Dinner at Matching Priory
Too Long; Didn't ReadAlice found herself seated near to Lady Glencora's end of the table, and, in spite of her resolution to like Mr. Palliser, she was not sorry that such an arrangement had been made. Mr. Palliser had taken the Duchess out to dinner, and Alice wished to be as far removed as possible from her Grace. She found herself seated between her bespoken friend Jeffrey Palliser and the Duke, and as soon as she was seated Lady Glencora introduced her to her second neighbour. "My cousin, Duke," Lady Glencora said, "and a terrible Radical."
"Oh, indeed; I'm glad of that. We're sadly in want of a few leading Radicals, and perhaps I may be able to gain one now."
Alice thought of her cousin George, and wished that he, instead of herself, was sitting next to the Duke of St. Bungay. "But I'm afraid I never shall be a leading Radical," she said.
"You shall lead me at any rate, if you will," said he.
"As the little dogs lead the blind men," said Lady Glencora.
"No, Lady Glencora, not so. But as the pretty women lead the men who have eyes in their head. There is nothing I want so much, Miss Vavasor, as to become a Radical;—if I only knew how."
"I think it's very easy to know how," said Alice.
"Do you? I don't. I've voted for every liberal measure that has come seriously before Parliament since I had a seat in either House, and I've not been able to get beyond Whiggery yet."
"Have you voted for the ballot?" asked Alice, almost trembling at her own audacity as she put the question.
"Well; no, I've not. And I suppose that is the crux. But the ballot has never been seriously brought before any House in which I have sat. I hate it with so keen a private hatred, that I doubt whether I could vote for it."
"But the Radicals love it," said Alice.