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

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Chapter LII: What Occurred in Suffolk Street, Pall Mall 

Mr Tombe had gained nothing for the cause by his crafty silence. George Vavasor felt perfectly certain, as he walked out from the little street which runs at the back of Doctors' Commons, that the money which he had been using had come, in some shape, through the hands of John Grey. He did not care much to calculate whether the payments had been made from the personal funds of his rival, or whether that rival had been employed to dispense Alice's fortune. Under either view of the case his position was sufficiently bitter. The truth never for a moment occurred to him. He never dreamed that there might be a conspiracy in the matter, of which Alice was as ignorant as he himself had been. He never reflected that his uncle John, together with John, the lover, whom he so hated, might be the conspirators. To him it seemed to be certain that Alice and Mr Grey were in league;—and if they were in league, what must he think of Alice, and of her engagement with himself!

There are men who rarely think well of women,—who hardly think well of any woman. They put their mothers and sisters into the background,—as though they belonged to some sex or race apart,—and then declare to themselves and to their friends that all women are false,—that no woman can be trusted unless her ugliness protect her; and that every woman may be attacked as fairly as may game in a cover, or deer on a mountain, What man does not know men who have so thought? I cannot say that such had been Vavasor's creed,—not entirely such. There had been periods of his life when he had believed implicitly in his cousin Alice;—but then there had been other moments in which he had ridiculed himself for his Quixotism in believing in any woman. And as he had grown older the moments of his Quixotism had become more rare. There would have been no such Quixotism left with him now, had not the various circumstances which I have attempted to describe, filled him, during the last twelve months, with a renewed desire to marry his cousin. Every man tries to believe in the honesty of his future wife; and, therefore, Vavasor had tried, and had in his way, believed. He had flattered himself, too, that Alice's heart had, in truth, been more prone to him than to that other suitor. Grey, as he thought, had been accepted by her cold prudence; but he thought, also, that she had found her prudence to be too cold, and had therefore returned where she had truly loved. Vavasor, though he did not love much himself, was willing enough to be the object of love.

This idea of his, however, had been greatly shaken by Alice's treatment of himself personally; but still he had not, hitherto, believed that she was false to him. Now, what could he believe of her? What was there within the compass of such a one to believe? As he walked out into St Paul's Churchyard he called her by every name which is most offensive to a woman's ears. He hated her at this moment with even a more bitter hatred than that which he felt towards John Grey. She must have deceived him with unparalleled hypocrisy, and lied to him and to his sister Kate as hardly any woman had ever lied before. Or could it be that Kate, also, was lying to him? If so, Kate also should be included in the punishment.

But why should they have conspired to feed him with these moneys? There had been no deceit, at any rate, in reference to the pounds sterling which Scruby had already swallowed. They had been supplied, whatever had been the motives of the suppliers; and he had no doubt that more would be supplied if he would only keep himself quiet. He was still walking westward as he thought of this, down Ludgate Hill, on his direct line towards Suffolk Street; and he tried to persuade himself that it would be well that he should hide his wrath till after provision should have been made for this other election. They were his enemies,—Alice and Mr Grey,—and why should he keep any terms with his enemies? It was still a trouble to him to think that he should have been in any way beholden to John Grey; but the terrible thing had been done, the evil had occurred. What would he gain by staying his hand now? Still, however, he walked on quickly along Fleet Street, and along the Strand, and was already crossing under the Picture Galleries towards Pall Mall East before he had definitely decided what steps he would take on this very day. Exactly at the corner of Suffolk Street he met John Grey.