And thus after all did Frank perform his duty; he did marry money; or rather, as the wedding has not yet taken place, and is, indeed, as yet hardly talked of, we should more properly say that he had engaged himself to marry money. And then, such a quantity of money! the Scatcherd wealth greatly exceeded the Dunstable wealth; so that our hero may be looked on as having performed his duties in a manner deserving the very highest commendation from all classes of the De Courcy connexion.
And he received it. But that was nothing. That he should be feted by the De Courcys and the Greshams, now that he was about to do his duty by his family in so exemplary a manner: that he should be patted on the back, now that he no longer meditated that vile crime which had been so abhorrent to his mother’s soul; this was only natural; this is hardly worthy of remark. But there was another to be feted, another person to be made a personage, another blessed human mortal about to do her duty by the family of Gresham in a manner that deserved, and should receive, Lady Arabella’s warmest caresses.
Dear Mary! It was, indeed, not singular that she should be prepared to act so well, seeing that in early youth she had had the advantage of an education in the Greshamsbury nursery; but not on that account was it the less fitting that her virtue should be acknowledged, eulogized, nay, all but worshipped.
How the party at the doctor’s got itself broken up, I am not prepared to say. Frank, I know, stayed, and dined there, and his poor mother, who would not retire to rest till she had kissed him, and blessed him, and thanked him for all he was doing for the family, was kept waiting in her dressing-room till a very unreasonable hour of the night.
It was the squire who brought the news up to the house. ‘Arabella,’ he said, in a low, but somewhat solemn voice, ‘you will be surprised at the news I bring you. Mary Thorne is the heiress to all the Scatcherd property!’
‘Oh, heavens! Mr Gresham.’
‘Yes, indeed,’ continued the squire. ‘So it is; it is very, very —’ But Lady Arabella had fainted. She was a woman who generally had her feelings and her emotions much under her own control; but what she now heard was too much for her. When she came to her senses, the first words that escaped her lips were, ‘Dear Mary!’
But the household had to sleep on the news before it could be fully realized. The squire was not by nature a mercenary man. If I have at all succeeded in putting his character before the reader, he will be recognized as one not over attached to money for money’s sake. But things had gone so hard with him, the world had become so rough, so ungracious, so full of thorns, the want of means had become an evil so keenly felt in every hour, that it cannot be wondered at that his dreams that night should be of a golden Elysium. The wealth was not coming to him. True. But his chief sorrow had been for his son. Now that son would be his only creditor. It was as though mountains of marble had been taken off his bosom.
But Lady Arabella’s dreams flew away at once into the seventh heaven. Sordid as they certainly were, they were not absolutely selfish. Frank would now certainly be the first commoner in Barsetshire; of course he would represent the county; of course there would be the house in town; it wouldn’t be her house, but she was contented that the grandeur should be that of her child. He would have heaven knows what to spend per annum. And that it should come through Mary Thorne! What a blessing she had allowed Mary to be brought into the Greshamsbury nursery! Dear Mary!
‘She will of course be one now,’ said Beatrice to her sister. With her, at the present moment, ‘one’ of course meant one of the bevy that was to attend her at the altar. ‘Oh dear! how nice! I shan’t know what to say to her tomorrow. But I know one thing.’
‘What is that?’ asked Augusta.
‘She will be as mild and meek as a little dove. If she and the doctor had lost every shilling in the world, she would have been proud as an eagle.’ It must be acknowledged that Beatrice had had the wit to read Mary’s character right.
But Augusta was not quite pleased with the whole affair. Not that she begrudged her brother his luck, or Mary her happiness. But her ideas of right and wrong—perhaps we should rather say Lady Amelia’s ideas—would not be fairly carried out.
‘After all, Beatrice, this does not alter her birth. I know it is useless saying anything to Frank.’
‘Why, you wouldn’t break both their hearts now?’
‘I don’t want to break their hearts, certainly. But there are those who put their dearest and warmest feelings under restraint rather than deviate from what they know to be proper.’ Poor Augusta! she was the stern professor of the order of this philosophy; the last in the family who practised with unflinching courage its cruel behests; the last, always excepting the Lady Amelia.
