Chapter 160141194

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Chapter NumberXV
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160141194
Full Date1881-02-12
Page Number36
Corrections0
Word Count1417
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleEndymion
article text

OH&PTER XV.

The datk deep hints that had reached Mr. Ferrars at the beginning of 1834 were the har bingers of startling events. In the spring it began to be rumoured among the initiated that the mighty Reform Cabinet with its colossal majority, and its testimonial goblets of gold, raised by the penny, subscriptions of a grateful people, was in convulsions, and before the month of July had elapsed Lord Grey had re signed, under circumstances which exhibited the entire demoralisation of his party. Except Zenobia, every one was of opinion that the Ring acted wisely in entrusting the reconstruc tion of the Whig Ministry to his late Secretary of State, Lord Melbourne. Nevertheless, it could no longer be concealed, nay, it. was inva riably admitted, that the political situation had been largely and most unexpectedly changed,

and that there was a prospect, dim, perhaps, yet, not undefinable, of the conduot of public affairs again falling to the alternate management of two rival constitutional parties.

Zenobia was bo full of hope, and almost of triumph, that she induced her lord in the

autumn to assemble their political friends at! one of his great seats, and Mr. and Mr. Ferrars were urgently invited to join the party. But, after some hesitation, they declined this pro posal. Had Mr. Ferrars been as sanguine as his wife, he would perhaps have overcome his strong disinclination to re-enter the world, but though no longer despairing of a Tory revival, he was of opinion that a considerable period, even several years, must elapse before its occur rence. Strange to say, he found no difficulty in following his own humour through any contrary disposition on the part of Mrs. Ferrars. With all her ambition and passionate love of society, she was unwilling to return to that stage, where she once had blazed, in a subdued and almost subordinate position. In fact, it was an affair of the wardrobe. The queen of costumes, whose fanciful and gorgeous attire even Zenobia was wont to praise, could not endure a reappearance in old dresses. "I do not so much care about my jewels, William," she said to her husband, " but one must have new dresses."

It was still a mild day in November, a month which in the country, and especially on the light soils, has many charms, and the whole Ferrars family were returning home after an afternoon ramble on the chase. The leaf had changed but had not fallen, and the vast spiral masses of the dark green juniper effectively con trasted with the rich brown foliage of the beech, varied occasionally by the scarlet leaveB of the wild cherry-tree, thatalways mingles with these woods. Around the house were some lime trees of large size, and at this period of the year their foliage, still perfect, was literally quite golden. They seemed like trees in some fairv tale of imprisoned princeBsrs or wandering cava liers, and such they would remain, until the fatal night that brings the first frost.

"There is a parcel from London," said the servant to Mr. Ferrars, as they entered the house. "It is on your desk."

A parcel from London was one of the great events of their life. What could it be ? Perhaps some proofs, probably some bookB. Mr. Ferrars entered his room alone. It was a very small brewn paper parcel, evidently not books. He opened it hastily, and disencumbered its con tents of several coverings. The contents took the form of a letter—a Bingle letter.

The handwriting was recognised, and he read the letter with an agitated countenance, and then he opened the door of his room, and called loudly for his wife, who was by his side in a few

moments.

" A letter, my love, from Barron," he cried. " The King has dismissed Lord Melbourne and sent for the Duke of Wellington, who has ac cepted the conduct of affairs." _

"You must go to town directly," said his wife. " He offered you the Cabinet in 1832. No person has such a strong claim [on him as you

have."

" It does not appear that he is exactly Prime Minister," said Mr. Ferrars, looking again at the letter. "They have sent for Peel, who is at Borne, and the Duke is to conduct the Govern ment till he arrives."

"You must go to town immediately," repeated Mrs. Ferrars. "There is not a moment to be lost. Send down to the Horseshoe and secura

an inBido place in the Salisbury coach. _ It reaches this place at nine to-morrow morning. I will have everything ready. You must take a portmanteau and a carpet-bag. I wonder if you could get a bedroom at the Rodneys'. It would be so nice to be amoDg old friends; they mnat feel for you. And theu it will be near the Gerlton, which is a great thing. I wonder how he will form his Cabinet. What a pity he is net

here!"

" It is a wonderful event, but the difficulties muBt be immense," observed Ferrars.

" Oh! yon always see difficulties. I see none. The King is with ns, the country is disgusted. It is what I always said it would be; the reac tion is complete."

" Well, we had better now go and tell the children," said Ferrars. " I leave you all here for the first time," and he seemed to sigh.

" Well, I hope we Bball soon join you," said Mrs. Ferrars. " It is the very best time for hiring a house. What I have set my heart upon is the Green Park. It will be near your office and not too near. I am sure I could not live again in a street."

The children were informed that public events of importance had occurred, that the King had changed his Ministry, and that papa must go up to town immediately and see the Duke of Wel lington. The eyes of Mrs. Ferrars danced with excitement as she communicated to them all this intelligence, and much more, with a volu bility in which of late years she had rarely in dulged. Mr. Ferrars looked grave and said little. Then he patted Endymion on the head, and kissed Myra, who returned his embrace with

a warmth nnusnal with her.

The whole household soon became in a state of bustle with the preparations for the early departure of Mr. Ferrars. It seemed difficult to comprehend how filling a portmanteau and a carpet-bag could induce such excited and con tinuous exertions. But then there was so much to remember, and then there was always some thing forgotten. Mrs. Ferrars. was in her bed room snrrcnnded by all her maids; Mr. Ferrars was in his study looking out some papers which it was necessary to take with him. Tbeohildren

were alone.

" I wonder if we shall be restored to our greatness," said Myra to Endymion.

" Well, I shall be sorry to leave the old place; I have been happy here."

"I have not," said Myra; " and I do not think I could have borne this life had it not been for yon."

"It will be a wonderful change," said Endy

mion.

" If it come; I fear papa is not daring enough.

However, if we get oat of this hole, it will be

something."

* Tea time bronght them all together again, bat when the meal was over, none of the nsaal occu pations of the evening were panned; no work, no books, no reading aload. Mr. Ferrars was to get op very early, and that was a reason for all retiring soon. And yet neither the hasland nor the wife really cared to sleep. Mrs. Ferrars sat by the fire in his dressing-room, speculating on all possible combinations, and infusing into him all her suggestions and all her schemes. She was still prudent, and still would have pre ferred a great government—India if possible; but bad made up her mind that he must accept the Cabinet. Considering what had oocurred in 1832, she thought he was bound in honour to do so. Her husband listened rather than con versed, and seemed lost in thought, At last he rose, and, embracing her with much affection, said," Ton forget I am to rise with the lark. I shall write to you every day. Best and dearest of women, yon have always been right, and all my good fortune has comefrom you."