The American Senator
13. At Bragton
When the ladies went up-stairs the afternoon was not half over and they did not
dine till past seven. As Morton returned to the house in the dusk he thought that
perhaps Arabella might make some attempt to throw herself in his way. She had
often done so when they were not engaged, and surely she might do so now.
There was nothing to prevent her coming down to the library when she had got
rid of her travelling clothes, and in this hope he looked into the room. As soon as
the door was open the Senator, who was preparing his lecture in his mind, at
once asked whether no one in England had an apparatus for warming rooms
such as was to be found in every well-built house in the States. The Paragon
hardly vouchsafed him a word of reply, but escaped up-stairs trusting that he
might meet Miss Trefoil on the way. He was a bold man and even ventured to
knock at her door;--but there was no reply, and, fearing the Senator, he had to
betake himself to his own privacy. Miss Trefoil had migrated to her mother's
room, and there, over the fire, was holding a little domestic conversation. "I never
saw such a barrack in my life," said Lady Augustus.
"Of course, mamma, we knew that we should find the house such as it was left a
hundred years ago. He told us that himself."
"He should have put something in it to make it at any rate decent before we came
"What's the use if he's to live always at foreign courts?"
"He intends to come home sometimes, I suppose, and, if he didn't, you would."
Lady Augustus was not going to let her daughter marry a man who could not give
her a home for at any rate a part of the year. "Of course he must furnish the
place and have an immense deal done before he can marry. I think it is a piece
of impudence to bring one to such a place as this."
"That's nonsense, mamma, because he told us all about it"
"The more I see of it all, Arabella, the more sure I am that it won't do."
"It must do, mamma."
"Twelve hundred a year is all that he offers, and his lawyer says that he will make
no stipulation whatever as to an allowance."
"Really, mamma, you might leave that to me."
"I like to have everything fixed, my dear,--and certain."
"Nothing really ever is certain. While there is anything to get you may be sure
that I shall have my share. As far as money goes I'm not a bit afraid of having the
worst of it,--only there will be so very little between us."
"That's just it."
"There's no doubt about the property, mamma."
"A nasty beggarly place!"
"And from what everybody says he's sure to be a minister or ambassador or
something of that sort."