Phineas Finn eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 986 pages of information about Phineas Finn.

“It is untrue if it be said of him as a habit.”

“It is another paroxysm,—­just now and then.”

“Do not laugh at me, Violet, when I am taking his part, or I shall be offended.”

“But you see, if I am to be his wife, it is—­rather important.”

“Still you need not ridicule me.”

“Dear Laura, you know I do not ridicule you.  You know I love you for what you are doing.  Would not I do the same, and fight for him down to my nails if I had a brother?”

“And therefore I want you to be Oswald’s wife;—­because I know that you would fight for him.  It is not true that he is a—­drunkard.  Look at his hand, which is as steady as yours.  Look at his eye.  Is there a sign of it?  He has been drunk, once or twice, perhaps,—­and has done fearful things.”

“It might be that he would do fearful things to me.”

“You never knew a man with a softer heart or with a finer spirit.  I believe as I sit here that if he were married to-morrow, his vices would fall from him like old clothes.”

“You will admit, Laura, that there will be some risk for the wife.”

“Of course there will be a risk.  Is there not always a risk?”

“The men in the city would call this double-dangerous, I think,” said Violet.  Then the door was opened, and the man of whom they were speaking entered the room.

CHAPTER XI

Lord Chiltern

The reader has been told that Lord Chiltern was a red man, and that peculiarity of his personal appearance was certainly the first to strike a stranger.  It imparted a certain look of ferocity to him, which was apt to make men afraid of him at first sight.  Women are not actuated in the same way, and are accustomed to look deeper into men at the first sight than other men will trouble themselves to do.  His beard was red, and was clipped, so as to have none of the softness of waving hair.  The hair on his head also was kept short, and was very red,—­and the colour of his face was red.  Nevertheless he was a handsome man, with well-cut features, not tall, but very strongly built, and with a certain curl in the corner of his eyelids which gave to him a look of resolution,—­which perhaps he did not possess.  He was known to be a clever man, and when very young had had the reputation of being a scholar.  When he was three-and-twenty grey-haired votaries of the turf declared that he would make his fortune on the race-course,—­so clear-headed was he as to odds, so excellent a judge of a horse’s performances, and so gifted with a memory of events.  When he was five-and-twenty he had lost every shilling of a fortune of his own, had squeezed from his father more than his father ever chose to name in speaking of his affairs to any one, and was known to be in debt.  But he had sacrificed himself on one or two memorable occasions in conformity with turf laws of honour, and men said of him, either that he was

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Phineas Finn from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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