed him, he was compelled to harass Mr Gresham. He
was no lawyer himself; and though he had been able to manage very
well between the squire and Sir Roger, and had perhaps given himself
some credit for his lawyer-like ability in so doing, he was utterly
unable to manage between Sir Louis and Mr Gresham.

He had, therefore, to employ a lawyer on his own account, and it
seemed probable that the whole amount of Sir Roger's legacy to
himself would by degrees be expended in this manner. And then, the
squire's lawyers had to take up the matter; and they did so greatly
to the detriment of poor Mr Yates Umbleby, who was found to have made
a mess of the affairs entrusted to him. Mr Umbleby's accounts were
incorrect; his mind was anything but clear, and he confessed, when
put to it by the very sharp gentleman that came down from London,
that he was "bothered;" and so, after a while, he was suspended from
his duties, and Mr Gazebee, the sharp gentleman from London, reigned
over the diminished rent-roll of the Greshamsbury estate.

Thus everything was going wrong at Greshamsbury - with the one
exception of Mr Oriel and his love-suit. Miss Gushing attributed
the deposition of Mr Umbleby to the narrowness of the victory which
Beatrice had won in carrying off Mr Oriel. For Miss Gushing was a
relation of the Umblebys, and had been for many years one of their
family. "If she had only chosen to exert herself as Miss Gresham had
done, she could have had Mr Oriel, easily; oh, too easily! but she
had despised such work," so she said. "But though she had despised
it, the Greshams had not been less irritated, and, therefore, Mr
Umbleby had been driven out of his house." We can hardly believe
this, as victory generally makes men generous. Miss Gushing, however,
stated it as a fact so often that it is probable she was induced to
believe it herself.

Thus everything was going wrong at Greshamsbury, and the squire
himself was especially a sufferer. Umbleby had at any rate been his
own man, and he could do what he liked with him. He could see him
when he liked, and where he liked, and how he liked; could scold him
if in an ill-humour, and laugh at him when in a good humour. All this
Mr Umbleby knew, and bore. But Mr Gazebee was a very different sort
of gentleman; he was the junior partner in the firm of Gumption,
Gazebee & Gazebee, of Mount Street, a house that never defiled
itself with any other business than the agency business, and that in
the very highest line. They drew out leases, and managed property
both for the Duke of Omnium and Lord de Courcy; and ever since her
marriage, it had been one of the objects dearest to Lady Arabella's
heart, that the Greshamsbury acres should be superintended by the
polite skill and polished legal ability of that all but elegant firm
in Mount Street.

The squire had long stood firm, and had delighted in having
everything done under his own eye by poor Mr Yates Umbleby. But now,
alas! he could stand it no longer. He had put off the evil day as
long as he could; he had deferred the odious work of investigation
till things had seemed resolved on investigating themselves; and
then, when it was absolutely necessary that Mr Umbleby should go,
there was nothing for him left but to fall into the ready hands of
Messrs Gumption, Gazebee and Gazebee.

It must not be supposed that Messrs Gumption, Gazebee & Gazebee
were in the least like the ordinary run of attorneys. They wrote
no letters for six-and-eightpence each: they collected no debts,
filed no bills, made no charge per folio for "whereases" and "as
aforesaids;" they did no dirty work, and probably were as ignorant
of the interior of a court of law as any young lady living in their
Mayfair vicinity. No; their business was to manage the property of
great people, draw up leases, make legal assignments, get the family
marriage settlements made, and look after wills. Occasionally, also,
they had to raise money; but it was generally understood that this
was done by proxy.

The firm had been going on for a hundred and fifty years, and the
designation had often been altered; but it always consisted of
Gumptions and Gazebees differently arranged, and no less hallowed
names had ever been permitted to appear. It had been Gazebee, Gazebee
& Gumption; then Gazebee & Gumption; then Gazebee, Gumption &
Gumption; then Gumption, Gumption & Gazebee; and now it was Gumption,
Gazebee & Gazebee.

