Anthony Trollope.

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E-text prepared by Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D.

Editorial note:

_Can You Forgive Her?_ was first published in monthly
installments (one shilling each) in 1864-1865. The first
book edition was published by Chapman and Hall in two
volumes (Volume I in 1864 and Volume II in 1865).

Volume I was illustrated by Hablôt Knight Browne, better
known as "Phiz" and a favorite of Dickens. Trollope was
not pleased with Browne's work, and the illustrations for
Volume II were drawn by a Miss E. Taylor of St. Leonards.
These original illustrations are referred to in this text
file version of the e-book and can be seen by the reader
by viewing the HTML version. See 19500-h.htm or




Author of "Orley Farm," "Doctor Thorne," "Framley Parsonage," etc.

With Illustrations.

In Two Volumes

[Illustration: The Balcony at Basle. (Frontispiece)]


Volume I.

I. Mr. Vavasor and His Daughter.
II. Lady Macleod.
III. John Grey, the Worthy Man.
IV. George Vavasor, the Wild Man.
V. The Balcony at Basle.
VI. The Bridge over the Rhine.
VII. Aunt Greenow.
VIII. Mr. Cheesacre.
IX. The Rivals.
X. Nethercoats.
XI. John Grey Goes to London.
XII. Mr. George Vavasor at Home.
XIII. Mr. Grimes Gets His Odd Money.
XIV. Alice Vavasor Becomes Troubled.
XV. Paramount Crescent.
XVI. The Roebury Club.
XVII. Edgehill.
XVIII. Alice Vavasor's Great Relations.
XIX. Tribute from Oileymead.
XX. Which Shall It Be?
XXI. Alice Is Taught to Grow Upwards, Towards the Light.
XXII. Dandy and Flirt.
XXIII. Dinner at Matching Priory.
XXIV. Three Politicians.
XXV. In Which Much of the History of the Pallisers Is Told.
XXVI. Lady Midlothian.
XXVII. The Priory Ruins.
XXVIII. Alice Leaves the Priory.
XXIX. Burgo Fitzgerald.
XXX. Containing a Love Letter.
XXXI. Among the Fells.
XXXII. Containing an Answer to the Love Letter.
XXXIII. Monkshade.
XXXIV. Mr. Vavasor Speaks to His Daughter.
XXXV. Passion versus Prudence.
XXXVI. John Grey Goes a Second Time to London.
XXXVII. Mr. Tombe's Advice.
XXXVIII. The Inn at Shap.
XXXIX. Mr. Cheesacre's Hospitality.
XL. Mrs. Greenow's Little Dinner in the Close.
XLI. A Noble Lord Dies.
XLII. Parliament Meets.
XLIII. Mrs. Marsham.
XLIV. The Election for the Chelsea Districts.
XLV. George Vavasor Takes His Seat.
XLVI. A Love Gift.
XLVII. Mr. Cheesacre's Disappointment.
XLVIII. Preparations for Lady Monk's Party.
XLIX. How Lady Glencora Went to Lady Monk's Party.
L. How Lady Glencora Came Back from Lady Monk's Party.

Volume II.

LI. Bold Speculations on Murder.
LII. What Occurred in Suffolk Street, Pall Mall.
LIII. The Last Will of the Old Squire.
LIV. Showing How Alice Was Punished.
LV. The Will.
LVI. Another Walk on the Fells.
LVII. Showing How the Wild Beast Got Himself Back from the
LVIII. The Pallisers at Breakfast.
LIX. The Duke of St. Bungay in Search of a Minister.
LX. Alice Vavasor's Name Gets into the Money Market.
LXI. The Bills Are Made All Right.
LXII. Going Abroad.
LXIII. Mr. John Grey in Queen Anne Street.
LXIV. The Rocks and Valleys.
LXV. The First Kiss.
LXVI. Lady Monk's Plan.
LXVII. The Last Kiss.
LXVIII. From London to Baden.
LXIX. From Baden to Lucerne.
LXX. At Lucerne.
LXXI. Showing How George Vavasor Received a Visit.
LXXII. Showing How George Vavasor Paid a Visit.
LXXIII. In Which Come Tidings of Great Moment to All Pallisers.
LXXIV. Showing What Happened in the Churchyard.
LXXV. Rouge et Noir.
LXXVI. The Landlord's Bill.
LXXVII. The Travellers Return Home.
LXXVIII. Mr. Cheesacre's Fate.
LXXIX. Diamonds Are Diamonds.
LXXX. The Story Is Finished Within the Halls of the Duke of


Volume I.

