Benjamin Disraeli.

Endymion : a novel online

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barking; we want a word-pamtef here, sir. My description
of the wedding sold one hundred and fifty thousand, and it is
selling now. If the proprietors were gentlemen, they would
have sent me an unlimited credit, instead of their paltry fifty
pounds a day and my expenses; but you never meet a liberal
man now no such animal known. What I want you to do
for me, Lord Waldershare, is to get me invited to the Villa
Aurea when the court moves there. It will be private life
there, and that is the article the British public want now.
They are satiated with ceremonies and festivals. They want
to know what the royal pair have for dinner when they are
alone, how they pass their evenings, and whether the queen
drives ponies." "

" So far as I am concerned," said Waldershare, " they shall
remain state secrets.

" I have received no special favors here," rejoined St. Barbe,
" though, with my claims, I might have counted on the utter-
most. However, it is always so. I must depend on my own



END TM ION. 389

resources. I have a retainer, I can tell you, my lord, from the
Rigdum Funnidos, in my pocket, and it is in my power to
keep up such a crackling of jokes and sarcasms that a very dif-
ferent view would soon be entertained in Europe of what is
going on here from is now the fashion. The Rigdum Funni-
dos is on the breakfast-table of all England, and sells thousands
in every capital of the world. You do not appreciate its power;
you will now feel it."

" I also am a subscriber to the Rigdum Funnidos" said
Waldershare, " and tell you frankly, Mr. St. Barbe, that if I
see in its columns the slightest allusion to any person or inci-
dent in this country, I will take care that you be instantly
consigned to the galleys; and, this being a liberal government,
I can do that without even the ceremony of a primary inquiry."

" You do not mean that!" said St. Barbe; " of course, I was
only jesting. It is not likely that I should say or do anything
disagreeable to those whom I look upon as my patrons I may
say friends through life. It makes me almost weep when I
remember my early connection with Mr. Ferrars, now an
Under-secretary of State, and who will mount higher. I never
had a chance of being a minister, though I suppose I am not
more incapable than others who get the silver spoon into their
mouths. And then his divine sister! Quite an heroic char-
acter! I never had a sister, and so I never had even the chance
of being nearly related to royalty. But so it has been through-
out my life. No luck, my lord; no luck. And then they say
one is misanthropical. Hang it! who can help being misan-
thropical when he finds everybody getting on in life except
himself ?"

The court moved to their favorite summer residence, a Pal-
ladian palace on a blue lake, its banks clothed with forests
abounding in every species of game, and beyond them loftier
mountains. The king was devoted to sport, and Endymion
was always among his companions. Waldershare rather at-
tached himself to the ladies, who made gay parties floating in
gondolas, and refreshed themselves with picnics in sylvan re-
treats. It was supposed Lord Waldershare was a great ad-
mirer of the Princess of Montserrat, who in return referred to
him as that " lovable eccentricity." As the autumn advanced,
parties of guests of high distinction, carefully arranged, peri-
odically arrived. Now there was more ceremony, and every
evening the circle was formed, while the king and queen ex-
changed words, and sometimes ideas, with those who were so



390 ENDTMION.

fortunate as to be under their roof. Frequently there were
dramatic performances, and sometimes a dance. The Prin-
cess of Montserrat was invaluable in these scenes ; vivacious,
imaginative, a consummate mimic, her countenance, though
not beautiful, was full of charm. What was strange, Adriana
took a great fancy to her highness, and they were seldom sep-
arated. The only cloud for Endymion in this happy life was
that every day the necessity of his return tc England was
more urgent, and every day the days vanished more quickly.
That return to England, once counted by weeks, would soon
be counted by hours. He had conferred once or twice with
Waldershare on the subject, who always turned the conversa-
tion; at last Endymion reminded him that the time of his de-
parture was at hand, and that, originally, it had been agreed
they should return together.

" Yes, my dear Ferrars, we did so agree, but the agreement
was permissive, not compulsory. My views are changed.
Perhaps I shall never return to England again; I think of being
naturalized here."

