An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress: And Other Stories

By Thomas Hardy; Pamela Dalziel | Go to book overview

THE UNCONQUERABLE

I

There were times when Philip Fadelle acknowledged to himself with a sense of amusement not untinged with bitterness that even death had scarce succeeded in tempering the force of that inflexible will which he had ever recognised as an essential part of the being of his friend Roger Wingate. From the time when they were schoolboys together it had been a goad to urge him into paths whither he would not, the more effective in that it was wielded with the semblance of good-fellowship. The compelling pressure on his arm had been so much the friendly grip of one whose mastery of circumstance has given him the right to hale his friend, by the hair if need be, into ways of prosperity, that now when these fingers were cold and relaxed the moral force remained as potent as ever.

Among other things he remembered that, when he had spoken or rather hinted, of his intention to ask Gertrude Norton to be his wife, this same good friend had revealed the fact that there would be rivalry between them, but in mitigation, he had dwelt insistingly, his hand meanwhile pressing Philip's shoulder somewhat more heavily than usual, upon the fact that Gertrude Norton had been framed by Nature, obviously, to be the wife of himself, the astute and rising young politician, rather than to be the divinity of the struggling man of letters. Upon this occasion, Fadelle was glad to remember, he had refused to grant the premisses, not that this was of great moment, seeing that some weeks later Roger Wingate was the accepted suitor of the girl whose gay looks and bounding spirits had seemed to merit some orbit of their own, instead of suffering eclipse by the luminous and self- sufficient personality of a too eminent husband.

He remembered also, with less of gratitude, that if he had acted more promptly and had omitted to confide in his friend, all might have gone differently. When, at length, he

-220-

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An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress: And Other Stories
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • GENERAL EDITOR'S PREFACE vii
  • Introduction xi
  • NOTE ON THE TEXTS xxxvii
  • SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY xxxx
  • A CHRONOLOGY OF THOMAS HARDY xlvi
  • How I Built Myself a House 3
  • Destiny and a Blue Cloak 11
  • The Thieves Who Couldn't Help Sneezing 36
  • An Indiscretion in the Life of an Heiress 43
  • Our Exploits at West Poley 114
  • Old Mrs Chundle 164
  • The Doctor's Legend 173
  • The Spectre of the Real 184
  • Blue Jimmy: the Horse Stealer 212
  • The Unconquerable 220
  • EXPLANATORY NOTES 235
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