THE TRUANT WIFE.
Too Long; Didn't ReadPhineas on his return to London wrote a line to Lady Chiltern in accordance with a promise which had been exacted from him. She was anxious to learn something as to the real condition of her husband's brother-in-law, and, when she heard that Phineas was going to Loughlinter, had begged that he would tell her the truth. "He has become eccentric, gloomy, and very strange," said Phineas. "I do not believe that he is really mad, but his condition is such that I think no friend should recommend Lady Laura to return to him. He seems to have devoted himself to a gloomy religion,—and to the saving of money. I had but one interview with him, and that was essentially disagreeable." Having remained two days in London, and having participated, as far as those two days would allow him, in the general horror occasioned by the wickedness and success of Mr. Daubeny, he started for Dresden.
He found Lord Brentford living in a spacious house, with a huge garden round it, close upon the northern confines of the town. Dresden, taken altogether, is a clean cheerful city, and strikes the stranger on his first entrance as a place in which men are gregarious, busy, full of merriment, and pre-eminently social. Such is the happy appearance of but few towns either in the old or the new world, and is hardly more common in Germany than elsewhere. Leipsic is decidedly busy, but does not look to be social. Vienna is sufficiently gregarious, but its streets are melancholy. Munich is social, but lacks the hum of business. Frankfort is both practical and picturesque, but it is dirty, and apparently averse to mirth. Dresden has much to recommend it, and had Lord Brentford with his daughter come abroad in quest of comfortable easy social life, his choice would have been well made. But, as it was, any of the towns above named would have suited him as well as Dresden, for he saw no society, and cared nothing for the outward things of the world around him. He found Dresden to be very cold in the winter and very hot in the summer, and he liked neither heat nor cold; but he had made up his mind that all places, and indeed all things, are nearly equally disagreeable, and therefore he remained at Dresden, grumbling almost daily as to the climate and manners of the people.