Chapter 160140949

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Chapter NumberIX
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160140949
Full Date1881-02-05
Page Number36
Corrections0
Word Count938
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleEndymion
article text

THE NOVELIST.

ENDYMION.*

£By the Bight Hon. the Ea.bl of Bbacomsfibld."] I

CHAPTER IX.

Availing himself of his latch-key, Ferrars re entered his home unnoticed. He went at once to bis library, and locked the door of the apart <ment. There sitting before his desk, he buried -Jus face in his hands and remained in that pos tnre for a considerable time.

They were tnmnltnons and awful thoughts that passed over his brain. The dreams or a life were dissipated, and he had to encounter the stern reality of bis position—and that was Ruin. He was without hope and without resource. His debts were vast; his patrimony was a fable; and the mysterious inheritance of liis wife had been tampered with. The elder Ferrars had left an insolvent estate; he had supported his son liberally, but latterly from his -son's own resources. The father had made him self the principal trustee of the son's marriage settlement. His colleague, a relative of the -heiress, had died, and care was taken that no one -Should be substituted in his stead. All this had 'been discovered by Ferrars on his father's death, hut ambition, and the excitement of a life of blended elation and peril, had sustained him tinder the concnssion. One by one every chance had vanished: first his private means and then his public prospeots; he had lost office, and mow he was about to lose Parliament. His •whole position, so long, and carefully, and skil - fully bnilt up, Beemed to dissolve and dissipate into insignifioant fragments. And now be had fio break the situation to his wife. She was to become the unprepared partner of the secret which had gnawed at his heart for years, during Which to her his mien had often been smiling -and always serene. Mrs Ferrars was at home" -and alone, in her luxurious boudoir, and he went to her at onoe. After years of dissimula tion, now that all was over, Ferrars could not bear the suspense of four-and-twenty'hours.

It was difficult to bring her into a mood of anind capable of comprehending a tithe of what she had to learn; and yet the darkest part of the tale she was never to know. Mrs. Ferrars, though singularly intuitive, shrank from <controversy,andsettled everything by contradic tion and assertion. She maintained for a long time that what her husband communicated to her could not be; that it was absurd and even impossible. After a while, she talked of selling ber diamonds and reducing her equipages, -sacrificing whioh she assumed would put every thing right. And when she found her husband still grave and still intimating that the sacrifices must be beyond all tbiB, and that tbey must prepare for the life and habits of another social sphere, she became violent, and wept and -declared her wrongs; that she had been deceived and outraged and infamously tTeated.

Remembering how long and with what ap parent serenity in her presence he had endured bis secret woes, and how one of the principal •objects of his life had ever been to guard her -even from a shade of solicitude, even the xestrsined Ferrars was affected; hiscountenauoe changed and his eye became suffused. When -she observed this, she suddenly threw her arms round his neck and with many embraces, amid sighs and tears, exclaimed, " 0 William! if we love each other, what does anything signify ?"

And what conld anything signify under such -circumstances and on snch conditions? As Ferrars pressed his beautiful wife to his heart, be remembered only his early love, which seemed entirely to revive. Unconsciously to bimself, too, he was greatly relieved by this burst of tenderness on her part, for the prospect

•of this interview had been most distressful to ' bim. "My darling," he said, "ours is not a case of common imprudence or misfortune. We are the victims of a revolution, and we must bear our lot as becomes us under suoh circum stances. Individnal misfortunes are merged in the greater catastrophe of the country."

" That iB the trne view," said his wife; " and,

after all, the poor King of France is much I - worse off than we are. However, I cannot now

buy the DucheBse of Sevres' lace, which I had promised her to do. It iB rather awkward.

However, the best way always is to speak the > truth. I must tell the duchess I am powerless, end that we are the victims of a revolution, lire herself."

Then they began to talk quite cosily together over their prospects, he sitting on the sofa by her side and holding her hand. Mrs. Ferrars would not hear of retiring to the Conti nent. " No," she said, with all her sanguine vein returning, "you always used to say I brought you luck, and I will bring yon luck yet. 'There must be a reaction. The wheel will turn and bring round our friends again. Do not let ms then be out of the way. Four claims are immense. They must do something for you. 'They ought to give you India, and if we only set our mind upon it, we shall get it. Depend upon it, things are not so bad as tbey seem. What appear to be calamities are often the sources of fortune. I Would much sooner that ;you shonld be Governor-General than a Cabinet minister. The odious House of Commons Is 'Very wearisome. I am not sure any constitution •can bear it very long. I am not sure whether I would not prefer being Governor-General of India even to being Prime Minister."