Wives and Daughters eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 796 pages of information about Wives and Daughters.
same kind of suffering which she herself had experienced.  But if she had only known Dr Nicholls’ opinion she would never have favoured Roger’s suit; never.  And then Mr. Gibson himself; why was he so cold and reserved in his treatment of her since that night of explanation?  She had done nothing wrong; yet she was treated as though she were in disgrace.  And everything about the house was flat just now.  She even missed the little excitement of Roger’s visits, and the watching of his attentions to Cynthia.  Cynthia too was silent enough; and as for Molly, she was absolutely dull and out of spirits, a state of mind so annoying to Mrs. Gibson just now, that she vented some of her discontent upon the poor girl, from whom she feared neither complaint nor repartee.

CHAPTER XXXVI

DOMESTIC DIPLOMACY

The evening of the day on which Mr. Gibson had been to see the squire, the three women were alone in the drawing-room, for Mr Gibson had had a long round and was not as yet come in.  They had had to wait dinner for him; and for some time after his return there was nothing done or said but what related to the necessary business of eating.  Mr. Gibson was, perhaps, as well satisfied with his day’s work as any of the four; for this visit to the squire had been weighing on his mind ever since he had heard of the state of things between Roger and Cynthia.  He did not like the having to go and tell of a love affair so soon after he had declared his belief that no such thing existed; it was a confession of fallibility which is distasteful to most men.  If the squire had not been of so unsuspicious and simple a nature, he might have drawn his own conclusions from the apparent concealment of facts, and felt doubtful of Mr. Gibson’s perfect honesty in the business; but being what he was, there was no danger of such unjust misapprehension.  Still Mr. Gibson knew the hot hasty temper he had to deal with, and had expected more violence of language than he really encountered; and the last arrangement by which Cynthia, her mother, and Molly—­who, as Mr. Gibson thought to himself, and smiled at the thought, was sure to be a peacemaker and a sweetener of intercourse—­were to go to the Hall and make acquaintance with the squire, appeared like a great success to Mr. Gibson, for achieving which he took not a little credit to himself.  Altogether, he was more cheerful and bland than he had been for many days; and when he came up into the drawing-room for a few minutes after dinner, before going out again to see his town-patients, he whistled a little under his breath, as he stood with his back to the fire, looking at Cynthia, and thinking that he had not done her justice when describing her to the squire.  Now this soft, almost tuneless whistling was to Mr. Gibson what purring is to a cat.  He could no more have done it with an anxious case on his mind, or when he was annoyed by human folly, or when he was

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Wives and Daughters from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.