The Last Chronicle of Barset eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,014 pages of information about The Last Chronicle of Barset.

‘For how long?’

‘For ten days.’

’Nothing can be done during that time.  Clara Van Siever is going away in a day, and will not be back for three weeks.  I happen to know that; so we have plenty of time for working.  It would be very desirable that she should never even hear of it; but that cannot be hoped, as Maria has such a tongue!  Couldn’t you see Mr Dalrymple tonight?’

‘Well, no; I don’t think I could.’

‘Mind, at least, that you come to me as soon as ever you return.’

Before he got out of the house, which he did after a most affectionate farewell, Johnny felt himself compelled to promise that he would come to Miss Demolines again as soon as he got back to town; and as the door was closed behind him by the boy in buttons, he made up his mind that he certainly would call as soon as he returned to London.  ’It’s as good as a play,’ he said to himself.  Not that he cared in the least for Miss Demolines, or that he would take any steps with the intention of preventing the painting of the picture.  Miss Demolines had some battle to fight, and he would leave her to fight it with her own weapons.  If his friend chose to paint a picture of Jael, and take Miss Van Siever as a model, it was no business of his.  Nevertheless he would certainly go and see Miss Demolines again, because, as he said, she was as good as a play.

CHAPTER XXVI

THE PICTURE

On that same afternoon Conway Dalrymple rolled up his sketch of Jael and Sisera, put it into his pocket, dressed himself with some considerable care, putting on a velvet coat which he was in the habit of wearing out of doors when he did not intend to wander beyond Kensington Gardens, and the neighbourhood and which was supposed to become him well, yellow gloves, and a certain Spanish hat of which he was fond, and slowly sauntered across to the house of his friend Mrs Dobbs Broughton.  When the door was opened to him he did not ask if the lady were at home, but muttering some word to the servant, made his way through the hall, upstairs, to a certain small sitting-room looking to the north which was much used by the mistress of the house.  It was quite clear that Conway Dalrymple had arranged his visit beforehand, and that he was expected.  He opened the door without knocking, and, though the servant had followed him, he entered without being announced.  ‘I’m afraid I’m late,’ he said, as he gave his hand to Mrs Broughton; ’but for the life I could not get away sooner.’

‘You are quite in time,’ said the lady, ’for any good that you are likely to do.’

‘What does that mean?’

’It means this, my friend, that you had better give the idea up.  I have been thinking of it all day, and I do not approve of it.’

‘What nonsense!’

’Of course you will say so, Conway.  I have observed of late that whatever I say to you is called nonsense.  I suppose it is the new fashion that gentlemen should so express themselves, but I am not quite sure that I like it.’

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The Last Chronicle of Barset from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.