Chapter 160148585

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Chapter NumberXCI
Chapter Title
Chapter Urlhttp://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article160148585
Full Date1881-09-03
Page Number45
Corrections0
Word Count2762
IllustratedN
Last Corrected0000-00-00
Newspaper TitleAdelaide Observer (SA : 1843 - 1904)
Trove TitleEndymion
article text

ENDYMION.*

[By the Lite Babl of Bbacohsfiuld.']

CHAPTER XOI.

Endymion arrived at tome very late from the Montfort ball, and ipse in consequence at an un nanally late hour. He bad taken means to be come sufficiently accqueinted with the cause of his sister's absence the night before, so he bad no anxiety on that head. Lady Koehamptou had recently intended to have been present, was indeed dressed for the occasion; bat when the moment of trial arrived, she was absolutely un equal to the effort. All this was amplified in a little note from bis sister, which his valet Druugiit him in the morning. What, however, considerably surprised him in this communica tion was her announcement that her feelings last night had proved to her that she ought not to remain in London, and that she intended to fiad solitude and repose in the little watering-place where she had pasBed a tranqnil autumn during the first year of her widowhood. What com pleted his astonishment, however, was the closing intimation that, in all probability, sbe wonld have lett town before he rose. The moment she had got a little settled she wonld write to him, and when business permitted, he must come and pay her a little visit.

u She was always ospricious," exclaimed Lady Montfort, who had not forgotten the diatarbance of ber royal supper-table.

" Hardly that, I thick," said Endymion. " I have alwaya looked on Myra aa a singularly con

sistent character."

"I know, yon never admit your sister has a

fault."

" Ton said the other day yourself that she was the only perfect character you knew."

" Hid I say that ? I think her oaprioions."

"1 do not think yon are oaprioions," said Endymion,"andyet the world sometimes says yon are."

"I change my opinion of persons when my taste is offended," said Lady Montfort. " What J admired in your sister, though I confess I sometimes wished not to admire her, wae that she never offended my teste."

" I hope satisfied it," said Endymion.

"Tea, satisfied it, always sttisfied it I wonder what will be ber lot, for, considering ber youth, ber destiny has hardly began. Somehow or other, I do not think sbe will marry Sidney Wilton."

" I have sometimes thought that wonld be," said Endymion.

" Well, it wluM be, I think, a happy match. All the circumstances wonld be collected that form what is supposed to be happiness. Bat tastes differ abont destinies as well as about manners. For my part, I think to have a husband who loved yon, and he clever, aooom plisbed, charming, ambitions, would be happi ness ; but I doubt whether your sister cares so much about these things. She may, ot oourse does, talk to you more freely; but with others, in her most open hours, there seems a secret fund of reserve in her character which I never could penetrate, except, I think, it is a reserve which does not originate in a love of tranquillity, but quite the reverse. She is a strong

character."

" Then, hardly a capricious one."

"Ho, not ospricious; I only said that to tease you. I am capricious; I know it. I dis regard people sometimes that I have patronised and flattered. It is not merely that I have changed my opinion of them, bat I positively

hetetbem."

" I hope you will never hate me," said Endy

mion.

" Ton have never offended my taste yet," said Lady Montfort with a smile.

Endymion was engaged to dine to-day with Kr. Bertie Tremaine. Although now in hostile politioal eampi, that great leader of men never permitted their acquaintance to cease. " He is young," reasoned Mr. Bertie Tremaine; "every political party changes its prinoiplea on an average once in ten years. Those who are young must often then form new connections, end Ferrars will then come to me. He will be

rip)and experienced, and I could give him a' Rcol deal. I do not want numbers. I want men. In opposition numbers often only embarrass. The power of the fntnre is Ministerial capacity. The leader with a Cabinet formed will be the Minister of Englaud. be is not to trouble himself about numbers; that is an affair of the constituencies."

Male dinners are in iieDeral not amusing. When they are formed, as they usually are, of men who are supposed to possess a strong and common sympathy—political, sporting, literary, military, social—there is ueceisarily a monotony of thought and feeling, aud of the materials which induce thought and feeling. In a male dinner of party politicians, conversation soon degenerates in«o what is termed ••suop;" anec

