Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 2, Ch. 12

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Nor was Mr Grey much happier when he was left alone, than was his assailant. To give Vavasor his due, the memory of the affray itself did not long trouble him much. The success between the combatants had been nearly equal, and he had, at any rate, spoken his mind freely. His misery had come from other sources. But the reflection that he had been concerned in a row was in itself enough to make John Grey wretched for the time. Such a misfortune had never hitherto befallen him. In all his dealings with men words had been sufficient, and generally words of courtesy had sufficed. To have been personally engaged in a fighting scramble with such a man as George Vavasor was to him terrible. When ordering that his money might be expended with the possible object of saving Alice from her cousin, he had never felt a moment's regret; he had never thought that he was doing more than circumstances fairly demanded of him. But now he was almost driven to utter reproach. "Oh, Alice! that this thing should have come upon me through thy fault!"

When Vavasor was led away down stairs by the tailor, and Grey found that no more actual fighting would be required of him, he retired into his bedroom, that he might wash his mouth and free himself from the stains of the combat. He had heard the front door closed, and knew that the miscreant was gone,—the miscreant who had disturbed his quiet. Then he began to think what was the accusation with which Vavasor had charged him. He had been told that he had advanced money on behalf of Alice, in order that he might obtain some power over Alice's fortune, and thus revenge himself upon Alice for her treatment of him. Nothing could be more damnably false than this accusation. Of that he was well aware. But were not the circumstances of a nature to make it appear that the accusation was true? Security for the money advanced by him, of course, he had none;—of course he had desired none;—of course the money had been given out of his own pocket with the sole object of saving Alice, if that might be possible; but of all those who might hear of this affair, how many would know or even guess the truth?

While he was in this wretched state of mind, washing his mouth, and disturbing his spirit, Mr Jones, his landlord, came up to him. Mr Jones had known him for some years, and entertained a most profound respect for his character. A rather sporting man than otherwise was Mr Jones. His father had been a tradesman at Cambridge, and in this way Jones had become known to Mr Grey. But though given to sport, by which he meant modern prize-fighting and the Epsom course on the Derby day, Mr Jones was a man who dearly loved respectable customers and respectable lodgers. Mr Grey, with his property at Nethercoats, and his august manners, and his reputation at Cambridge, was a most respectable lodger, and Mr Jones could hardly understand how any one could presume to raise his hand against such a man.

"Dear, dear, sir—this is a terrible affair!" he said, as he made his way into the room.

"It was very disagreeable, certainly," said Grey.

"Was the gentleman known to you?" asked the tailor.

"Yes; I know who he is."

"Any quarrel, sir?"

"Well, yes. I should not have pushed him down stairs had he not quarrelled with me."

"We can have the police after him if you wish it, sir?"

"I don't wish it at all."

"Or we might manage to polish him off in any other way, you know."

It was some time before Mr Grey could get rid of the tailor, but he did so at last without having told any part of the story to that warlike, worthy, and very anxious individual.