Anthony Trollope, Can You Forgive Her?: Vol. 2, Ch. 32

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Chapter LXXII: Showing How George Vavasor Paid a Visit 

It was nearly seven o'clock in the evening,—a hot, July evening,—when the woman went from Vavasor's room, and left him there alone. It was necessary that he should immediately do something. In the first place he must dine, unless he meant to carry out his threat, and shoot himself at once. But he had no such intention as that, although he stood for some minutes with the pistol in his hand. He was thinking then of shooting some one else. But he resolved that, if he did so at all, he would not do it on that evening, and he locked up the pistol again in the standing desk. After that, he took up some papers, referring to steam packets, which were lying on his table. They contained the programmes of different companies, and showed how one vessel went on one day to New York, and another on another day would take out a load of emigrants for New Zealand and Australia. "That's a good line," said he, as he read a certain prospectus. "They generally go to the bottom, and save a man from any further trouble on his own account." Then he dressed himself, putting on his boots and coat, and went out to his club for his dinner.

London was still fairly full,—that is to say, the West End was not deserted, although Parliament had been broken up two months earlier than usual, in preparation for the new elections. Many men who had gone down into the country were now back again in town, and the dining-room at the club was crowded. Men came up to him condoling with him, telling him that he was well rid of a great nuisance, that the present Members for the Chelsea Districts would not sit long, or that there would be another general election in a year or two. To all these little speeches he made cheerful replies, and was declared by his acquaintance to bear his disappointment well. Calder Jones came to him and talked hunting talk, and Vavasor expressed his intention of being at Roebury in November. "You had better join our club," said Calder Jones. In answer to which Vavasor said that he thought he would join the club. He remained in the smoking-room till nearly eleven; then he took himself home, and remained up half the night destroying papers. Every written document on which he could lay his hands he destroyed. All the pigeon-holes of his desk were emptied out, and their contents thrown into the flames. At first he looked at the papers before he burned them; but the trouble of doing so soon tired him, and he condemned them all, as he came to them, without examination. Then he selected a considerable amount of his clothes, and packed up two portmanteaus, folding his coats with care, and inspecting his boots narrowly, so that he might see which, out of the large number before him, it might be best worth his while to take with him. When that was done, he took from his desk a bag of sovereigns, and, pouring them out upon the table, he counted them out into parcels of twenty-five each, and made them up carefully into rouleaus with paper. These, when complete, he divided among the two portmanteaus and a dressing-bag which he also packed and a travelling desk, which he filled with papers, pens, and the like. But he put into it no written document. He carefully looked through his linen, and anything that had been marked with more than his initials he rejected. Then he took out a bundle of printed cards, and furnished a card-case with them. On these cards was inscribed the name of Gregory Vance. When all was finished, he stood for awhile with his back to the fireplace contemplating his work. "After all," he said to himself, "I know that I shall never start; and, if I do, nobody can hinder me, and my own name would be as good as any other. As for a man with such a face as mine not being known, that is out of the question." But still he liked the arrangements which he had made, and when he had looked at them for awhile he went to bed.