The Balcony at Basle. Frontispiece.
"Would you mind shutting the window?" Chapter II.
"Sometimes you drive me too hard." Chapter III.
"Peace be to his manes." Chapter VII.
Captain Bellfield proposes a toast. Chapter IX.
"If it were your friend, what advice
would you give her?" Chapter XI.
"I'm as round as your hat, and as square
as your elbow; I am." Chapter XIII.
"Mrs. Greenow, look at that." Chapter XIV.
Edgehill. Chapter XVII.
"Arabella Greenow, will you be that woman?" Chapter XX.
"Baker, you must put Dandy in the bar." Chapter XXII.
"Mr. Palliser, that was a cannon." Chapter XXIII.
"The most self-willed young woman I ever
met in my life." Chapter XXVI.
The Priory Ruins. Chapter XXVII.
Burgo Fitzgerald. Chapter XXIX.
Swindale Fell. Chapter XXXI.
"I have heard," said Burgo. Chapter XXXIII.
"Then - then, - then let her come to me." Chapter XXXVI.
"So you've come back, have you?" said
the Squire. Chapter XXXVIII.
"Dear Greenow; dear husband!" Chapter XL.

Volume II.

Great Jove. Chapter XLII.
"Friendships will not come by ordering,"
said Lady Glencora. Chapter XLII.
"I asked you for a kiss." Chapter XLVI.
Mr. Cheesacre disturbed. Chapter XLVII.
"All right," said Burgo, as he thrust the
money into his breast-pocket. Chapter XLIX.
Mr. Bott on the watch. Chapter L.
The last of the old squire. Chapter LIII.
Kate. Chapter LVI.
Lady Glencora.
"Before God, my first wish is to free you
from the misfortune that I have brought
on you." Chapter LVIII.
She managed to carry herself with some
dignity. Chapter LXIII.
A sniff of the rocks and valleys. Chapter LXIV.
"I wonder when you're going to pay me what
you owe me, Lieutenant Bellfield?" Chapter LXV.
Lady Glencora at Baden. Chapter LXVIII.
Alice. Chapter LXX.
"Oh! George," she said, "you won't do
that?" Chapter LXXI.
"How am I to thank you for forgiving me?" Chapter LXXV.
"Good night, Mr. Palliser." Chapter LXXVI.
Alice and her bridesmaids. Chapter LXXIX.
"Yes, my bonny boy, - you have made it
all right for me." Chapter LXXX.



Mr. Vavasor and His Daughter.

Whether or no, she, whom you are to forgive, if you can, did or did
not belong to the Upper Ten Thousand of this our English world, I am
not prepared to say with any strength of affirmation. By blood she
was connected with big people, - distantly connected with some very
big people indeed, people who belonged to the Upper Ten Hundred if
there be any such division; but of these very big relations she had
known and seen little, and they had cared as little for her. Her
grandfather, Squire Vavasor of Vavasor Hall, in Westmoreland, was a
country gentleman, possessing some thousand a year at the outside,
and he therefore never came up to London, and had no ambition to have
himself numbered as one in any exclusive set. A hot-headed, ignorant,
honest old gentleman, he lived ever at Vavasor Hall, declaring to any
who would listen to him, that the country was going to the mischief,
and congratulating himself that at any rate, in his county,
parliamentary reform had been powerless to alter the old political
arrangements. Alice Vavasor, whose offence against the world I am to
tell you, and if possible to excuse, was the daughter of his younger
son; and as her father, John Vavasor, had done nothing to raise
the family name to eminence, Alice could not lay claim to any high
position from her birth as a Vavasor. John Vavasor had come up to
London early in life as a barrister, and had failed. He had failed at
least in attaining either much wealth or much repute, though he had
succeeded in earning, or perhaps I might better say, in obtaining,
a livelihood. He had married a lady somewhat older than himself,
who was in possession of four hundred a year, and who was related
to those big people to whom I have alluded. Who these were and the
special nature of the relationship, I shall be called upon to explain
hereafter, but at present it will suffice to say that Alice Macleod
gave great offence to all her friends by her marriage. She did not,
however, give them much time for the indulgence of their anger.
Having given birth to a daughter within twelve months of her
marriage, she died, leaving in abeyance that question as to whether
the fault of her marriage should or should not be pardoned by her

