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f<B^^s>S'SL Ci]




DarvarD Collede Xibrar^



BOUGHT WITH MONEY
RECEIVED FROM THE
SALE OF DUPUCATES



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This Edition is limited to

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all numbered

No ^A7...



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THE WORKS OF

GEORGE MEREDITH

RICHARD FEVEREL
II



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THE WORKS OF

GEORGE MEREDITH

VOLUME II



WESTMINSTER

ARCHIBALD CONSTABLE AND CO.

2 WHITEHALL GARDENS

1896



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* I



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THE ORDEAL OF

RICHARD FEVEREL

A HISTORY OF A

FATHER AND SON

VOLUME
II



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CONTENTS

XXIX. In which the Last Act of a Comedy
takes the place of the First,

XXX. Celebrates the Breakfsst,

XXXI. The Philosopher appears in Person,

XXXn. Procession of the Cake,

XXXm. Nursing the Devil,

XXXIV. Conquest of an Epicure,

XXXV. Clare's Marriage,

XXXVI. A Dinner-Party at Richmond, .

XXXVn. Mrs. Berry on Matrimony,

XXXVm. An Enchantress,

XXXIX. The Little Bird and the Falcon: A
Berry to the rescue, .

XL. Clare's Diary, .
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CONTENTS

Page

XLL Austin returns, .237

XLn. Nature speaks, .252

XLm. Again the Magian Conflict, 264

XLIV. The Last Scene, . .274

XLV. Lady Blandish to Austin Wentworth, 297



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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL



CHAPTER XXIX

In which the Last Act of a Comedy
takes the place of the First

Although it blew hard when CflBsar crossed the Rubicon,
the passage of that river is commonly calm ; calm as
Acheron. So long as he gets his fare, the (bnyman
does not need to be told whom he carries: he pulls
with a willy and heroes may be over in half an hour.
Only when they stand on the opposite bank, do they
see what a leap they have taken. The shores they have
relinquished shrink to an infinite remoteness. There
they have dreamed: here they must act. There lie
youth and irresolution: here manhood and purpose.
They are veritably in another land : a moral Acheron
divides their life. Their memories scarce seem their
own I The 'Philosophical Geography* (about to be
published) observes that each man has, one time or
other, a little Rubicon — a clear or a foul water to cross.
It is asked him : < Wilt thou wed this Fate, and give up
all behind thee?' And <I will,' firmly pronounced,
speeds him over. The above-named manuscript autho-
rity informs us, that by far the greater number of
carcases rolled by this heroic flood to its sister stream
below, are those of fellows who have repented their
pledge, and have tried to swim back to the bank they
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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

CHAPTER have blotted out. For though every man of us may be

In wwS^the * ^^^^ ^^^ ^^® ^***^ minute, very few remain so after

LastAotofa a day's march even: and who wonders that Madam

^9pSe^r ^^^^ ^^ indignant, and wears the features of the terrible

the Pint Universal Fate to him ? Fail before her, either in heart

or in act, and lo, how the alluring loves in her visage

wither and sicken to what it is modelled on 1 Be your

Rubicon big or small, clear or foul, it is the same : you

shall not return. On— or to Acheron I — ^I subscribe to

that saying of ' The Pilgrim's Scrip ' :

'The danger of a little knowledge of things is dis-
putable : iut beware the little knowledge of one's self! *

Richard Feverel was now crossing the River of his
Ordeal. Already the mists were stealing over the land
he had left: his life was cut in two, and he breathed
but the air that met his nostrils. His father, his father's
love, his boyhood and ambition, were shadowy. His
poetic dreams had taken a living attainable shape.
He had a distincter impression of the Autumnal Berry
and her household than of anjrthing at Raynham.
And yet the young man loved his father, loved his
home : and I dare say C»sar loved Rome : but whether
he did or no, C»sar when he killed the Republic was
quite bald, and the hero we are dealing with is scarce
beginning to feel his despotic moustache. Did he know
what he was made of? Doubtless, nothing at all. But
honest passion has an instinct that can be safer than
conscious wisdom. He was an arrow drawn to the
head, flying from the bow. His audacious mendacities
and subterfuges did not strike him as in any way
criminal ; for he was perfectly sure that the winning
and securing of Lucy would in the end be boisterously
approved o^ and in that case, were not the means
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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

justified? Not that he took trouble to argue thus, as cmntR
older heroes and self-convictliig villains are in the habit ^ ^Sihtb^
of doing, to deduce a clear conscience. Conscience LastAetofa
and Lucy went together. S'^jSTUT

