Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 2, Ch. 31

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Chapter LXXI: Showing How George Vavasor Received a Visit 

We must go back for a few pages to scenes which happened in London during this summer, so that the reader may understand Mr Grey's position when he reached Lucerne. He had undergone another quarrel with George Vavasor, and something of the circumstances of that quarrel must be told.

It has been already said that George Vavasor lost his election for the Chelsea Districts, after all the money which he had spent,—money which he had been so ill able to spend, and on which he had laid his hands in a manner so disreputable! He had received two thousand pounds from the bills which Alice had executed on his behalf,—or rather, had received the full value of three out of the four bills, and a part of the value of the fourth, on which he had been driven to raise what immediate money he had wanted by means of a Jew bill-discounter. One thousand pounds he had paid over at once into the hands of Mr Scruby, his Parliamentary election agent, towards the expenses of his election; and when the day of polling arrived had exactly in his hands the sum of five hundred pounds. Where he was to get more when this was gone he did not know. If he were successful,—if the enlightened constituents of the Chelsea Districts, contented with his efforts on behalf of the River Bank, should again send him to Parliament, he thought that he might still carry on the war. A sum of ready money he would have in hand; and, as to his debts, he would be grandly indifferent to any consideration of them. Then there might be pickings in the way of a Member of Parliament of his calibre. Companies,—mercantile companies,—would be glad to have him as a director, paying him a guinea a day, or perhaps more, for his hour's attendance. Railways in want of vice-chairmen might bid for his services; and in the City he might turn that "M.P." which belonged to him to good account in various ways. With such a knowledge of the City world as he possessed, he thought that he could pick up a living in London, if only he could retain his seat in Parliament.

But what was he to do if he could not retain it? No sooner had Mr Scruby got the thousand pounds into his clutches than he pressed for still more money. George Vavasor, with some show of justice on his side, pointed out to this all-devouring agent that the sum demanded had already been paid. This Mr Scruby admitted, declaring that he was quite prepared to go on without any further immediate remittance, although by doing so might subject himself to considerable risk. But another five hundred pounds, paid at once, would add greatly to the safety of the seat; whereas eight hundred judiciously thrown in at the present moment would make the thing quite secure. But Vavasor swore to himself that he would not part with another shilling. Never had he felt such love for money as he did for that five hundred pounds which he now held in his pocket. "It's no use," he said to Mr Scruby. "I have done what you asked, and would have done more had you asked for more at that time. As it is, I cannot make another payment before the election." Mr Scruby shrugged his shoulders, and said that he would do his best. But George Vavasor soon knew that the man was not doing his best,—that the man had, in truth, abandoned his cause. The landlord of the "Handsome Man" jeered him when he went there canvassing. "Laws, Mr Vavasor!" said the landlord of the "Handsome Man," "you're not at all the fellow for us chaps along the river,—you ain't. You're afraid to come down with the stumpy,—that's what you are." George put his hand upon his purse, and acknowledged to himself that he had been afraid to come down with the stumpy.