Mr Gazebee, the junior member of this firm, was a very elegant young
man. While looking at him riding in Rotten Row, you would hardly have
taken him for an attorney; and had he heard that you had so taken
him, he would have been very much surprised indeed. He was rather
bald; not being, as people say, quite so young as he was once. His
exact age was thirty-eight. But he had a really remarkable pair of
jet-black whiskers, which fully made up for any deficiency as to his
head; he had also dark eyes, and a beaked nose, what may be called a
distinguished mouth, and was always dressed in fashionable attire.
The fact was, that Mr Mortimer Gazebee, junior partner in the firm
Gumption, Gazebee & Gazebee, by no means considered himself to be
made of that very disagreeable material which mortals call small
beer.

When this great firm was applied to, to get Mr Gresham through his
difficulties, and when the state of his affairs was made known to
them, they at first expressed rather a disinclination for the work.
But at last, moved doubtless by their respect for the de Courcy
interest, they assented; and Mr Gazebee, junior, went down to
Greshamsbury. The poor squire passed many a sad day after that before
he again felt himself to be master even of his own domain.

Nevertheless, when Mr Mortimer Gazebee visited Greshamsbury, which
he did on more than one or two occasions, he was always received _en
grand seigneur_. To Lady Arabella he was by no means an unwelcome
guest, for she found herself able, for the first time in her life, to
speak confidentially on her husband's pecuniary affairs with the man
who had the management of her husband's property. Mr Gazebee also was
a pet with Lady de Courcy; and being known to be a fashionable man in
London, and quite a different sort of person from poor Mr Umbleby,
he was always received with smiles. He had a hundred little ways of
making himself agreeable, and Augusta declared to her cousin, the
Lady Amelia, after having been acquainted with him for a few months,
that he would be a perfect gentleman, only, that his family had
never been anything but attorneys. The Lady Amelia smiled in her own
peculiarly aristocratic way, shrugged her shoulders slightly, and
said, "that Mr Mortimer Gazebee was a very good sort of a person,
very." Poor Augusta felt herself snubbed, thinking perhaps of the
tailor's son; but as there was never any appeal against the Lady
Amelia, she said nothing more at that moment in favour of Mr Mortimer
Gazebee.

All these evils - Mr Mortimer Gazebee being the worst of them - had Sir
Louis Scatcherd brought down on the poor squire's head. There may be
those who will say that the squire had brought them on himself, by
running into debt; and so, doubtless, he had; but it was not the less
true that the baronet's interference was unnecessary, vexatious, and
one might almost say, malicious. His interest would have been quite
safe in the doctor's hands, and he had, in fact, no legal right to
meddle; but neither the doctor nor the squire could prevent him. Mr
Finnie knew very well what he was about, if Sir Louis did not; and
so the three went on, each with his own lawyer, and each of them
distrustful, unhappy, and ill at ease. This was hard upon the doctor,
for he was not in debt, and had borrowed no money.

There was not much reason to suppose that the visit of Sir Louis to
Greshamsbury would much improve matters. It must be presumed that he
was not coming with any amicable views, but with the object rather
of looking after his own; a phrase which was now constantly in his
mouth. He might probably find it necessary while looking after his
own at Greshamsbury, to say some very disagreeable things to the
squire; and the doctor, therefore, hardly expected that the visit
would go off pleasantly.

When last we saw Sir Louis, now nearly twelve months since, he
was intent on making a proposal of marriage to Miss Thorne. This
intention he carried out about two days after Frank Gresham had done
the same thing. He had delayed doing so till he had succeeded in
purchasing his friend Jenkins's Arab pony, imagining that such a
present could not but go far in weaning Mary's heart from her other
lover. Poor Mary was put to the trouble of refusing both the baronet
and the pony, and a very bad time she had of it while doing so. Sir
Louis was a man easily angered, and not very easily pacified, and
Mary had to endure a good deal of annoyance; from any other person,
indeed, she would have called it impertinence. Sir Louis, however,
had to bear his rejection as best he could, and, after a perseverance
of three days, returned to London in disgust; and Mary had not seen
him since.

