Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 2, Ch. 16

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Chapter LVI: Another Walk on the Fells 

George when he left the room in which he had insulted the lawyer, went immediately across to the parlour in which his aunt and sister were sitting. "Kate," said he, "put on your hat and come and walk with me. That business is over." Kate's hat and shawl were in the room, and they were out of the house together within a minute.

They walked down the carriage-road, through the desolate, untenanted grounds, to the gate, before either of them spoke a word. Kate was waiting for George to tell her of the will, but did not dare to ask any question. George intended to tell her of the will, but was not disposed to do so without some preparation. It was a thing not to be spoken of open-mouthed, as a piece of ordinary news. "Which way shall we go?" said Kate, as soon as they had passed through the old rickety gate, which swung at the entrance of the place. "Up across the fell," said George; "the day is fine, and I want to get away from my uncle for a time." She turned round, therefore, outside the hill of firs, and led the way back to the beacon wood through which she and Alice had walked across to Haweswater upon a memorable occasion. They had reached the top of the beacon hill, and were out upon the Fell, before George had begun his story. Kate was half beside herself with curiosity, but still she was afraid to ask. "Well," said George, when they paused a moment as they stepped over a plank that crossed the boundary ditch of the wood: "don't you want to know what that dear old man has done for you?" Then he looked into her face very steadfastly. "But perhaps you know already," he added. He had come out determined not to quarrel with his sister. He had resolved, in that moment of thought which had been allowed to him, that his best hope for the present required that he should keep himself on good terms with her, at any rate till he had settled what line of conduct he would pursue. But he was, in truth, so sore with anger and disappointment,—he had become so nearly mad with that continued, unappeased wrath in which he now indulged against all the world, that he could not refrain himself from bitter words. He was as one driven by the Furies, and was no longer able to control them in their driving of him.

"I know nothing of it," said Kate. "Had I known I should have told you. Your question is unjust to me."

"I am beginning to doubt," said he, "whether a man can be safe in trusting any one. My grandfather has done his best to rob me of the property altogether."

"I told you that I feared he would do so."

"And he has made you his heir."


"Yes; you."

"He told me distinctly that he would not do that."

"But he has, I tell you."

"Then, George, I shall do that which I told him I should do in the event of his making such a will; for he asked me the question. I told him I should restore the estate to you, and upon that he swore that he would not leave it to me."

"And what a fool you were," said he, stopping her in the pathway. "What an ass! Why did you tell him that? You knew that he would not, on that account, do justice to me."

"He asked me, George."

"Psha! now you have ruined me, and you might have saved me."