The Castle Inn eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 425 pages of information about The Castle Inn.
by the Earl’s express refusal to see him; when the very KING, it was rumoured, was coming on the same business; when, in a word, it became evident that the eyes of half England were turned to the Castle Inn at Marlborough, where England’s great statesman lay helpless, and gave no sign, though the wheels of state creaked and all but stood still—­even then Mr. Fishwick refused to be satisfied, declined to be comforted.  In place of viewing this stir and bustle, this coming and going as a perfect confirmation of Dr. Addington’s statement, and a proof of his integrity, he looked askance at it.  He saw in it a demonstration of the powers ranked against him and the principalities he had to combat; he felt, in face of it, how weak, how poor, how insignificant he was; and at one time despaired, and at another was in a frenzy, at one time wearied Julia with prophecies of treachery, at another poured his forebodings into the more sympathetic bosom of the elder woman.  The reader may laugh; but if he has ever staked his all on a cast, if he has taken up a hand of twelve trumps, only to hear the ominous word ‘misdeal!’ he will find something in Mr. Fishwick’s attitude neither unnatural nor blameworthy.



During the early days of the Minister’s illness, when, as we have seen, all the political world of England were turning their coaches and six towards the Castle Inn, it came to be the custom for Julia to go every morning to the little bridge over the Kennet, thence to watch the panorama of departures and arrivals; and for Sir George to join her there without excuse or explanation, and as if, indeed, nothing in the world were more natural.  As the Earl’s illness continued to detain all who desired to see him—­from the Duke of Grafton’s parliamentary secretary to the humblest aspirant to a tide-waitership—­Soane was not the only one who had time on his hands and sought to while it away in the company of the fair.  The shades of Preshute churchyard, which lies in the bosom of the trees, not three bowshots from the Castle Inn and hard by the Kennet, formed the chosen haunt of one couple.  A second pair favoured a seat situate on the west side of the Castle Mound, and well protected by shrubs from the gaze of the vulgar.  And there were others.

These Corydons, however, were at ease; they basked free from care in the smiles of their Celias.  But Soane, in his philandering, had to do with black care that would be ever at his elbow; black care, that always when he was not with Julia, and sometimes while he talked to her, would jog his thoughts, and draw a veil before the future.  The prospect of losing Estcombe, of seeing the family Lares broken and cast out, and the family stem, tender and young, yet not ungracious, snapped off short, wrung a heart that belied his cold exterior.  Moreover, when all these had been sacrificed, he was his own judge how far he

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The Castle Inn from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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