dotes about divisions, criticism < f speeches,con-' jectnres about- office, speculations on impending elections, and shorn all, that heinous subject ou which enormous libs are ever told, the registra tion. There ate, however, occasional glimpses in their talk which would seem to intimate that tbey have another life outside the House-, of Parliament. But that extenuating oircum stai.ce docs not apply to the sporting dinner. There tbey begin with odds and handicaps, and end with handicaps aud odds, and it is doubtful whether it ever occurs to auy one present that there is any other existing combination of atoms than odds and handicaps. A dinner of wits is proverbially a palate of Bilenoe; ana the envy and hatred which all literary men really feel for each other, especially when they are ex changing dedications of mutnal affection, always ensure, in snch assemblies, the agreeable presence of a general feeling of painful con straint. If a good thing oconrs to a guest, he will not exprers it, hst bis neigbboui, who is pabliebing a novel in numbers, shall appropriate it next month, or be himBelf, who ha9 the same responsibility of production, be deprived of its legitimate appearance. Those who desire to learn something of the manoeuvres at the Kussiau and Prussian reviews, or the last tumour at Aldershot or the military Olubs, will

know where to find this feast of reason. The flow of sonl in tbeao male festivals is perhaps, on the whole, more genial when found in a society of young gentlemen, graduates of the Turf and the Marlborough, and guided in their benignant studies by the gentle experience and the mild wisdom of White's. The startling scandal, the rattling anecdote, the aatonndiug leaps, and the amazing shots, afford for the moment a somewhat pleasing distraction; but when it is diaccvered that all tueBe habitual flim-ffems are, iu general, the airy creatures of inaccuracy and exaggeration—that the scandal ie not true, the anecdote has no foundation, aud that the ieats of skill and strength are invested with the 01 gallic weakness of tradition, the vagaries lose something cf the charm of novelty, end are almost as insipid as claret from which the bouquet lias evaporated.

The male owners of Mr. Bertie Tremaiue

were an exception to the general reputation of ouch meetings. The; were never dall. Iu the first plsoe, though to be known at least hy repu ? tation was an indispensable condition of being present, be brought different classes together, and this, at least for once, stimulates and grati fies curiosity. His bouBe too was opeu to foreigners of celebrity, without reference to their politicsl psrtles or opinions. Every one was welcome except absolute assassins. The host, too, had studied the art oi developing character and conversation, and if sometimes he wbs not so successful in this respect as he deserved, there was no lack of amusing enter tainment, for in these social encounters Mr. Bertie Tremaine was a reserve in himself, and if nobody else would talk, he would avail him self of the opportunity of pouring forth the treasures of biB own teeming intelligence. His various knowledge, bis power of speeoh, his ecceutrio paradoxes, bis pompous rhetoric, re lieved by some happy sarcasm, and the obvious sense, in all he said aud did, of inuste superiority to all his guests, made these exhibi tions extremely amusing.

"What Bertie Tremaine will end in," Endy mion would sometimes say, "perplexes me. Had there been no revolution in 1832, and he had entered Parliament for hie family borough, I think he must by this time have been a Minister. Guch tenacity of purpose could scarcely fail. Bnt he has had to say and do as rnsny odd things, first to get into Parliament, and secondly to keep there, that bis future now is not so clear. When I first knew him, he was a Benthamite; at present, I sometimes seem to foresee that he will end by being the leader of the Protectionists and the Protestants."

" And a good strong party too," said Tren chard," but query whether strong enough ?"

'That is exaetly what Bertie Tremaine is trying to find out."

Mr. Pertie Tremaine'a manner in receiving his guests was courtly and ceremonious; a contrast to the free-and-easy style of the time. But it was adopted after due reflection. " Ho man can tell what will be the position he may be called npon to filL Bat he has a right to assnme be will always, be asoending. I, for example, may be destined to be the President of a Bepublic, the Begent of a Monarchy, or a sovereign myself. It would be painful aud disagreeable to have to change one's manner at a perhaps advanoed period of life, and become liable to the unpopular impu tation that you had grown arrogant and overbeariog. On the contrary, in my case, whatever my elevation, there will be no change My brother, Mr. Tremaine Bertie, aets on a different principle. He is a Sybarite, and has a general contempt for mankind, certainly for the mob and the middle class, but be is " Hail fel'ow, well met!" with tbem all. He asys it anawera at eleotlona; I donbt it. I myself represent a popular constituency, but I believe I owe my encoess in no slight measure tothu manner in which I gave my hand when I permitted it to be touched. As I ssy sometimes to Mr. TremsineBertie,' You willfindthia habit of social familiarity embarrassing when I send you to St. Petersburg or Vienna.'"

Waldershare dined there, now a peer, though, as he rejoiced to ssy, not a peer of Parliameot. An Irish peer, with an English constituency, filled, according to Wnlderehare, the most en viable of positions. His rank gave him social influence, and his seat in the House of Commons that power which all aspire to obtain. The cynosure of the banquet, however, was a gentle man who had, shouts year before, been the President of a Bepnblic for nearly six weeks, and who being master of a speoiesof rhapsodioal rhetoric, highly useful in trenbled times, when there is no real business to transact, and where there is nobody to transact it, had disappeared when the Treasury was quite empty, sod there were no further funde to reward the enthusi astic citizens who had hitherto patriotically maintained order at wages shoot double in amount to wbBt they had previously received in handicrafts. This great reputation had been brought over by Mr. Tremaine Bertie, now introducing him into English politioal society. Mr. Tremain Bertie hung npon the aceenta of the oracle, every word of which was intended to be picturesque or profound, and then surveyed bis friends with a glance of appreciating wander Sensible Englishmen, like Endymt<?> »id Trescbard, looked npon the whole exhibition as fostian, and received Hie revelations with a smile of frigid courtesy.

