‘Do, my boy. Honour thy father—that thy days may be long in the land.’
It seemed to the major as he drove away from Barchester that everybody was against him; and yet he was sure that he himself was right. He could not give up Grace Crawley; and unless he were to do so he could not live at Cosby Lodge.
A lady presents her compliments to miss L.D.
One morning while Lily Dale was staying with Mrs Thorne in London, there was brought up to her room, as she was dressing for dinner, a letter which the postman had just left for her. The address was written in a feminine hand, and Lily was at once aware that she did not know the writing. The angles were very acute, and the lines were very straight, and the vowels looked to be cruel and false, with their sharp points and their open eyes. Lily at once knew that it was the performance of a woman who had been taught to write at school, and not at home, and she became prejudiced against the writer before she opened the letter. When she had opened the letter and read it, her feelings towards the writer were not of a kindly nature. It was as follows:-
’A lady presents her compliments to Miss L D and earnestly implores Miss L D to give her answer to the following question: Is Miss L D engaged to marry Mr J E? The lady in question pledges herself not to interfere with Miss L D in any way, should the answer be in the affirmative. The lady earnestly requests that a reply to this question may be sent to M D Post-office 455 Edgware Road. In order that L D may not doubt that M D had an interest in J E, M D encloses the last note she received from him before he started for the Continent.’ Then there was a scrap, which Lily well knew to be in the handwriting of John Eames, and the scrap was as follows:—’Dearest M—punctually at 8.30. Ever and always your unalterable J E. Lily, as she read this, did not comprehend that John’s note to M D had been in itself a joke.
Lily Dale had heard of anonymous letters before, but had never received one, or even received one. Now that she had one in her hand, it seemed to her that there could be nothing more abominable than the writing of such a letter. She let it drop from her as though the receiving, and opening, and reading it had been a stain to her. As it lay on the ground at her feet, she trod upon it. Of what sort could a woman be who wrote such a letter as that? Answer it! Of course she would not answer it. It never occurred to her for a moment that it could become her to answer it. Had she been at home with her mother, she would have called her mother to her, and Mrs Dale would have taken it from the ground, and have read it, and then destroyed it. As it was, she must pick it up herself. She did so, and declared to herself that there should be an end to it. It might be right that somebody should see it, and therefore she would show it to Emily Dunstable; after that it should be destroyed.