During all this time of tension indeed, he was a great trial to his son. Douglas’s quick and proud intelligence was amazed to find his father so weak and so incompetent under misfortune. All his boyish life he had looked up to the slender, handsome man, whom he himself so much resembled, on a solider, more substantial scale, as the most indulgent of fathers, the princeliest of hosts, the best of shots and riders, chief indeed of the Falloden clan and all its glories, who, like other monarchs, could do no wrong.
But now the glamour which must always attend the central figure of such a scene withered at the touch of poverty and misfortune. And, in its absence, Douglas found himself dealing with an enthusiastic, vain, self-confident being, who had ruined himself and his son by speculations, often so childishly foolish that Douglas could not think of them without rage. Intellectually, he could only despise and condemn his father.
Yet the old bond held. Till he met Constance Bledlow, he had cared only for his own people, and among them, preeminently, for his father. In this feeling, family pride and natural affection met together. The family pride had been sorely shaken, the affection, steeped in a painful, astonished pity, remained. For the first time in his life Douglas had been sleeping badly. Interminable dreams pursued him, in which the scene in Marmion quad, his last walk with Constance along the Cherwell, and the family crash, were all intermingled, with the fatuity natural to dreams. And his wakings from them were almost equally haunted by the figures of Constance and Radowitz, and by a miserable yearning over his father, which no one who saw his hard, indifferent bearing during the day could possible have guessed. “Poor—poor old fellow!”—he had once or twice raised himself from his bed in the early morning, as though answering this cry in his ears, only to find that he himself had uttered it.
He had told his people nothing of Constance Bledlow beyond the bare fact of his acquaintance with her, first at Cannes, and then at Oxford. And they knew nothing of the Radowitz incident. Very few people indeed were aware of the true history of that night which had marred an artist’s life. The college authorities had been painfully stirred by the reports which had reached them; but Radowitz