It was a soft fair day. The Rubicon sparkled in the ^^^^i^
morning sun. One of those days when London em«
braces the prospect of summer, and troops forth all its
babies. The pavement, the squares, the parks, were
early alive with the cries of young Britain. Violet
and primrose girls, and organ boys with military
monkeys, and systematic bands very determined in
tone if not in tune, filled the atmosphere, and crowned
the blazing procession of omnibuses, fSreighted with
business men, Citjrward, where a column of reddish
brown smoke, — blown aloft by the South-west, marked
the scene of conflict to which these persistent warriors
repaired. Richard had seen much of early London that
morning. His plans were laid. He had taken care to
ensure his personal liberty against accidents, by leav«
ing his hotel and his injured uncle Hippias at sunrise.
To-day or to-morrow his fkther was to arrive. Farmer
Blaize, Tom Bakewell reported to him, was raging in
town. Another day and she might be torn fSrom him :
but to-day this miracle of creation would be his, and
then from those glittering banks yonder, let them
summon him to surrender her who dared 1 The posi-
tion of things looked so propitious that he naturally
thought the powers waiting on love conspired in his
behalf. And she, too — since she must cross this river,
she had sworn to him to be brave, and do him honour,
and wear the true gladness of her heart in her face.
Without a suspicion of folly in his acts, or fear of
results, Richard strolled into Kensington Gardens,

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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

CHAPTER breakfasting on the foreshadow of his great joy, now
la wi^^the ^^^ ^ vision of his bride, now of the new life opening
LMtActofa to him. Mountain masses of clouds, rounded in sun-
thT^Tot^ ^8^^ swung up the blue. The flowering chestnut
the First pavilions overhead rustled and hummed. A sound in
his ears as of a banner unfolding in the joyful distance
lulled him.

He was to meet his bride at the church at a quarter
past eleven. His watch said a quarter to ten. He
strolled on beneath the long-stemmed trees toward the
well dedicated to a saint obscure. Some people were
drinking at the well. A florid lady stood by a younger
one, who had a little silver mug half-way to her mouth,
and evinced undisguised dislike to the liquor of the
salutary saint.

' Drink, child 1 ' said the maturer lady. < That is only
your second mug. I insist upon your drinking tliree
ftill ones every morning we 're in town. Your con-
stitution positively requires iron 1 '

<But, mama,' the other expostulated, 'it's so nasty.
I shall be sick.'

< Drink ! ' was the harsh injunction. < Nothing to the
German waters, my dear. Here, let me taste.' She
took the mug and gave it a flying kiss. <I declare I
think it almost nice— not at all objectionable. Pray,
taste it,' she said to a gentleman standing below
them to act as cup-bearer.

An unmistakable cis-Rubicon voice replied: < Cer-
tainly, if it's good fellowship; though I confess
I don't think mutual sickness a very engaging
ceremony.'

Can one never escape from one's relatives? Richard
ejaculated inwardly.
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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

Without a doubt those people were Mrs, Doria^ Clare, ^^^™
and Adrian. He had them under his eyes. la wideii tiM

Clare, peeping up from her constitutional dose to ijj!^*^j^
make sure no man was near to see the possible con- tiM pum of
sequence of it, was the first to perceive him. Her ^^^^^
hand dropped.

< Now, pray, drink, and do not fuss ! ' said Mrs. Doria.

' Mama ! ' Clare gasped.

Richard came forward and capitulated honourably,
since retreat was out of the question. Mrs. Doria
swam to meet him : 'My own boy I My dear Richard I*
profuse of exclamations. Clare shyly greeted him.
Adrian kept in the background.