And how slept Frank that night? With him, at least, let us hope, nay, let us say boldly, that his happiest thoughts were not with the wealth which he was to acquire. But yet it would be something to restore Boxall Hill to Greshamsbury; something to give back to his father those rumpled vellum documents, since the departure of which the squire had never had a happy day; nay, something to come forth again to his friends as a gay, young country squire, instead of a farmer, clod-compelling for his bread. We would not have him thought to be better than he was, nor would we wish him to make him of other stuff than nature generally uses. His heart did exult at Mary’s wealth; but it leaped higher still when he thought of purer joys.
And what shall we say of Mary’s dreams? With her, it was altogether what she should give, not at all what she should get. Frank had loved her so truly when she was so poor, such an utter castaway; Frank, who with his beauty, and spirit, and his talents might have won the smiles of the richest, the grandest, the noblest! What lady’s heart would not have rejoiced to be allowed to love her Frank? But he had been true to her through everything. Ah! how often she thought of that hour, when suddenly appearing before her, he had strained her to his breast, just as she had resolved how best to bear the death-like chill of his supposed estrangements! She was always thinking of that time. She fed her love by recurring over and over to the altered feeling of that moment. Any now she could pay him for his goodness. Pay him! No, that would be a base word, a base thought. Her payment must be made, if God would so grant it, in many, many years to come. But her store, such as it was, should be emptied into his lap. It was soothing to her pride that she would not hurt him by her love, that she would bring no injury to the old house. ‘Dear, dear Frank’ she murmured, as her waking dream, conquered at last by sleep, gave way to those of the fairy world.
But she thought not only of Frank; dreamed not only of him. What had he not done for her, that uncle of hers, who had been more loving to her than any father! How was he, too, to be paid? Paid, indeed! Love can only be paid in its own coin: it knows of no other legal tender. Well, if her home was to be Greshamsbury, at any rate she would not be separated from him.
What the doctor dreamed of that, neither he or anyone ever knew. ‘Why, uncle, I think you’ve been asleep,’ said Mary to him that evening as he moved for a moment uneasily on the sofa. He had been asleep for the last three-quarters of an hour;—but Frank, his guest, had felt no offence. ‘No, I’ve not been exactly asleep,’ said he; ‘but I’m very tired. I wouldn’t do it all again, Frank, to double the money. You haven’t got any more tea, have you, Mary?’
On the following morning, Beatrice was of course with her friend. There was no awkwardness between them in meeting. Beatrice had loved her when she was poor, and though they had not lately thought alike on one very important subject, Mary was too gracious to impute that to Beatrice as a crime.
‘You will be one now, Mary; of course you will.’
‘If Lady Arabella will let me come.’
‘Oh, Mary; let you! Do you remember what you said once about coming, and being near me? I have so often thought of it. And now, Mary, I must tell you about Caleb;’ and the young lady settled herself on the sofa, so as to have a comfortable long talk. Beatrice had been quite right. Mary was as meek with her, and as mild as a dove.
And then Patience Oriel came. ‘My fine, young darling, magnificent, overgrown heiress,’ said Patience, embracing her. ‘My breath deserted me, and I was nearly stunned when I heard of it. How small we shall all be, my dear! I am quite prepared to toady to you immensely; but pray be a little gracious to me, for the sake of auld lang syne.’
Mary gave a long, long kiss. ‘Yes, for auld lang syne, Patience; when you took me away under your wing to Richmond.’ Patience also had loved her when she was in trouble, and that love, too, should never be forgotten.
But the great difficulty was Lady Arabella’s first meeting with her. ‘I think I’ll go down to her after breakfast,’ said her ladyship to Beatrice, as the two were talking over the matter while the mother was finishing her toilet.
‘I am sure she will come up if you like it, mamma.’
‘She is entitled to every courtesy—as Frank’s accepted bride, you know,’ said Lady Arabella. ‘I would not for worlds fail in any respect to her for his sake.’
