Page:Court Royal.djvu/182

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the viceroys, lieutenant-governors, chief commissioners, and British Residents and native princes for the last quarter of a century. He knew the secret history of all that had been done and neglected. He had in his hands the clue to all the tangles, financial and political, of the empire. What might he not expect, when father-in-law to a Marquess, with the influence of a great Duke to back him? Surely, he might aspire to the viceroyalty! He would take nothing less. So he talked long and loud, and made himself a general bore, in the firm belief that he was stamping on the minds of the Duke, the Earl of Stratton, Lord Dawlish, Lord Pomeroy, and all the distinguished guests at the table, that he, Rigsby, was the man England wanted to do in India everything that ought to be done, and to undo every muddle made by every preceding governor. Mr. Rigsby was not a vulgar man, but he was a man without tact; preoccupied with his own ideas, he regarded no one else. This was the secret of his success in life. He had gone forward with the one idea of making money, and he had made it. Now he had got hold of the notion that he was about to make himself a name in Eastern politics, and he therefore talked down and contradicted everyone who attempted to turn the conversation or to dispute his views.

The Marquess played his part in the Comedy of Love with resolution and patience. He was devoted in his attention to Miss Rigsby; he did his utmost to draw out her better qualities. These were few; she had read little, observed little, associated little with superior persons. She regarded her father, though she tyrannised over him. She ruled as a despot over her feeble aunt, a person of inferior culture, and no mind. There was some kindness of heart in her, but most of her thoughts were on herself. Her taste was detestable, uncultivated and originally defective. Here Lady Grace came to the aid of her brother; she ingratiated herself into the confidence of Dulcina, and advised her how to dress; she did so with such delicate adroitness that Miss Rigsby had no idea she was receiving and obeying advice.

Mr. Worthivale was radiant. The cloud that had hung over the house was rolling away; the golden age was returning. His spirits bounded with the hopeful prospects. Not within his memory could Beavis recall a time when he was so extravagantly magnificent in his building of cloud-castles and in throwing golden bridges over Sloughs of Despond. Court Royal was itself again. The old splendour revived; the old