Man and Wife eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 669 pages of information about Man and Wife.
blows which would have stunned—­possibly have killed—­any civilized member of the community.  Now on one side of his patron’s iron skull, and now on the other, the hammering of the prize-fighter’s gloves fell, thump upon thump, horrible to hear—­until even Geoffrey himself had had enough of it.  “Thank you, Crouch,” he said, speaking civilly to the man for the first time.  “That will do.  I feel nice and clear again.”  He shook his head two or three times, he was rubbed down like a horse by the professional runner; he drank a mighty draught of malt liquor; he recovered his good-humor as if by magic.  “Want the pen and ink, Sir?” inquired his pedestrian host.  “Not I!” answered Geoffrey.  “The muddle’s out of me now.  Pen and ink be hanged!  I shall look up some of our fellows, and go to the play.”  He left the public house in the happiest condition of mental calm.  Inspired by the stimulant application of Crouch’s gloves, his torpid cunning had been shaken up into excellent working order at last.  Write to Anne?  Who but a fool would write to such a woman as that until he was forced to it?  Wait and see what the chances of the next eight-and-forty hours might bring forth, and then write to her, or desert her, as the event might decide.  It lay in a nut-shell, if you could only see it.  Thanks to Crouch, he did see it—­and so away in a pleasant temper for a dinner with “our fellows” and an evening at the play!

CHAPTER THE FIFTEENTH.

GEOFFREY IN THE MARRIAGE MARKET.

THE interval of eight-and-forty hours passed—­without the occurrence of any personal communication between the two brothers in that time.

Julius, remaining at his father’s house, sent brief written bulletins of Lord Holchester’s health to his brother at the hotel.  The first bulletin said, “Going on well.  Doctors satisfied.”  The second was firmer in tone.  “Going on excellently.  Doctors very sanguine.”  The third was the most explicit of all.  “I am to see my father in an hour from this.  The doctors answer for his recovery.  Depend on my putting in a good word for you, if I can; and wait to hear from me further at the hotel.”

Geoffrey’s face darkened as he read the third bulletin.  He called once more for the hated writing materials.  There could be no doubt now as to the necessity of communicating with Anne.  Lord Holchester’s recovery had put him back again in the same critical position which he had occupied at Windygates.  To keep Anne from committing some final act of despair, which would connect him with a public scandal, and ruin him so far as his expectations from his father were concerned, was, once more, the only safe policy that Geoffrey could pursue.  His letter began and ended in twenty words: 

“DEAR ANNE,—­Have only just heard that my father is turning the corner.  Stay where you are.  Will write again.”

Having dispatched this Spartan composition by the post, Geoffrey lit his pipe, and waited the event of the interview between Lord Holchester and his eldest son.

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Man and Wife from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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