‘He will be glad enough for her to come, I am sure,’ said Beatrice. ‘I was talking to Caleb this morning, and he says —’
The matter was of importance, and Lady Arabella gave it her most mature consideration. The manner of receiving into one’s family an heiress whose wealth is cure all one’s difficulties, disperse all one’s troubles, give a balm to all the wounds of misfortune, must under any circumstances, be worthy of much care. But when that heiress had been treated as Mary had been treated!
‘I must see her, at any rate, before I go to Courcy.’ said Lady Arabella.
‘Are you going to Courcy, mamma?’
‘Oh, certainly; yes, I must see my sister-inlaw now. You don’t seem to realize the importance, my dear, of Frank’s marriage. He will be in a great hurry about it, and, indeed, I cannot blame him. I expect they will all come here.’
‘Who, mamma? The De Courcys?’
‘Yes, of course. I shall be very much surprised if the earl does not come now. And I must consult my sister-inlaw as to the asking of the Duke of Omnium.’
‘And I think it will perhaps be better,’ continued Lady Arabella, ‘that we should have a larger party than intended at your affair. The countess, I’m sure, would come now. We couldn’t put it off for ten days; could we, dear?’
‘Put it off ten days!’
‘Yes; it would be convenient.’
‘I don’t think Mr Oriel would like that at all, mamma. You know he has made all his arrangements for his Sundays —’
Pshaw! The idea of the parson’s Sundays being allowed to have any bearing on such a matter as Frank’s wedding would now become! Why, they would have—how much? Between twelve and fourteen thousand a year! Lady Arabella, who had made her calculations a dozen times during the night, had never found it to be much less than the larger sum. Mr Oriel’s Sundays indeed!
After much doubt, Lady Arabella acceded to her daughter’s suggestion, that Mary should be received at Greshamsbury instead of being called on at the doctor’s house. ‘If you think she won’t mind the coming up first,’ said her ladyship. ‘I certainly could receive her better here. I should be more—more—more able, you know, to express what I feel. We had better go into the big drawing-room today, Beatrice. Will you remember to tell Mrs Richards?’
‘Oh, certainly,’ was Mary’s answer when Beatrice, with a voice a little trembling, proposed her to walk up to the house. ‘Certainly I will, if Lady Arabella will receive me;—only, one thing, Trichy.’
‘What’s that, dearest?’
‘Frank will think that I come after him.’
‘Never mind what he thinks. To tell you the truth, Mary, I often call on Patience for the sake of finding Caleb. That’s all fair now, you know.’
Mary very quietly got put on her straw bonnet, and said she was ready to go up to the house. Beatrice was a little fluttered, and showed it. Mary was, perhaps, a good deal fluttered, but she did not show it. She had thought a good deal about her first interview with Lady Arabella, of her first return to the house; but she had resolved to carry herself as though the matter were easy to her. She would not allow it to be seen that she felt that she brought with her to Greshamsbury, comfort, ease, and renewed opulence.
So she put on her straw bonnet and walked up with Beatrice. Everybody about the place had already heard the news. The old woman at the lodge curtsied low to her; the gardener, who was mowing the lawn. The butler, who opened the front door—he must have been watching Mary’s approach—had manifestly put on a clean white neckcloth for the occasion.
‘God bless you once more, Miss Thorne!’ said the old man, in a half-whisper. Mary was somewhat troubled, for everything seemed, in a manner, to bow down before her. And why should not everything bow down before her, seeing that she was in truth the owner of Greshamsbury?
And then a servant in livery would open the big drawing-room door. This rather upset both Mary and Beatrice. It became almost impossible for Mary to enter the room just as she would have done two years ago; but she got through the difficulty with much self-control.
‘Mamma, here’s Mary,’ said Beatrice.
Nor was Lady Arabella quite mistress of herself, although she had studied minutely how to bear herself.
‘Oh, Mary, dear Mary; what can I say to you?’ and then, with a handkerchief to her eyes, she ran forward and hid her face in Miss Thorne’s shoulders. ‘What can I say—can you forgive my anxiety for my son?’
