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Father Stafford eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 135 pages of information about Father Stafford.

I. Eugene Lane and his Guests

II.  New Faces and Old Feuds

III.  Father Stafford Changes his Habits, and Mr. Haddington his Views

IV.  Sir Roderick Ayre Inspects Mr. Morewood’s Masterpiece

V. How Three Gentlemen Acted for the Best

VI.  Father Stafford Keeps Vigil

VII.  An Early Train and a Morning’s Amusement

VIII.  Stafford in Retreat, and Sir Roderick in Action

IX.  The Battle of Baden

X. Mr. Morewood is Moved to Indignation

XI.  Waiting Lady Claudia’s Pleasure

XII.  Lady Claudia is Vexed with Mankind

XIII.  A Lover’s Fate and a Friend’s Counsel

XIV.  Some People are as Fortunate as they Deserve to Be

XV.  An End and a Beginning

FATHER STAFFORD.

CHAPTER I.

Eugene Lane and his Guests.

The world considered Eugene Lane a very fortunate young man; and if youth, health, social reputation, a seat in Parliament, a large income, and finally the promised hand of an acknowledged beauty can make a man happy, the world was right.  It is true that Sir Roderick Ayre had been heard to pity the poor chap on the ground that his father had begun life in the workhouse; but everybody knew that Sir Roderick was bound to exalt the claims of birth, inasmuch as he had to rely solely upon them for a reputation, and discounted the value of his opinion accordingly.  After all, it was not as if the late Mr. Lane had ended life in the undesirable shelter in question.  On the contrary, his latter days had been spent in the handsome mansion of Millstead Manor; and, as he lay on his deathbed, listening to the Rector’s gentle homily on the vanity of riches, his eyes would wander to the window and survey a wide tract of land that he called his own, and left, together with immense sums of money, to his son, subject only to a jointure for his wife.  It is hard to blame the tired old man if he felt, even with the homily ringing in his ears, that he had not played his part in the world badly.

Millstead Manor was indeed the sort of place to raise a doubt as to the utter vanity of riches.  It was situated hard by the little village of Millstead, that lies some forty miles or so northwest of London, in the middle of rich country.  The neighborhood afforded shooting, fishing, and hunting, if not the best of their kind, yet good enough to satisfy reasonable people.  The park was large and well wooded; the house had insisted on remaining picturesque in spite of Mr. Lane’s improvements, and by virtue of an indelible stamp of antiquity had carried its point.  A house that dates from Elizabeth is not to be entirely put to shame by one or two unblushing French windows and other trifling barbarities of that description,

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