Vivian Grey, by Benjamin Disraeli

Chapter 7

The first week at Château Desir passed pleasantly enough. Vivian’s morning was amply occupied in maturing with the Marquess the grand principles of the new political system: in weighing interests, in balancing connections, and settling “what side was to be taken on the great questions?” O politics, thou splendid juggle! The whole business, although so magnificent in its result, appeared very easy to the two counsellors, for it was one of the first principles of Mr. Vivian Grey, that everything was possible. Men did fail in life to be sure, and after all, very little was done by the generality; but still all these failures, and all this inefficiency, might be traced to a want of physical and mental courage. Some men were bold in their conceptions, and splendid heads at a grand system, but then, when the day of battle came, they turned out very cowards; while others, who had nerve enough to stand the brunt of the hottest fire, were utterly ignorant of military tactics, and fell before the destroyer, like the brave untutored Indians before the civilised European. Now Vivian Grey was conscious that there was at least one person in the world who was no craven either in body or in mind, and so he had long come to the comfortable conclusion, that it was impossible that his career could be anything but the most brilliant. And truly, employed as he now was, with a peer of the realm, in a solemn consultation on that realm’s most important interests, at a time when creatures of his age were moping in Halls and Colleges, is it to be wondered at that he began to imagine that his theory was borne out by experience and by fact? Not that it must be supposed, even for a moment, that Vivian Grey was what the world calls conceited. Oh no! he knew the measure of his own mind, and had fathomed the depth of his powers with equal skill and impartiality; but in the process he could not but feel that he could conceive much, and dare do more.

We said the first week at Château Desir passed pleasantly enough; and so it did, for Vivian’s soul revelled in the morning councils on his future fortunes, with as much eager joy as a young courser tries the turf, preliminary to running for the plate. And then, in the evening, were moonlit walks with Mrs. Felix Lorraine! And then the lady abused England so prettily, and initiated her companion, in all the secrets of German Courts, and sang beautiful French songs, and told the legends of her native land in such, an interesting, semi-serious tone, that Vivian almost imagined, that she believed them; and then she would take him beside the luminous lake in the park, and now it looked just like the dark blue Rhine! and then she remembered Germany, and grew sad, and abused her husband; and then she taught Vivian the guitar, and some other fooleries besides.

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