When a man marries an heiress for her money, if that money be within
her own control, as was the case with Miss Macleod's fortune, it is
generally well for the speculating lover that the lady's friends
should quarrel with him and with her. She is thereby driven to throw
herself entirely into the gentleman's arms, and he thus becomes
possessed of the wife and the money without the abominable nuisance
of stringent settlements. But the Macleods, though they quarrelled
with Alice, did not quarrel with her _à l'outrance_. They snubbed
herself and her chosen husband; but they did not so far separate
themselves from her and her affairs as to give up the charge of her
possessions. Her four hundred a year was settled very closely on
herself and on her children, without even a life interest having
been given to Mr. Vavasor, and therefore when she died the mother's
fortune became the property of the little baby. But, under these
circumstances, the big people did not refuse to interest themselves
to some extent on behalf of the father. I do not suppose that any
actual agreement or compact was made between Mr. Vavasor and the
Macleods; but it came to be understood between them that if he made
no demand upon them for his daughter's money, and allowed them to
have charge of her education, they would do something for him. He was
a practising barrister, though his practice had never amounted to
much; and a practising barrister is always supposed to be capable of
filling any situation which may come his way. Two years after his
wife's death Mr. Vavasor was appointed assistant commissioner in some
office which had to do with insolvents, and which was abolished three
years after his appointment. It was at first thought that he would
keep his eight hundred a year for life and be required to do nothing
for it; but a wretched cheeseparing Whig government, as John Vavasor
called it when describing the circumstances of the arrangement to his
father, down in Westmoreland, would not permit this; it gave him the
option of taking four hundred a year for doing nothing, or of keeping
his whole income and attending three days a week for three hours
a day during term time, at a miserable dingy little office near
Chancery Lane, where his duty would consist in signing his name to
accounts which he never read, and at which he was never supposed even
to look. He had sulkily elected to keep the money, and this signing
had been now for nearly twenty years the business of his life. Of
course he considered himself to be a very hardly-used man. One Lord
Chancellor after another he petitioned, begging that he might be
relieved from the cruelty of his position, and allowed to take his
salary without doing anything in return for it. The amount of work
which he did perform was certainly a minimum of labour. Term time, as
terms were counted in Mr. Vavasor's office, hardly comprised half the
year, and the hours of weekly attendance did not do more than make
one day's work a week for a working man; but Mr. Vavasor had been
appointed an assistant commissioner, and with every Lord Chancellor
he argued that all Westminster Hall, and Lincoln's Inn to boot, had
no right to call upon him to degrade himself by signing his name to
accounts. In answer to every memorial he was offered the alternative
of freedom with half his income; and so the thing went on.

There can, however, be no doubt that Mr. Vavasor was better off and
happier with his almost nominal employment than he would have been
without it. He always argued that it kept him in London; but he
would undoubtedly have lived in London with or without his official
occupation. He had become so habituated to London life in a small
way, before the choice of leaving London was open to him, that
nothing would have kept him long away from it. After his wife's death
he dined at his club every day on which a dinner was not given to him
by some friend elsewhere, and was rarely happy except when so dining.
They who have seen him scanning the steward's list of dishes, and
giving the necessary orders for his own and his friend's dinner, at
about half past four in the afternoon, have seen John Vavasor at
the only moment of the day at which he is ever much in earnest. All
other things are light and easy to him, - to be taken easily and to be
dismissed easily. Even the eating of the dinner calls forth from him
no special sign of energy. Sometimes a frown will gather on his brow
as he tastes the first half glass from his bottle of claret; but as
a rule that which he has prepared for himself with so much elaborate
care, is consumed with only pleasant enjoyment. Now and again it will
happen that the cook is treacherous even to him, and then he can hit
hard; but in hitting he is quiet, and strikes with a smile on his

