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Alice, or the Mysteries — Book 09 by Baron Edward Bulwer Lytton Lytton
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BOOK IX.

"Woe, woe: all things are clear."--SOPHOCLES: OEd. Tyr. 754.



CHAPTER I.

THE privilege that statesmen ever claim,
Who private interest never yet pursued,
But still pretended 'twas for others' good.
. . . . . .
From hence on every humorous wind that veered
With shifted sails a several course you steered.
_Absalom and Achitophel_, Part ii.

LORD VARGRAVE had for more than a fortnight remained at the inn at
M-----, too ill to be removed with safety in a season so severe. Even
when at last, by easy stages, he reached London, he was subjected to a
relapse; and his recovery was slow and gradual. Hitherto unused to
sickness, he bore his confinement with extreme impatience; and against
the commands of his physician insisted on continuing to transact his
official business, and consult with his political friends in his
sick-room; for Lumley knew well, that it is most pernicious to public men
to be considered failing in health,--turkeys are not more unfeeling to a
sick brother than politicians to an ailing statesman; they give out that
his head is touched, and see paralysis and epilepsy in every speech and
every despatch. The time, too, nearly ripe for his great schemes, made
it doubly necessary that he should exert himself, and prevent being
shelved with a plausible excuse of tender compassion for his infirmities.