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Chapter 38
"C'est beaucoup que le jugement des hommes sur les actions humaines; tot ou
tard il devient efficace."--GUIZOT.
Sir James Chettam could not look with any satisfaction on Mr. Brooke's new
courses; but it was easier to object than to hinder. Sir James accounted for his
having come in alone one day to lunch with the Cadwalladers by saying--
"I can't talk to you as I want, before Celia: it might hurt her. Indeed, it would not
be right."
"I know what you mean--the `Pioneer' at the Grange!" darted in Mrs.
Cadwallader, almost before the last word was off her friend's tongue. "It is
frightful--this taking to buying whistles and blowing them in everybody's hearing.
Lying in bed all day and playing at dominoes, like poor Lord Plessy, would be
more private and bearable."
"I see they are beginning to attack our friend Brooke in the `Trumpet,'" said the
Rector, lounging back and smiling easily, as he would have done if he had been
attacked himself. "There are tremendous sarcasms against a landlord not a
hundred miles from Middlemarch, who receives his own rents, and makes no
"I do wish Brooke would leave that off," said Sir James, with his little frown of
"Is he really going to be put in nomination, though?" said Mr. Cadwallader. "I saw
Farebrother yesterday-- he's Whiggish himself, hoists Brougham and Useful
Knowledge; that's the worst I know of him;--and he says that Brooke is getting up
a pretty strong party. Bulstrode, the banker, is his foremost man. But he thinks
Brooke would come off badly at a nomination."
"Exactly," said Sir James, with earnestness. "I have been inquiring into the thing,
for I've never known anything about Middlemarch politics before--the county
being my business. What Brooke trusts to, is that they are going to turn out Oliver
because he is a Peelite. But Hawley tells me that if they send up a Whig at all it is
sure to be Bagster, one of those candidates who come from heaven knows
where, but dead against Ministers, and an experienced Parliamentary man.
Hawley's rather rough: he forgot that he was speaking to me. He said if Brooke
wanted a pelting, he could get it cheaper than by going to the hustings."
"I warned you all of it," said Mrs. Cadwallader, waving her hands outward. "I said
to Humphrey long ago, Mr. Brooke is going to make a splash in the mud. And
now he has done it."
"Well, he might have taken it into his head to marry," said the Rector. "That would
have been a graver mess than a little flirtation with politics."
"He may do that afterwards," said Mrs. Cadwallader--"when he has come out on
the other side of the mud with an ague."
"What I care for most is his own dignity," said Sir James. "Of course I care the
more because of the family. But he's getting on in life now, and I don't like to
think of his exposing himself. They will be raking up everything against him."