Such had been Mr. Vavasor's pursuits and pleasures in life up to the
time at which my story commences. But I must not allow the reader to
suppose that he was a man without good qualities. Had he when young
possessed the gift of industry I think that he might have shone in
his profession, and have been well spoken of and esteemed in the
world. As it was he was a discontented man, but nevertheless he was
popular, and to some extent esteemed. He was liberal as far as his
means would permit; he was a man of his word; and he understood well
that code of by-laws which was presumed to constitute the character
of a gentleman in his circle. He knew how to carry himself well among
men, and understood thoroughly what might be said, and what might
not; what might be done among those with whom he lived, and what
should be left undone. By nature, too, he was kindly disposed, loving
many persons a little if he loved few or none passionately. Moreover,
at the age of fifty, he was a handsome man, with a fine forehead,
round which the hair and beard was only beginning to show itself to
be grey. He stood well, with a large person, only now beginning to
become corpulent. His eyes were bright and grey, and his mouth and
chin were sharply cut, and told of gentle birth. Most men who knew
John Vavasor well, declared it to be a pity that he should spend his
time in signing accounts in Chancery Lane.

I have said that Alice Vavasor's big relatives cared but little for
her in her early years; but I have also said that they were careful
to undertake the charge of her education, and I must explain away
this little discrepancy. The biggest of these big people had hardly
heard of her; but there was a certain Lady Macleod, not very big
herself, but, as it were, hanging on to the skirts of those who
were so, who cared very much for Alice. She was the widow of a Sir
Archibald Macleod, K.C.B., who had been a soldier, she herself having
also been a Macleod by birth; and for very many years past - from
a time previous to the birth of Alice Vavasor - she had lived at
Cheltenham, making short sojourns in London during the spring, when
the contents of her limited purse would admit of her doing so. Of
old Lady Macleod I think I may say that she was a good woman; - that
she was a good woman, though subject to two of the most serious
drawbacks to goodness which can afflict a lady. She was a Calvinistic
Sabbatarian in religion, and in worldly matters she was a devout
believer in the high rank of her noble relatives. She could almost
worship a youthful marquis, though he lived a life that would
disgrace a heathen among heathens; and she could and did, in her own
mind, condemn crowds of commonplace men and women to all eternal
torments of which her imagination could conceive, because they
listened to profane music in a park on Sunday. Yet she was a good
woman. Out of her small means she gave much away. She owed no man
anything. She strove to love her neighbours. She bore much pain with
calm unspeaking endurance, and she lived in trust of a better world.
Alice Vavasor, who was after all only her cousin, she loved with an
exceeding love, and yet Alice had done very much to extinguish such
love. Alice, in the years of her childhood, had been brought up by
Lady Macleod; at the age of twelve she had been sent to a school at
Aix-la-Chapelle, - a comitatus of her relatives having agreed that
such was to be her fate, much in opposition to Lady Macleod's
judgement; at nineteen she had returned to Cheltenham, and after
remaining there for little more than a year, had expressed her
unwillingness to remain longer with her cousin. She could sympathize
neither with her relative's faults or virtues. She made an
arrangement, therefore, with her father, that they two would keep
house together in London, and so they had lived for the last five
years; - for Alice Vavasor when she will be introduced to the reader
had already passed her twenty-fourth birthday.

Their mode of life had been singular and certainly not in all
respects satisfactory. Alice when she was twenty-one had the full
command of her own fortune; and when she induced her father, who for
the last fifteen years had lived in lodgings, to take a small house
in Queen Anne Street, of course she offered to incur a portion of
the expense. He had warned her that his habits were not those of a
domestic man, but he had been content simply so to warn her. He had
not felt it to be his duty to decline the arrangement because he knew
himself to be unable to give to his child all that attention which
a widowed father under such circumstances should pay to an only
daughter. The house had been taken, and Alice and he had lived
together, but their lives had been quite apart. For a short time, for
a month or two, he had striven to dine at home and even to remain at
home through the evening; but the work had been too hard for him and
he had utterly broken down. He had said to her and to himself that
his health would fail him under the effects of so great a change made
so late in life, and I am not sure that he had not spoken truly. At
any rate the effort had been abandoned, and Mr. Vavasor now never
dined at home. Nor did he and his daughter ever dine out together.
Their joint means did not admit of their giving dinners, and
therefore they could not make their joint way in the same circle. It
thus came to pass that they lived apart, - quite apart. They saw each
other, probably daily; but they did little more than see each other.
They did not even breakfast together, and after three o'clock in the
day Mr. Vavasor was never to be found in his own house.