‘How do you do, Lady Arabella?’ said Mary.
‘My daughter! my child! my Frank’s own bride! Oh, Mary! oh, my child! If I have seemed unkind to you, it has been through love to him.’
‘All these things are over now,’ said Mary. ‘Mr Gresham told me yesterday that I should be received as Frank’s future wife; and so, you see, I have come.’ And then she slipped through Lady Arabella’s arms, and sat down, meekly down, on a chair. In five minutes she had escaped with Beatrice into the school-room, and was kissing the children, and turning over the new trousseau. They were, however, soon interrupted, and there was, perhaps, some other kissing besides that of the children.
‘You have no business here at all, Frank,’ said Beatrice. ‘Has he, Mary?’
‘None in the world, I should think.’
‘See what he has done to my poplin; I hope you won’t have your things treated so cruelly. He’ll be careful enough about them.’
‘Is Oriel a good hand at packing up finery—eh, Beatrice,’ said Frank.
‘He is, at any rate, too well-behaved to spoil it.’ Thus Mary was again made at home on the household of Greshamsbury.
Lady Arabella did not carry out her little plan of delaying the Oriel wedding. Her idea had been to add some grandeur to it, in order to make it a more fitting precursor of that other greater wedding which was to follow soon in its wake. But this, with the assistance of the countess, she found herself able to do without interfering with poor Mr Oriel’s Sunday arrangements. The countess herself, with the Ladies Alexandrina and Margaretta, now promised to come, even to the first affair; and for the other, the whole De Courcy family would turn out, count and countess, lords and ladies, Honourable Georges and Honourable Johns. What honour, indeed, could be too great to show to a bride who had fourteen thousand a year in her own right, or to a cousin, who had done his duty by securing such a bride to himself!
‘If the duke be in the country, I am sure he will be happy to come,’ said the countess. ‘Of course, he will be talking to Frank about politics. I suppose the squire won’t expect Frank to belong to the old school now.’
‘Frank, of course, will judge for himself, Rosina;—with his position, you know!’ And so things were settled at Courcy Castle.
And then Beatrice was wedded and carried off to the Lakes. Mary, as she had promised, did stand near her; but not exactly in the gingham frock of which she had once spoken. She wore on that occasion—But it will be too much, perhaps, to tell the reader what she wore as Beatrice’s bridesmaid, seeing that a couple of pages, at least, must be devoted to her marriage-dress, and seeing, also, that we have only a few pages to finish everything; the list of visitors, the marriage settlements, the dress, and all included.
It was in vain that Mary endeavoured to repress Lady Arabella’s ardour for grand doings. After all, she was to be married from the doctor’s house, and not from Greshamsbury, and it was the doctor who should have invited the guests; but, in this matter, he did not choose to oppose her ladyship’s spirit, and she had it all her own way.
‘What can I do?’ said he to Mary. ‘I have been contradicting her in everything for the last two years. The least we can do is to let her have her own way now in a trifle like this.’
But there was one point on which Mary would let nobody have his or her own way; on which the way to be taken was very manifestly to be her own. This was touching the marriage settlements. It must not be supposed, that if Beatrice were married on a Tuesday, Mary could be married on the Tuesday week following. Ladies with twelve thousand a year cannot be disposed of in that way: and bridegrooms who do their duty by marrying money often have to be kept waiting. It was spring, the early spring, before Frank was made altogether a happy man.
But a word about the settlements. On this subject the doctor thought he would have been driven mad. Messrs Slow and Bideawhile, as the lawyers of the Greshamsbury family—it will be understood that Mr Gazebee’s law business was of quite a different nature, and his work, as regarded Greshamsbury, was now nearly over—Messrs Slow and Bideawhile declared that it would never do for them to undertake alone to draw out the settlements. An heiress, such as Mary, must have lawyers of her own; half a dozen at least, according to the apparent opinion of Messrs Slow and Bideawhile. And so the doctor had to go to other lawyers, and they again had to consult Sir Abraham, and Mr Snilam on a dozen different heads.
