Anne Bronte: The Tenant of Wildfell Hall


The tardy gig had overtaken me at last. I entered it, and bade the man who brought it drive to Grassdale Manor - I was too busy with my own thoughts to care to drive it myself. I would see Mrs. Huntingdon - there could be no impropriety in that now that her husband had been dead above a year - and by her indifference or her joy at my unexpected arrival I could soon tell whether her heart was truly mine. But my companion, a loquacious, forward fellow, was not disposed to leave me to the indulgence of my private cogitations.

'There they go!' said he, as the carriages filed away before us. 'There'll be brave doings on yonder to-day, as what come to-morra. - Know anything of that family, sir? or you're a stranger in these parts?'

'I know them by report.'

'Humph! There's the best of 'em gone, anyhow. And I suppose the old missis is agoing to leave after this stir's gotten overed, and take herself off, somewhere, to live on her bit of a jointure; and the young 'un - at least the new 'un (she's none so very young) - is coming down to live at the Grove.'

'Is Mr. Hargrave married, then?'

'Ay, sir, a few months since. He should a been wed afore, to a widow lady, but they couldn't agree over the money: she'd a rare long purse, and Mr. Hargrave wanted it all to hisself; but she wouldn't let it go, and so then they fell out. This one isn't quite as rich, nor as handsome either, but she hasn't been married before. She's very plain, they say, and getting on to forty or past, and so, you know, if she didn't jump at this hopportunity, she thought she'd never get a better. I guess she thought such a handsome young husband was worth all 'at ever she had, and he might take it and welcome, but I lay she'll rue her bargain afore long. They say she begins already to see 'at he isn't not altogether that nice, generous, perlite, delightful gentleman 'at she thought him afore marriage - he begins a being careless and masterful already. Ay, and she'll find him harder and carelesser nor she thinks on.'

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