The Last Chronicle of Barset eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 1,290 pages of information about The Last Chronicle of Barset.
that he would come soon enough.  But even while she was joking there was something of half-expressed consciousness in her words—­as though she felt it to be foolish to speak of his coming as she might of that of any other young man, before people who knew her whole story.  ’He’ll come quick enough.  He knows, and I know, that his coming will do no good.  Of course I shall be glad to see him.  Why shouldn’t I be glad to see him?  I’ve known him and liked him all my life.  I liked him when there did not seem to be much about him to like, and now that he is clever, and agreeable, and good-looking—­which he never was as a lad—­why shouldn’t I go on liking him?  He’s more like a brother to me than anybody else I’ve got.  James,’—­James was her brother-in-law, Dr Crofts—­’thinks of nothing but his patients and his babies, and my cousin Bernard is much too grand a person for me to take the liberty of loving him.  I shall be very glad to see Johnny Eames.’  From all which Mrs Dale was led to believe that Johnny’s case was still hopeless.  And how should it not be hopeless?  Had not Lily confessed within the last week or two that she still loved Adolphus Crosbie?

Mrs Eames also, and Mary, were surprised that John did not go over to Allington.  ‘You haven’t seen Mrs Dale yet, or the squire?’

‘I shall see them when I am at the cottage.’

’Yes;—­no doubt.  But it seems strange that you should be here so long without going to them.’

‘There’s time enough,’ said he.  ’I shall have nothing else to do when I’m at the cottage.’  Then, when Mary had spoken to him again in private, expressing a hope that there was ‘nothing wrong’, he had been very angry with his sister.  ’What do you mean by wrong?  What rubbish you girls talk!  And you never have any delicacy of feeling to make you silent.’

‘Oh, John, don’t say such hard things as that of me!’

’But I do say them.  You’ll make me swear among you some day that I will never see Lily Dale again.  As it is, I wish I never had seen her—­simple because I am so dunned about it.’  In all of which I think that Johnny was manifestly wrong.  When the humour was on him he was fond enough of talking about Lily Dale.  Had he not taught her to do so, I doubt whether his sister would ever have mentioned Lily’s name to him.  ’I did not mean to dun you, John,’ said Mary, meekly.

But at last he went to Lady Julia’s, and was no sooner there than he was ready to start for Allington.  When Lady Julia spoke to him about Lily, he did not venture to snub her.  Indeed, of all his friends, Lady Julia was the one whom on this subject he allowed himself the most unrestricted confidence.  He came over one day, just before dinner, and declared his intention of walking over to Allington immediately after breakfast on the following morning.  ‘It’s the last time, Lady Julia,’ he said.

‘So you say, Johnny.’

’And so I mean it!  What’s the good of a man flittering away his life?  What’s the good of wishing for what you can’t get?’

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