|Chapter Title||MRS. BROWN AT THOMPSON HALL.|
|Newspaper Title||Portland Guardian (Vic. : 1876 - 1953)|
|Trove Title||Christmas at Thompson Hall|
*THE NOVELIST. CHRISTMAS AT THOMP SON HALL BY ANTHONY LROLLOPn:X4 Qxrom;tl?o, pyan, )ail): (Concluded.) , CHAPrTr V.. aRns. I1ROWN' AT TIIOIIPSON hALL. '!Pleaso, sir, we were to ask for Mr. Jones,' said the servant, putting his head-into. the carriage after both MFr.' nd Mrs. Brodwn had seated'them .selves. 'Mr. JonesPfxeclaimed the husband. ',Why ask for Mr..Jones r" a=u....,dl htlwifo. Ti'e servant was about to fender some explanation when .Mr. Joaes.stopped ul ,ands said that lie was Mr. Jones. 'We -are going to' Thompson, I-Iall, said the lady with great vigour. 'So anmI,' said MAr. Jones,, with much dignity. It was, however, arranged that lie should sit with the csachman, as there was a thmble behind for the other servant. The luggage was put into a cart, and away all went for Thompson Hall; 'What do you think about it, Mary,' whispered Mr; Brown, after a pause. He was evidently awe-struck by tro horror of the occasion. 'I cannot make it out at all. What do yokthink?' ' I don't know what to think. Jones going to Thompson Halll' 'He's a. very good-looking young san.' annill Mrs. Brown. SWell-that's as people think. A still' stuck-up fellowe, I should say. lUp to this momenont ho has never for. siven you for whlat y.,, did to hiim.' ' Woult yon have forgiven his wire, Charles, if she'd done it to you?' ' He hasn't got a wife-yot.' ' How do you know ?' 'He .is coming home now to be married,' said IMr. Brown. 'lHo ex pects to meet the young lady this very Christmas Day. ole told mo so. This.was one of the reaunsons why lo was so angry at being stopped by Wivhat Mott did last night.' 'I suppose he knows Uncle John, or he wouldn't be going to the Hall,' said Mrs. Brown. 'I can't make it out,' said Mr. Brown, shaking his head. 'He looks quits like i gentleman, said Mrs. Brown, - though- ho has 'been-so stiff.- Jones:!-h3arrinby Joncsl You'roe sure it was Barnaby ?' 'That was tlih name on thi card.' ' Not Burnaby?' asked nMrs..Brown, 'It was Barniaby Jones on tihe card just time same as ' Barnaby Rludge,' and as for looking like a gentleman, I'm by no moenus quite so sure. A gentleman takes aln apology when it is offered.' ' Perhaps, mny dear, that depends on the condition of his throat. If you had had a mustiard plaster on all night, your might not have liked it. But ihereowe are at Thompson all at inast.' Thompson Iall was an old brick mansion, standing within ta hugo iron gate, with a gravel swooip before it. It had stood tllere beft".' v".;. tu , it was a town. -. ..wen a suburb,.and had then bieen known by the nameo of Bhov Plhce, l But it . had been in thei "hand.. of tho present ftiumly for the last 30 y eiirs, indi was'now known tar and wide is Thompsoin Hall-- a comfort able, roomy, old-fthshioned place, per. lihaps a littlo dark aud dull to look at, but much. mord substantially built tllhan nmost'of6btir mndern villas. Mrs. Brown jumped with .. alacrity from. tio carriage, and' with a quith step ientered the home of Iter iorefathers, Her husband followed her Mnore? leisurely, blit he, too, fult 4ltnlt ho'waa. at home at Thompson Hall. Then Mr. Jone ? inallt'd in also;-but -hoe looked as ihboughllio were not ait all at home. It vas still very early, and no one of the fiunily was as yet down. .In these circumstances. itnwas almosb necese?ary that something sliouldl be' said to Me'. Jones. 'Do - you, know. -Mr. Thompson?' asked"Mr. Brown. S'I never aind the pleasnure of seeing hint?-as yet,' answered Mr. Jones, very stiffly. '01O,-1 didn't know;-becauseo you said you were coiing here.' 'And I havo cumin here. Are you friends of Mr. Thoimpson?' 'Oh l dear, yes,' said Mrs. Brown. ' I was Thompson myself befoire I mar riod.' 'QIi-=indeed!'- said Mr. Jones. " How very oils;-very odd indeed. During this time the higgago was benig hli'uglht ili the house, and two ;1 P. ...l, i .. ,.. ..... --20.·:i -M-0mi the2nl estalanite, Wonlll thle lnew coners like to go up to their bchlootims? Then the housekeeper, Mrs. Green, intimated with a 'wink that Miss Jnie woull, sho was sutrp, ho down quito iurmmedialoly. The Ipresent moment., however, was still very unplenaant. 'Theo lady pro. bably had inade her guess'-s to tho mystery; but thi two genutlinen warn still altogethler ill the idark. MsII. Brown hid Ihe doubt declarod iher parentage, butll .. Mr. Jonecs, with srclh a muniltitude of hstrngii facts elcrowsding oni his mind, nhad been slow to iindlershtnl helr. hleing slnowhilat spitiriciuts by Inlltllro he was -it-ginningii to tilk IIwhetIher possibly thie llhuintld htIld bheli piLt iby this Inldy on his Ihroit with sullie re fereire t,, his ce, iuuction with Thonip tIn Ialt. C(eutl it e Ithat s?hul , l)i.
