The American Senator

By Anthony Trollope; John Halperin | Go to book overview
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CHAPTER XLIV
'PARTICULARLY PROUD OF YOU'

ARABELLA TREFOIL left her uncle's mansion on the day after her lover's departure, certainly not in triumph, but with somewhat recovered spirits. When she first heard that Lord Rufford was gone,--that he had fled away, as it were, in the middle of the night without saying a word to her, without a syllable to make good the slight assurances of his love that had been given to her in the post carriage, she felt that she was deserted and betrayed. And when she found herself altogether neglected on the following day, and that the slightly valuable impression which she had made on her aunt was apparently gone, she did for half an hour think in earnest of the Paragon and Patagonia. But after a while she called to mind all that she knew of great efforts successfully made in opposition to almost overwhelming difficulties. She had heard of forlorn hopes, and perhaps in her young days had read something of Cæsar still clanging to his Commentaries as he struggled in the waves* This was her forlorn hope, and she would be as brave as any soldier of them all. Lord Rufford's embraces were her Commentaries, and let the winds blow and the waves roll as they might, she would stiff cling to them. After lunch she spoke to her aunt with great courage,--as the duchess thought, with great effrontery. 'My uncle wouldn't speak to Lord Rufford before he went?'

'How could he speak to a man who ran away from his house in that way?'

'The running away as you call it, aunt, did not take place till two days after I told you all about it. I thought he would have done as much as that for his brother's daughter.'

'I don't believe in it at all,' said the duchess sternly. 'Don't believe in what, aunt? You don't mean to say that you don't believe that Lord Rufford has asked me to be his wife!' Then she paused, but the duchess absolutely lacked the courage to express her conviction again. 'I

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