punishment of the offence had been commenced by Greystock's unavenged
insults, and it now seemed to him that this girl's conduct was a
continuation of it. The world was already beginning to treat him with that
want of respect which he so greatly dreaded. He knew that he was too weak
to stand up against a widely-spread expression of opinion that he had
behaved badly. There are men who can walk about the streets with composed
countenances, take their seats in Parliament if they happened to have
seats, work in their offices or their chambers or their counting-houses
with diligence, and go about the world serenely, even though everybody be
saying evil of them behind their backs. Such men can live down temporary
calumny, and almost take a delight in the isolation which it will produce.
Lord Fawn knew well that he was not such a man. He would have described
his own weakness as caused, perhaps, by a too thin-skinned sensitiveness.
Those who knew him were inclined to say that he lacked strength of
character, and perhaps courage.
He had certainly engaged himself to marry this widow, and he was most
desirous to do what was right.