'Why, we were coming for you to-day, Richard,'
said Blrs. Doria, smiling effusion; and rattled on, 'We
want another cavalier. This is delightful I My dear
nephew 1 You have grown from a boy to a man.
And there 's down on his lip I And what brings you
here at such an hour in the morning? Poetry, I
suppose! Here, take my arm, child. — Clare I finish
that mug and thank your cousin for sparing you the
third. I always bring her, when we are by a chaly-
beate, to take the waters before breakfast. We have
to get up at unearthly hours. Think, my dear boy!
Mothers are sacrifices! And so you've been alone
a fortnight with your agreeable uncle! A charming
time of it you must have had ! Poor Hippias ! what
may be his last nostrum ? '

'Nephew!' Adrian stretched his head round to the
couple. ' Doses of nephew taken morning and night
fourteen days! And he guarantees that it shall
destroy an iron constitution in a month.'

Richardmechanicallyshook Adrian's handas he spoke.

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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

CHAPTER < Quite well, Ricky ? '
In iSS^the ^ Yes : well enough/ Richard answered.
Last Act of a 'Well?* resumcd his vigorous aunt, walking on
the%iMe of' ^th him, while Clare and Adrian followed. 'I really
the First ncvcr saw you looking so handsome. There's some-
thing about your face — ^look at me — ^you needn't blush.
You've grown to an Apollo. That blue buttoned-up
frock coat becomes you admirably — and those gloves,
and that easy neck-tie. Your style is irreproachable,
quite a style of your own 1 And nothing eccentric.
You have the instinct of dress. Dress shows blood,
my dear boy, as much as anything else. Boy ! — ^you
see, I can't forget old habits. You were a boy when
I left, and now I — ^Do you see any change in him,
Clare ? ' she turned half round to her daughter.

'Richard is looking very well, mama,' said Clare,
glancing at him under her eyelids.

'I wish I could say the same of you, my dear. — Take
my arm, Richard. Are you afraid of your aunt? I
want to get used to you. Won't it be pleasant, our
being all in town together in the season ? How fresh
the Opera will be to you ! Austin, I hear, takes stalls.
You can come to the Foreys' box when you like. We
are sta3ning with the Foreys close by here. I think
it 's a little too for out, you know ; but they like the
neighbourhood. This is what I have always said:
Give him more liberty 1 Austin has seen it at last.
How do you think Clare looking?'

The question had to be repeated. Richard surveyed
his cousin hastily, and praised her looks.

< Pale ! ' Mrs. Doria sighed.

'Rather pale, aunt.'

* Grown very much— don't you think, Richard? '
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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

^ Very tall girl indeed, aunt.' chapter

* If she had but a little more colour, my dear Richard! ^ ^^^^^^
I'm sure I give her all the iron she can swallow, but LastAetofa
that paUor stiU continues. I think she does not ^"jj2U*^
prosper away from her old companion. She was tiMFint
accustomed to look up to you, Richard '

<Did you get Ralph's letter, aunt?' Richard inter-
rupted her.

< Absurd!' Blrs. Doria pressed his arm. 'The non-
sense of a boy! Why did you undertake to forward
suchstuflF?'

'I'm certain he loves her,' said Richard, in a serious
way.

The maternal eyes narrowed on him. 'Life, my
dear Richard, is a game of cross-purposes,' she ob-
served, dropping her fluency, and was rather angered
to hear him laugh. He excused himself by sajring that
she spoke so like his father.

'You breakfast with us,' she freshened o£F again.
'The Foreys wish to see you; the girls are djring
to know you. Do you know, you have a reputation
on account of that ' — she crushed an intruding adjective
— 'System you were brought up on. You mustn't
mind it. For my part, I think you look a credit to
it. Don't be bashftil with young women, mind 1 As
much as you please with the old ones. You know
how to behave among men. There you have your
Drawing-room Guide! I'm sure I shall be proud of
you. Am I not?'

Mrs. Doria addressed his eyes coaxingly.

