Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 1, Ch. 37

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In the afternoon her father came to her, and it may be as well to explain that Mr Grey had seen him again that day. Mr Grey, when he left Queen Anne Street, had gone to his lawyer, and from thence had made his way to Mr Vavasor. It was between five and six when Mr Vavasor came back to his house, and he then found his daughter sitting over the drawing-room fire, without lights, in the gloom of the evening. Mr Vavasor had returned with Grey to the lawyer's chambers, and had from thence come direct to his own house. He had been startled at the precision with which all the circumstances of his daughter's position had been explained to a mild-eyed old gentleman, with a bald head, who carried on his business in a narrow, dark, clean street, behind Doctors' Commons. Mr Tombe was his name. "No;" Mr Grey had said, when Mr Vavasor had asked as to the peculiar nature of Mr Tombe's business; "he is not specially an ecclesiastical lawyer. He had a partner at Ely, and was always employed by my father, and by most of the clergy there." Mr Tombe had evinced no surprise, no dismay, and certainly no mock delicacy, when the whole affair was under discussion. George Vavasor was to get present moneys, but,—if it could be so arranged—from John Grey's stores rather than from those belonging to Alice. Mr Tombe could probably arrange that with Mr Vavasor's lawyer, who would no doubt be able to make difficulty as to raising ready money. Mr Tombe would be able to raise ready money without difficulty. And then, at last, George Vavasor was to be made to surrender his bride, taking or having taken the price of his bargain. John Vavasor sat by in silence as the arrangement was being made, not knowing how to speak. He had no money with which to give assistance. "I wish you to understand from the lady's father," Grey said to the lawyer, "that the marriage would be regarded by him with as much dismay as by myself."

"Certainly;—it would be ruinous," Mr Vavasor had answered.

"And you see, Mr Tombe," Mr Grey went on, "we only wish to try the man. If he be not such as we believe him to be, he can prove it by his conduct. If he is worthy of her, he can then take her."

"You merely wish to open her eyes, Mr Grey," said the mild-eyed lawyer.

"I wish that he should have what money he wants, and then we shall find what it is he really wishes."

"Yes; we shall know our man," said the lawyer. "He shall have the money, Mr Grey," and so the interview had been ended.

Mr Vavasor, when he entered the drawing-room, addressed his daughter in a cheery voice. "What; all in the dark?"

"Yes, papa. Why should I have candles when I am doing nothing? I did not expect you."

"No; I suppose not. I came here because I want to say a few words to you about business."

"What business, papa?" Alice well understood the tone of her father's voice. He was desirous of propitiating her; but was at the same time desirous of carrying some point in which he thought it probable that she would oppose him.

"Well; my love, if I understood you rightly, your cousin George wants some money."

"I did not say that he wants it now; but I think he will want it before the time for the election comes."

"If so, he will want it at once. He has not asked you for it yet?"

"No; he has merely said that should he be in need he would take me at my word."

"I think there is no doubt that he wants it. Indeed, I believe that he is almost entirely without present means of his own."