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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesKenelm Chillingly - Book 2 - Chapter 6
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Kenelm Chillingly - Book 2 - Chapter 6 Post by :JuicieP Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :1240

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Kenelm Chillingly - Book 2 - Chapter 6

BOOK II CHAPTER VI

AS Kenelm regained the street dignified by the edifice of the Temperance Hotel, a figure, dressed picturesquely in a Spanish cloak, brushed hurriedly by him, but not so fast as to be unrecognized as the tragedian. "Hem!" muttered Kenelm, "I don't think there is much triumph in that face. I suspect he has been scolded."

The boy--if Kenelm's travelling companion is still to be so designated--was leaning against the mantelpiece as Kenelm re-entered the dining-room. There was an air of profound dejection about the boy's listless attitude and in the drooping tearless eyes.

"My dear child," said Kenelm, in the softest tones of his plaintive voice, "do not honour me with any confidence that may be painful. But let me hope that you have dismissed forever all thoughts of going on the stage."

"Yes," was the scarce audible answer.

"And now only remains the question, 'What is to be done?'"

"I am sure I don't know, and I don't care."

"Then you leave it to me to know and to care; and assuming for the moment as a fact that which is one of the greatest lies in this mendacious world--namely, that all men are brothers--you will consider me as an elder brother, who will counsel and control you as he would an imprudent young--sister. I see very well how it is. Somehow or other you, having first admired Mr. Compton as Romeo or Richard III., made his acquaintance as Mr. Compton. He allowed you to believe him a single man. In a romantic moment you escaped from your home, with the design of adopting the profession of the stage and of becoming Mrs. Compton."

"Oh," broke out the girl, since her sex must now be declared, "oh," she exclaimed, with a passionate sob, "what a fool I have been! Only do not think worse of me than I deserve. The man did deceive me; he did not think I should take him at his word, and follow him here, or his wife would not have appeared. I should not have known he had one and--and--" here her voice was choked under her passion.

"But now you have discovered the truth, let us thank Heaven that you are saved from shame and misery. I must despatch a telegram to your uncle: give me his address."

"No, no."

"There is not a 'No' possible in this case, my child. Your reputation and your future must be saved. Leave me to explain all to your uncle. He is your guardian. I must send for him; nay, nay, there is no option. Hate me now for enforcing your will: you will thank me hereafter. And listen, young lady; if it does pain you to see your uncle, and encounter his reproaches, every fault must undergo its punishment. A brave nature undergoes it cheerfully, as a part of atonement. You are brave. Submit, and in submitting rejoice!"

There was something in Kenelm's voice and manner at once so kindly and so commanding that the wayward nature he addressed fairly succumbed. She gave him her uncle's address, "John Bovill, Esq., Oakdale, near Westmere." And after giving it, she fixed her eyes mournfully upon her young adviser, and said with a simple, dreary pathos, "Now, will you esteem me more, or rather despise me less?"

She looked so young, nay, so childlike, as she thus spoke, that Kenelm felt a parental inclination to draw her on his lap and kiss away her tears. But he prudently conquered that impulse, and said, with a melancholy half-smile,--

"If human beings despise each other for being young and foolish, the sooner we are exterminated by that superior race which is to succeed us on earth the better it will be. Adieu, till your uncle comes."

"What! you leave me here--alone?"

"Nay, if your uncle found me under the same roof, now that I know you are his niece, don't you think he would have a right to throw me out of the window? Allow me to practise for myself the prudence I preach to you. Send for the landlady to show you your room, shut yourself in there, go to bed, and don't cry more than you can help."

Kenelm shouldered the knapsack he had deposited in a corner of the room, inquired for the telegraph-office, despatched a telegram to Mr. Bovill, obtained a bedroom at the Commercial Hotel, and fell asleep, muttering these sensible words,--

"Rouchefoucauld was perfectly right when he said, 'Very few people would fall in love if they had not heard it so much talked about.'"

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BOOK II CHAPTER VIIKENELM CHILLINGLY rose with the sun, according to his usual custom, and took his way to the Temperance Hotel. All in that sober building seemed still in the arms of Morpheus. He turned towards the stables in which he had left the gray cob, and had the pleasure to see that ill-used animal in the healthful process of rubbing down. "That's right," said he to the hostler. "I am glad to see you are so early a riser." "Why," quoth the hostler, "the gentleman as owns the pony knocked me up at two o'clock in the morning, and
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BOOK II CHAPTER V"I HAVE fulfilled my mission," said Kenelm, on rejoining his travelling companion. "Mr. Compton said he would be here in half an hour." "You saw him?" "Of course: I promised to give your letter into his own hands." "Was he alone?" "No; at supper with his wife." "His wife! what do you mean, sir?--wife! he has no wife." "Appearances are deceitful. At least he was with a lady who called him 'dear' and 'love' in as spiteful a tone of voice as if she had been his wife; and as I was coming out of his street-door a
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