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One thing they did not know, however, Mrs. Baynham having been discreetly silent on the subject. They did not know that they were to meet the Glenaveril family in full force, the doctor's wife being of opinion that a friendly dinner-party was the panacea for all parish quarrels and small antagonisms, and that by judiciously bringing the Crowthers and the Disneys together at a well-spread board, and in the genial atmosphere of her unspacious drawing-room, she could bring about an end of the feud, or tacit coldness, which had divided the Angler's Nest and Glenaveril since Colonel Disney's home-coming. It was a disappointment to this worthy woman to see Vansittart Crowther, when Colonel and Mrs. Disney were announced, start and glare as if a mad dog had been brought into the room; but she was relieved at seeing the easy nod which the colonel bestowed upon his vanquished foe, and the friendly hand which good Mrs. Crowther held out to Isola, who paled and blushed, and all but wept at meeting with that cordial matron. Tho occasion never did present itself. The one English club existent at Dinan in those days was amply provided[Pg 24] with the secretarial element. There was nothing in Dinan for an Englishman to manage; no English agency required. Colonel Manwaring settled down into a kind of somnolent submission to obscure fortunes. He liked the old town, and he liked the climate. He liked the cooking, and he liked being out of the way of all the people he knew, and whose vicinity would have obliged him to live up to a certain conventional level. He liked to get his English newspapers upon French soil, and it irked him not that they were thirty-six hours old. He liked to bask in the sunshine on the terrace above the Rance, or in the open places of the town. He liked talking of the possibilities of an impending war, in very dubious French, with the French officers, whose acquaintance he made at club or caf. He had sold his commission and sunk the proceeds of the sale upon an annuity. He had a little income of his own, and his wife had a little money from a maiden aunt, and these resources just enabled him to live with a certain unpretending comfort. He had a good Breton cook, and an old Scotch valet and butler, who would have gone through fire and water for his master. Mrs. Manwaring was a thoroughly negative character, placid as summer seas, sympathetic and helpless. She let Macgregor and Antoinette manage the house for her, do all the catering, pay all the bills, and work the whole machinery of her domestic life. She rejoiced in having a good-tempered husband and obedient daughters. She had no boys to put her in a fever of anxiety lest they should be making surreptitious ascents in balloons or staking their little all upon Zero at the "Etablissement" at Dinard. In summer she sat all day in one particular south window, knitting stockings for the colonel and reading the English papers. In winter she occupied herself in the same manner by the chimney corner. She devoted one day in the week to writing long letters to distant relatives. Once a day, weather permitting, she took a gentle constitutional walk upon the terrace above the Rance, with one of her daughters. Needless to say that in this life of harmless apathy she had grown[Pg 25] very stout, and that she had forgotten almost every accomplishment of her girlhood. Thank you, she said. Yes, oh, yes, it is all right. You dont mind my going now? Lord Trafford is waiting for me, and "So was Rubens' wife, Helena Forman; but what would one do in a world peopled with Helena Formans? There are galleries in Antwerp which no man should enter without smoke-coloured spectacles, if he would avoid being blinded[Pg 49] by a blaze of red-haired beauty. I am told that the Miss Crowthers will have, at least, a million of money between them in days to come, and that they are destined to make great matches. Perhaps we shall see some of their soupirants at the ball. Since the decay of the landed interest, the chasse aux dots has become fiercer than of old."