He had first read his mother's, written in the agitation of her bereavement, and conveying to him in a barely legible series of crossed and recrossed lines the news that his father was dead. He had been more shocked than grieved, never having enjoyed more than a casual acquaintance with the late Viscount. Lord Lynton, while bluff and good-natured when confronted with any of his offspring, had not been blessed with domestic virtues. A close friend of the Prince Regent, he had so much preferred the Prince's society to that of his family that very little of his time had been spent in his home, and none at all in considering what might be the hopes or characteristics of one surviving son and two daughters.
He had been killed in the hunting-field, in the first burst, taking a double at the fly: not a surprising end for an intrepid and frequently reckless horseman. What did surprise his son was to discover that contrary to advice and entreaty he had been riding a green and headstrong young horse, never before tried in the field.
Lord Lynton was a bruising rider, but not a fool; his heir, knowing the wild hurly-burly of a first burst with the Quorn or the Belvoir, concluded that he had ridden his young 'un for a wager, and passed on to a maternal command to sell out instantly, and return to England, where his presence was most urgently needed.
The new Lord Lynton but it was to be many weeks before he answered readily to any other title than Captain Deveril could not find in his mother's letter any reason why he should pursue a course so repugnant to himself.
The letter from Lord Lynton's man of business was less impassioned but more explicit. He read it twice before his brain was able to grasp its horrifying intelligence, and many times before he laid it before his Colonel. No one could have been kinder; to no one else, indeed, could Adam Deveril have borne to have disclosed that letter. Colonel Colborne had read it, his countenance unmoved, and he had offered no unwanted sympathy.
We shall soon have Soult on the run in good earnest. There's no question about it, you know: you must go home to England. He had sailed on the first available transport, and, after a brief halt in London, had posted on to Lincolnshire, leaving his man of business to discover the extent of his liabilities, and his tailor to deliver with all possible expedition raiment suited to a civilian gentleman in deep mourning.
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This had not yet arrived, but the news that his Regiment had distinguished itself at the Battle of Orthes had reached Fontley, making him at once exultant and wretched; and Mr Wimmering had presented himself at Fontley on the previous day. He had spent the night at the Priory; but the younger Miss Deveril was of the opinion that he could not have enjoyed more than two or three hours of sleep, since he had remained closeted with her brother until dawn.
He was very civil to the ladies, so it was unkind of her to liken him to a bird of ill-omen. He was very civil to the new Viscount, too, and very patient, answering all his questions without betraying that he found him lamentably ignorant. Adam said, with a smile in his tired gray eyes: "You must think me a fool to ask you so many stupid questions. I'm a Johnny Raw, you see. I've never dealt with such matters as these. I don't understand them, and I must. But the late Viscount had not seen fit to admit even his man of business wholly into his confidence: there had been transactions on the Stock Exchange in which agents unknown to Wimmering had been employed.
He said mournfully: "I could not have advised his lordship to invest his money as he sometimes did. To them he apparently addressed the rest of his speech, saying: "It should never be forgotten that his late lordship's nature was, as I have remarked, sanguine. Dear me, yes! If I had a hundred pounds for every occasion on which his lordship suffered reverses on 'Change without the least diminution of his optimism I should be a wealthy man, I assure you, sir! Adam, instead of seeking further reassurance, said in an even tone: "In plain words, Wimmering, how do my affairs stand?
It was his intention to have resettled the estates. When you, my lord, attained your majority, it was my earnest desire to have induced his late lordship to repair an omission rendered inevitable by the inscrutable workings of Providence. His lordship, however, did not consider the moment opportune for the prosecution of a design which, I assure you, he had very much at heart.
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Your presence, my lord, must have been essential: I can have no need to recall to your mind the circumstances which would have made it hard indeed for you to have applied for furlough just then. The Combat of the Coa!
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It seems but yesterday that we were eagerly perusing the account of that engagement, with the words of commendation bestowed by Lord Wellington on the officers and the men of your lordship's Regiment! Mr Wimmering bowed his head in sorrowful assent, but raised it again to offer a palliative. After a pause, Adam said: "The case seems to be desperate. What must I do? None are immediately pressing. I do not by any means despair of composing all these matters.
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Those, I think, should be sold at once, and also the town house. Let me repeat that my care has been to allay anxiety: until we see our way more clearly that is most necessary. I am facing ruin, am I not? The shock has overset you! But we need not despair. Surely Fontley was prosperous in my grandfather's day? Since I came home I have been going all about with our bailiff, trying to learn from him in a week the things I ought to have learnt when I was a boy. The land here is as rich as any in Lincolnshire, but so much needs to be done!
And if I had the means to do it I should wish above all things to redeem the mortgages, and that I certainly have not the means to do. The house, and the demesne-lands are unencumbered. Can you tell me what price we should set on them?
Both have been neglected, but the Priory is generally thought to be beautiful, and has, besides, historic interest. You are speaking in jest, of course! In any event, I don't contemplate putting myself up for sale. He might recoil from it, but Wimmering had formed a favourable opinion of his good sense, and he hoped that when he had recovered from the shock of finding himself on the brink of ruin he would perceive the advantages of what was, in his adviser's view, a very simple way out of his difficulties. Wimmering knew that a year previously he had fancied himself in love with Lord Oversley's daughter; but no notice of an engagement had ever appeared, and the connection had not met with the Fifth Viscount's approbation.
The Fifth Viscount had been quite as anxious as Wimmering that his son should marry money; and from what he knew of Lord Oversley's circumstances Wimmering could not suppose that he either regarded with enthusiasm such an alliance. Miss Julia was an accredited Beauty; and if any man could have made an accurate guess at the extent of Lord Lynton's embarrassments it must have been his old friend Oversley No, Wimmering was inclined to think that his late lordship had been right when he had dismissed the affair as mere calf-love. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book!
Add to Wishlist. USD And, as he had foreseen, shares plummet, only to soar again at the news of Wellington's victory at Waterloo Lynton has made his fortune, and no longer needs his father in law's financial support.
However, Jenny's pregnancy and confinement have brought the two men to a greater understanding of one another. Rather than insult Chawleigh by repaying him, he suggests that the property titles held by Chawleigh be passed on directly to his newborn grandson. Lynton's final act of including Chawleigh as one of the newborn's names, is a mark of respect that delights the older man. In the meantime, Julia has married an older and wealthy suitor, whom she flaunts on a rather nerve-wracking visit to Lynton's.
The latter realizes with a guilty feeling that he will probably be much happier and comfortable with devoted Jenny than he would ever have been with beautiful but self-centered and demanding Julia. The novel ends with a scene intended to illustrate the contentment of married family life with a comfortable and supportive woman whom Lynton realises he genuinely loves, albeit a calmer affection than the youthful passion that characterised his feelings for Julia Oversley. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A Civil Contract First edition.
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