Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 2, Ch. 26

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Chapter LXVI: Lady Monk's Plan 

On the night of Lady Monk's party, Burgo Fitzgerald disappeared; and when the guests were gone and the rooms were empty, his aunt inquired for him in vain. The old butler and factotum of the house, who was employed by Sir Cosmo to put out the lamps and to see that he was not robbed beyond a certain point on these occasions of his wife's triumphs, was interrogated by his mistress, and said that he thought Mr Burgo had left the house. Lady Monk herself knocked at her nephew's door, when she went up-stairs, ascending an additional flight of stairs with her weary old limbs in order that she might do so; she even opened the door and saw the careless debris of his toilet about the room. But he was gone. "Perhaps, after all, he has arranged it," she said to herself, as she went down to her own room.

But Burgo, as we know, had not "arranged it." It may be remembered that when Mr Palliser came back to his wife in the supper-room at Lady Monk's, bringing with him the scarf which Lady Glencora had left up-stairs, Burgo was no longer with her. He had become well aware that he had no chance left, at any rate for that night. The poor fool, acting upon his aunt's implied advice rather than his own hopes, had secured a post-chaise, and stationed it in Bruton Street, some five minutes' walk from his aunt's house. And he had purchased feminine wrappings, cloaks, &c.—things that he thought might be necessary for his companion. He had, too, ordered rooms at the new hotel near the Dover Station,—the London Bridge Station,—from whence was to start on the following morning a train to catch the tidal boat for Boulogne. There was a dressing-bag there for which he had paid twenty-five guineas out of his aunt's money, not having been able to induce the tradesman to grant it to him on credit; and there were other things,—slippers, collars, stockings, handkerchiefs, and what else might, as he thought, under such circumstances be most necessary. Poor thoughtful, thoughtless fool!

The butler was right. He did leave the house. He saw Lady Glencora taken to her carriage from some back hiding-place in the hall, and then slipped out, unmindful of his shining boots, and dress coat and jewelled studs. He took a Gibus hat,—his own, or that of some other unfortunate,—and slowly made his way down to the place in Bruton Street. There was the carriage and pair of horses, all in readiness; and the driver, when he had placed himself by the door of the vehicle, was not long in emerging from the neighbouring public-house. "All ready, your honour," said the man. "I shan't want you to-night," said Burgo, hoarsely;—"go away." "And about the things, your honour?" "Take them to the devil. No; stop. Take them back with you, and ask somebody to keep them till I send for them. I shall want them and another carriage in a day or two." Then he gave the man half a sovereign, and went away, not looking at the little treasures which he had spent so much of his money in selecting for his love. When he was gone, the waterman and the driver turned them over with careful hands and gloating eyes. "It's a 'eiress, I'll go bail," said the waterman. "Pretty dear! I suppose her parints was too many for her," said the driver. But neither of them imagined the enormity which the hirer of the chaise had in truth contemplated.

Burgo from thence took his way back into Grosvenor Square, and from thence down Park Street, and through a narrow passage and a mews which there are in those parts, into Park Lane. He had now passed the position of Mr Palliser's house, having come out on Park Lane at a spot nearer to Piccadilly; but he retraced his steps, walking along by the rails of the Park, till he found himself opposite to the house. Then he stood there, leaning back upon the railings, and looking up at Lady Glencora's windows. What did he expect to see? Or was he, in truth, moved by love of that kind which can take joy in watching the slightest shadow that is made by the one loved object,—that may be made by her, or, by some violent conjecture of the mind, may be supposed to have been so made? Such love as that is, I think, always innocent. Burgo Fitzgerald did not love like that. I almost doubt whether he can be said to have loved at all. There was in his breast a mixed, feverish desire, which he took no trouble to analyse. He wanted money. He wanted the thing of which this Palliser had robbed him. He wanted revenge,—though his desire for that was not a burning desire. And among other things, he wanted the woman's beauty of the woman whom he coveted. He wanted to kiss her again as he had once kissed her, and to feel that she was soft, and lovely, and loving for him. But as for seeing her shadow, unless its movement indicated some purpose in his favour,—I do not think that he cared much about that.