PHINEAS AFTER THE TRIAL.
Too Long; Didn't ReadTen days passed by, and Phineas Finn had not been out of his lodgings till after daylight, and then he only prowled about in the manner described in the last chapter. His sisters had returned to Ireland, and he saw no one, even in his own room, but two or three of his most intimate friends. Among those Mr. Low and Lord Chiltern were the most frequently with him, but Fitzgibbon, Barrington Erle, and Mr. Monk had also been admitted. People had called by the hundred, till Mrs. Bunce was becoming almost tired of her lodger's popularity; but they came only to inquire,—because it had been reported that Mr. Finn was not well after his imprisonment. The Duchess of Omnium had written to him various notes, asking when he would come to her, and what she could do for him. Would he dine, would he spend a quiet evening, would he go to Matching? Finally, would he become her guest and the Duke's next September for the partridge shooting? They would have a few friends with them, and Madame Goesler would be one of the number. Having had this by him for a week, he had not as yet answered the invitation. He had received two or three notes from Lady Laura, who had frankly explained to him that if he were really ill she would of course go to him, but that as matters stood she could not do so without displeasing her brother. He had answered each note by an assurance that his first visit should be made in Portman Square. To Madame Goesler he had written a letter of thanks,—a letter which had in truth cost him some pains. "I know," he said, "for how much I have to thank you, but I do not know in what words to do it. I ought to be with you telling you in person of my gratitude; but I must own to you that for the present what has occurred has so unmanned me that I am unfit for the interview. I should only weep in your presence like a school-girl, and you would despise me." It was a long letter, containing many references to the circumstances of the trial, and to his own condition of mind throughout its period. Her answer to him, which was very short, was as follows:—