The Way We Live Now HTML version
The Bishop And The Priest
The afternoon on which Lady Carbury arrived at her cousin's house had been very
stormy. Roger Carbury had been severe, and Lady Carbury had suffered under his
severity or had at least so well pretended to suffer as to leave on Roger's mind a strong
impression that he had been cruel to her. She had then talked of going back at once to
London, and when consenting to remain, had remained with a very bad feminine
headache. She had altogether carried her point, but had done so in a storm. The next
morning was very calm. That question of meeting the Melmottes had been settled, and
there was no need for speaking of them again. Roger went out by himself about the farm,
immediately after breakfast, having told the ladies that they could have the waggonette
when they pleased. 'I'm afraid you'll find it tiresome driving about our lanes,' he said.
Lady Carbury assured him that she was never dull when left alone with books. Just as he
was starting he went into the garden and plucked a rose which he brought to Henrietta.
He only smiled as he gave it her, and then went his way. He had resolved that he would
say nothing to her of his suit till Monday. If he could prevail with her then he would ask
her to remain with him when her mother and brother would be going out to dine at
Caversham. She looked up into his face as she took the rose and thanked him in a
whisper. She fully appreciated the truth, and honour, and honesty of his character, and
could have loved him so dearly as her cousin if he would have contented himself with
such cousinly love! She was beginning, within her heart, to take his side against her
mother and brother, and to feel that he was the safest guide that she could have. But how
could she be guided by a lover whom she did not love?
'I am afraid, my dear, we shall have a bad time of it here,' said Lady Carbury.
'Why so, mamma?'
'It will be so dull. Your cousin is the best friend in all the world, and would make as good
a husband as could be picked out of all the gentlemen of England; but in his present
mood with me he is not a comfortable host. What nonsense he did talk about the
'I don't suppose, mamma, that Mr, and Mrs Melmotte can be nice people.'
'Why shouldn't they be as nice as anybody else? Pray, Henrietta, don't let us have any of
that nonsense from you. When it comes from the superhuman virtue of poor dear Roger it
has to be borne, but I beg that you will not copy him.'
'Mamma, I think that is unkind.'
'And I shall think it very unkind if you take upon yourself to abuse people who are able
and willing to set poor Felix on his legs. A word from you might undo all that we are