some reason of iherown, had wished to prevent his coming, and had contrived this untoward stratagem out of her brain? or had she wished to make him ridienlous to the Thompson f/amily to whom, as a r.unilyt. he was at present unknown?' It was becoming more nad more improbablo to him tnct ttle wholo thing should have boon an nccielctt. Whoen, after the first horrid torments of that morning in which he had in his agony invoked the assistnuco of the niglht-porter, ho had began to reflect on his situation, Iho had determined that it would .bh better that nothing further should be said about it. What would life be worth to him if lie were to be knowis wherover leo went as the maus who had obeen mustard-plastorod t', vt. middle of the night by a strango lady? 'Lt. v worst ofa practical joke is that- tteo 'rmonbruince of. the absurd condition sticks so long to te suffer'ori At the .hotel that light-por'ter, who had. possessed himself of the haond kerchief and' had read the rlimo and had connected that;tinto with the oc cupant of 333 whom hie Ila "a.-, wandering about the house with sonie strange purpose, had saot permitted.the thing to leep. The porter had pressed. the matter home against the Browns, and had produced Ithe interview swhich lias been recorded, But. during the whole of that day Mr. Joies haid been resolving that oe w,,uld inovor again either think of the Browns os spenk of them. A.great injury had boon done to him--a most outrageous iujustice-btt it was a thing whichl had to be endured. A horrid ivomisn had come across him like a sightinaro. .All he could do was to endeavour to forgeot the terrible visitation. Such had bean his' resolve -i,. malFinsg wliich hle had passed; that long day it :Paris. And now-v tho Browns had stuck to him' from' the muomnut of his lea:ving his roomlr, :He had beosiTorced to travel with them, but had travelled with them as as stranger:. Heo had tried to comfort himself with the reflection that at every froesh stago ie would shako them off. In one rail way after another the vicisnity had been bad--but still they woere strangers. Now he found himself it, the samne house with them-where of courso the estory would be told. liad oot the thing beenl done on purploso tihat the story might be told there at Thompson Hall? Mrs. Broan had acceded to the pro position tiof the housnkeeper, andl was ahout to be taken to her; room Whetn there was heard i sound of footatopd aloug.,tho,..pilssage above ani. on the stairs, aud.a young lady came bounding on tothe scene. ' You have all of you come a' qluarter of ans hour earlier than we thought possible,' said the young lady. 'I did so means to be up to re ceive you.' With that she passed her sister on ;the, stairs--for the younis lady was Miss Jane Thompson, sister to our' Mrs.. IHrown-and horried dows into the ball. Bora MIr. Brown, who had ever boon oil affectionate termss with his sister-itiilaw, put himself forward.to rceciv her embraces; but she, appn rently not noticing him: in her ardour, rushed on :ind threw hersclf out to the breast of the other gentleman. 'This is my Challes,'-sheb said. ' Oh, Charles, I thuosghtl'ou never would bhe here.' IMr. Chls'les Burunaby Jones, for such was his name since heo hand in horitd-ttho JTones' property in Pom= hrokeshire, received into his arms the ars dlot girl of hIis heart with ill that love sand devotion to which lihe was entitled, but co?ld not do so wilhout some. oxtqrnal' shrinking from her etnbrace. ' Oh, Charles, what is r?' shll said.. 'Nothing, deasest-only-only- ' Then le looked piteow.ly up into M\Is. rowil's fice, ass. thoustgh kmploring hier not to tell the story. ' Perhaps, Joi e, you had better in troduco us,' said lrs. Browni.. 