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The Way We Live Now

Lady Carbury's desire for a union between Roger and her daughter was greatly increased
by her solicitude in respect to her son. Since Roger's offer had first been made, Felix had
gone on from bad to worse, till his condition had become one of hopeless embarrassment.
If her daughter could but be settled in the world, Lady Carbury said to herself, she could
then devote herself to the interests of her son. She had no very clear idea of what that
devotion would be. But she did know that she had paid so much money for him, and
would have so much more extracted from her, that it might well come to pass that she
would be unable to keep a home for her daughter. In all these troubles she constantly
appealed to Roger Carbury for advice which, however, she never followed. He
recommended her to give up her house in town, to find a home for her daughter
elsewhere, and also for Felix if he would consent to follow her. Should he not so consent,
then let the young man bear the brunt of his own misdoings. Doubtless, when he could no
longer get bread in London he would find her out. Roger was always severe when he
spoke of the baronet or seemed to Lady Carbury to be severe.
But, in truth, she did not ask for advice in order that she might follow it. She had plans in
her head with which she knew that Roger would not sympathise. She still thought that Sir
Felix might bloom and burst out into grandeur, wealth, and fashion, as the husband of a
great heiress, and in spite of her son's vices, was proud of him in that anticipation. When
he succeeded in obtaining from her money, as in the case of that L20 when, with brazen-
faced indifference to her remonstrances, he started off to his club at two in the morning,
when with impudent drollery he almost boasted of the hopelessness of his debts, a
sickness of heart would come upon her, and she would weep hysterically, and lie the
whole night without sleeping. But could he marry Miss Melmotte, and thus conquer all
his troubles by means of his own personal beauty then she would be proud of all that had
passed. With such a condition of mind Roger Carbury could have no sympathy. To him it
seemed that a gentleman was disgraced who owed money to a tradesman which he could
not pay. And Lady Carbury's heart was high with other hopes in spite of her hysterics and
her fears. The 'Criminal Queens' might be a great literary success. She almost thought
that it would be a success. Messrs. Leadham and Loiter, the publishers, were civil to her.
Mr Broune had promised. Mr Booker had said that he would see what could be done. She
had gathered from Mr Alf's caustic and cautious words that the book would be noticed in
the 'Evening Pulpit.' No she would not take dear Roger's advice as to leaving London.
But she would continue to ask Roger's advice. Men like to have their advice asked. And,
if possible, she would arrange the marriage. What country retirement could be so suitable
for a Lady Carbury when she wished to retire for a while as Carbury Manor, the seat of
her own daughter? And then her mind would fly away into regions of bliss. If only by the
end of this season Henrietta could be engaged to her cousin, Felix be the husband of the
richest bride in Europe, and she be the acknowledged author of the cleverest book of the
year, what a Paradise of triumph might still be open to her after all her troubles Then the
sanguine nature of the woman would bear her up almost to exultation, and for an hour she
would be happy in spite of everything.