The American Senator
9. The Old Kennels
On the next morning Mrs. Morton asked her grandson what he meant to do with
reference to his suggested invitation to Reginald. "As you will not meet him of
course I have given up the idea," he said. The "of course" had been far from true.
He had debated the matter very much with himself. He was an obstinate man,
with something of independence in his spirit. He liked money, but he liked having
his own way too. The old lady looked as though she might live to be a hundred,--
and though she might last only for ten years longer, was it worth his while to be a
slave for that time? And he was by no means sure of her money, though he
should be a slave. He almost made up his mind that he would ask Reginald
Morton. But then the old lady would be in her tantrums, and there would be the
disagreeable necessity of making an explanation to that inquisitive gentleman Mr.
"I couldn't have met him, John; I couldn't indeed. I remember so well all that
occurred when your poor infatuated great-grandfather would have that woman
into the house! I was forced to have my meals in my bedroom, and to get myself
taken away as soon as I could get a carriage and horses. After all that I ought not
to be asked to meet the child."
"I was thinking of asking old Mr. Cooper on Monday. I know she doesn't go out.
And perhaps Mr. Mainwaring wouldn't take it amiss. Mr. Puttock, I know, isn't at
home; but if he were, he couldn't come." Mr. Puttock was the rector of Bragton, a
very rich living, but was unfortunately afflicted with asthma.
"Poor man. I heard of that; and he's only been here about six years. I don't see
why Mr. Mainwaring should take it amiss at all. You can explain that you are only
here a few days. I like to meet clergymen. I think that it is the duty of a country
gentleman to ask them to his house. It shows a proper regard for religion. By-the-
bye, John, I hope that you'll see that they have a fire in the church on Sunday."
The Honourable Mrs. Morton always went to church, and had no doubt of her
own sincerity when she reiterated her prayer that as she forgave others their
trespasses, so might she be forgiven hers. As Reginald Morton had certainly
never trespassed against her perhaps there was no reason why her thoughts
should be carried to the necessity of forgiving him.
The Paragon wrote two very diplomatic notes, explaining his temporary
residence and expressing his great desire to become acquainted with his
neighbours. Neither of the two clergymen were offended, and both of them
promised to eat his dinner on Monday. Mr. Mainwaring was very fond of dining
out, and would have gone almost to any gentleman's house. Mr. Cooper had
been enough in the neighbourhood to have known the old squire, and wrote an
affectionate note expressing his gratification at the prospect of renewing his
acquaintance with the little boy whom he remembered. So the party was made
up for Monday. John Morton was very nervous on the matter, fearing that Lady
Augustus would think the land to be barren.