The American Senator HTML version

II.4. The Rufford Correspondence
It might be surmised from the description which Lord Rufford had given of his own
position to his sister and his sister's two friends, when he pictured himself as falling over
the edge of the precipice while they hung on behind to save him, that he was sufficiently
aware of the inexpediency of the proposed intimacy with Miss Trefoil. Any one hearing
him would have said that Miss Trefoil's chances in that direction were very poor,--that a
man seeing his danger so plainly and so clearly understanding the nature of it would
certainly avoid it. But what he had said was no more than Miss Trefoil knew that he
would say,---or, at any rate would think. Of course she had against her not only all his
friends,--but the man himself also and his own fixed intentions. Lord Rufford was not a
marrying man,--which was supposed to signify that he intended to lead a life of pleasure
till the necessity of providing an heir should be forced upon him, when he would take to
himself a wife out of his own class in life twenty years younger than himself for whom he
would not care a straw. The odds against Miss Trefoil were of course great;--but girls
have won even against such odds as these. She knew her own powers, and was aware that
Lord Rufford was fond of feminine beauty and feminine flutter and feminine flattery,
though he was not prepared to marry. It was quite possible that she might be able to dig
such a pit for him that it would be easier for him to marry her than to get out in any other
way. Of course she must trust something to his own folly at first. Nor did she trust in
vain. Before her week was over at Mrs. Gore's she received from him a letter, which,
with the correspondence to which it immediately led, shall be given in this chapter.
Letter No. I.
Rufford, Sunday.
My Dear Miss Trefoil,
We have had a sad house since you left us. Poor Caneback got better and then worse and
then better,--and at last died yesterday afternoon. And now; there is to be the funeral! The
poor dear old boy seems to have had nobody belonging to him and very little in the way
of possessions. I never knew anything of him except that he was, or had been, in the
Blues, and that he was about the best man in England to hounds on a bad horse. It now
turns out that his father made some money in India,--a sort of Commissary purveyor,--
and bought a commission for him twenty-five years ago. Everybody knew him but
nobody knew anything about, him. Poor old Caneback! I wish he had managed to die
anywhere else and I don't feel at all obliged to Purefoy for sending that brute of a mare
here. He said something to me about that wretched ball;--not altogether so wretched! was
it? But I didn't like what he said and told him a bit of my mind. Now we're two for a
while; and I don't care for how long unless he comes round.