Phineas Redux, by Anthony Trollope

Chapter 80


There remains to us the very easy task of collecting together the ends of the thread of our narrative, and tying them into a simple knot, so that there may be no unravelling. Of Mr Emilius it has been already said that his good fortune clung to him so far that it was found impossible to connect him with the tragedy of Bolton Row. But he was as made to vanish for a certain number of years from the world, and dear little Lizzie Eustace was left a free woman. When last we heard of her she was at Naples and there was then a rumour that she was about to join her fate to that of Lord George de Bruce Carruthers, with whom pecuniary matters had lately not been going comfortably. Let us hope that the match, should it be a match, may lead to the happiness and respectability of both of them.

As all the world knows, Lord and Lady Chiltern still live at Harrington Hall, and he has been considered to do very well with the Brake country. He still grumbles about Trumpeton Wood, and says that it will take a lifetime to repair injuries done by Mr Fothergill — but then who ever knew a Master of Hounds who wasn’t ill-treated by the owners of coverts?

Of Mr Tom Spooner it can only be said that he is still a bachelor, living with his cousin Ned, and that none of the neighbours expect to see a lady at Spoon Hall. In one winter, after the period of his misfortune, he become slack about his hunting, and there were rumours that he was carrying out that terrible threat of his as to the crusade which he would go to find a cure for his love. But his cousin took him in hand somewhat sharply, made him travel abroad during the summer, and brought him out the next season, “as fresh as paint”, the members of the Brake Hunt declared. It was known to every sportsman in the country that poor Mr Spooner had been in love; but the affair was allowed to be a mystery, and no one ever spoke to Spooner himself upon the subject. It is probable that he now reaps no slight amount of gratification from his memory of the romance.

The marriage between Gerard Maule and Adelaide Palliser was celebrated with great glory at Matching, and was mentioned in all the leading papers as an alliance in high life. When it became known to Mr Maule, Senior, that this would be so, and that the lady would have a very considerable fortune from the old Duke, he reconciled himself to the marriage altogether, and at once gave way in that matter of Maule Abbey. Nothing he thought would be more suitable than that the young people should live at the old family place. So Maule Abbey was fitted up, and Mr and Mrs Maule have taken up their residence there. Under the influence of his wife he has promised to attend to his farming, and proposes to do no more than go out and see the hounds when they come into his neighbourhood. Let us hope that he may prosper. Should the farming come to a good end more will probably have been due to his wife’s enterprise than to his own. The energetic father is, as all the world knows, now in pursuit of a widow with three thousand a year who has lately come out in Cavendish Square.

Of poor Lord Fawn no good account can be given. To his thinking, official life had none of those drawbacks with which the fantastic feelings of Phineas Finn had invested it. He could have been happy for ever at the India Board or at the Colonial Office — but his life was made a burden to him by the affair of the Bonteen murder. He was charged with having nearly led to the fatal catastrophe of Phineas Finn’s condemnation by his erroneous evidence, and he could not bear the accusation. Then came the further affair of Mr Emilius, his mind gave way — and he disappeared. Let us hope that he may return some day with renewed health, and again be of service to his country. Poetical justice reached Mr Quintus Slide of the People’s Banner . The acquittal and following glories of Phineas Finn were gall and wormwood to him; and he continued his attack upon the member for Tankerville even after it was known that he had refused office, and was about to be married to Madame Goesler. In these attacks he made allusions to Lady Laura which brought Lord Chiltern down upon him, and there was an action for libel. The paper had to pay damages and cost, and the proprietors resolved that Mr Quintus Slide was too energetic for their purposes. He is now earning his bread in some humble capacity on the staff of the Ballot Box — which is supposed to be the most democratic daily newspaper published in London. Slide has, however, expressed his intention of seeking his fortune in New York.

Laurence Fitzgibbon certainly did himself a good turn by his obliging deference to the opinion of the Chancellor of the Exchequer. He has been in office ever since. It must be acknowledged of all our leading statesmen that gratitude for such services is their characteristic. It is said that he spends much of his eloquence in endeavouring to make his wife believe that the air of County Mayo is the sweetest in the world. Hitherto, since his marriage, this eloquence has been thrown away, for she has always been his companion through the session in London.

It is rumoured that Barrington Erle is to be made Secretary for Ireland, but his friends doubt whether the office will suit him.

The marriage between Madame Goesler and our hero did not take place till October, and then they went abroad for the greater part of the winter, Phineas having received leave of absence officially from the Speaker and unofficially from his constituents. After all that he had gone through it was acknowledged that so much ease should be permitted to him. They went first to Vienna, and then back into Italy, and were unheard of by their English friends for nearly six months. In April they reappeared in London, and the house in Park Lane was opened with great êclat . Of Phineas everyone says that of all living men he has been the most fortunate. The present writer will not think so unless he shall soon turn his hand to some useful task. Those who know him best say that he will of course go into office before long.

Of poor Lady Laura hardly a word need be said. She lives at Saulsby the life of a recluse, and the old Earl her father is still alive.

The Duke, as all the world knows, is on the very eve of success with the decimal coinage. But his hair is becoming grey, and his back is becoming bent; and men say that he will never live as long as his uncle. But then he will have done a great thing — and his uncle did only little things. Of the Duchess no word need be said. Nothing will ever change the Duchess.

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Last updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 at 12:01