Search      Hot    Newest Novel
HOME > Short Stories > The Path Of Duty8 > CHAPTER I
Font Size:【Large】【Middle】【Small】 Add Bookmark  
 His brilliant prospects1 dated from the death of his brother, who had no children, had indeed steadily2 refused to marry. When I say brilliant prospects, I mean the vision of the baronetcy, one of the oldest in England, of a charming seventeenth-century house, with its park, in Dorsetshire, and a property worth some twenty thousand a year. Such a collection of items is still dazzling to me, even after what you would call, I suppose, a familiarity with British grandeur3. My husband is n’t a baronet (or we probably should n’t be in London in December), and he is far, alas4, from having twenty thousand a year. The full enjoyment5 of these luxuries, on Ambrose Tester’s part, was dependent naturally, on the death of his father, who was still very much to the fore6 at the time I first knew the young man. The proof of it is the way he kept nagging7 at his sons, as the younger used to say, on the question of taking a wife. The nagging had been of no avail, as I have mentioned, with regard to Francis, the elder, whose affections were centred (his brother himself told me) on the winecup and the faro-table. He was not an exemplary or edifying8 character, and as the heir to an honorable name and a fine estate was very unsatisfactory indeed. It had been possible in those days to put him into the army, but it was not possible to keep him there; and he was still a very young man when it became plain that any parental9 dream of a “career” for Frank Tester was exceedingly vain. Old Sir Edmund had thought matrimony would perhaps correct him, but a sterner process than this was needed, and it came to him one day at Monaco—he was most of the time abroad—after an illness so short that none of the family arrived in time. He was reformed altogether, he was utterly10 abolished.  
The second son, stepping into his shoes, was such an improvement that it was impossible there should be much simulation of mourning. You have seen him, you know what he is; there is very little mystery about him. As I am not going to show this composition to you, there is no harm in my writing here that he is—or at any rate he was—a remarkably11 attractive man. I don’t say this because he made love to me, but precisely12 because he did n’t. He was always in love with some one else,—generally with Lady Vandeleur. You may say that in England that usually does n’t prevent; but Mr. Tester, though he had almost no intermissions, did n’t, as a general thing, have duplicates. He was not provided with a second loved object, “under-studying,” as they say, the part. It was his practice to keep me accurately13 informed of the state of his affections,—a matter about which he was never in the least vague. When he was in love he knew it and rejoiced in it, and when by a miracle he was not he greatly regretted it. He expatiated14 to me on the charms of other persons, and this interested me much more than if he had attempted to direct the conversation to my own, as regards which I had no illusions. He has told me some singular things, and I think I may say that for a considerable period my most valued knowledge of English society was extracted from this genial15 youth. I suppose he usually found me a woman of good counsel, for certain it is that he has appealed to me for the light of wisdom in very extraordinary predicaments. In his earlier years he was perpetually in hot water; he tumbled into scrapes as children tumble into puddles16. He invited them, he invented them; and when he came to tell you how his trouble had come about (and he always told the whole truth), it was difficult to believe that a man should have been so idiotic17.
And yet he was not an idiot; he was supposed to be very clever, and certainly is very quick and amusing. He was only reckless, and extraordinarily18 natural, as natural as if he had been an Irishman. In fact, of all the Englishmen that I have known he is the most Irish in temperament19 (thou............
Join or Log In! You need to log in to continue reading

Login into Your Account

  Remember me on this computer.

All The Data From The Network AND User Upload, If Infringement, Please Contact Us To Delete! Contact Us
About Us | Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Tag List | Recent Search  
©2010-2018, All Rights Reserved