The American Senator
21. The First Evening At Rufford Hall
The phaeton arrived the first, the driver having been especially told by Arabella
that he need not delay on the road for the other carriage. She had calculated that
she might make her entrance with better effect alone with her mother than in
company with Morton and the Senator. It would have been worth the while of any
one who had witnessed her troubles on that morning to watch the bland serenity
and happy ease with which she entered the room. Her mother was fond of a
prominent place but was quite contented on this occasion to play a second fiddle
for her daughter. She had seen at a glance that Rufford Hall was a delightful
house. Oh,--if it might become the home of her child and her grandchildren,--and
possibly a retreat for herself! Arabella was certainly very handsome at this
moment. Never did she look better than when got up with care for travelling,
especially as seen by an evening light. Her slow motions were adapted to heavy
wraps, and however she might procure her large sealskin jacket she graced it
well when she had it. Lord Rufford came to the door to meet them and
immediately introduced them to his sister. There were six or seven people in the
room, mostly ladies, and tea was offered to the new-comers. Lady Penwether
was largely made, like her brother; but was a languidly lovely woman, not
altogether unlike Arabella herself in her figure and movements, but with a more
expressive face, with less colour, and much more positive assurance of high
breeding. Lady Penwether was said to be haughty, but it was admitted by all
people that when Lady Penwether had said a thing or had done a thing, it might
be taken for granted that the way in which she had done or said that thing was
the right way. The only other gentleman there was Major Caneback, who had just
come in from hunting with some distant pack and who had been brought into the
room by Lord Rufford that he might give some account of the doings of the day.
According to Caneback, they had been talking in the Brake country about nothing
but Goarly and the enormities which had been perpetrated to the U.R.U. "By-the-
bye, Miss Trefoil," said Lord Rufford, "what have you done with your Senator?"
"He's on the road, Lord Rufford, examining English institutions as he comes
along. He'll be here by midnight."
"Imagine the man coming to me and telling me that he was a friend of Goarly's. I
rather liked him for it. There was a thorough pluck about it. They say he's going
to find all the money."
"I thought Mr. Scrobby was to do that?" said Lady Penwether.
"Mr. Scrobby will not have the slightest objection to have that part of the work
done for him. If all we hear is true Miss Trefoil's Senator may have to defend both
Scrobby and Goarly."
"My Senator as you call him will be quite up to the occasion."
"You knew him in America, Miss Trefoil?" asked Lady Penwether.
"Oh yes. We used to meet him and Mrs. Gotobed everywhere. But we didn't
exactly bring him over with us;--though our party down to Bragton was made up