Home / News
39. CHAPTER XXXIX: THE LOOKALOFTS AND THE GREENACRES (continued)
'But you didn't zee her, Dame Guffern?' said Mrs Greenacres, whom this information, joined to the recent peril undergone by her son, almost overpowered. Mr Greenacres held just as much land as Mr Lookaloft, paid his rent quite as punctually, and his opinion in the vestry-room was reckoned to be every whit as good. Mrs Lookaloft's rise in the world had been wormwood to Mrs Greenacre. She had not taste herself for the sort of finery which converted Barleystubb farm into Rosebank, and which had occasionally graced Mr Lookaloft's letters with the dignity of esquirehood. She had no wish to convert her own homeland into Violet Villa, or to see her goodman go about with a new-fangled handle to his name. But it was a mortal injury to her that Mrs Lookaloft should be successful in her hunt after such honours. She had abused and ridiculed Mrs Lookaloft to the extent of her little power. She had pushed against her going out of church, and had excused herself with all the easiness of equality. 'Ah, dame, I axes pardon; but you be grown so mortal stout these time.' She had inquired with apparent cordiality of Mr Lookaloft after 'the woman that owned him,' and had, as she thought, been on the whole able to hold her own pretty well against her aspiring neighbour. Now, however, she found herself distinctly put into a separate and inferior class. Mrs Lookaloft was asked into the Ullathorne drawing-room, merely because she called her house Rosebank, and had talked over her husband into buying pianos and silk dresses instead of putting his money by to stock farms for his sons.
Mrs Greenacre, much as she reverenced Miss Thorne, and highly as she respected her husband's landlord, could not but look on this as an act of injustice done to her and hers. Hitherto the Lookalofts had never been recognised as being of a different class from the Greenacres. Their pretensions were all self-pretensions, their finery was all paid for by themselves and not granted to them by others. The local sovereigns of the vicinity, the district fountains of honour, had hitherto conferred on them the stamp of no rank. Hitherto their crinoline petticoats, late hours, and mincing gait had been a fair subject of Mrs Greenacre's raillery, and this raillery had been a safety valve for her envy. Now, however, and from henceforward, the case would be very different. Now the Lookalofts would boast that their aspirations had been sanctioned by the gentry of the country; now they would declare with some show of truth that their claims to peculiar consideration had been recognised. They had sat as equal guests in the presence of bishops and baronets; they had been curtseyed to by Miss Thorne on her own drawing-room carpet; they were about to sit down to table in company with a live countess! Bab Lookaloft, as she had always been called by the young Greenacres in the days of their juvenile equality, might possibly sit next to the Honourable George, and that wretched Gussy might be permitted to hand a custard to the Lady Margaretta De Courcy.
This is page 405 of 547. [Mark this Page]
Mark any page to add this title to Your Bookshelf. (0 / 10 books on shelf)
Buy a copy of Barchester Towers at Amazon.com
Customize text appearance:
(c) 2003-2012 LiteraturePage.com and Michael Moncur.
For information about public domain texts appearing here, read the copyright information and disclaimer.