Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 1, Ch. 6

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Chapter VI: The Bridge over the Rhine 

"George," said Kate, speaking before she quite got up to them, "will you tell me whether you have been preparing all your things for an open sale by auction?" Then she stole a look at Alice, and having learned from that glance that something had occurred which prevented Alice from joining her in her raillery, she went on with it herself rapidly, as though to cover Alice's confusion, and give her time to rally before they should all move. "Would you believe it? he had three razors laid out on his table—"

"A man must shave,—even at Basle."

"But not with three razors at once; and three hair-brushes, and half a dozen toothbrushes, and a small collection of combs, and four or five little glass bottles, looking as though they contained poison,—all with silver tops. I can only suppose you desired to startle the weak mind of the chambermaid. I have put them all up; but remember this, if they are taken out again you are responsible. And I will not put up your boots, George. What can you have wanted with three pairs of boots at Basle?"

"When you have completed the list of my wardrobe we'll go out upon the bridge. That is, if Alice likes it."

"Oh, yes; I shall like it."

"Come along then," said Kate. And so they moved away. When they got upon the bridge Alice and Kate were together, while George strolled behind them, close to them, but not taking any part in their conversation,—as though he had merely gone with them as an escort. Kate seemed to be perfectly content with this arrangement, chattering to Alice, so that she might show that there was nothing serious on the minds of any of them. It need hardly be said that Alice at this time made no appeal to George to join them. He followed them at their heels, with his hands behind his back, looking down upon the pavement and simply waiting upon their pleasure.

"Do you know," said Kate, "I have a very great mind to run away."

"Where do you want to run to?"

"Well;—that wouldn't much signify. Perhaps I'd go to the little inn at Handek. It's a lonely place, where nobody would hear of me,—and I should have the waterfall. I'm afraid they'd want to have their bill paid. That would be the worst of it."

"But why run away just now?"

"I won't, because you wouldn't like going home with George alone,—and I suppose he'd be bound to look after me, as he's doing now. I wonder what he thinks of having to walk over the bridge after us girls. I suppose he'd be in that place down there drinking beer, if we weren't here."

"If he wanted to go, I dare say he would, in spite of us."

"That's ungrateful of you, for I'm sure we've never been kept in a moment by his failing us. But as I was saying, I do dread going home. You are going to John Grey, which may be pleasant enough; but I'm going—to Aunt Greenow."

"It's your own choice."

"No, it's not. I haven't any choice in the matter. Of course I might refuse to speak to Aunt Greenow, and nobody could make me;—but practically I haven't any choice in the matter. Fancy a month at Yarmouth with no companion but such a woman as that!"

"I shouldn't mind it. Aunt Greenow always seems to me to be a very good sort of woman."

"She may be a good woman, but I must say I think she's of a bad sort. You've never heard her talk about her husband?"

"No, never; I think she did cry a little the first day she came to Queen Anne Street, but that wasn't unnatural."

"He was thirty years older than herself."