The Way We Live Now
Sir Felix In His Mother's House
When all her friends were gone Lady Carbury looked about for her son not expecting to
find him, for she knew how punctual was his nightly attendance at the Beargarden, but
still with some faint hope that he might have remained on this special occasion to tell her
of his fortune. She had watched the whispering, had noticed the cool effrontery with
which Felix had spoken for without hearing the words she had almost known the very
moment in which he was asking and had seen the girl's timid face, and eyes turned to the
ground, and the nervous twitching of her hands as she replied. As a woman,
understanding such things, who had herself been wooed, who had at, least dreamed of
love, she had greatly disapproved her son's manner. But yet, if it might be successful, if
the girl would put up with love-making so slight as that, and if the great Melmotte would
accept in return for his money a title so modest as that of her son, how glorious should
her son be to her in spite of his indifference!
'I heard him leave the house before the Melmottes went,' said Henrietta, when the mother
spoke of going up to her son's bedroom.
'He might have stayed tonight. Do you think he asked her?'
'How can I say, mamma?'
'I should have thought you would have been anxious about your brother. I feel sure he did
and that she accepted him.'
'If so I hope he will be good to her. I hope he loves her.'
'Why shouldn't he love her as well as any one else? A girl need not be odious because she
has money. There is nothing disagreeable about her.'
'No nothing disagreeable. I do not know that she is especially attractive.'
'Who is? I don't see anybody specially attractive. It seems to me you are quite indifferent
'Do not say that, mamma.'
'Yes you are. You don't understand all that he might be with this girl's fortune, and what
he must be unless he gets money by marriage. He is eating us both up.'
'I wouldn't let him do that, mamma.'
'It's all very well to say that, but I have some heart. I love him. I could not see him starve.
Think what he might be with L20,000 a-year!'