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Once a Week (magazine)/Series 1/Volume 3/Evan Harrington - Part 30

< Once a Week (magazine)‎ | Series 1‎ | Volume 3

EVAN HARRINGTON; or, HE WOULD BE A GENTLEMAN.

BY GEORGE MEREDITH.

Evan Harrington - Laxley Intervenes.png

CHAPTER XXXVIII.IN WHICH WE HAVE TO SEE IN THE DARK.

So ends the fourth act of our comedy.

After all her heroism and extraordinary efforts, after, as she feared, offending Providence—after facing tailordom—the Countess was rolled away in a dingy fly: unrewarded even by a penny, for what she had gone through. For she possessed eminently the practical nature of her sex; and though she would have scorned, and would have declined to handle coin so base, its absence was upbraidingly mentioned in her spiritual outcries. Not a penny.

Nor was there, as in the miseries of retreat, she affected indifferently to imagine, a duke fished out of the ruins of her enterprise, to wash the mud off her garments and edge them with radiance. Caroline, it became clear to her, had been infected by Evan's folly. Caroline, she subsequently learnt, had likewise been a fool. Instead of marvelling at the genius that had done so much in spite of the pair of fools that were the right and left wing of her battle array, the simple-minded lady wept. She wanted success, not genius. Admiration she was ever ready to forfeit for success.

Nor did she say to the tailors of earth: "Weep ye for I sought to emancipate you from opprobrium by making one of you a gentleman; I fought for a great principle and have failed." Heroic to the end, she herself shed all the tears; took all the sorrow!

Where was consolation? Would any Protestant clergyman administer comfort to her? Could he?—might he do so? He might listen, and quote texts; but he would demand the harsh rude English for everything: and the Countess's confessional thoughts were all inuendoish, aërial; too delicate to live in our shameless tongue. Confession by implication, and absolution; she could Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/262 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/263 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/264 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/265 Page:ONCE A WEEK JUL TO DEC 1860.pdf/266