‘And am I to go back?’
’Certainly not if you will take my advice. Stick to your aunt. You don’t want to smoke pipes, and wear Tom-and-Jerry hats, and write for the penny newspapers.’
Now Hugh Stanbury’s secret was this, that Louis Trevelyan’s wife and sister-in-law were to leave the house in Curzon Street, and come and live at Nuncombe Putney, with Mrs Stanbury and Priscilla. Such, at least, was the plan to be carried out, if Hugh Stanbury should be successful in his present negotiations.
THE HONOURABLE MR GLASCOCK
By the end of July Mrs Trevelyan with her sister was established in the Clock House, at Nuncombe Putney, under the protection of Hugh’s mother; but before the reader is made acquainted with any of the circumstances of their life there, a few words must be said of an occurrence which took place before those two ladies left Curzon Street.
As to the quarrel between Trevelyan and his wife, things went from bad to worse. Lady Milborough continued to interfere, writing letters to Emily which were full of good sense, but which, as Emily said herself, never really touched the point of dispute. ’Am I, who am altogether unconscious of having done anything amiss, to confess that I have been in the wrong? If it were about a small matter, I would not mind, for the sake of peace. But when it concerns my conduct in reference to another man I would rather die first,’ That had been Mrs Trevelyan’s line of thought and argument in the matter; but then old Lady Milborough in her letters spoke only of the duty of obedience as promised at the altar. ‘But I didn’t promise to tell a lie,’ said Mrs Trevelyan. And there were interviews between Lady Milborough and Trevelyan, and interviews between Lady Milborough and Nora Rowley. The poor dear old dowager was exceedingly busy and full of groans, prescribing Naples, prescribing a course of extra prayers, prescribing a general course of letting bygones be bygones to which, however, Trevelyan would by no means assent without some assurance, which he might regard as a guarantee, prescribing retirement to a small town in the west of France, if Naples would not suffice; but she could effect nothing.
Mrs Trevelyan, indeed, did a thing which was sure of itself to render any steps taken for a reconciliation ineffectual. In the midst of all this turmoil while she and her husband were still living in the same house, but apart because of their absurd quarrel respecting Colonel Osborne, she wrote another letter to that gentleman. The argument by which she justified this to herself, and to her sister after it was done, was the real propriety of her own conduct throughout her whole intimacy with Colonel Osborne. ’But that is just what Louis doesn’t want you to do,’ Nora had said, filled with anger and dismay. ’Then let Louis give me an order to that effect, and behave to me like a husband,