Benjamin Disraeli.

Coningsby online

. (page 39 of 39)
Online LibraryBenjamin DisraeliConingsby → online text (page 39 of 39)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook


moment who, though they had never seen Coningsby before, would willingly
have then died for him. Coningsby had touched their hearts, for he had
spoken from his own. His spirit had entirely magnetised them. Darlford
believed in Coningsby: and a very good creed.

And now Coningsby was conducted to the opposite hotel. He walked through
the crowd. The progress was slow, as every one wished to shake hands
with him. His friends, however, at last safely landed him. He sprang
up the stairs; he was met by Mr. Millbank, who welcomed him with the
greatest warmth, and offered his hearty congratulations.

'It is to you, dear sir, that I am indebted for all this,' said
Coningsby.

'No,' said Mr. Millbank, 'it is to your own high principles, great
talents, and good heart.'

After he had been presented by the late member to the principal
personages in the borough, Mr. Millbank said,

'I think we must now give Mr. Coningsby a little rest. Come with me,' he
added, 'here is some one who will be very glad to see you.'

Speaking thus, he led our hero a little away, and placing his arm in
Coningsby's with great affection opened the door of an apartment. There
was Edith, radiant with loveliness and beaming with love. Their agitated
hearts told at a glance the tumult of their joy. The father joined their
hands, and blessed them with words of tenderness.




CHAPTER VII.


The marriage of Coningsby and Edith took place early in the autumn.
It was solemnised at Millbank, and they passed their first moon at
Hellingsley, which place was in future to be the residence of the member
for Darlford. The estate was to devolve to Coningsby after the death of
Mr. Millbank, who in the meantime made arrangements which permitted
the newly-married couple to reside at the Hall in a manner becoming its
occupants. All these settlements, as Mr. Millbank assured Coningsby,
were effected not only with the sanction, but at the express instance,
of his son.

An event, however, occurred not very long after the marriage of
Coningsby, which rendered this generous conduct of his father-in-law no
longer necessary to his fortunes, though he never forgot its exercise.
The gentle and unhappy daughter of Lord Monmouth quitted a scene with
which her spirit had never greatly sympathised. Perhaps she might have
lingered in life for yet a little while, had it not been for that fatal
inheritance which disturbed her peace and embittered her days, haunting
her heart with the recollection that she had been the unconscious
instrument of injuring the only being whom she loved, and embarrassing
and encumbering her with duties foreign to her experience and her
nature. The marriage of Coningsby had greatly affected her, and from
that day she seemed gradually to decline. She died towards the end
of the autumn, and, subject to an ample annuity to Villebecque, she
bequeathed the whole of her fortune to the husband of Edith. Gratifying
as it was to him to present such an inheritance to his wife, it was not
without a pang that he received the intelligence of the death of Flora.
Edith sympathised in his affectionate feelings, and they raised a
monument to her memory in the gardens of Hellingsley.

Coningsby passed his next Christmas in his own hall with his beautiful
and gifted wife by his side, and surrounded by the friends of his heart
and his youth.

They stand now on the threshold of public life. They are in the leash,
but in a moment they will be slipped. What will be their fate? Will they
maintain in august assemblies and high places the great truths which, in
study and in solitude, they have embraced? Or will their courage exhaust
itself in the struggle, their enthusiasm evaporate before hollow-hearted
ridicule, their generous impulses yield with a vulgar catastrophe to the
tawdry temptations of a low ambition? Will their skilled intelligence
subside into being the adroit tool of a corrupt party? Will Vanity
confound their fortunes, or Jealousy wither their sympathies? Or will
they remain brave, single, and true; refuse to bow before shadows and
worship phrases; sensible of the greatness of their position, recognise
the greatness of their duties; denounce to a perplexed and disheartened
world the frigid theories of a generalising age that have destroyed
the individuality of man, and restore the happiness of their country by
believing in their own energies, and daring to be great?












Online LibraryBenjamin DisraeliConingsby → online text (page 39 of 39)