The American Senator HTML version

16. Mr. Gotobed's Philanthropy
Mr. Gotobed, when the persecutions of Goarly were described to him at the
scene of the dead fox, had expressed considerable admiration for the man's
character as portrayed by what he then heard. The man,--a poor man too and
despised in the land, was standing up for his rights, all alone, against the
aristocracy and plutocracy of the county. He had killed the demon whom the
aristocracy and plutocracy worshipped, and had appeared there in arms ready to
defend his own territory,--one against so many, and so poor a man against men
so rich! The Senator had at once said that he would call upon Mr. Goarly, and the
Senator was a man who always carried out his purposes. Afterwards, from John
Morton, and from others who knew the country better than Morton, he learned
further particulars. On the Monday and Tuesday he fathomed,--or nearly
fathomed,--that matter of the 7s. 6d. an acre. He learned at any rate that the
owner of the wood admitted a damage done by him to the corn and had then,
himself, assessed the damage without consultation with the injured party; and he
was informed also that Goarly was going to law with the lord for a fuller
compensation. He liked Goarly for killing the fox, and he liked him more for going
to law with Lord Rufford.
He declared openly at Bragton his sympathy with the man and his intention of
expressing it. Morton was annoyed and endeavoured to persuade him to leave
the man alone; but in vain. No doubt had he expressed himself decisively and
told his friend that he should be annoyed by a guest from his house taking part in
such a matter, the Senator would have abstained and would merely have made
one more note as to English peculiarities and English ideas of justice; but Morton
could not bring himself to do this. "The feeling of the country will be altogether
against you," he had said, hoping to deter the Senator. The Senator had replied
that though the feeling of that little bit of the country might be against him he did
not believe that such would be the case with the feeling of England generally.
The ladies had all become a little afraid of Mr. Gotobed and hardly dared to
express an opinion. Lady Augustus did say that she supposed that Goarly was a
low vulgar fellow, which of course strengthened the Senator in his purpose.
The Senator on Wednesday would not wait for lunch but started a little before
one with a crust of bread in his pocket to find his way to Goarly's house. There
was no difficulty in this as he could see the wood as soon as he had got upon the
high road. He found Twentyman's gate and followed directly the route which the
hunting party had taken, till he came to the spot on which the crowd had been
assembled. Close to this there was a hand-gate leading into Dillsborough wood,
and standing in the gateway was a man. The Senator thought that this might not
improbably be Goarly himself, and asked the question, "Might your name be Mr.
Goarly, sir?"
"Me Goarly!" said the man in infinite disgust. "I ain't nothing of the kind,--and you
knows it" That the man should have been annoyed at being taken for Goarly, that