Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 1, Ch. 28

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Chapter XXVIII: Alice Leaves the Priory 

As they came in at the billiard-room door, Mr Palliser was there to meet them. "You must be very cold," he said to Glencora, who entered first. "No, indeed," said Glencora;—but her teeth were chattering, and her whole appearance gave the lie to her words. "Jeffrey," said Mr Palliser, turning to his cousin, "I am angry with you. You, at least, should have known better than to have allowed her to remain so long." Then Mr Palliser turned away, and walked his wife off, taking no notice whatsoever of Miss Vavasor.

Alice felt the slight, and understood it all. He had told her plainly enough, though not in words, that he had trusted his wife with her, and that she had betrayed the trust. She might have brought Glencora in within five or six minutes, instead of allowing her to remain out there in the freezing night air for nearly three-quarters of an hour. That was the accusation which Mr Palliser made against her, and he made it with the utmost severity. He asked no question of her whether she were cold. He spoke no word to her, nor did he even look at her. She might get herself away to her bedroom as she pleased. Alice understood all this completely, and though she knew that she had not deserved such severity, she was not inclined to resent it. There was so much in Mr Palliser's position that was to be pitied, that Alice could not find it in her heart to be angry with him.

"He is provoked with us, now," said Jeffrey Palliser, standing with her for a moment in the billiard-room, as he handed her a candle.

"He is afraid that she will have caught cold."

"Yes; and he thinks it wrong that she should remain out at night so long. You can easily understand, Miss Vavasor, that he has not much sympathy for romance."

"I dare say he is right," said Alice, not exactly knowing what to say, and not being able to forget what had been said about herself and Jeffrey Palliser when they first left the house. "Romance usually means nonsense, I believe."

"That is not Glencora's doctrine."

"No; but she is younger than I am. My feet are very cold, Mr Palliser, and I think I will go up to my room."

"Good night," said Jeffrey, offering her his hand. "I think it so hard that you should have incurred his displeasure."

"It will not hurt me," said Alice, smiling.

"No;—but he does not forget."

"Even that will not hurt me. Good night, Mr Palliser."

"As it is the last night, may I say good night, Alice? I shall be away to-morrow before you are up."

He still held her hand; but it had not been in his for half a minute, and she had thought nothing of that, nor did she draw it away even now suddenly. "No," said she, "Glencora was very wrong there,—doing an injury without meaning it to both of us. There can be no possible reason why you should call me otherwise than is customary."

"Can there never be a reason?"

"No, Mr Palliser. Good night;—and if I am not to see you to-morrow morning, good-bye."

"You will certainly not see me to-morrow morning."

"Good-bye. Had it not been for this folly of Glencora's, our acquaintance would have been very pleasant."

"To me it has been very pleasant. Good night."