The Patrician eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 339 pages of information about The Patrician.

“It passes my comprehension;” he said, “why you should want to mix up sex and politics at all.”

Miltoun’s answer came very slowly, as if the confession were hurting his lips: 

“There is—­forgive me for using the word—­such a thing as one’s religion.  I don’t happen to regard life as divided into public and private departments.  My vision is gone—­broken—­I can see no object before me now in public life—­no goal—­no certainty.”

Lady Valleys caught his hand: 

“Oh! my dear,” she said, “that’s too dreadfully puritanical!” But at Miltoun’s queer smile, she added hastily:  “Logical—­I mean.”

“Consult your common sense, Eustace, for goodness’ sake,” broke in Lord Valleys.  “Isn’t it your simple duty to put your scruples in your pocket, and do the best you can for your country with the powers that have been given you?”

“I have no common sense.”

“In that case, of course, it may be just as well that you should leave public life.”

Miltoun bowed.

“Nonsense!” cried Lady Valleys.  “You don’t understand, Geoffrey.  I ask you again, Eustace, what will you do afterwards?”

“I don’t know.”

“You will eat your heart out.”

“Quite possibly.”

“If you can’t come to a reasonable arrangement with your conscience,” again broke in Lord Valleys, “for Heaven’s sake give her up, like a man, and cut all these knots.”

“I beg your pardon, sir!” said Miltoun icily.

Lady Valleys laid her hand on his arm.  “You must allow us a little logic too, my dear.  You don’t seriously imagine that she would wish you to throw away your life for her?  I’m not such a bad judge of character as that.”

She stopped before the expression on Miltoun’s face.

“You go too fast,” he said; “I may become a free spirit yet.”

To this saying, which seemed to her cryptic and sinister, Lady Valleys did not know what to answer.

“If you feel, as you say,” Lord Valleys began once more, “that the bottom has been knocked out of things for you by this—­this affair, don’t, for goodness’ sake, do anything in a hurry.  Wait!  Go abroad!  Get your balance back!  You’ll find the thing settle itself in a few months.  Don’t precipitate matters; you can make your health an excuse to miss the Autumn session.”

Lady Valleys chimed in eagerly

“You really are seeing the thing out of all proportion.  What is a love-affair.  My dear boy, do you suppose for a moment anyone would think the worse of you, even if they knew?  And really not a soul need know.”

“It has not occurred to me to consider what they would think.”

“Then,” cried Lady Valleys, nettled, “it’s simply your own pride.”

“You have said.”

Lord Valleys, who had turned away, spoke in an almost tragic voice

“I did not think that on a point of honour I should differ from my son.”

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The Patrician from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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