The queen was depressed at the prospect of being separated
from her brother. Sometimes she remonstrated with him for
his devotion to sport which deprived her of his society; fre-
quently in a morning she sent for him to her boudoir, that they
might talk together as in old times. " The king has invited
Lord and Lady Beaumaris to pay us a visit, and they are
coming at once. I had hoped the dear Hainaults might have
visited us here. I think she would have liked it. However,
they will certainly pass the winter with us. It is some conso-
lation to me not to lose Adriana."

" The greatest," said Endymion; " and she seems'so happy
here. She seems quite changed."

" I hope she is happier," said the queen, " but I trust she is
not changed. I think her nearly perfection. So pure, even so
exalted a mind, joined with so sweet a temper, I have never
met. And she is very much admired too, I can tell you. The
Prince of Aragon would be on his knees to her to-morrow; if
she would only give him a single smile. But she smiles
enough with the Princess of Montserrat. I heard her the
other day absolutely in uncontrollable laughter. That is a
strange friendship ; it amuses me."

" The princess has immense resource."

The queen suddenly rose from her seat; her countenance
was disturbed.



ENDTMION.

" Why do we talk of her, or of any other trifler of the court,
when there hangs over us so great a sorrow, Endymion, as
our separation? Endymion, my best beloved," and she threw
her arms round his neck, "my heart! my life! Is it possible
that you can leave me, and so miserable as I am !"

"Miserable!"

" Yes ! miserable when I think of your position and even
my own. Mine own has risen like a palace in a dream, and
may vanish like one. But that would not be a calamity if you
were safe. If I quitted this world to-morrow, where would
you be? It gives me sleepless nights and anxious days. If
you really loved me as you say, you would save me this. I
am haunted with the perpetual thought that all this glittering
prosperity will vanish as it did with our father. God forbid
that, under any circumstances, it should lead to such an end;
but who knows? Fate is terribly stern; ironically just. Oh,
Endymion! if you really love me, your twin, half of your
blood and life, who have labored for you so much, and thought
for you so much, and prayed for you so much and yet, I
sometimes feel, have done so little. Oh, Endymion! my
adored, my own Endymion ! if you wish to preserve my life
if you wish me not only to live, but really to be happy as I
ought to be, and could be, but for one dark thought, help me,
aid me, save me you can, and by one single act."

" One single act!"

" Yes ! marry Adriana."

"Ah! "and he sighed.

" Yes, Adriana, to whom we both of us owe everything.
Were it not for Adriana, you would not be here, you would
be nothing," and she whispered some words which made him
start, and alternately blush and look pale.

"Is it possible?" he exclaimed. "My sister, my beloved
sister! I have tried to keep my brain cool in many trials. But
I feel, as it were, as if life were too much for me. You coun-
sel me to that which we should all repent."

"Yes, I know it; you may for a moment think it a sacrifice,
but, believe me, that is all fantasy. I know you think your
heart belongs to another. I will grant everything, willingly
grant everything you could say of her. Yes, I admit, she is
beautiful, she has many charms, has been to you a faithful
friend, you delight in her society ; such things have happened
before to many men, to every man they say they happen, but
that has not prevented them from being wise, and very happy



392 ENDTM1ON.

too. Your present position, if you persist in it, is one most
perilous. You have no root in the country; but for an acci-
dent you could not maintain the public position you have nobly
gained. As for the great crowning consummation of your
life, which we dreamed over at unhappy Hurstley, which I
have sometimes dared to prophesy, that must be surrendered.
The country, at the best, will look upon you only as a reputa-
ble adventurer to be endured, even trusted and supported, in
some secondary post, but nothing more. I touch on this, for I
see it is useless to speak of myself and my own fate and feel-
ings; only remember, Endymion, I have never deceived you.
I cannot endure any longer this state of affairs. When in a
few days we part, we shall never meet again. And all the de-
votion of Myra'will end in your destroying her."

" My own, my beloved Myra, do with me what you like.

At this moment there was a gentle tap at the door, and the
king entered.

" My angel," he said, " and you, too, my dear Endymion.
I have some news from England which I fear may distress you.
Lord Montfort is dead."



CHAPTER XCVI.

THERE was ever, when separated, an uninterrupted corres-
pondence between Berengaria and Endymion. They wrote
to each other every day, so that when they met again there was
no void in their lives and mutual experience, and each was
acquainted with almost every feeling and incident that had been
proved or had occurred since they parted. The startling news,
however, communicated by the king had not previously
reached Endymion, because he was on the eve of his return to
England and his correspondents had been requested to direct
their future letters to his residence in London.

