Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 1, Ch. 19

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Captain Bellfield was also at Norwich, having obtained some quasi-military employment there in the matter of drilling volunteers. Certain capacities in that line it may be supposed that he possessed, and, as his friend Cheesacre said of him, he was going to earn an honest penny once in his life. The Captain and Mr Cheesacre had made up any little differences that had existed between them at Yarmouth, and were close allies again when they left that place. Some little compact on matters of business must have been arranged between them,—for the Captain was in funds again. He was in funds again through the liberality of his friend,—and no payment of former loans had been made, nor had there been any speech of such. Mr Cheesacre had drawn his purse-strings liberally, and had declared that if all went well the hospitality of Oileymead should not be wanting during the winter. Captain Bellfield had nodded his head and declared that all should go well.

"You won't see much of the Captain, I suppose," said Mr Cheesacre to Mrs Greenow on the morning of the day after her arrival at Norwich. He had come across the whole way from Oileymead to ask her if she found herself comfortable,—and perhaps with an eye to the Norwich markets at the same time. He now wore a pair of black riding boots over his trousers, and a round topped hat, and looked much more at home than he had done by the seaside.

"Not much, I dare say," said the widow. "He tells me that he must be on duty ten or twelve hours a day. Poor fellow!"

"It's a deuced good thing for him, and he ought to be very much obliged to me for putting him in the way of getting it. But he told me to tell you that if he didn't call, you were not to be angry with him."

"Oh, no;—I shall remember, of course."

"You see, if he don't work now he must come to grief. He hasn't got a shilling that he can call his own."

"Hasn't he really?"

"Not a shilling, Mrs Greenow;—and then he's awfully in debt. He isn't a bad fellow, you know, only there's no trusting him for anything." Then after a few further inquiries that were almost tender, and a promise of further supplies from the dairy, Mr Cheesacre took his leave, almost forgetting to ask after Miss Vavasor.

But as he left the house he had a word to say to Jeannette. "He hasn't been here, has he, Jenny?" "We haven't seen a sight of him yet, sir,—and I have thought it a little odd." Then Mr Cheesacre gave the girl half-a-crown, and went his way. Jeannette, I think, must have forgotten that the Captain had looked in after leaving his military duties on the preceding evening.

The Captain's ten or twelve hours of daily work was performed, no doubt, at irregular intervals,—some days late and some days early,—for he might be seen about Norwich almost at all times, during the early part of that November;—and he might be very often seen going into the Close. In Norwich there are two weekly market-days, but on those days the Captain was no doubt kept more entirely to his military employment, for at such times he never was seen near the Close. Now Mr Cheesacre's visits to the town were generally made on market-days, and so it happened that they did not meet. On such occasions Mr Cheesacre always was driven to Mrs Greenow's door in a cab,—for he would come into town by railway,—and he would deposit a basket bearing the rich produce of his dairy. It was in vain that Mrs Greenow protested against these gifts,—for she did protest and declared that if they were continued, they would be sent back. They were, however, continued, and Mrs Greenow was at her wits' end about them. Cheesacre would not come up with them; but leaving them, would go about his business, and would return to see the ladies. On such occasions he would be very particular in getting his basket from Jeannette. As he did so he would generally ask some question about the Captain, and Jeannette would give him answers confidentially,—so that there was a strong friendship between these two.

"What am I to do about it?" said Mrs Greenow, as Kate came into the sitting-room one morning, and saw on the table a small hamper lined with a clean cloth. "It's as much as Jeannette has been able to carry."

"So it is, ma'am,—quite; and I'm strong in the arm, too, ma'am."