Vivian Grey/Volume 2/Chapter 4.3

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4422121Vivian Grey, Volume 2Buckhurst LodgeBenjamin Disraeli



Mr. Cleveland and Mrs. Felix Lorraine again met, and the gentleman scarcely appeared to be aware that this meeting was not their first. The lady sighed, and fainted, and remonstrated; and terrific scenes followed each other in frightful succession. She reproached Mr. Cleveland with passages of letters. He stared, and deigned not a reply to an artifice, which he considered equally impudent and shallow. Vivian was forced to interfere; but as he deprecated all explanation, his interference was of little avail; and, as it was ineffectual for one party, and uncalled for by the other, it was, of course, not encouraged. At length Mrs. Felix broke through all bounds. Now the enraged woman insulted Mrs. Cleveland, and now humbled herself before Mrs. Cleveland's husband. Her insults, and her humility, were treated with equal hauteur; and at length the Clevelands left Buckhurst Lodge.

Peculiar as was Mrs. Lorraine's conduct in this particular respect, we should, in candour, confess, that, at this moment, it was in all others most exemplary. Her whole soul seemed concentrated in the success of the approaching struggle. No office was too mechanical for her attention, or too elaborate for her enthusiastic assiduity. Her attentions were not confined merely to Vivian, and the Marquess, but were lavished with equal generosity on their colleagues. She copied letters for Sir Berdmore, and composed letters for Lord Courtown, and construed letters to Lord Beaconsfield; they, in return, echoed her praises to her delighted relative, who was daily congratulated on the possession of "such a fascinating sister-in-law."

"Well, Vivian," said Mrs. Lorraine, to that young gentleman, the day previous to his departure from Buckhurst Lodge; "you are going to leave me behind you."


"Yes! I hope you will not want me. I'm very much annoyed at not being able to go to town with you, but Lady Courtown is so pressing! and I've really promised so often to stay a week with her, that I thought it was better to make out my promise at once, than in six months hence."

"Well! I'm exceedingly sorry, for you really are so useful! and the interest you take in every thing is so encouraging, that, really, I very much fear that we shall not be able to get on without you. The important hour draws nigh."

"It does indeed, Vivian—and I assure you that there is no person awaiting it with intenser interest than myself. I little thought," she added, in a low, but distinct voice, "I little thought, when I first reached England, that I should ever again be interested in any thing in this world." Vivian was silent—for he had nothing to say.

"Vivian!" very briskly resumed Mrs. Lorraine, "I shall get you to frank all my letters for me. I shall never trouble the Marquess again. Do you know, it strikes me you'll make a very good speaker!"

"You flatter me exceedingly—suppose you give me a few lessons."

"But you must leave off some of your wicked tricks, Vivian! You must not improvise Parliamentary papers!"

"Improvise papers, Mrs. Lorraine! what can you mean?"

"Oh! nothing. I never mean any thing."

"But you must have had some meaning."

"Some meaning! Oh! yes, I dare say I had;—I meant—I meant—do you think it'll rain to-day?"

"Every prospect of a hard frost. I never knew before that I was an improvisatore."

"Nor I. Have you heard from papa lately. I suppose hes quite in spirits at your success?"

"My father is a man who seldom gives way to any elation of mind."

"Ah, indeed! a philosopher, I've no doubt, like his son."

"I have no claims, I believe, to the title of philosopher, although I have had the advantage of studying in the school of Mrs. Felix Lorraine."

"Lord! what do you mean? If I thought you meant to be impertinent, I really would pull that pretty little curl; but I excuse you—I think the boy means well."

"Oh! the boy 'means nothing—he never means any thing.'"

"Come, Vivian! we are going to part. Don't let us quarrel the last day. There, my little pet, there 's a sprig of myrtle for you!

'What! not accept my foolish flower?

Nay then, I am unblest indeed!'

and now you want it all! Oh, you unreasonable young man! If I were not the kindest lady in the land, I should tear this little sprig into a thousand pieces sooner; but come, my pretty pet! you shall have it. There! it looks quite imposing in your button-hole. How handsome you look to-day!"

"How agreeable you are to-day! I do so love compliments!"

"Oh! Vivian—will you never give me credit for any thing but a light and callous heart? Will you never be convinced that—that—but why make this humiliating confession? Oh! no, let me be misunderstood for ever! The time may come, when Vivian Grey will find that Amalia Lorraine was—"

"Was what. Lady?"

"You shall choose the word, Vivian."

"Say then my friend."

"'Tis a monosyllable full of meaning, and I will not quarrel with it. And now, adieu! Heaven prosper you! Believe me, that my first thoughts, and my last, are for you, and of you!"