His voyage home was an agitated one, and not sanguine or
inspiriting. There was a terrible uncertainty in the future.
What were the feelings of Lady Montfort towards himself?
Friendly, kind, affectionate, in a certain sense, even devoted, no
doubt; but all consistent with a deep and determined friendship
which sought and wished for no return more ardent. But now
she was free. Yes, but would she again forfeit her freedom?
And if she did, would it not be to attain some great end, prob-



ENDYMION. 393

ably the great end of her life? Lady Montfort was a woman
of far-reaching ambition. In a certain degree, she had married
to secure her Lofty aims; and yet it was only by her singular
energy, and the playfulness and high spirit of her temperament,
that the sacrifice had not proved a failure; her success, how-
ever, was limited, for the ally on whom she had counted rarely
assisted and never sympathized with her. It was true she
admired and even loved her husband ; her vanity, which was
not slight, was gratified by her conquest of one whom it had
seemed no one could subdue, and who apparently placed at her
feet all the power and magnificence which she appreciated.

Poor Endymion who loved her passionately, over whom
she exercised the influence of a divinity, who would do noth-
ing without consulting her, and who was moulded, and who
wished to be moulded, in all his thoughts and feelings, and
acts and conduct, by her inspiring will, was also a shrewd man
of the world, and did not permit his sentiment to cloud his
perception of life and its doings. He felt that Lady Mont-
fort had fallen from a lofty position, and she was not of a
temperament that would quietly brook her fate. Instead of
being the mistress of castles and palaces, with princely means
and all the splendid accidents of life at her command, she was
now a dowager with a jointure ! Still young, with her charms
unimpaired, heightened even by the maturity of her fascina-
ting qualities, would she endure this? She might retain her
friendship for one who, as his sister ever impressed upon him,
had no root in this land ; and even that friendship, he felt con-
scious, must yield much of its entireness and intimacy to the
influence of new ties; but for their lives ever being joined to-
gether, as had sometimes been his wild dream, his cheek,
though alone, burned with the consciousness of his folly and
self-deception.

" He is one of our rising statesmen," whispered the captain
of the vessel to a passenger, as Endymion, silent, lonely, and
absorbed, walked, as was his daily custom, the quarter-deck. " I
dare say he has a good load on his mind. Do you know, I
would sooner be a captain of a ship than a minister of state ?

Poor Endymion! Yes, he bore his burden, but it was not
secrets of state that overwhelmed him. If his mind for a mo-
ment quitted the contemplation of Lady Montfort, it was only
to encounter the recollection of a heart-rending separation from
his sister, and his strange and now perplexing relations with
Adriana.



394 END T MI ON.

Lord Montfort had passed the summer, as he had announced,
at Princedown, and alone; that is to say, without Lady Mont-
fort. She wrote to him frequently, and if she omitted doing
so for a longer interval than usual, he would indite to her a
little note, always courteous, sometimes even almost kind, re-
minding her that her letters amused him, and that of late they
had been rarer than he wished. Lady Montfort herself made
Montfort Castle her home, paying sometimes a visit to her
family in the neighborhood, and sometimes receiving them and
other guests. Lord Montfort himself did not live in absolute
solitude. He had society always at command. He always
had a court about him; equerries and secretaries and doctors,
and odd and amusing men whom they found out for him, and
who were well pleased to find themselves in his 'beautiful and
magnificent Princedown, wandering in woods and parks and
pleasaunces, devouring his choice entrees, and quaffing his
curious wines. Sometimes he dined with them, sometimes a
few dined with him, sometimes he was not seen for weeks;
but, whether he were visible or not, he was the subject of con-
stant thought and conversation by all under his roof.

Lord Montfort, it may be remembered, was a great fisher-
man. It was the only sport which retained a hold upon him.
The solitude, the charming scenery, and the requisite skill com-
bined to please him. He had a love for nature, and he grati-
fied it in this pursuit. His domain abounded in those bright
chalky streams which the trout love. He liked to watch the
moor-hens, too, and especially the kingfisher.