'Introduce' you! I thought you hail been travelliltg together, and stay ing at the same Iotel-and nil that.' "So woe .have; bhi sr,o"t -' tuty uo.0n tlic sumets ?otel without knowjing each sother. Atidwo ie have traveltld all tshe wayy hboio?i ,~ i Mn'r JOseas wlithout in the leas t kuodring.s~loi he was.' ,'?Lovw cry?.odtd! Do you Msenn you hIavte never "1lrlin?' ,i a 'a 0 word,' said Mrs. Brown. I do so hope you'll love each other,' stid , u , , - ' ."n - It shnn't he my fault if we don't, saidI Mrs. Browni. i'm sure it shanI't be mine,' said Mr:. Brown, tenderinig his hand to the other gentlomann. Ti'he various' feel ings.of the inoment were too itmutch for 1Ir. Jones, ultl lie cos li not respoitnd quite as ihe shoull have done. But ud hie was Inken upsitirs to Ihis romit h determined that lie woult make; the best of it. ' "It .... *r of"tte house wans old Uncloe John. Io wsis a bachelor, nloi with himn lived various Inembers of the Furnily. 'Thoro was the great Thomp. quin of thelm ll, Cosllitn Rlobert, who was now member of Parliament for the Essex Flats, Iund:y'oung Jolsn, as it cortanin entorpristin'l TIhomtusoi of the ago atf forty wasst ellnily calludt, nnd theni there w Misies 'Jatto T'-mho-mlpJ ont who was now enghgedtl to ntirry MIr. Chtarlies ]hlruthly JnUttet. As it IInp i tdi, lio o sther itltlli'l' ouf tle fntinily idl as yet seen s It'. Ilurnaly ;JotIcs, sisd he, hiilsi, by tntira a t rettlhig lisposltiol, felt hinel .f to beh ill nt caOno wvhen lie enlino hiin tiCs Itrulikftst iartlhtsr itmong .t tute Thontt coit l?u?ie is kllowll to bl' a g?(.ttlIeltUtn of goult Ithiniy innd angEla mcani, anl nil Chu' ThornistOiut hIInsi iapisrovci of th0 .,. ',::i
match, but daring ihn'flrst Clir'istlmas breakfast be did not seem to accept ihis condition..jovially. His own Janie sa? beside him, but then on the other ltand sat Mrs. IBrown. She assumed an im mediate intimacy--ts women know iow to do on such occasions-being determined from the very fleat to re gard hi' sister's husband as abrother'; but he still fearcd her. Sie was still to him the woman who had come to hini in tile dead of night "with that horrid mixturo--and hiad" tho loi hiim. ' It was so odd that Ioth" of. you should hlave been detained on the'very· same day,' said Jane. ' Yes, it was odd,' said [rs, Brown with a. smile, looking round, upon hero neighbour. "' ' . " . ' It was:, abominalry? bad weather, you kubw,' said Br'oilv r. ,; ' But you were both so determined t6 .cdme,' said. tile old geontlman. ' WVhen We got theo two t lOgrams r al the: same' moment, we wer'e' sure thai tlere had boon some' agreement between Not" an ngroemeirt.' 'said Mr's.:.Bowni whcrýr, ;tl, , Int'. Janei Idokod'as grim as death .' . 'I'm sure there is something moar tihan we understand yet,'. daid the rmember of Parliament. Then they all wont to chrchi, na a united falmily ought to'do on' Chirist mna'Dnay and canmo home o'o' flno old English, early dinner at 3. o'clock-n sirloin of. beef a foot and-a-half broad, a turkey as big as an osPt'ici, a'plini puddingbiggor thanthe turkey, and two or.,itree.dozen mince-pies. 'Thart's a very large bit of beef,' said Mr. Jones, w"ho had not lived much in Englind lartterly. ' It won't look so large,' said tihe: ld gentleman, 'wlhen all 'our friends downstairs hlavohad their say to it.' A plum pudding on Christmas Day 'ncai't be too big,' he :said aghin; i if tie 'cook will, but take tiiil" enoughi over it." I never knew a bit go waste yet.' By .tlhis tioe there Ihar. ben some explanation nasto past; oventd betwoon the two"slisters.:' Mrs. Brdawn thlid in. deed told Jane all albult itt, hiowtll'her husbaend had beein, how. s. lo.liaitd'beorl forced to go. down- and look for tihe mustard, snld'then what sIe liidd"done with' the mustard.' 'I don't thiink't hy are a bit alike you know, Mary, if you meanr that,' sanid Jane. SWell, no; plerlhaps not quite alike I only saw his beard, you kunow. Ne doubt it won sttpidp'lut I didlit.', ' Why didn't you take it off again,? asked the sister. .... ' Oh, Jane, if you'd only think of itC Could yodu!' Then of cohrsb: all thai occurred was oxplainied, hol theiy i'itr been stopped 'oni their `Jjourney,. how Brown had made the best apology iti his power, and how Jones lhad trh. velled with them and had never spoken a word. The gentleman had only takn hIris new name a week since, but of course had had Iris now. card printci immediately. ' I'm sura loI should llhiv thought of it if they hadn't inmade mistake with the first iame.' Charles said it w?as-liko Barnaby Rudge.' I "NNot' at all likec BTIrnaby.iRlidge said Jane; Chlarles Burnaby Jones is a very good name.' ` Very good,' ind'fedi 'arnd' I'ni 'sure that after a little bit lie won't be at all the worse for tihe ccident.'