He drank a bottle of claret, and then got some brandy-and-water. In such troubles as were coming upon him now, he would hardly get sufficient support from wine. He knew that he had better not drink;— that is, he had better not drink, supposing the world to be free to him for his own work and his own enjoyment. But if the world were no longer free to him, if he were really coming to penal servitude and annihilation,—then why should he not drink while the time lasted? An hour of triumphant joy might be an eternity to a man, if the man’s imagination were strong enough so make him so regard his hour. He therefore took his brandy-and-water freely, and as he took it he was able to throw his fears behind him, and to assure himself that, after all, he might even yet escape from his bondages. No;—he would drink no more. This he said to himself as he filled another beaker. He would work instead. He would put his shoulder to the wheel, and would yet conquer his enemies. It would not be so easy to convict a member for Westminster,—especially if money were spent freely. Was he not the man who, at his own cost, had entertained the Emperor of China? Would not that be remembered in his favour? Would not men be unwilling to punish the man who had received at his own table all the Princes of the land, and the Prime Minister, and all the Ministers? To convict him would be a national disgrace. He fully realized all this as he lifted the glass to his mouth, and puffed out the smoke in large volumes through his lips. But money must be spent! Yes;—money must be had! Cohenlupe certainly had money. Though he squeezed it out of the coward’s veins he would have it. At any rate, he would not despair. There was a fight to be fought yet, and he would fight it to the end. Then he took a deep drink, and slowly, with careful and almost solemn steps, he made his way up to his bed.
Lady Monogram, when she left Madame Melmotte’s house after that entertainment of Imperial Majesty which had been to her of so very little avail, was not in a good humour. Sir Damask, who had himself affected to laugh at the whole thing, but who had been in truth as anxious as his wife to see the Emperor in private society, put her ladyship and Miss Longestaffe into the carriage without a word, and rushed off to his club in disgust. The affair from beginning to end, including the final failure, had been his wife’s doing. He had been made to work like a slave, and had been taken against his will to Melmotte’s house, and had seen no Emperor and shaken hands with no Prince! ’They may fight it out between them now like the Kilkenny cats.’ That was his idea as he closed the carriage-door on the two ladies,—thinking that if a larger remnant were left of one cat than of the other that larger remnant would belong to his wife.
‘What a horrid affair!’ said Lady Monogram. ’Did anybody ever see anything so vulgar?’ This was at any rate unreasonable, for whatever vulgarity there may have been, Lady Monogram had seen none of it.