The Way We Live Now HTML version
Marie Melmotte Hears A Love Tale
On the following morning there came a telegram from Felix. He was to be expected at
Beccles on that afternoon by a certain train; and Roger, at Lady Carbury's request,
undertook to send a carriage to the station for him. This was done, but Felix did not
arrive. There was still another train by which he might come so as to be just in time for
dinner if dinner were postponed for half an hour. Lady Carbury with a tender look,
almost without speaking a word, appealed to her cousin on behalf of her son. He knit his
brows, as he always did, involuntarily, when displeased; but he assented. Then the
carriage had to be sent again. Now carriages and carriage-horses were not numerous at
Carbury. The squire kept a waggonette and a pair of horses which, when not wanted for
house use, were employed about the farm. He himself would walk home from the train,
leaving the luggage to be brought by some cheap conveyance. He had already sent the
carriage once on this day and now sent it again, Lady Carbury having said a word which
showed that she hoped that this would be done. But he did it with deep displeasure. To
the mother her son was Sir Felix, the baronet, entitled to special consideration because of
his position and rank because also of his intention to marry the great heiress of the day.
To Roger Carbury, Felix was a vicious young man, peculiarly antipathetic to himself, to
whom no respect whatever was due. Nevertheless the dinner was put off, and the
waggonette was sent. But the waggonette again came back empty. That evening was
spent by Roger, Lady Carbury, and Henrietta, in very much gloom.
About four in the morning the house was roused by the coming of the baronet. Failing to
leave town by either of the afternoon trains, he had contrived to catch the evening mail,
and had found himself deposited at some distant town from which he had posted to
Carbury. Roger came down in his dressing-gown to admit him, and Lady Carbury also
left her room. Sir Felix evidently thought that he had been a very fine fellow in going
through so much trouble. Roger held a very different opinion, and spoke little or nothing.
'Oh, Felix,' said the mother, 'you have so terrified us!'
'I can tell you I was terrified myself when I found that I had to come fifteen miles across
the country with a pair of old jades who could hardly get up a trot.'
'But why didn't you come by the train you named?'
'I couldn't get out of the city,' said the baronet with a ready lie.
'I suppose you were at the Board?' To this Felix made no direct answer. Roger knew that
there had been no Board. Mr Melmotte was in the country and there could be no Board,
nor could Sir Felix have had business in the city. It was sheer impudence sheer
indifference, and, into the bargain, a downright lie. The young man, who was of himself
so unwelcome, who had come there on a project which he, Roger, utterly disapproved
who had now knocked him and his household up at four o'clock in the morning had
uttered no word of apology. 'Miserable cub!' Roger muttered between his teeth. Then he