“You are silly, Violet.”
“In not having allowed myself to be notched by this great champion?”
“A man like Mr. Finn has his life to deal with,—to make the most of it, and to divide it between work, pleasure, duty, ambition, and the rest of it as best he may. If he have any softness of heart, it will be necessary to him that love should bear a part in all these interests. But a man will be a fool who will allow love to be the master of them all. He will be one whose mind is so ill-balanced as to allow him to be the victim of a single wish. Even in a woman passion such as that is evidence of weakness, and not of strength.”
“It seems, then, Laura, that you are weak.”
“And if I am, does that condemn him? He is a man, if I judge him rightly, who will be constant as the sun, when constancy can be of service.”
“You mean that the future Mrs. Finn will be secure?”
“That is what I mean;—and that you or I, had either of us chosen to take his name, might have been quite secure. We have thought it right to refuse to do so.”
“And how many more, I wonder?”
“You are unjust, and unkind, Violet. So unjust and unkind that it is clear to me he has just gratified your vanity, and has never touched your heart. What would you have had him do, when I told him that I was engaged?”
“I suppose that Mr. Kennedy would not have gone to Blankenberg with him.”
“That seems to be the proper thing to do. But even that does not adjust things finally;—does it?” Then some one came upon them, and the conversation was brought to an end.
Madame Goesler’s Generosity
When Phineas Finn left Mr. Gresham’s house he had quite resolved what he would do. On the next morning he would tell Lord Cantrip that his resignation was a necessity, and that he would take that nobleman’s advice as to resigning at once, or waiting till the day on which Mr. Monk’s Irish Bill would be read for the second time.
“My dear Finn, I can only say that I deeply regret it,” said Lord Cantrip.
“So do I. I regret to leave office, which I like,—and which indeed I want. I regret specially to leave this office, as it has been a thorough pleasure to me; and I regret, above all, to leave you. But I am convinced that Monk is right, and I find it impossible not to support him.”
“I wish that Mr. Monk was at Bath,” said Lord Cantrip.
Phineas could only smile, and shrug his shoulders, and say that even though Mr. Monk were at Bath it would not probably make much difference. When he tendered his letter of resignation, Lord Cantrip begged him to withdraw it for a day or two. He would, he said, speak to Mr. Gresham. The debate on the second reading of Mr. Monk’s bill would not take place till that day week, and the resignation would be in time if it was tendered before Phineas either spoke or voted against the Government. So Phineas went back to his room, and endeavoured to make himself useful in some work appertaining to his favourite Colonies.