The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax.

“You look strong enough, but appearances are sometimes deceptive.  Take care of yourself—­health is before everything.  It was a pity you did not win that fellowship:  I don’t know how you mean to live after you have got your call to the bar.  You clever young fellows who rise from the ranks expect to carry the world before you, but it is a much harder matter than you think.  Your father cannot make you much of an allowance?”

Harry knew the rector’s tactless way too well to be affronted now by any remark he might make or any question he might ask.  “My father has a liberal mind,” he said good-humoredly.  “And a man hopes for briefs sooner or later.”

“It is mostly later, unless he have singular ability or good connexions.  You must marry a solicitor’s daughter,” said the rector, flourishing his stick.  Harry said he would try to dispense with violent expedients.  They walked on a minute or two in silence, and then Mr. Wiley said:  “You have seen Miss Fairfax, of course?—­she is on a visit at Fairfield.”

“Yes.  She has been at Brook,” replied Harry with reticent coolness.  “We all thought her looking remarkably well.”

“Yes, beautiful—­very much improved indeed.  My wife was quite astonished, but she has been living in the very best society.  And have you seen Mr. Cecil Burleigh?”

Harry made answer that he had dined at Fairfield one evening, and had met Mr. Cecil Burleigh there.

“Miss Fairfax’s friends must be glad she is going to marry so well—­so suitably in every point of view.  It is an excellent match, and, I understand from Lady Latimer, all but settled.  She is delighted, for they are both immense favorites with her.”

Harry Musgrave was dumb.  Yet he did not believe what he heard—­he could not believe it, remembering Bessie’s kind, pretty looks.  Why, her very voice had another, softer tone when she spoke to him; his name was music from her lips.  The rector went on, explaining the fame and anticipated future of Mr. Cecil Burleigh in a vaguely confidential manner, until they came to a spot where two ways met, and Harry abruptly said, “I was going to Littlemire to call on Mr. Moxon, and this is my road.”  He held out his hand, and was moving off when Mr. Wiley’s visage put on a solemn shade of warning: 

“It will carry you through Marsh-End.  I would avoid Marsh-End just now if I were you—­a nasty, dangerous place.  The fever is never long absent.  I don’t go there myself at present.”

But Harry said there was a chance, then, that he might meet with his old tutor in the hamlet, and he started away, eager to be alone and to escape from the rector’s observation, for he knew that he was betraying himself.  He went swiftly along under the sultry shade in a confused whirl of sensations.  His confidence had suddenly failed him.  He had counted on Bessie Fairfax for his comrade since he was a boy; the idea of her was woven into all his pleasant recollections of the

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The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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