“What were you and Violet talking about so eagerly?” said Lady Laura to him, with a smile that, in its approach to laughter, almost betrayed its mistress.
“We were talking about your brother.”
“You are going to him, are you not?”
“Yes; I leave London on Sunday night;—but only for a day or two.”
“Has he any chance there, do you think?”
“What, with Miss Effingham?”
“Yes;—with Violet. Sometimes I think she loves him.”
“How can I say? In such a matter you can judge better than I can do. One woman with reference to another can draw the line between love and friendship. She certainly likes Chiltern.”
“Oh, I believe she loves him. I do indeed. But she fears him. She does not quite understand how much there is of tenderness with that assumed ferocity. And Oswald is so strange, so unwise, so impolitic, that though he loves her better than all the world beside, he will not sacrifice even a turn of a word to win her. When he asks her to marry him, he almost flies at her throat, as an angry debtor who applies for instant payment. Tell him, Mr. Finn, never to give it over;—and teach him that he should be soft with her. Tell him, also, that in her heart she likes him. One woman, as you say, knows another woman; and I am certain he would win her if he would only be gentle with her.” Then, again, before they parted, Lady Laura told him that this marriage was the dearest wish of her heart, and that there would be no end to her gratitude if Phineas could do anything to promote it. All which again made our hero unhappy.
Sunday in Grosvenor Place
Mr. Kennedy, though he was a most scrupulously attentive member of Parliament, was a man very punctual to hours and rules in his own house,—and liked that his wife should be as punctual as himself. Lady Laura, who in marrying him had firmly resolved that she would do her duty to him in all ways, even though the ways might sometimes be painful,—and had been perhaps more punctilious in this respect than she might have been had she loved him heartily,—was not perhaps quite so fond of accurate regularity as her husband; and thus, by this time, certain habits of his had become rather bonds than habits to her. He always had prayers at nine, and breakfasted at a quarter past nine, let the hours on the night before have been as late as they might before the time for