The presence, however, of this celebrity of six weeks gave occasionally a tone of foreign politics to the conversation, and the association of ideas,

which, Id doe 'oourse, roles all talk, broughtr them, amoDg other incidents and instance), to the remarkable career ot King Florestan.

" And jet be hss hie mortifications," 'aid a sensible man. "He wants a wife, and the princesses of the world will not furnish him

with one."

"What authority have yon for saying so ?" exclaimed the fisry Waldershare. " Tue princesses of the world woald be great fools if they refused such b man, but I know of no

authentic instance cf such denial."

* Weil, it is the common rumour."

"And, therefore, probably a common false

hood."

" Were he wise," said Mr. Bertie Tremain, " King Florestan would not marry. Dynasties are unpopular; especially new ones. The present Bge is monarchical, but not dynastic. The King, who is a man of reach, and who has been pondering such circumstances all bis life,, is probably well aware of this, and will not ba such s fool as to rnarry."

" How is the monarchy to go on, if there is to be no successor ??' enquired Trenchard. " You would not renew the Polish Constitution

?' The Polish Constitution, by -the-ty, was not so bud a thing," eaid Mr. licrtie Tremaiue.

"Under it a distinguished Englishman might have mixed with the crowned heads cf Europe, as Sir Philip Sidney nearly did. But I was looking to something superior to the Polish Oon stitution, or perhaps any other; I was con templating a monarchy with the principle of adoption. That would give you all the ex cellence of the Poliah Constitution, and the order and constancy in which it tailed. It would realise the wsnt of the age; monarchical,, not dynastical, institutions, and it would act independent of the passions and intrigues of tbe multitude. The principle of adoption was the secret of the strength and endurance of Home It gave Home alike the Scipios and the

Antouines "

" A Court would be rather dull without a woman at its bead."

" On the contrary," eaid Mr. BertieTretu*in«. " It was Louis Quatorze who made the Court Lot bia Queeo "

" 'Well," eaid "Waldershare, " all the same, I fear King Floreetan will adopt do one iu this room, tthough be has several friends here, and Z am one jjaud I believe that be will marry, aud I cauiiut Delp fancy iug tbe partner of his throne will not be as insignificant as Louis tbe Fourteenth's wife, or Catherine of Bragatzi."

Jawett dined this day with Mr. lisrtie Tremaiue. Bo was a frequent guest there, and still was the editor of the Precursor, though it' sometimes bafiled all that lucidity of style for which be was celebrated to reconcile the conduct of the party, of which the Precursor was alike tbe oracle aud organ, with tbe opinions with which that now well-established journal first attempted to direot and illuminate the public mind. It seemed to the editor that the Precursor dwelt more on the past than beoamea harbinger of tbe future. Not that Mr. Bertie Tremaiue - ever for a moment admitted that there was any difficulty in any case. Ue never permitted any dogmas that he had ever ennnoiated to be

surrendered, however contrary at their firat - sspect.

" All are but parts of one stupendous w ole,"

end few things were more interesting tban the conferences in which Mr. Bertie Tremnine had to impart his views and instructions to the master of that lucid style, which had (be merit of making everything so very clear when the master himself was, as at present, extremely perplexed and confused. Jawett lingered after tbe other guests, that he might have the advan tage of consulting the great leader ou tboconrse which be ought to take in advocating a mejumrn. which seemed completely at variauce with all. tbe principles they bad ever upheld.

" 1 do not see your difficulty," wound up the host. "Your case it clear. You have a principle whicb will carry you through everything. That is the charm of a principle. You have always an auswtr ready."

"But in this case," somewhat timidly enquired Mr. Jawett, "what would be the principle on which I should rest?"

" You must show," said Mr. Bertie Tremaiue,

"that democracy is aristocracy in disgnise ; and. that aristocracy ia democracy in disgose. It will. carry you through everything."

Even Jawett looked a little amased.

" But"—he was beginning, when Mr. Bertie Trrmainearose. "Think of what I have said, end if on reflection any doubt or difficulty remain in your mind, call on me to-morrow before I go to the Bouse. At present, I must pay my respects to Lady Beaumaris. She is the only womau the Tories can boast of; bat she is a first-rate woman, and is a power which I must - secure."