Man and Wife HTML version
Geoffrey As A Letter-Writer
LORD HOLCHESTER'S servants--with the butler at their head--were on the look-out for
Mr. Julius Delamayn's arrival from Scotland. The appearance of the two brothers together
took the whole domestic establishment by surprise. Inquiries were addressed to the butler
by Julius; Geoffrey standing by, and taking no other than a listener's part in the
"Is my father alive?"
"His lordship, I am rejoiced to say, has astonished the doctors, Sir. He rallied last night in
the most wonderful way. If things go on for the next eight-and-forty hours as they are
going now, my lord's recovery is considered certain."
"What was the illness?"
"A paralytic stroke, Sir. When her ladyship telegraphed to you in Scotland the doctors
had given his lordship up."
"Is my mother at home?"
"Her ladyship is at home to you,, Sir."'
The butler laid a special emphasis on the personal pronoun. Julius turned to his brother.
The change for the better in the state of Lord Holchester's health made Geoffrey's
position, at that moment, an embarrassing one. He had been positively forbidden to enter
the house. His one excuse for setting that prohibitory sentence at defiance rested on the
assumption that his father was actually dying. As matters now stood, Lord Holchester's
order remained in full force. The under-servants in the hall (charged to obey that order as
they valued their places) looked from "Mr. Geoffrey" to the butler, The butler looked
from "Mr. Geoffrey" to "Mr. Julius." Julius looked at his brother. There was an awkward
pause. The position of the second son was the position of a wild beast in the house--a
creature to be got rid of, without risk to yourself, if you only knew how.
Geoffrey spoke, and solved the problem
"Open the door, one of you fellows," he said to the footmen. "I'm off."
"Wait a minute," interposed his brother. "It will be a sad disappointment to my mother to
know that you have been here, and gone away again without seeing her. These are no
ordinary circumstances, Geoffrey. Come up stairs with me--I'll take it on myself."
"I'm blessed if I take it on myself!" returned Geoffrey. "Open the door!"
"Wait here, at any rate," pleaded Julius, "till I can send you down a message."
"Send your message to Nagle's Hotel. I'm at home at Nagle's--I'm not at home here."
At that point the discussion was interrupted by the appearance of a little terrier in the hall.
Seeing strangers, the dog began to bark. Perfect tranquillity in the house had been