A benevolent idea struck Richard, that he might
employ the minutes to spare, in pleading the case
of poor Ralph ; and, as he was drawn along, he pulled

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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

CHAPTER out his watch to note the precise number of minutes
la w^^tbm ^^ could dedicate to this charitable office.
Last Act of a ^Pardou me/ said Mrs. Doria. * You want manners,
^"puco^f* "*y d®*^ "^^y* J think it never happened to me before
the First that a man consulted his watch in my presence.'

Richard mildly replied that he had an engage-
ment at a particular hour, up to which he was her
servant.

^Fiddlededee ! ' the vivacious lady sang. ^Now I Ve
got you, I mean to keep you. Ohl I've heard all
about you. This ridiculous indifference that your
father makes so much of! Why, of course, you
wanted to see the world! A strong healthy young
man shut up all his life in a lonely house — no Mends,
no society, no amusements but those of rustics ! Of
course you were indifferent! Your intelligence and
superior mind alone saved you from becoming a
dissipated country boor. — ^Where are the others?'

Clare and Adrian came up at a quick pace.

' My damozel dropped something,' Adrian explained.

Her mother asked what it was.

^Nothing, mama,' said Clare demurely, and they
proceeded as before.

Overborne by his aunt's fluency of tongue, and
occupied in acute calculation of the flying minutes,
Richard let many pass before he edged in a word for
Ralph. When he did, Mrs. Doria stopped him im-
mediately.

^I must tell you, child, that I refuse to listen to such
rank idiotcy.'

at's nothing of the kind, aunt.'

^Thefancy of aboy.'

< He 's not a boy. He 's half a year older than I am! '
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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

' You silly child 1 The moment yoo fiUl in love, you chaptbr
aU think yourselves men.' ^ JS^tn,

'On my honour, aunt I I believe he loves her iMtAotofa
thoroughly.' Z^Z^r

*Did he tell you so, child?* th#Fim

'Men don't speak openly of those things,* said
Richard.

'Boys do/ said Mrs. Doria.

'But listen to me in earnest, aunt. I want you to
be kind to Ralph. Don't drive him to — ^You may be
sorry for it Let him — do let him write to her, and
see her. I believe women are as cruel as men in
these things.'

'I never encourage absurdity, Richard.'

' What objection have you to Ralph, aunt ? '

'Oh, they're both good fkmilies. It's not that
absurdity, Richard. It will be to his credit to remember
that his first fancy wasn't a dairymaid.* Mrs. Doria
pitched her accent tellingly. It did not touch her
nephew.

'Don't you want Clare ever to marry? * He put the
last point of reason to her.

Mrs. Doria laughed. 'I hope so, child. We must
find some comfortable old gentleman for her.'

'What infamy ! ' mutters Richard.

'And I engage Ralph shall be ready to dance at her
wedding, or eat a hearty breakfast — We don't dance at
weddings now, and very properly. It 's a horrid sad
business, not to be treated with levity. — ^Is that his
regiment? ' she said, as they passed out of the hussar-
sentinelled gardens. ' Tush, tush, child ! Master Ralph
will recover, as — hem I others have done. A little
headache — you call it heartache — and up you rise

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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

CHAPTER again, looking better than ever» No doubt, to have a
la wu^the 8^^^ o^ sense forced into your brains, you poor dear
LMtAetofa children! must be painful. Girls suflPer as much as
t^'^Sfit^ boys, I assure you. More, for their heads are weaker,
tiM First and their appetites less constant. Do I talk like your
fiither now? Whatever makes the boy fidget at his
watch so ? '

Richard stopped short. Time spoke urgently.

'I must go,' he said.

His face did not seem good for trifling. Mrs. Doria
would trifle in spite.

'Listen, Clare! Richard is going. He says he has
an engagement. What possible engagement can a
young man have at eleven o'clock in the morning ? —
unless it 's to be married ! ' Mrs. Doria laughed at the
ingenuity of her suggestion.

'Is the church handy, Ricky I' said Adrian. 'You
can still give us half an hour if it is. The celibate
hours strike at Twelve.' And he also laughed in his
fashion.

