The American Senator HTML version

8. The Paragon's Party at Bragton
There was certainly a great deal of fuss made about John Morton's return to the
home of his ancestors,--made altogether by himself and those about him, and not
by those who were to receive him. On the Thursday in the week following that of
which we have been speaking, two carriages from the Bush met the party at the
Railway Station and took them to Bragton. Mr. Runciman, after due
consideration, put up with the inconsiderate nature of the order given, and
supplied the coaches and horses as required,--consoling himself no doubt with
the reflection that he could charge for the unreasonableness of the demand in
the bill. The coachman and butler had come down two days before their master,
so that things might be in order. Mrs. Hopkins learned from the butler that though
the party would at first consist only of three, two other very august persons were
to follow on the Saturday,--no less than Lady Augustus Trefoil and her daughter
Arabella. And Mrs. Hopkins was soon led to imagine, though no positive
information was given to her on the subject, that Miss Trefoil was engaged to be
married to their Master. "Will he live here altogether, Mr, Tankard?" Mrs. Hopkins
asked. To this question Mr. Tankard was able to give a very definite answer. He
was quite sure that Mr. Morton would not live anywhere altogether. According to
Mr. Tankard's ideas, the whole foreign policy of England depended on Mr. John
Morton's presence in some capital, either in Europe, Asia, or America,--upon Mr.
Morton's presence, and of course upon his own also. Mr. Tankard thought it not
improbable that they might soon be wanted at Hong Kong, or some very distant
place, but in the meantime they were bound to be back at Washington very
shortly. Tankard had himself been at Washington, and also before that at Lisbon,
and could tell Mrs. Hopkins how utterly unimportant had been the actual
ministers at those places, and how the welfare of England had depended
altogether on the discretion and general omniscience of his young master,--and
of himself. He, Tankard, had been the only person in Washington who had really
known in what order Americans should go out to dinner one after another. Mr.
Elias Gotobed, who was coming, was perhaps the most distinguished American
of the day, and was Senator for Mickewa.
"Mickey war!" said poor Mrs. Hopkins,--"that's been one of them terrible
American wars we used to hear of." Then Tankard explained to her that Mickewa
was one of the Western States and Mr. Elias Gotobed was a great Republican,
who had very advanced opinions of his own respecting government, liberty, and
public institutions in general. With Mr. Morton and the Senator was coming the
Honourable Mrs. Morton. The lady had her lady's maid,--and Mr, Morton had his
own man; so that there would be a great influx of persons.
Of course there was very much perturbation of spirit. Mrs. Hopkins, after that first
letter, the contents of which she had communicated to Reginald Morton, had
received various despatches and been asked various questions. Could she find a
cook? Could she find two housemaids? And all these were only wanted for a