Miss Vavasor had made for herself a certain footing in society,
though I am disposed to doubt her right to be considered as holding
a place among the Upper Ten Thousand. Two classes of people she had
chosen to avoid, having been driven to such avoidings by her aunt's
preferences; marquises and such-like, whether wicked or otherwise,
she had eschewed, and had eschewed likewise all Low Church
tendencies. The eschewing of marquises is not generally very
difficult. Young ladies living with their fathers on very moderate
incomes in or about Queen Anne Street are not usually much troubled
on that matter. Nor can I say that Miss Vavasor was so troubled. But
with her there was a certain definite thing to be done towards such
eschewal. Lady Macleod by no means avoided her noble relatives,
nor did she at all avoid Alice Vavasor. When in London she was
persevering in her visits to Queen Anne Street, though she considered
herself, nobody knew why, not to be on speaking terms with Mr.
Vavasor. And she strove hard to produce an intimacy between Alice
and her noble relatives - such an intimacy as that which she herself
enjoyed; - an intimacy which gave her a footing in their houses but no
footing in their hearts, or even in their habits. But all this Alice
declined with as much consistency as she did those other struggles
which her old cousin made on her behalf, - strong, never-flagging,
but ever-failing efforts to induce the girl to go to such places of
worship as Lady Macleod herself frequented.

A few words must be said as to Alice Vavasor's person; one fact
also must be told, and then, I believe, I may start upon my story.
As regards her character, I will leave it to be read in the story
itself. The reader already knows that she appears upon the scene at
no very early age, and the mode of her life had perhaps given to her
an appearance of more years than those which she really possessed. It
was not that her face was old, but that there was nothing that was
girlish in her manners. Her demeanour was as staid, and her voice
as self-possessed as though she had already been ten years married.
In person she was tall and well made, rather large in her neck and
shoulders, as were all the Vavasors, but by no means fat. Her hair
was brown, but very dark, and she wore it rather lower upon her
forehead than is customary at the present day. Her eyes, too, were
dark, though they were not black, and her complexion, though not
quite that of a brunette, was far away from being fair. Her nose was
somewhat broad, and _retroussé_ too, but to my thinking it was a
charming nose, full of character, and giving to her face at times a
look of pleasant humour, which it would otherwise have lacked. Her
mouth was large, and full of character, and her chin oval, dimpled,
and finely chiselled, like her father's. I beg you, in taking her for
all in all, to admit that she was a fine, handsome, high-spirited
young woman.

And now for my fact. At the time of which I am writing she was
already engaged to be married.


Lady Macleod.

I cannot say that the house in Queen Anne Street was a pleasant
house. I am now speaking of the material house, made up of the walls
and furniture, and not of any pleasantness or unpleasantness supplied
by the inmates. It was a small house on the south side of the street,
squeezed in between two large mansions which seemed to crush it,
and by which its fair proportion of doorstep and area was in truth
curtailed. The stairs were narrow; the dining-room was dark, and
possessed none of those appearances of plenteous hospitality which a
dining-room should have. But all this would have been as nothing if
the drawing-room had been pretty as it is the bounden duty of all
drawing-rooms to be. But Alice Vavasor's drawing-room was not pretty.
Her father had had the care of furnishing the house, and he had
intrusted the duty to a tradesman who had chosen green paper, a green
carpet, green curtains, and green damask chairs. There was a green
damask sofa, and two green arm-chairs opposite to each other at the
two sides of the fireplace. The room was altogether green, and was
not enticing. In shape it was nearly square, the very small back room
on the same floor not having been, as is usual, added to it. This had
been fitted up as a "study" for Mr. Vavasor, and was very rarely used

Online LibraryAnthony TrollopeCan you forgive her? → online text (page 1 of 70)