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and driven, and nothing in my background indicated I knew

source:sluggish netedit:yeartime:2023-12-05 22:43:35

When the door was closed he stood awhile looking round him, trying to resolve what he might do or what he might say next. He was now at any rate in the house with her, and did not know whether such an opportunity as that might ever occur to him again. He felt that there were words within his bosom which, if he could only bring them up to his mouth, would melt the heart of a stone. There was his ineffable love, his whole happiness at stake, his purpose -- his holy purpose -- to devote himself, and all that he had, to her well-being. Of all this he had a full conception within his own heart, if only he could express it so that others should believe him! But of what use was it now? He had had this further liberty of speech accorded to him, and in it he had done nothing, made no inch of progress. She had hardly spoken a dozen words to him, but of those she had spoken two remained clear upon his memory. He must never hope, she had said; and she had said also that that other man was better than he. Had she said that he was dearer, the word would hardly have been more bitter. All the old feeling came upon him of rage against his rival, and of a desire that something desperate should be done by which he might wreak his vengeance.

and driven, and nothing in my background indicated I knew

But there he was standing alone in Mrs Dosett's drawing-room, and it was necessary that he should carry himself off. As for dining in that house, sitting down to eat and drink in Ayala's presence after such a conversation as that which was past, that he felt to be quite out of the question. He crammed his hat upon his head, left the room, and hurried down the stairs towards the door.

and driven, and nothing in my background indicated I knew

In the passage he was met by his uncle, coming out of the dining-room. "Tom," he said, "you'll stay and eat your dinner?"

and driven, and nothing in my background indicated I knew

"No, indeed," said Tom, angrily.

"You shouldn't let yourself be disturbed by little trifles such as these," said his uncle, trying to put a good face upon the matter.

"Trifles!" said Tom Tringle. "Trifles!" And he banged the door after him as he left the house.

It was now the beginning of February. As Tom and his uncle had walked from Somerset House the streets were dry and the weather fine; but, as Mr Dosett had remarked, the wind was changing a little out of the east and threatened rain. When Tom left the house it was already falling. It was then past six, and the night was very dark. He had walked there with a top coat and umbrella, but he had forgotten both as he banged the door after him in his passion; and, though he remembered them as he hurried down the steps, he would not turn and knock at the door and ask for them. He was in that humour which converts outward bodily sufferings almost into a relief. When a man has been thoroughly ill-used in greater matters it is almost a consolation to him to feel that he has been turned out into the street to get wet through without his dinner -- even though he may have turned himself out.

He walked on foot, and as he walked became damp and dirty, till he was soon wet through. As soon as he reached Lancaster Gate he went into the park, and under the doubtful glimmer of the lamps trudged on through the mud and slush, not regarding his path, hardly thinking of the present moment in the full appreciation of his real misery. What should he do with himself? What else was there now left to him? He had tried everything and had failed. As he endeavoured to count himself up, as it were, and tell himself whether he were worthy of a happier fate than had been awarded to him, he was very humble -- humble, though so indignant! He knew himself to be a poor creature in comparison with Jonathan Stubbs. Though he could not have been Stubbs had he given his heart for it, though it was absolutely beyond him to assume one of those tricks of bearing one of those manly, winning ways, which in his eyes was so excellent in the other man, still he saw them and acknowledged them, and told himself that they would be all powerful with such a girl as Ayala. Though he trusted to his charms and his rings, he knew that his charms and his rings were abominable, as compared with that outside look and natural garniture which belonged to Stubbs, as though of right -- as though it had been born with him. Not exactly in those words, but with a full inward sense of the words, he told himself that Colonel Stubbs was a gentleman -- whereas he acknowledged himself to be a cad. How could he have hoped that Ayala should accept such a one, merely because he would have a good house of his own and a carriage? As he thought of all this, be hardly knew which he hated most -- himself or Jonathan Stubbs.

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