Mr Greyson's first letter was followed by a second; and the second
was followed by the baronet in person. He also required to be
received _en grand seigneur_, perhaps more imperatively than Mr
Mortimer Gazebee himself. He came with four posters from the
Barchester Station, and had himself rattled up to the doctor's door
in a way that took the breath away from all Greshamsbury. Why! the
squire himself for a many long year had been contented to come home
with a pair of horses; and four were never seen in the place, except
when the de Courcys came to Greshamsbury, or Lady Arabella with all
her daughters returned from her hard-fought metropolitan campaigns.

Sir Louis, however, came with four, and very arrogant he looked,
leaning back in the barouche belonging to the George and Dragon,
and wrapped up in fur, although it was now midsummer. And up in the
dicky behind was a servant, more arrogant, if possible, than his
master - the baronet's own man, who was the object of Dr Thorne's
special detestation and disgust. He was a little fellow, chosen
originally on account of his light weight on horseback; but if that
may be considered a merit, it was the only one he had. His out-door
show dress was a little tight frock-coat, round which a polished
strap was always buckled tightly, a stiff white choker, leather
breeches, top-boots, and a hat, with a cockade, stuck on one side
of his head. His name was Jonah, which his master and his master's
friends shortened into Joe; none, however, but those who were very
intimate with his master were allowed to do so with impunity.

This Joe was Dr Thorne's special aversion. In his anxiety to take
every possible step to keep Sir Louis from poisoning himself, he had
at first attempted to enlist the baronet's "own man" in the cause.
Joe had promised fairly, but had betrayed the doctor at once, and
had become the worst instrument of his master's dissipation. When,
therefore, his hat and the cockade were seen, as the carriage dashed
up to the door, the doctor's contentment was by no means increased.

Sir Louis was now twenty-three years old, and was a great deal too
knowing to allow himself to be kept under the doctor's thumb. It
had, indeed, become his plan to rebel against his guardian in almost
everything. He had at first been decently submissive, with the view
of obtaining increased supplies of ready money; but he had been sharp
enough to perceive that, let his conduct be what it would, the doctor
would keep him out of debt; but that the doing so took so large a sum
that he could not hope for any further advances. In this respect Sir
Louis was perhaps more keen-witted than Dr Thorne.

Mary, when she saw the carriage, at once ran up to her own bedroom.
The doctor, who had been with her in the drawing-room, went down to
meet his ward, but as soon as he saw the cockade he darted almost
involuntarily into his shop and shut the door. This protection,
however, lasted only for a moment; he felt that decency required him
to meet his guest, and so he went forth and faced the enemy.

"I say," said Joe, speaking to Janet, who stood curtsying at the
gate, with Bridget, the other maid, behind her, "I say, are there
any chaps about the place to take these things - eh? come, look sharp
here."

It so happened that the doctor's groom was not on the spot, and
"other chaps" the doctor had none.

"Take those things, Bridget," he said, coming forward and offering
his hand to the baronet. Sir Louis, when he saw his host, roused
himself slowly from the back of his carriage. "How do, doctor?" said
he. "What terrible bad roads you have here! and, upon my word, it's
as cold as winter:" and, so saying, he slowly proceeded to descend.

Sir Louis was a year older than when we last saw him, and, in his
generation, a year wiser. He had then been somewhat humble before the
doctor; but now he was determined to let his guardian see that he
knew how to act the baronet; that he had acquired the manners of a
great man; and that he was not to be put upon. He had learnt some
lessons from Jenkins, in London, and other friends of the same sort,
and he was about to profit by them.

The doctor showed him to his room, and then proceeded to ask after
his health. "Oh, I'm right enough," said Sir Louis. "You mustn't
believe all that fellow Greyson tells you: he wants me to take salts
and senna, opodeldoc, and all that sort of stuff; looks after his
bill, you know - eh? like all the rest of you. But I won't have
it; - not at any price; and then he writes to you."

"I'm glad to see you able to travel," said Dr Thorne, who could not
force himself to tell his guest that he was glad to see him at
Greshamsbury.