If Frank became tenant in tail, in right of his wife, but under his father, would he be able to grant leases for more than twenty-one years? and, if so, to whom would the right of trover belong? As to flotsam and jetsam—there was a little property, Mr Critic, on the sea-shore—that was a matter that had to be left unsettled at the last. Such points as these do take a long time to consider. All this bewildered the doctor sadly, and Frank himself began to make accusations that he was to be done out of his wife altogether.
But, as we have said, there was one point on which Mary would have her own way. The lawyers might tie up as they would on her behalf all the money, and shares, and mortgages which had belonged to the late Sir Roger, with this exception, all that had ever appertained to Greshamsbury should belong to Greshamsbury again; not in perspective, not to her children, or to her children’s children, but at once. Frank should be lord of Boxall Hill in his own right; and as to those other liens on Greshamsbury, let Frank manage that with his father as he might think fit. She would only trouble herself to see that he was empowered to do as he did think fit.
‘But,’ argued the ancient, respectable family attorney to the doctor, ‘that amounts to two-thirds of the whole estate. Two-thirds, Dr Thorne! It is preposterous; I should almost say impossible.’ And the scanty hairs on the poor man’s head almost stood on end as he thought of the outrageous manner in which the heiress prepared to sacrifice herself.
‘It will all be the same in the end,’ said the doctor, trying to make things smooth. ‘Of course, their joint object will be to put the Greshamsbury property together again.’
‘But, my dear sir,’—and then, for twenty minutes, the lawyer went on proving that it would be no means be the same thing; but, nevertheless, Mary Thorne did have her own way.
In the course of the winter, Lady de Courcy tried very hard to induce the heiress to visit Courcy Castle, and this request was so backed by Lady Arabella, that the doctor said he thought she might as well go there for three or four days. But here, again, Mary was obstinate.
‘I don’t see it at all,’ she said. ‘If you make a point of it, or Frank, or Mr Gresham, I will go; but I can’t see any possible reason.’ The doctor, when so appealed to, would not absolutely say that he made a point of it, and Mary was tolerably safe as regarded Frank or the squire. If she went, Frank would be expected to go, and Frank disliked Courcy Castle almost more than ever. His aunt was now more than civil to him, and, when they were together, never ceased to compliment him on the desirable way in which he had done his duty by the family.
And soon after Christmas a visitor came to Mary, and stayed a fortnight with her: one whom neither she nor the doctor had expected, and of whom they had not much more than heard. This was the famous Miss Dunstable. ‘Birds of a feather flock together,’ said Mrs Rantaway—late Miss Gushing—when she heard of the visit. ‘The railway man’s niece—if you can call her a niece—and the quack’s daughter will do very well together, no doubt.’
‘At any rate, they can count their money-bags,’ said Mrs Umbleby.
And in fact, Mary and Miss Dunstable did get on very well together; and Miss Dunstable made herself quite happy at Greshamsbury, although some people—including Mrs Rantaway—contrived to spread a report, that Dr Thorne, jealous of Mary’s money was going to marry her.
‘I shall certainly come and see you turned off,’ said Miss Dunstable, taking leave of her new friend. Miss Dunstable, it must be acknowledged, was a little too fond of slang; but then, a lady with her fortune, and of her age, may be fond of almost whatever she pleases.
And so by degrees the winter wore away—very slowly to Frank, as he declared often enough; and slowly, perhaps, to Mary also, but she did not say so. The spring came round. The comic almanacs give us dreadful pictures of January and February; but, in truth, the months which should be made to look gloomy in England are March and April. Let no man boast himself that he has got through the perils of winter till at least the seventh of May.
It was early in April, however, that the great doings were to be done at Greshamsbury. Not exactly on the first. It may be presumed, that in spite of the practical, common-sense spirit of the age, very few people do choose to have themselves united on that day. But some day in the first week of that month was fixed for the ceremony, and from the end of February all through March, Lady Arabella worked and strove in a manner that entitled her to profound admiration.
