Miss Tucker always disliked very much being waited on,，
As Miss Stanhope went off, Eleanor bethought herself that, as Mr Slope had taken his departure, there no longer existed any necessity for separating Mr Stanhope from his sister Madeline, who so much needed his aid. It had been arranged that he should remain so as to preoccupy Mr Slope's place in the carriage, and act as a social policeman to effect the exclusion of that disagreeable gentleman. But Mr Slope had effected his own exclusion, and there as no possible reason now why Bertie should not go with his sister. At least Eleanor saw none, and she said so much.
'Oh, let Charlotte have her own way,' said he. 'She has arranged it, and there will be no end of confusion if we make another change. Charlotte always arranges everything in our house; and rules us like a despot.'
'But the signora?' said Eleanor.
'Oh, the signora can do very well without me. Indeed, she will have to do without me,' he added, thinking rather of his studies in Carrara, than of his Barchester hymeneals.
'Why, you are not going to leave us?' asked Eleanor.
It has been said that Bertie Stanhope was a man without principle. He certainly was so. He had no power of using active mental exertion to keep himself from doing evil. Evil had no ugliness in his eyes; virtue no beauty. He was void of any of those feelings which actuate men to do good. But he was perhaps equally void of those which actuate men to do evil. He got into debt with utter recklessness, thinking of nothing as to whether the tradesmen would ever be paid or not. But he did not invent active schemes of deceit for the sake of extracting the goods of others. If a man gave him credit, that was the man's look-out; Bertie Stanhope troubled himself nothing further. In borrowing money he did the same; he gave people references to 'his governor', told them that the 'old chap' had a good income; and agreed to pay sixty per cent for the accommodation. All this he did without a scruple of conscience; but then he never contrived active villainy.
In this affair of his marriage, it had been represented to him as a matter of duty that he ought to put himself in possession of Mrs Bold's hand and fortune; and at first he had so regarded it. About her he had thought but little. It was the customary thing for men situated as he was to marry for money, and there was no reason why he should not do what others around him did. And so he consented. But now he began to see the matter in another light. He was setting himself down to catch a woman, as a cat sits to catch a mouse. He was to catch her, and swallow her up, her and her child, and her houses and land, in order that he might live on her instead of on his father. There was a cold, calculating, cautious cunning about this quite at variance with Bertie's character. The prudence of the measure was quite as antagonistic to his feelings as the iniquity.
And then, should he be successful, what would be the reward? Having satisfied his creditors with half of the widow's fortune, he would be allowed to sit down quietly at Barchester, keeping economical house with the remainder. His duty would be to rock the cradle of the late Mr Bold's child, and his highest excitement a demure party at Plumstead rectory, should it ultimately turn out that the archdeacon be sufficiently reconciled to receive him.
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