A Gamble with Life by Silas Hocking

A Gamble with Life by Silas Hocking

Author:Silas Hocking
Language: eng
Format: epub
ISBN: 9781634212779
Publisher: Duke Classics

Chapter XX - Father and Son


It was a great disappointment to the Tregonys that they were unable to announce on the night of their "At Home" that Gervase and Madeline were engaged. Madeline, however, was obdurate. She saw no reason for haste, and she saw many reasons for delay. The very anxiety of the Tregonys to get the matter settled at once made her only the more determined not to be rushed. The very masterfulness of Gervase—which she admired so much—for once defeated its own end.

In her heart she had no real intention of upsetting what seemed to be the scheme and purpose of her life. It had seemed so long in the nature of things that she should marry Gervase Tregony—(why it should have seemed in the nature of things she hardly knew)—that to refuse to do so now would seem like flying in the face of Providence, and that required more courage than she possessed. Still, as far as she could see, it was no part of the providential plan that she should become engaged to Gervase that very year, and marry him early in the next. Dates did not appear to be included in the general arrangement, and she "guessed that in that matter she might be allowed considerable latitude."

Gervase showed much less diplomacy than his father. Sir Charles had more correctly gauged Madeline's disposition than any other member of the family. He knew very well that she would never be driven, that any attempt at coercion would defeat its own end. On this assumption he had acted all the way through, and but for a single incident everything might have gone well.

As the days passed away Gervase grew terribly impatient. He was hard up. "Horribly, disgustingly hard up," as he told his father, and here were Madeline's thousands or millions steadily accumulating, and nobody the better for it. If he could once get the knot tied he would be safe. She had so much that she could let him have all he wanted without feeling it, and there seemed no reason in the world why he should not begin to enjoy himself without delay.

Madeline listened in the main with much patience to his appeals and protestations, but for some reason she could not understand, they failed to move her. He never touched the heroic side of her nature. His appeal was always to her vanity and selfishness. His pictures of happiness were merely pictures of self-indulgence. The aim and end of life as he shadowed it forth was "to take thy ease, eat, drink, and be merry." A town house, a shooting-box in Scotland. Two or three motor-cars, a steam yacht, and an endless round between times of balls and calls and grand operas.

She frankly owned to herself that her idol had been taken off its pedestal, and there was no longer any halo about his head. To live in the same house with Gervase day after day was distinctly disquieting. His civilian attire made him look painfully common-place, his conversation was as common-place as his appearance.


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