Anthony Trollope: Barchester Towers


Mr Slope, great as he was with embryo grandeur, still came to see the signora. Indeed, he could not keep himself away. He dreamed of that soft hand which had kissed so often, and of the imperial brow which his lips had once pressed, and he then dreamed also of further favours.

And Mr Thorne was there also. It was the first visit he had ever paid to the signora, and he made it not without due preparation. Mr Thorne was a gentleman usually precise in his dress, and prone to make the most of himself in an unpretending way. The grey hairs in his whiskers were eliminated perhaps once a month; those on his head were softened by a mixture which we will not call a dye; it was only a wash. His tailor lived in St James's Street, and his bootmaker at the corner of that street and Piccadilly. He was particular in the article of gloves, and the getting up of his shirts was a matter not lightly thought of in the Ullathorne laundry. On the occasion of the present visit he had rather overdone his usual efforts, and caused some little uneasiness to his sister, who had not hitherto received very cordially the proposition for a lengthened visit from the signora at Ullathorne.

There were others also there--young men about the city who had not much to do, and who were induced by the lady's charms to neglect that little; but all gave way to Mr Thorne, who was somewhat of a grand signor, as a country gentleman always is in a provincial city.

'Oh, Mr Thorne, this is so kind of you!' said the signora. 'You promised to come; but I really did not expect it. I thought you country gentlemen never kept your pledges.'

'Oh, yea, sometimes,' said Mr Thorne, looking rather sheepish, and making salutations a little too much in the style of the last century.

'You deceive none but your consti-stit-stit; what do you call the people that carry you about in chairs and pelt you with eggs and apples when they make you a member of parliament?'

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