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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesNight And Morning - Book 5 - Chapter 3
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Night And Morning - Book 5 - Chapter 3 Post by :Heidi66469 Category :Long Stories Author :Edward Bulwer-lytton Date :May 2012 Read :1895

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Night And Morning - Book 5 - Chapter 3

BOOK V CHAPTER III

"Mitis.--This Macilente, signior, begins to be more
sociable on a sudden." Every Man out of his Humour.

"Punt. Signior, you are sufficiently instructed.

"Fast. Who, I, sir?"--Ibid.


After spending the greater part of the day in vain inquiries and a vain search, Philip and Mr. Morton returned to the house of the latter.

"And now," said Philip, "all that remains to be done is this: first give to the police of the town a detailed description of the man; and secondly, let us put an advertisement both in the county journal and in some of the London papers, to the effect, that if the person who called on you will take the trouble to apply again, either personally or by letter, he may obtain the information sought for. In case he does, I will trouble you to direct him to--yes--to Monsieur de Vaudemont, according to this address."

"Not to you, then?"

"It is the same thing," replied Philip, drily. "You have confirmed my suspicions, that the Beauforts know some thing of my brother. What did you say of some other friend of the family who assisted in the search?"

"Oh,--a Mr. Spencer! an old acquaintance of your mother's." Here Mr. Morton smiled, but not being encouraged in a joke, went on, "However, that's neither here nor there; he certainly never found out your brother. For I have had several letters from him at different times, asking if any news had been heard of either of you."

And, indeed, Spencer had taken peculiar pains to deceive the Mortons, whose interposition he feared little less than that of the Beauforts.

"Then it can be of no use to apply to him," said Philip, carelessly, not having any recollection of the name of Spencer, and therefore attaching little importance to the mention of him.

"Certainly, I should think not. Depend on it, Mr. Beaufort must know."

"True," said Philip. "And I have only to thank you for your kindness, and return to town."

"But stay with us this day--do--let me feel that we are friends. I assure you poor Sidney's fate has been a load on my mind ever since he left. You shall have the bed he slept in, and over which your mother bent when she left him and me for the last time."

These words were said with so much feeling, that the adventurer wrung his uncle's hand, and said, "Forgive me, I wronged you--I will be your guest."

Mrs. Morton, strange to say, evinced no symptoms of ill-humour at the news of the proffered hospitality. In fact, Miss Margaret had been so eloquent in Philip's praise during his absence, that she suffered herself to be favourably impressed. Her daughter, indeed, had obtained a sort of ascendency over Mrs. M. and the whole house, ever since she had received so excellent an offer. And, moreover, some people are like dogs--they snarl at the ragged and fawn on the well-dressed. Mrs. Morton did not object to a nephew de facto, she only objected to a nephew in forma pauperis. The evening, therefore, passed more cheerfully than might have been anticipated, though Philip found some difficulty in parrying the many questions put to him on the past. He contented himself with saying, as briefly as possible, that he had served in a foreign service, and acquired what sufficed him for an independence; and then, with the ease which a man picks up in the great world, turned the conversation to the prospects of the family whose guest he was. Having listened with due attention to Mrs. Morton's eulogies on Tom, who had been sent for, and who drank the praises on his own gentility into a very large pair of blushing ears,--also, to her self-felicitations on Miss Margaret's marriage,--item, on the service rendered to the town by Mr. Roger, who had repaired the town-hall in his first mayoralty at his own expense,--item, to a long chronicle of her own genealogy, how she had one cousin a clergyman, and how her great-grandfather had been knighted,--item, to the domestic virtues of all her children,--item, to a confused explanation of the chastisement inflicted on Sidney, which Philip cut short in the middle; he asked, with a smile, what had become of the Plaskwiths. "Oh!" said Mrs. Morton, "my brother Kit has retired from business. His son-in-law, Mr. Plimmins, has succeeded."

"Oh, then, Plimmins married one of the young ladies?"

"Yes, Jane--she bad a sad squint!--Tom, there is nothing to laugh at,--we are all as God made us,--'Handsome is as handsome does,'--she has had three little uns!"

"Do they squint too?" asked Philip; and Miss Margaret giggled, and Tom roared, and the other young men roared too. Philip had certainly said something very witty.

This time Mrs. Morton administered no reproof; but replied pensively

"Natur is very mysterious--they all squint!"

Mr. Morton conducted Philip to his chamber. There it was, fresh, clean, unaltered--the same white curtains, the same honeysuckle paper as when Catherine had crept across the threshold.

"Did Sidney ever tell you that his mother placed a ring round his neck that night?" asked Mr. Morton.

"Yes; and the dear boy wept when he said that he had slept too soundly to know that she was by his side that last, last time. The ring--oh, how well I remember it! she never put it off till then; and often in the fields--for we were wild wanderers together in that day--often when his head lay on my shoulder, I felt that ring still resting on his heart, and fancied it was a talisman--a blessing. Well, well-good night to you!" And he shut the door on his uncle, and was alone.

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