"Oh, travel; yes, I can travel well enough. But I wish you had some
better sort of trap down in these country parts. I'm shaken to bits.
And, doctor, would you tell your people to send that fellow of mine
up here with hot water."

So dismissed, the doctor went his way, and met Joe swaggering in one
of the passages, while Janet and her colleague dragged along between
them a heavy article of baggage.

"Janet," said he, "go downstairs and get Sir Louis some hot water,
and Joe, do you take hold of your master's portmanteau."

Joe sulkily did as he was bid. "Seems to me," said he, turning to
the girl, and speaking before the doctor was out of hearing, "seems
to me, my dear, you be rather short-handed here; lots of work and
nothing to get; that's about the ticket, ain't it?" Bridget was too
demurely modest to make any answer upon so short an acquaintance; so,
putting her end of the burden down at the strange gentleman's door,
she retreated into the kitchen.

Sir Louis, in answer to the doctor's inquiries, had declared himself
to be all right; but his appearance was anything but all right.
Twelve months since, a life of dissipation, or rather, perhaps, a
life of drinking, had not had upon him so strong an effect but that
some of the salt of youth was still left; some of the freshness of
young years might still be seen in his face. But this was now all
gone; his eyes were sunken and watery, his cheeks were hollow and
wan, his mouth was drawn and his lips dry; his back was even bent,
and his legs were unsteady under him, so that he had been forced to
step down from his carriage as an old man would do. Alas, alas! he
had no further chance now of ever being all right again.

Mary had secluded herself in her bedroom as soon as the carriage had
driven up to the door, and there she remained till dinner-time. But
she could not shut herself up altogether. It would be necessary that
she should appear at dinner; and, therefore, a few minutes before the
hour, she crept out into the drawing-room. As she opened the door,
she looked in timidly, expecting Sir Louis to be there; but when
she saw that her uncle was the only occupant of the room, her brow
cleared, and she entered with a quick step.

"He'll come down to dinner; won't he, uncle?"

"Oh, I suppose so."

"What's he doing now?"

"Dressing, I suppose; he's been at it this hour."

"But, uncle - "

"Well?"

"Will he come up after dinner, do you think?"

Mary spoke of him as though he were some wild beast, whom her uncle
insisted on having in his house.

"Goodness knows what he will do! Come up? Yes. He will not stay in
the dining-room all night."

"But, dear uncle, do be serious."

"Serious!"

"Yes; serious. Don't you think that I might go to bed, instead of
waiting?"

The doctor was saved the trouble of answering by the entrance of the
baronet. He was dressed in what he considered the most fashionable
style of the day. He had on a new dress-coat lined with satin,
new dress-trousers, a silk waistcoat covered with chains, a white
cravat, polished pumps, and silk stockings, and he carried a scented
handkerchief in his hand; he had rings on his fingers, and carbuncle
studs in his shirt, and he smelt as sweet as patchouli could make
him. But he could hardly do more than shuffle into the room, and
seemed almost to drag one of his legs behind him.

Mary, in spite of her aversion, was shocked and distressed when she
saw him. He, however, seemed to think himself perfect, and was no
whit abashed by the unfavourable reception which twelve months since
had been paid to his suit. Mary came up and shook hands with him, and
he received her with a compliment which no doubt he thought must be
acceptable. "Upon my word, Miss Thorne, every place seems to agree
with you; one better than another. You were looking charming at
Boxall Hill; but, upon my word, charming isn't half strong enough
now."

Mary sat down quietly, and the doctor assumed a face of unutterable
disgust. This was the creature for whom all his sympathies had been
demanded, all his best energies put in requisition; on whose behalf
he was to quarrel with his oldest friends, lose his peace and
quietness of life, and exercise all the functions of a loving friend!
This was his self-invited guest, whom he was bound to foster, and
whom he could not turn from his door.

Then dinner came, and Mary had to put her hand upon his arm. She
certainly did not lean upon him, and once or twice felt inclined to
give him some support. They reached the dining-room, however, the
doctor following them, and then sat down, Janet waiting in the room,
as was usual.