. . Before dinner tho secret had been told no further, but still there had crept about among the T'loinmpsons, anid, in. deed, downstairs also imong tile re tainors, a feeling 'that thoro wihs i necrt. Tioe. old housekeeper was suro.-that Miss Mary, as silo still called Mrls. Brown, had something to tell, if.shii could only be induced to tell it, and that this something had reference to Mr.. Jones's personal comfort. The head of tihe fimlily, who was a sharp old gentleman, felt' this .also, aind. the memh,,,* I' ri...... -jnm'reho., had an ue tai't hle `selicdally should 'never lie keltd int thoe dtlrk, was' amirosa angry.? Mir..bToliei, sulriiring from somn .t-,:A dred feeling thrroughout tile inneor,.re miii ed silent nnd unhapply Whien two or" tliree toasts haid beet' dlr:anl:k the Queen'; heilthl the old gentlemnan's healtll,' thie young roupls' h't'ilth, Browi's liihalthd, and tihegononl'il health of all tthe Thlomrusons,' their. tangues wero " looscned and ia question was iiskel, ''I knlow thalt tlhorl' hlasB beenl toniletliig doing in Paris lieotw?eir tlhho.:young people that, we hiavi''t Iheardlas yet,' snid the unelo. 'IThen Mrs. Brown laughed, uand June, laugh ing too,' gve MI'. Jornes to understr'.ndl thlt site tLLicay .rate inew aill aIboultit. " If theirs. is a. myatert I tIope it will be told nt: onceo,' ,nid the inoliber ,of Parlinlmenlt, ungrily. ' . ' C Comlo, Brownl, what is iit? sked allllther Ianlo cousinl. - --' ' Well, there wits tan iccidlent;: I'd rathier Jones should tell,' mild lid.: - - Jones's brow beciameo blacker ' than thlnidii r, but ihe lidl not say a word. SYou niusni't be angry' with 'iMary,' JInlal whispered i Iher lover's eOr. i Conle, , llry you never wure 'slow at Inlkiig,' saidl tie liUl cle ' t io lii' tl i crrndl of tiring,' saih thile membrer of I'arlian ent.e 'I wil tell it all,' sal Mfrs,1 rowt, very inerrly iin Orl's, or elseo preIleoig to lre very ne lr'y in tears. I Irknow I wasI very wlroiln, ald I do bcg lls lipr. don, iand if he WOli'it ny .that Ile frglves hr e I never shlrll be. lraply Iigai h'l The su n cIinsiela d hijr hanI s, aird, iurririug ronutii, lookill himn, pitlcously il ith'ie tfrin., I : L . J '< ': ' ' ' "''' r tA
"' Oh yes, I do forgive you,' said Mr J6nes.. ,' My brother,' said she, throwing her arms-round hliin'difd kissing him. $ob recoiled from the embrace, but I think tlint lie attempted to return the kiss. ' And now I wil' tell theowhole story,' arid M1Irs. Browno. And she told it, acknowledging ler" fault with true eon trition, and swearing that she would iaono for it by, life, log eistorly dde 'votion. ,'And. you, musitard-plastered' the' vrong masn I :said .the old gentleman, almost .rolling off' his chair with delight. 'I did, saidl Ms's Brown ':obbing; hed -I tlinkjiitliait no "woman - ever. suffored asrIsifilidsit;j .!r" ;.,1 "And Joneiis wotild't lot yu' loeave the hotol.??' It" ivt s:' ilti ho "handkerclilef'ý dtopped us,' said Brown. S'If it had tilroedout to be aenybody else, saidJ:~hoioember of Parliament, ". =-t 'might hliave o been' most 5orion> ,.4 11 e ey.iletrible. ,l; b :i 'Tht' nonsense, Robeo said Mrs. ;Birown, Who was disposed toroesesn Li?n use of sn severe a word, even 'from the legislator cousin. S'In a strange gentlebsan's bedroom' !' lie cout), a.i. 1'-t' only shows that whet-I have' always said is quite true. You should never go to bed in a strange house without locking your door.' Nevertheless, it was a very, jovial meeting, 'and beforeo theo' venuing was over Mr. Jones was happy, and had beon brougtht to acknowledge that the mustard-plaster would probably not do him' any permanent injury. S ,TIIHE END.' " "