Vera Nevill - Or, Poor Wisdom

Vera Nevill - Or, Poor Wisdom's Chance

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Vera Nevill, by Mrs. H. Lovett Cameron This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Vera Nevill Poor Wisdom's Chance Author: Mrs. H. Lovett Cameron Release Date: May 14, 2006 [EBook #18385] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK VERA NEVILL *** Produced by Mary Meehan and The Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net VERA NEVILL; OR, POOR WISDOM'S CHANCE. A NOVEL. BY MRS. H. LOVETT CAMERON AUTHOR OF "PURE GOLD," "IN A GRASS COUNTRY," ETC., ETC. PHILADELPHIA: J. B. LIPPINCOTT COMPANY. 1893. "No. Vain, alas! th' endeavour From bonds so sweet to sever. Poor Wisdom's Chance Against a glance Is now as weak as ever." Moore's Melodies. CONTENTS. CHAPTER I.THE VICAR'S FAMILY CHAPTER II. KYNASTON HALL CHAPTER III. FANNING DEAD ASHES CHAPTER IV. THE LAY RECTOR CHAPTER V. "LITTLE PITCHERS" CHAPTER VI. A SOIRÉE AT WALPOLE LODGE CHAPTER VII. EVENING REVERIES CHAPTER VIII. THE MEMBER FOR MEADOWSHIRE CHAPTER IX. ENGAGED CHAPTER X. A MEETING ON THE STAIRS CHAPTER XI. AN IDLE MORNING CHAPTER XII. THE MEET AT SHADONAKE CHAPTER XIII. PEACOCK'S FEATHERS CHAPTER XIV. HER WEDDING DRESS CHAPTER XV. VERA'S MESSAGE CHAPTER XVI. "POOR WISDOM" CHAPTER XVII. AN UNLUCKY LOVE-LETTER CHAPTER XVIII. LADY KYNASTON'S PLANS CHAPTER XIX. WHAT SHE WAITED FOR CHAPTER XX. A MORNING WALK CHAPTER XXI. MAURICE'S INTERCESSION CHAPTER XXII. MR. PRYME'S VISITORS CHAPTER XXIII. A WHITE SUNSHADE CHAPTER XXIV. HER SON'S SECRET CHAPTER XXV. ST. PAUL'S, KNIGHTSBRIDGE CHAPTER XXVI. THE RUSSIA-LEATHER CASE CHAPTER XXVII. DINNER AT RANELAGH CHAPTER XXVIII. MRS. HAZELDINE'S "LONG ELIZA" CHAPTER XXIX. A WEDDING TOUR CHAPTER XXX. "IF I COULD DIE!" CHAPTER XXXI. AN EVENTFUL DRIVE CHAPTER XXXII. BY THE VICARAGE GATE CHAPTER XXXIII. DENIS WILDE'S LOVE CHAPTER XXXIV. A GARDEN PARTY CHAPTER XXXV. SHADONAKE BATH CHAPTER XXXVI. AT PEACE VERA NEVILL OR POOR WISDOM'S CHANCE. CHAPTER I. THE VICAR'S FAMILY. With that regal indolent air she had So confident of her charm. OWEN MEREDITH. Beauty too rich for use, for earth too dear. SHAKESPEARE. Amongst the divers domestic complications into which short-sighted man is prone to fall there is none which has been more conclusively proved to be an utter and egregious failure than that family arrangement which, for lack of a better name, I will call a "composite household." No one could have spoken upon this subject with greater warmth of feeling, nor out of the depths of a more painful experience, than could the Rev. Eustace Daintree, sometime vicar of the parish of Sutton-in-the-Wold. Mr. Daintree's family circle consisted of himself, his mother, his wife, and his wife's sister, and I should like to know how a man could expect to lead a life of peace and tranquillity with such a combination of inharmonious feminine elements! There were two children also, who were a fruitful source of discord and disunion. It is certain that, had he chosen to do so, the Rev. Eustace might have made many heart-rending and harrowing revelations concerning the private life and customs of the inhabitants of his vicarage. It is equally certain, however, that he would not have chosen to do so, for he was emphatically a man of peace and gentleness, kind hearted and given to good works; and was, moreover, sincerely anxious to do his duty impartially to those whom Providence or fate, or a combination of chances and changes, had somehow contrived to bring together under his roof. Things had not always been thus with him. In the early days of their married life Eustace Daintree and Marion his wife had had their home to themselves, and right well had they enjoyed it. A fairly good living backed up by independent means, a small rural parish, a pleasant neighbourhood, a pretty and comfortable vicaragehouse—what more can the hearts of a clergyman of the Church of England and his wife desire? Mr. and Mrs. Daintree, at all events, had wished for nothing better. But this blissful state of things was not destined to last; it was, perhaps, hardly to be expected that it should, seeing that man is born to trouble, and that happiness is known to be as fleeting as time or beauty or any other good thing. When Eustace Daintree had been married five years, his father died, and his mother, accepting his warmly tendered invitation to come to Sutton-in-the-Wold upon a long visit, took up her abode in the pleasant vicarage-house. Her visit was long indeed. In a weak moment her son consented to her urgent request to be allowed to subscribe her quota to the household expenses—this was as good as giving her a ninety-nine years' lease of her quarters. The thin end of the wedge thus inserted, Mrs. Daintree mère became immovable as the church tower or the kitchen chimney, and the doomed members of the family began to understand that nothing short of death itself was likely to terminate the old lady's residence amongst them. For the future her son's house became her home. But, even thus, things were not at their worst. Marion Daintree was a soft-hearted, gentle-mannered little woman. It cannot be said that she regarded the permanent instalment of her mother-in-law in her home with pleasurable feelings; she would have been more than human had she done so. But then she was unfeignedly fond of her husband, and desired so earnestly to make his home happy that, not seeing her way to oust the intruder without a warfare which would have distressed him, she determined to make the best of the situation, and to preserve the family peace and concord at all risks. She succeeded in her praiseworthy efforts, but at what cost no one but herself ever knew. Marion's whole life became one propitiatory sacrifice to her mother-in-law. To propitiate Mrs. Daintree was a very simple matter. Bearing in mind that her leading characteristics were a bad temper and an ungovernable desire to ride rough-shod over the feelings of all those who came into contact with her, in order to secure her favour it was only necessary to study her moods, and to allow her to tread you under foot as much as her soul desired. Provided that she had her own way in these little matters, Mrs. Daintree became an amiable old lady. Marion did all that was needful; figuratively speaking, she laid down in the dust before her, and the Juggernaut of her fate consented to be appeased by the lowly attitude, and crushed its way triumphantly over her fallen body.