'Won't you stay with us, Richard?' Clare asked.
She blushed timidly, and her voice shook.

Something indefinite — a sharp-edged thrill in the
tones made the burning bridegroom speak gently to
her.

'Indeed, I would, Clare ; I should like to please you,
but I have a most imperative appointment — ^that is, I
promised — ^I must go. I shall see you again '

Mrs. Doria took forcible possession of him. 'Now,
do come, and don't waste words. I insist upon your
having some breakfast first, and then, if you really
must go, you shall. Look I there's the house. At
least you will accompany your aunt to the door.'
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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

Richard conceded this. She little imagiiied what chapter
she required of him. Two of his golden minutes i,JSS^„j.
melted into nothingness. They were growing to be Lot Act of a
jewels of price, one by one more and more precious as ^^TpS^^
they ran, and now so costly-rare — rich as his blood! th« First
not to kindest relations, dearest friends, could he give
another. The die is cast I Ferryman I push o£F.

^ Good-bye ! * he cried, nodding bluffly at the three as
one, and fled.

They watched his abrupt muscular stride through
the grounds of the house. He looked like resolution
on the march. Mrs. Doria, as usual with her out of
her brother's hearing, began rating the System.

'See what becomes of that nonsensical education I
The boy really does not know how to behave like a
common mortal. He has some paltry appointment, or
is mad after some ridiculous idea of his own, and
everjrthing must be sacrificed to itl That's what
Austin calls concentration of the fkculties. I think
it's more likely to lead to downright insanity than to
greatness of any kind. And so I shall tell Austin.
It/s time he should be spoken to seriously about
him.'

'He's an engine, my dear aunt,' said Adrian. 'He
isn't a boy, or a man, but an engine. And he appears
to have been at high pressure since he came to town —
out all day and half the night.'

' He 's mad 1 ' Mrs. Doria interjected.

'Not at all. Extremely shrewd is Master Ricky, and
carries as open an eye ahead of him as the ships before
Troy. He 's more than a match for any of us. He is
for me, I confess.'

' Then,' said Mrs. Doria, ' he does astonish me ! '

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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

CHAPTER Adrian begged her to retain her astonishment till the

In iSS^tho ^8^^ season, which would not be long arriving.

Last Act of a Their common wisdom counselled them not to

the^^f ' tell the Foreys of their hopeful relative's ungracious

theFirtt behaviour. Clare had left them. When Mrs. Doria

went to her room her daughter was there, gazing

down at something in her hand, which she guiltily

closed.

In answer to an inquiry why she had not gone to
take off her things, Clare said she was not hungry.
Mrs. Doria lamented the obstinacy of a constitution
that no quantity of iron could affect, and eclipsed the
looking-glass, aaying : ^ Take them off here, child, and
learn to assist yourself.'

She disentangled her bonnet from the array of her
spreading hair, talking of Richard, and his handsome
appearance, and extraordinary conduct. Clare kept
opening and shutting her hand, in an attitude half
pensive, half listless. She did not stir to undress. A
joyless dimple hung in one pale cheek, and she drew
long even breaths.

Mrs. Doria, assured by the glass that she was ready
to show, came to her daughter.

'Now, really,' she said, 'you are too helpless, my
dear. You cannot do a thing without a dozen women
at your elbow. What will become of you? You will
have to marry a millionaire. — ^What's the matter with
you, child?'

Clare undid her tight^hut fingers, as if to some
attraction of her eyes, and displayed a small gold hoop
on the palm of a green glove.

'A wedding-ring 1 ' exclaimed Mrs. Doria, inspecting
the curiosity most daintily.
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THE ORDEAL OF RICHARD FEVEREL

There on Clare*s ptle green glove lay a wedding- chapre
ring! lawuehtte

Rapid questions as to where, when, how, it was LotAetofa
found, beset Clare, who replied: 'In the Gardens, ^r^o%ot
mama. This mon^Uig. When I was walking behind th« First
Richard/

'Are you sure he did not give it you, Clare?*

* Oh no, mama I he did not give it me/

'Of course notl only he does such absurd things I


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