Lord Montfort came home late one day after much wading.
It had been a fine day for anglers, soft and not too bright, and
he had been tempted to remain long in the water. He drove
home rapidly, but it was in an open carriage, and when the sun
set there was a cold autumnal breeze. He complained at
night, and said he had been chilled. There was always a
doctor under the roof, who felt his patient's pulse, ordered the
usual remedies, and encouraged him. Lord Montfort passed a
bad night, and his physician in the morning found fever, and
feared there were symptoms of pleurisy. He prescribed
accordingly, but summoned from town two great authorities.
The great authorities did not arrive until the next day. They
approved of everything that had been done, but shook their
heads. " No immediate danger, but serious."

Four-and-twenty hours afterwards they inquired of Lord
Montfort whether they should send for his wife. "On no



ENDTMION. 395

account whatever," he replied. " My orders on this head are
absolute." Nevertheless, they did send for Lady Montfort, and
as there was even then a telegraph to the north, Berengaria,
who departed from her castle instantly, and travelled all night,
arrived in eight-and-forty hours at Princedown. The state of
Lord Montfort then was critical.

It was broken to Lord Montfort that his wife had arrived.

" I perceive, then," he replied, " that I am going to die, be-
cause I am disobeyed."

These were the last words he uttered. He turned in his
bed, as it were to conceal his countenance, and expired without
a sigh or sound.

There was not a single person at Princedown in whom Lady
Montfort could confide. She had summoned the family solici-
tor, but he could not arrive until the next day, and until he
came she insisted that none of her late lord's papers should be
touched. She at first thought he had made a will, because
otherwise all his property would go to his cousin, whom he
particularly hated, and yet on reflection she could hardly fancy
his making a will. It was a trouble to him a disagreeable
trouble; and there was nobody she knew whom he would
care to benefit. He was not a man who would leave anything
to hospitals and charities. Therefore, on the whole, she arrived
at the conclusion he had not made a will, though all the guests
at Princedown were of a different opinion, and each was cal-
culating the amount of his own legacy.

At last the lawyer arrived, and he brought the will with
him. It was very short, and not very recent. Everything he
had in the world except the settled estates, Montfort Castle and
Montfort House, he bequeathed to his wife. It was a vast in-
heritance; not only Princedown, but great accumulations of
personal property, for Lord Montfort was fond of amassing, and
admired the sweet simplicity of the three-per-cents.



CHAPTER XCVII.

WHEN Endymion arrived in London, he found among his
letters two brief notes from Lady Montfort; one hurriedly writ-
ten at Montfort Castle at the moment of her departure, and
another from Princedown, with these words only: "All is
over." More than a week had elapsed since the last was
written, and he had already learned from the newspapers that



396 ENDTMION.

the funeral had taken place. It was a painful but still neces-
sary duty to fulfil, to write to her, which he did, but he re-
ceived no answer to his letter of sympathy, and to a certain
degree, of condolence. Time flew on, but he could not ven-
ture to write again, and without any absolute cause for his
discomfort, he felt harassed and unhappy. He had been so ac-
customed all his life to exist under the genial influence of
women that his present days seemed lone and dark. His sis-
ter and Berengaria, two of the most gifted and charming
beings in the world, had seemed to agree that their first duty
had ever been to sympathize with his fortunes and to aid
them. Even his correspondence with Myra was changed.
There was a tone of constraint in their communications; per-
haps it was the great alteration in her position that occa-
sioned it? His heart assured him that such was not the case.
He felt deeply and acutely what was the cause. The subject
most interesting to both of them could not be touched on. And
then he thought of Adriana, and contrasted his dull and soli-
tary home in Hill street with what it might have been, graced
by her presence, animated by her devotion, and softened by
the sweetness of her temper.

Endymion began to feel that the run of his good-fortune was
dried. His sister, when he had a trouble, would never hear of
this; she always held that the misery and calamities of their
early years had exhausted the influence of their evil stars, and
apparently she had been right, and perhaps she would have
always been right had he not been perverse, and thwarted her
in the most important circumstances of his life.

In this state of mind, there was nothing for him to do but to
plunge into business; and affairs of state are a cure for many
cares and sorrows. What are our petty annoyances and griefs
when we have to guard the fortunes and the honor of a nation ?

