Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 2, Ch. 39

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"But he will be in the Cabinet?"

"Oh, yes. But who do you suppose is to be the new Member for Silverbridge?"

"I can't guess," said Alice. Though, of course, she did guess.

"Mind, I don't know it. He has never told me. But he told me that he had been with the Duke, and asked the Duke to let Jeffrey have the seat. The Duke became as black as thunder, and said that Jeffrey had no fortune. In short, he wouldn't hear of it. Poor Jeffrey! we must try to do something for him, but I really don't know how. Then the Duke said, that Plantagenet should put in for Silverbridge some friend who would support himself; and I fancy,—mind it's only fancy,—but I fancy that Plantagenet mentioned to his Grace—one Mr Grey."

"Oh, Glencora!"

"They've been talking together till sometimes I think Mr Grey is worse than Plantagenet. When Mr Grey began to say something the other night in the drawing-room about sugar, I knew it was all up with you. He'll be a financial Secretary; you see if he isn't; or a lord of something, or an under-somebody of State; and then some day he'll go mad, either because he does or because he doesn't get into the Cabinet." Lady Glencora, as she said all this, knew well that the news she was giving would please her cousin better than any other tidings that could be told.

By degrees the guests came. The two Miss Howards were the first, and they expressed themselves as delighted with Lady Glencora's taste and with Mr Palliser's munificence,—for at that time the brooches and armlets had been produced. Kate had said very little about these matters, but the Miss Howards were loud in their thanks. But they were good-humoured, merry girls, and the house was pleasanter after their arrival than it had been before. Then came the dreaded personage,—the guest,—Lady Midlothian! On the subject of Lady Midlothian Kate had really become curious. She had a real desire to see the face and gait of the woman, and to hear her voice. Lady Midlothian came, and with her came Lady Jane and Lady Mary. I am by no means sure that Lady Jane and Lady Mary were not nearly as old as the two Miss Pallisers; but they were not probably so fully resolved as to the condition of their future modes of living as were those two ladies, and if so, they were not wrong to shine as bridesmaids. With them Alice had made some slight acquaintance during the last spring in London, and as they were now to attend upon her as the bride they were sufficiently gracious. To Kate, too, they were civil enough, and things, in public, went on very pleasantly at Matching.

A scene there was, of course, between Alice and Lady Midlothian;—a scene in private. "You must go through it," Lady Glencora had said, with jocose mournfulness; "and why should you not let her jump upon you a little? It can't hurt you now."

"But I don't like people to jump upon me," Alice said.

"And why are you to have everything just as you like it? You are so unreasonable. Think how I've been jumped on! Think what I have borne from them! If you knew the things she used to say to me, you would not be such a coward. I was sent down to her for a week, and had no power of helping myself. And the Marchioness used to be sent for to look at me, for she never talks. She used to look at me, and groan, and hold up her hands till I hated her the worst of the two. Think what they did to me, and yet they are my dear friends now. Why should you escape altogether?"

Alice could not escape altogether, and therefore was closeted with Lady Midlothian for the best part of an hour. "Did Lady Macleod read to you what I wrote?" the Countess asked.

"Yes,—that is, she gave me the letter to read."

"And I hope you understand me, Alice?"