Poor Miss Finch HTML version
The Twin-Brother's Letter
LITTLE thinking what a storm he had raised, poor innocent Oscar--paternally escorted
by the rector--followed us into the house, with his open letter in his hand.
Judging by certain signs visible in my reverend friend, I concluded that the
announcement of Nugent Dubourg's coming visit to Dimchurch--regarded by the rest of
us as heralding the appearance of a twin-brother--was regarded by Mr. Finch as
promising the arrival of a twin-fortune. Oscar and Nugent shared the comfortable
paternal inheritance. Finch smelt money.
"Compose yourself," I whispered to Lucilla as the two gentlemen followed us into the
sitting-room. "Your jealousy of his brother is a childish jealousy. There is room enough
in his heart for his brother as well as for you."
She only repeated obstinately, with a vicious pinch on my arm, "I hate his brother!"
"Come and sit down by me," said Oscar, approaching her on the other side. "I want to run
over Nugent's letter. It's so interesting! There is a message in it to you." Too deeply
absorbed in his subject to notice the sullen submission with which she listened to him, he
placed her on a chair, and began reading. "The first lines," he explained, "relate to
Nugent's return to England, and to his delightful idea of coming to stay with me at
Browndown. Then he goes on: 'I found all your letters waiting for me on my return to
New York. Need I tell you, my dearest brother----' "
Lucilla stopped him at those words by rising abruptly from her seat.
"What is the matter?" he asked.
"I don't like this chair!"
Oscar got her another--an easy-chair this time--and returned to the letter.
" 'Need I tell you, my dearest brother, how deeply you have interested me by the
announcement of your contemplated marriage? Your happiness is my happiness. I feel
with you; I congratulate you; I long to see my future sister-in-law----' "
Lucilla got up again. Oscar, in astonishment, asked what was wrong now?
"I am not comfortable at this end of the room."
She walked to the other end of the room. Patient Oscar walked after her, with his precious
letter in his hand. He offered her a third chair. She petulantly declined to take it, and
selected another chair for herself. Oscar returned to the letter:--
" 'How melancholy, and yet how interesting it is, to hear that she is blind! My sketches of
American scenery happened to be lying about in the room when I read your letter. The
first thought that came to me, on hearing of Miss Finch's affliction, was suggested by my
sketches. I said to myself, "Sad! sad! my sister-in-law will never see my Works." The
true artist, Oscar, is always thinking of his Works. I shall bring back, let me tell you,
some very remarkable studies for future pictures. They will not be so numerous, perhaps,