Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 1, Ch. 25

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Chapter XXV: In Which Much of the History of the Pallisers Is Told 

At the end of ten days Alice found herself quite comfortable at Matching Priory. She had now promised to remain there till the second week of December, at which time she was to go to Vavasor Hall,—there to meet her father and Kate. The Pallisers were to pass their Christmas with the Duke of Omnium in Barsetshire. "We always are to do that," said Glencora. "It is the state occasion at Gatherum Castle, but it only lasts for one week. Then we go somewhere else. Oh dear!"

"Why do you say 'oh dear'?"

"Because—; I don't think I mean to tell you."

"Then I'm sure I won't ask."

"That's so like you, Alice. But I can be as firm as you, and I'm sure I won't tell you unless you do ask." But Alice did not ask, and it was not long before Lady Glencora's firmness gave way.

But, as I have said, Alice had become quite comfortable at Matching Priory. Perhaps she was already growing upwards towards the light. At any rate she could listen with pleasure to the few words the Duke would say to her. She could even chat a little to the Duchess,—so that her Grace had observed to Lady Glencora that "her cousin was a very nice person,—a very nice person indeed. What a pity it was that she had been so ill-treated by that gentleman in Oxfordshire!" Lady Glencora had to explain that the gentleman lived in Cambridgeshire, and that he, at any rate, had not treated anybody ill. "Do you mean that she—jilted him?" said the Duchess, almost whistling, and opening her eyes very wide. "Dear me, I'm sorry for that. I shouldn't have thought it." And when she next spoke to Alice she assumed rather a severe tone of emphasis;—but this was soon abandoned when Alice listened to her with complacency.

Alice also had learned to ride,—or rather had resumed her riding, which for years had been abandoned. Jeffrey Palliser had been her squire, and she had become intimate with him so as to learn to quarrel with him and to like him,—to such an extent that Lady Glencora had laughingly told her that she was going to do more.

"I rather think not," said Alice.

"But what has thinking to do with it? Who ever thinks about it?"

"I don't just at present,—at any rate."

"Upon my word it would be very nice;—and then perhaps some day you'd be the Duchess."

"Glencora, don't talk such nonsense."

"Those are the speculations which people make. Only I should spite you by killing myself, so that he might marry again."

"How can you say such horrid things?"

"I think I shall,—some day. What right have I to stand in his way? He spoke to me the other day about Jeffrey's altered position, and I knew what he meant;—or rather what he didn't mean to say, but what he thought. But I shan't kill myself."

"I should think not."

"I only know one other way," said Lady Glencora.

"You are thinking of things which should never be in your thoughts," said Alice vehemently. "Have you no trust in God's providence? Cannot you accept what has been done for you?"

Mr Bott had gone away, much to Lady Glencora's delight, but had unfortunately come back again. On his return Alice heard more of the feud between the Duchess and Mrs Conway Sparkes. "I did not tell you," said Lady Glencora to her friend;—"I did not tell you before he went that I was right about his tale-bearing."

"And did he bear tales?"