It was at last settled that the breakfast should be held in the large dining-room at Greshamsbury. There was a difficulty about it which taxed Lady Arabella to the utmost, for, in making the proposition, she could not but seem to be throwing some slight on the house in which the heiress had lived. But when the affair was once opened to Mary, it was astonishing how easy it became.
‘Of course,’ said Mary, ‘all the rooms in our house would not hold half the people you are talking about—if they must come.’
Lady Arabella looked so beseechingly, nay, so piteously, that Mary had not another word to say. It was evident that they must all come: the De Courcys to the fifth generation; the Duke of Omnium himself, and others in concatenation accordingly.
‘But will your uncle be angry if we have the breakfast up there? He has been so very handsome to Frank, that I wouldn’t make him angry for all the world.’
‘If you don’t tell him anything about it, Lady Arabella, he’ll think that it is all done properly. He will never know, if he’s not told, that he ought to give the breakfast, not you.’
‘Won’t he, my dear?’ And Lady Arabella looked her admiration for this very talented suggestion. And so that matter was arranged. The doctor never knew, till Mary told him some year or so afterwards, that he had been remiss in any part of his duty.
And who was asked to the wedding? In the first place, we have said that the Duke of Omnium was there. This was, in fact, the one circumstance that made this wedding so superior to any other that had ever taken place in that neighbourhood. The Duke of Omnium never went anywhere; and yet he went to Mary’s wedding! And Mary, when the ceremony was over, absolutely found herself kissed by a duke. ‘Dearest Mary!’ exclaimed Lady Arabella, in her ecstasy of joy, when she saw the honour that was done to her daughter-inlaw.
‘I hope we shall induce you to come to Gatherum Castle soon,’ said the duke to Frank. ‘I shall be having a few friends there in the autumn. Let me see; I declare, I have not seen you since you were good enough to come to my collection. Ha! ha! ha! It wasn’t bad fun, was it?’ Frank was not very cordial with his answer. He had not quite reconciled himself to the difference of his position. When he was treated as one of the ‘collection’ at Gatherum Castle, he had not married money.
It would be vain to enumerate all the De Courcys that were there. There was the earl, looking very gracious, and talking to the squire about the county. And there was Lord Porlock, looking very ungracious, and not talking to anybody about anything. And there was the countess, who for the last week had done nothing but pat Frank on the back whenever she could catch him. And there were the Ladies Alexandrina, Margaretta, and Selina, smiling at everybody. And the Honourable George, talking in whispers to Frank about his widow —‘Not such a catch as yours, you know; but something extremely snug;—and have it all my own way, too, old fellow, or I shan’t come to the scratch.’ And the Honourable John prepared to toady Frank about his string of hunters; and the Lady Amelia, by herself, not quite contented with these democratic nuptials —‘After all, she is so absolutely nobody; absolutely, absolutely,’ she said confidentially to Augusta, shaking her head. But before Lady Amelia had left Greshamsbury, Augusta was quite at a loss to understand how there could be need for so much conversation between her cousin and Mr Mortimer Gazebee.
And there were many more De Courcys, whom to enumerate would be much too long.
And the bishop of the diocese, and Mrs Proudie were there. A hint had even been given, that his lordship would himself condescend to perform the ceremony, if this should be wished; but that work had already been anticipated by a very old friend of the Greshams. Archdeacon Grantly, the rector of Plumstead Episcopi, had long since undertaken this part of the business; and the knot was eventually tied by the joint efforts of himself and Mr Oriel. Mrs Grantly came with him, and so did Mrs Grantly’s sister, the new dean’s wife. The dean himself was at the time unfortunately absent at Oxford.
And all the Bakers and the Jacksons were there. The last time they had all met together under the squire’s roof, was on the occasion of Frank’s coming of age. The present gala doings were carried on a very different spirit. That had been a very poor affair, but this was worthy of the best of Greshamsbury.
