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Wives and Daughters ebook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 796 pages of information about Wives and Daughters.
married; he had no profession, and the life interest of the two or three thousand pounds that he inherited from his mother, belonged to his father.  This older spectator might have been a little surprised at the empressement of Mrs. Gibson’s manner to a younger son, always supposing this said spectator to have read to the depths of her worldly heart.  Never had she tried to be more agreeable to Osborne; and though her attempt was a great failure when practised upon Roger, and he did not know what to say in reply to the delicate Batteries which he felt to be insincere, he saw that she intended him to consider himself henceforward free of the house; and he was too glad to avail himself of this privilege to examine over-closely into what might be her motives for her change of manner.  He shut his eyes, and chose to believe that she was now desirous of making up for her little burst of temper on his previous visit.

The result of Osborne’s conference with the two doctors had been certain prescriptions which appeared to have done him much good, and which would in all probability have done him yet more, could he have been free of the recollection of the little patient wife in her solitude near Winchester.  He went to her whenever he could; and, thanks to Roger, money was far more plentiful with him now than it had been.  But he still shrank, and perhaps even more and more, from telling his father of his marriage.  Some bodily instinct made him dread all agitation inexpressibly.  If he had not had this money from Roger, he might have been compelled to tell his father all, and to ask for the necessary funds to provide for the wife and the coming child.  But with enough in hand, and a secret, though remorseful, conviction that as long as Roger had a penny his brother was sure to have half of it, made him more reluctant than ever to irritate his father by a revelation of his secret.  ‘Not just yet, not just at present,’ he kept saying both to Roger and to himself.  ’By and by, if we have a boy, I will call it Roger’—­and then visions of poetical and romantic reconciliations brought about between father and son, through the medium of a child, the offspring of a forbidden marriage, became still more vividly possible to him, and at any rate it was a staving-off of an unpleasant thing.  He atoned to himself for taking so much of Roger’s fellowship money by reflecting that, if Roger married, he would lose this source of revenue; yet Osborne was throwing no impediment in the way of this event, rather forwarding it by promoting every possible means of his brother’s seeing the lady of his love.  Osborne ended his reflections by convincing himself of his own generosity.

CHAPTER XXX

OLD WAYS AND NEW WAYS

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