Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 2, Ch. 38

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"But I do;—I think a great deal about it. I don't know what to do, I don't;—I don't." Whereupon Charlie got up from her seat under the trees and began to move away slowly. Cheesacre thought about it for a moment or two. Should he follow her or should he not? He knew that he had better not follow her. He knew that she was bait with a very visible hook. He knew that he was a big fish for whom these two women were angling. But after all, perhaps it wouldn't do him much harm to be caught. So he got up and followed her. I don't suppose she meant to take the way towards the woods,—towards the little path leading to the old summer-house up in the trees. She was too much beside herself to know where she was going, no doubt. But that was the path she did take, and before long she and Cheesacre were in the summerhouse together. "Don't, Sam, don't! Somebody really will be coming. Well, then, there. Now I won't do it again." 'Twas thus she spoke when the last kiss was given on this occasion;—unless there may have been one or two later in the evening, to which it is not necessary more especially to allude here. But on the occasion of that last kiss in the summer-house Miss Fairstairs was perfectly justified by circumstances, for she was then the promised bride of Mr Cheesacre.

But how was he to get down again among his friends? That consideration troubled Mr Cheesacre as he rose from his happy seat after that last embrace. He had promised Charlie, and perhaps he would keep his promise, but it might be as well not to make it all too public at once. But Charlie wasn't going to be thrown over;—not if she knew it, as she said to herself. She returned therefore triumphantly among them all,—blushing indeed, and with her eyes turned away, and her hand now remained upon her lover's arm;—but still so close to him that there could be no mistake. "Goodness, gracious, Charlie! where have you and Mr Cheesacre been?" said Mrs Greenow. "We got up into the woods and lost ourselves," said Charlie. "Oh, indeed," said Mrs Greenow.

It would be too long to tell now, in these last pages of our story, how Cheesacre strove to escape, and with what skill Mrs Greenow kept him to his bargain. I hope that Charlie Fairstairs was duly grateful. Before that evening was over, under the comfortable influence of a glass of hot brandy-and-water,—the widow had, I think, herself mixed the second glass for Mr Cheesacre, before the influence became sufficiently comfortable,—he was forced to own that he had made himself the happy possessor of Charlie Fairstairs' heart and hand. "And you are a lucky man," said the widow with enthusiasm; "and I congratulate you with all my heart. Don't let there be any delay now, because a good thing can't be done too soon." And indeed, before that night was over, Mrs Greenow had the pair together in her own presence, and then fixed the day. "A fellow ought to be allowed to turn himself," Cheesacre said to her, pleading for himself in a whisper. But no; Mrs Greenow would give him no such mercy. She knew to what a man turning himself might probably lead. She was a woman who was quite in earnest when she went to work, and I hope that Miss Fairstairs was grateful. Then, in that presence, was in truth the last kiss given on that eventful evening. "Come, Charlie, be good-natured to him. He's as good as your own now," said the widow. And Charlie was good-natured. "It's to be as soon as ever we come back from our trip," said Mrs Greenow to Kate, the next day, "and I'm lending her money to get all her things at once. He shall come to the scratch, though I go all the way to Norfolk by myself and fetch him by his ears. He shall come, as sure as my name's Greenow,—or Bellfield, as it will be then, you know."

"And I shouldn't wonder if she did have to go to Norfolk," said Kate to her cousin. That event, however, cannot be absolutely concluded in these pages. I can only say that, when I think of Mrs Greenow's force of character and warmth of friendship, I feel that Miss Fairstairs' prospects stand on good ground.

Mrs Greenow's own marriage was completed with perfect success. She took Captain Bellfield for better or for worse, with a thorough determination to make the best of his worst, and to put him on his legs, if any such putting might be possible. He, at any rate, had been in luck. If any possible stroke of fortune could do him good, he had found that stroke. He had found a wife who could forgive all his past offences,—and also, if necessary, some future offences; who had money enough for all his wants, and kindness enough to gratify them, and who had, moreover,—which for the Captain was the most important,—strength enough to keep from him the power of ruining them both. Reader, let us wish a happy married life to Captain and Mrs Bellfield!

The day after the ceremony Alice Vavasor and Kate Vavasor started for Matching Priory.