Coming Events

Roger had turned over many plans in his mind, by which he thought that he could obtain sufficient money for the purpose he desired to accomplish. His careful grandfather, who had been a merchant in the city, had so tied up the few thousands he had left to his daughter that, although, in case of her death before her husband’s, the latter might enjoy the life-interest thereof, yet, in case of both their deaths, their second son did not succeed to the property till he was five-and-twenty; and, if he died before that age, the money that then would have been his went to one of his cousins on the maternal side. In short, the old merchant had taken as many precautions about his legacy as if it had been for tens, instead of units, of thousands. Of course, Roger might have slipped through all these meshes by insuring his life until the specified age; and, probably, if he had consulted any lawyer, this course would have been suggested to him. But he disliked taking any one into his confidence on the subject of his father’s want of ready money. He had obtained a copy of his grandfather’s will at Doctors’ Commons, and he imagined that all the contingencies involved in it would be patent to the light of nature and common sense. He was a little mistaken in this, but not the less resolved that money in some way he would have, in order to fulfil his promise to his father, and for the ulterior purpose of giving the Squire some daily interest to distract his thoughts from the regrets and cares that were almost weakening his mind. It was “Roger Hamley, senior wrangler and Fellow of Trinity, to the highest bidder, no matter what honest employment”; and presently it came down to “any bidder at all.”

Another perplexity and distress at this time weighed upon Roger. Osborne, heir to the estate, was going to have a child. The Hamley property was entailed on “heirs-male born in lawful wedlock.” Was the “wedlock” lawful? Osborne never seemed to doubt that it was—never seemed, in fact, to think twice about it. And if he, the husband, did not, how much less did Aimée, the trustful wife! Yet who could tell how much misery any shadows of illegality might cast into the future! One evening, Roger, sitting by the languid, careless, dilettante Osborne, began to question him as to the details of the marriage. Osborne knew instinctively at what Roger was aiming. It was not that he did not desire perfect legality in justice to his wife; it was that he was so indisposed at the time that he hated to be bothered. It was something like the refrain of Gray’s Scandinavian Prophetess: “Leave me, leave me to repose!”

“But do try and tell me how you managed it.”

“How tiresome you are, Roger!” put in Osborne.

“Well, I daresay I am. Go on!”

“I’ve told you Morrison married us. You remember old Morrison at Trinity?”

“Yes; as good and blunder-headed a fellow as ever lived.”

“Well, he’s taken orders; and the examination for priest’s orders fatigued him so much that he got his father to give him a hundred or two for a tour on the Continent. He meant to get to Rome, because he had heard that there were such pleasant winters there. So he turned up at Metz in August.”

“I don’t see why.”

“No more did he. He never was great in geography, you know; and, somehow, he thought that Metz, pronounced French fashion, must be on the road to Rome. Some one had told him so in fun. However, it was very well for me that I met with him there; for I was determined to be married, and that without loss of time.”

“But Aimée is a Catholic?”

“That’s true! but you see I am not. You don’t suppose I would do her any wrong, Roger?” asked Osborne, sitting up in his lounging-chair, and speaking rather indignantly to Roger, his face suddenly flushing red.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.