The American Senator

By Anthony Trollope; John Halperin | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XXI
THE FIRST EVENING AT RUFFORD HALL

THE phaeton arrived the first, the driver having been especially told that he need not delay on the road for the other carriage. She had calculated that she might make her entrance with better effect alone with her mother than in company with Morton and the Senator. It would have been worth the while of any one who had witnessed her troubles on that morning to watch the bland serenity and happy ease with which she entered the room. Her mother was fond of a prominent place, but was quite contented on this occasion to play a second fiddle for her daughter. She had seen at a glance that Rufford Hall was a delightful house. Oh, if it might become the home of her child and her grandchildren, and possibly a retreat for herself! Arabella was certainly very handsome at this moment. Never did she look better than when got up with care for travelling, especially as seen by an evening light. Her slow motions were adapted to heavy wraps, and however she might procure her large sealskin jacket, she graced it well when she got it. Lord Rufford came to the door to meet them, and immediately introduced them to his sister. There were six or seven people in the room, mostly ladies, and tea was offered to the new comers. Lady Penwether was largely made, like her brother; but was a languidly lovely woman, not altogether unlike Arabella herself in her figure and movements, but with a more expressive face, with less colour, and much more positive assurance of high breeding. Lady Penwether was said to be haughty, but it was admitted by all people that when Lady Penwether had said a thing or had done a thing, it might be taken for granted that the way in which she had done or said that thing was the right way. The only other gentleman there was Major Caneback, who had just come in from hunting with some distant pack, and who had been brought into the room by Lord Rufford that he might give some account of the doings of the day. According to Caneback,

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