The November cabinets had commenced, and this brought
all the chiefs to town, Sidney Wilton among them; and his
society was always a great pleasure to Endymion; the only
social pleasure now left to him was a little dinner at Mr. Wil-
ton's, and little dinners there abounded. Mr. Wilton knew all
the persons that he was always thinking about, but whom, it
might be noticed, they seemed to agree now rarely to mention.
As for the rest, there was nobody to call upon in the delightful
hours between official duties and dinner. No Lady Roehamp-
ton now, no brilliant Berengaria, not even the gentle Imogene
with her welcome smile. He looked in at the Coventry Club



END r Ml ON.



397



a club of fashion, and also much frequented by diplomatists.
There were a good many persons there, and a foreign minister
immediately button-holed the Under-secretary of State.

" I called at the Foreign Office to-day," said the foreign
minister. " I assure you it is very pressing."

" I had the American with me," said Endymion," and he is
lengthy. However, as to your business, I think we might talk
it over here, and perhaps settle it." And so they left the room
together.

" I wonder what is going to happen to that gentleman," said
Mr. Ormsby, glancing at Endymion, and speaking to Mr.
Cassilis.

" Why ? " replied Mr. Cassilis, " is anything up? "

" Will he marry Lady Montfort?"

" Poh!" said Mr. Cassilis.

" You may poh ! " said Mr. Ormsby, " but he was a great
favorite."

" Lady Montfort will never marry. She had always a
poodle, and always will have. She was never so lice with
Ferrars as with the Count of Ferroll, and half a dozen others.
She must have a slave."

" A very good mistress with thirty thousand a year."

" She has not that," said Mr. Cassilis, doubtingly.

" What do you put Princedown at? " said Mr. Ormsby.

" That I can tell you to a T," replied Mr. Cassilis, " for it
was offered to me when old Rambrooke died. You will never
get twelve thousand a year out of it."

" Well, I will answer for half a million Consols," said Orms-
by; "for my lawyer, when he made a little investment for
me the other day, saw the entry himself in the bank-books;
our names are very near, you know M and O. Then there
is her jointure, something like ten thousand a year."

" No, no; not seven."

" Well, that would do."

" And what is the amount of your little investment in Con-
sols altogether, Ormsby?"

" Well, I believe I top Montfort," said Mr. Ormsby, with a
complacent smile, " but then, you know, I am not a swell like
you ; I have no land."

" Lady Montfort, thirty thousand a year " said Mr. Cassilis,
musingly. " She is only thirty. She is a woman who will
set the Thames on fire, but she will never, marry. Do you
dine to-day, by any chance, with Sidney Wilton?"



398 ENDYMION.

When Endymion returned home this evening, he found a
letter from Lady Montfort. It was a month since he had
written to her. He was so nervous that he absolutely for a
moment could not break the seal, and the palpitation of his
heart was almost overpowering.

Lady Montfort thanked him for his kind letter, which she
ought to have acknowledged before, but she had been very
busy indeed, quite overwhelmed with affairs. She wished to
see him, but was sorry she could not ask him down to Prince-
down, as she was living in complete retirement, only her aunt
with her, Lady Gertrude, whom, she believed, he knew. He
was aware -probably how good Lord Montfort had been to
her. Sincerely she could say, nothing could have been more
unexpected. If she could have seen her husband before the
fatal moment, it would have been a consolation to her. He
had always been kind to Endymion; she really believed some-
times that Lord Montfort was even a little attached to him.
She should like Endymion to have some souvenir of her late
late husband. Would he choose something, or would he leave
it to her?

One would rather agree, from the tone of this letter, that
Mr. Cassilis knew what he was talking about. It fell rather
cold on Endymion's heart, and he passed a night of some dis-
quietude; not one of those nights, exactly, when we feel that
the end of the world has at length arrived, and that we are the
first victim, but a night when you slumber rather than sleep,
and wake with the consciousness of some indefinable chagrin.

This was a dull Christmas for Endymion Ferrars. He
passed it, as he had passed others, at Gaydene, but what a con-
trast to the old assemblies there. Every source of excitement
that could make existence absolutely fascinating seemed then to
unite in his happy fate. Entrancing love and the very romance
of domestic affection, and friendships of honor and happiness,
and all the charms of an accomplished society, and the feeling
of a noble future, and the present and urgent interest in national
affairs all gone, except some ambition which might tend to



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