"I say, doctor," said the baronet, "hadn't my man better come in
and help? He's got nothing to do, you know. We should be more cosy,
shouldn't we?"

"Janet will manage pretty well," said the doctor.

"Oh, you'd better have Joe; there's nothing like a good servant at
table. I say, Janet, just send that fellow in, will you?"

"We shall do very well without him," said the doctor, becoming rather
red about the cheek-bones, and with a slight gleam of determination
about the eye. Janet, who saw how matters stood, made no attempt to
obey the baronet's order.

"Oh, nonsense, doctor; you think he's an uppish sort of fellow, I
know, and you don't like to trouble him; but when I'm near him, he's
all right; just send him in, will you?"

"Sir Louis," said the doctor, "I'm accustomed to none but my own old
woman here in my own house, and if you will allow me, I'll keep my
old ways. I shall be sorry if you are not comfortable." The baronet
said nothing more, and the dinner passed off slowly and wearily
enough.

When Mary had eaten her fruit and escaped, the doctor got into one
arm-chair and the baronet into another, and the latter began the only
work of existence of which he knew anything.

"That's good port," said he; "very fair port."

The doctor loved his port wine, and thawed a little in his manner. He
loved it not as a toper, but as a collector loves his pet pictures.
He liked to talk about it, and think about it; to praise it, and hear
it praised; to look at it turned towards the light, and to count over
the years it had lain in his cellar.

"Yes," said he, "it's pretty fair wine. It was, at least, when I got
it, twenty years ago, and I don't suppose time has hurt it;" and he
held the glass up to the window, and looked at the evening light
through the ruby tint of the liquid. "Ah, dear, there's not much of
it left; more's the pity."

"A good thing won't last for ever. I'll tell you what now; I wish
I'd brought down a dozen or two of claret. I've some prime stuff in
London; got it from Muzzle & Drug, at ninety-six shillings; it was
a great favour, though. I'll tell you what now, I'll send up for a
couple of dozen to-morrow. I mustn't drink you out of house, high and
dry; must I, doctor?"

The doctor froze immediately.

"I don't think I need trouble you," said he; "I never drink claret,
at least not here; and there's enough of the old bin left to last
some little time longer yet."

Sir Louis drank two or three glasses of wine very quickly after each
other, and they immediately began to tell upon his weak stomach. But
before he was tipsy, he became more impudent and more disagreeable.

"Doctor," said he, "when are we to see any of this Greshamsbury
money? That's what I want to know."

"Your money is quite safe, Sir Louis; and the interest is paid to the
day."

"Interest, yes; but how do I know how long it will be paid? I should
like to see the principal. A hundred thousand pounds, or something
like it, is a precious large stake to have in one man's hands, and he
preciously hard up himself. I'll tell you what, doctor - I shall look
the squire up myself."

"Look him up?"

"Yes; look him up; ferret him out; tell him a bit of my mind. I'll
thank you to pass the bottle. D - - me doctor; I mean to know how
things are going on."

"Your money is quite safe," repeated the doctor, "and, to my mind,
could not be better invested."

"That's all very well; d - - well, I dare say, for you and Squire
Gresham - "

"What do you mean, Sir Louis?"

"Mean! why I mean that I'll sell the squire up; that's what I
mean - hallo - beg pardon. I'm blessed if I haven't broken the
water-jug. That comes of having water on the table. Oh, d - - me,
it's all over me." And then, getting up, to avoid the flood he
himself had caused, he nearly fell into the doctor's arms.

"You're tired with your journey, Sir Louis; perhaps you'd better go
to bed."

"Well, I am a bit seedy or so. Those cursed roads of yours shake a
fellow so."

The doctor rang the bell, and, on this occasion, did request that Joe
might be sent for. Joe came in, and, though he was much steadier than
his master, looked as though he also had found some bin of which he
had approved.

"Sir Louis wishes to go to bed," said the doctor; "you had better
give him your arm."

"Oh, yes; in course I will," said Joe, standing immoveable about



Online LibraryAnthony TrollopeDoctor Thorne → online text (page 35 of 49)