The American Senator

By Anthony Trollope; John Halperin | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XIX
'WHO VALUED THE GEESE?'

BEFORE the time had come for the visit to Rufford Hall Mr. Gotobed had called Upon Bearside the attorney and had learned as much as Mr. Bearside chose to tell him of the facts of the case. This took place on the Saturday morning and the interview was on the whole Satisfactory to the Senator. But then having a theory of his own in his head, and being fond of ventilating his own theories, he explained thoroughly to the man the story which he wished to hear before the man was called upon to tell his story. Mr. Bearside of course told it accordingly. Goarly was a very poor man, and very ignorant; was perhaps not altogether so good a member of society as he might have been; but no doubt he had a strong case against the lord. The lord, so said Mr. Bearside, had fallen into a way of paying a certain recompense in certain cases for crops damaged by game;--and having in this way laid down a rule for himself did not choose to have that rule disturbed. 'Just feudalism!' said the indignant Senator. 'No better, nor yet no worse than that, sir,' said the attorney, who did not in the least know what feudalism was. 'The strong hand backed by the strong rank, and the strong purse determined to have its own way!' continued the Senator. 'A most determined man is his lordship,' said the attorney. Then the Senator expressed his hope that Mr. Bearside would be able to see the poor man through it, and Mr. Bearside explained to the Senator that the poor man was a very poor man indeed, who had been so unfortunate with his land that he was hardly able to provide bread for himself and his children. He went so far as to insinuate that he was taking up this matter himself solely on the score of charity, adding that, as he could not of course afford to be money out of pocket for expenses of witnesses, etc., he did not quite see how he was to proceed. Then the Senator made certain promises. He was, he said, going back to London in the course of next week, but he did not mind making

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