“You like to have her about you, as you would like to have a flower, or a bird, or a picture, or a poodle–no, not a poodle, though–or anything else that was equally pretty?” says Volumnia, sympathizing. “Yes, how charming now! And how well that delightful old soul Mrs. Rouncewell is looking. She must be an immense age, and yet she is as active and handsome! She is the dearest friend I have, positively!”
Sir Leicester feels it to be right and fitting that the housekeeper of Chesney Wold should be a remarkable person. Apart from that, he has a real regard for Mrs. Rouncewell and likes to hear her praised. So he says, “You are right, Volumnia,” which Volumnia is extremely glad to hear.
And it is a remarkable example of the confusion into which the present age has fallen; of the obliteration of landmarks, the opening of floodgates, and the uprooting of distinctions,” says Sir Leicester with stately gloom, “that I have been informed by Mr. Tulkinghorn that Mrs. Rouncewell’s son has been invited to go into Parliament.
He is called, I believe–an–ironmaster.” Sir Leicester says it slowly and with gravity and doubt, as not being sure but that he is called a lead-mistress or that the right word may be some other word expressive of some other relationship to some other metal.
He has declined the proposal, if my information from Mr. Tulkinghorn be correct, as I have no doubt it is. Mr. Tulkinghorn being always correct and exact; still that does not,” says Sir Leicester, “that does not lessen the anomaly, which is fraught with strange considerations–startling considerations, as it appears to me.
I must beg you, my Lady,” he says while doing so, “to remain a few moments, for this individual of whom I speak arrived this evening shortly before dinner and requested in a very becoming note”–Sir Leicester, with his habitual regard to truth, dwells upon it–”I am bound to say, in a very becoming and well-expressed note, the favour of a short interview with yourself and MYself on the subject of this young girl. As it appeared that he wished to depart to- night, I replied that we would see him before retiring.