Occasion also had been taken of this happy moment to make up, or rather to get rid of the last shreds of the last feud that had so long separated Dr Thorne from his own relatives. The Thornes of Ullathorne had made many overtures in a covert way. But our doctor had contrived to reject them. ‘They would not receive Mary as their cousin,’ said he, ‘and I will go nowhere that she cannot go.’ But now all this was altered. Mrs Gresham would certainly be received in any house in the county. And thus, Mr Thorne of Ullathorne, an amiable, popular old bachelor, came to the wedding; and so did his maiden sister Miss Thorne, than whose no kinder heart glowed all through Barsetshire.
‘My dear,’ said she to Mary, kissing her, and offering her some little tribute, ‘I am very glad to make your acquaintance; very. It was not her fault,’ she added, speaking to herself. ‘And now that she will be a Gresham, that need not be any longer be thought of.’ Nevertheless, could Miss Thorne have spoken her inward thoughts out loud, she would have declared, that Frank would have done better to have borne his poverty than marry wealth without blood. But then, there are but few so stanch as Miss Thorne; perhaps none in the county—always excepting the lady Amelia.
And Miss Dunstable, also, was a bridesmaid. ‘Oh, no’ said she, when asked; ‘you should have them young and pretty.’ But she gave way when she found that Mary did not flatter her by telling her that she was either the one or the other. ‘The truth is,’ said Miss Dunstable, ‘I have always been a little in love with your Frank, and so I shall do it for his sake.’ There were but four: the other two were the Gresham twins. Lady Arabella exerted herself greatly in framing hints to induce Mary to ask some of the De Courcy ladies to do her so much honour; but on this head Mary would please herself. ‘Rank,’ she said to Beatrice, with a curl on her lip, ‘has its drawbacks—and must put up with them.’
And now I find that I have not one page—not half a page—for the wedding-dress. But what matters? Will it not be all found written in the columns of the Morning Post?
And thus Frank married money, and became a great man. Let us hope that he will be a happy man. As the time of the story has been brought down so near to the present era, it is not practicable for the novelist to tell much of his future career. When I last heard from Barsetshire, it seemed to be quite settled that he is to take the place of one of the old members at the next election; and they say, also, that there is no chance of any opposition. I have heard, too, that there have been many very private consultations between him and various gentlemen of the county, with reference to the hunt; and the general feeling is said to be that the hounds should go to Boxall Hill.
At Boxall Hill the young people established themselves on their return from the continent. And that reminds me that one word must be said of Lady Scatcherd.
‘You will always stay here with us,’ said Mary to her, caressing her ladyship’s rough hand, and looking kindly into that kind face.
But Lady Scatcherd would not consent to this. ‘I will come and see you sometimes, and then I shall enjoy myself. Yes, I will come and see you, and my own dear boy.’ The affair was ended by her taking Mrs Opie Green’s cottage, in order that she might be near the doctor; Mrs Opie Green having married—somebody.
And of whom else must we say a word? Patience, also, of course, got a husband—or will do so. Dear Patience! it would be a thousand pities that so good a wife should be lost to the world. Whether Miss Dunstable will ever be married, or Augusta Gresham, or Mr Moffat, or any of the tribe of the De Courcys—except Lady Amelia—I cannot say. They have all of them still their future before them. That Bridget was married to Thomas—that I am able to assert; for I know that Janet was much put out by their joint desertion.
Lady Arabella has not yet lost her admiration for Mary, and Mary, in return, behaves admirably. Another event is expected, and her ladyship is almost as anxious about that as she was about the wedding. ‘A matter, you know, of much importance in the county!’ she whispered to Lady De Courcy.
Nothing can be more happy than the intercourse between the squire and his son. What their exact arrangements are, we need not specially inquire; but the demon of pecuniary embarrassment has lifted his black wings from the demesne of Greshamsbury.
And now we have but one word left for the doctor. ‘If you don’t come and dine with me,’ said the squire to him, when they found themselves both deserted, ‘mind I shall come and dine with you.’ And on this principle they seem to act. Dr Thorne continues to extend his practice, to the great disgust of Dr Fillgrave; and when Mary suggested to him that he should retire, he almost boxed her ears. He knows the way, however, to Boxall Hill as well as he ever did, and is willing to acknowledge, that the tea there is almost as good as it ever was at Greshamsbury.
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