Victorian Short Stories: Stories of Successful Marriages eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 107 pages of information about Victorian Short Stories.

’Yes; five or six shillings, at least.  And where will you leave the fly?  At the lodge gate?  The flyman would be sure to get into conversation with the lodge-keeper or his wife.  He’d tell them where he came from, and—­’

’Supposing you were to get a two-wheeled trap and drive me yourself; that would be nicer still.’

‘I’m so unlucky; someone would be sure to see me.’

The Major puffed at his pipe in silence.  Then he said, ’If you were to put on a thick veil, and we were to get out of the town by this end and make our way through the lanes—­it would be a long way round; but one hardly meets anyone that way, and the only danger would be going.  We should return in the dusk.  I don’t care how late you make it; my people won’t be home till nine or ten o’clock at night, perhaps later still.  There will be dancing, and they are sure to stay late.’

Finally the matter was decided, and about four o’clock the Major went to the livery stable to order the trap.  Mrs Shepherd and Nellie joined him soon after.  Turning from the pony, whose nose he was stroking, he said—­

’I hope you have brought a thick shawl; it will be cold coming back in the evening.’

’Yes, dear, here it is, and another for Nellie.  What do you think of this veil?’

’It will do very well.  I do hope these stablemen won’t talk; let’s go off at once.’  The Major lifted in the child, tucked the rug about them, and cried to the stableman to let go.  He drove very nervously, afraid at every moment lest the pony should bolt; and when the animal’s extreme docility assured him there was no such danger, he looked round right and left, expecting at every moment some friend to pounce down upon him.  But the ways were empty, the breeze that came across the fields was fresh and sweet, and they were all beginning to enjoy themselves, when he suddenly espied a carriage following in his wake.  He whipped up the pony, and contrived to distance his imaginary pursuer; and having succeeded, he praised his own driving, and at the cross-roads he said:  ’I dare not go any farther, but you can’t miss the lodge gate in that clump of trees—­the first white gate you come to.  Don’t ask any questions; it is ten to one you’ll find the gate open; walk straight through, and don’t forget to go through the beech-wood at the back of the house; the river runs right round the hill.  I want to know what you think of the view.  But pray don’t ask to see the house; there’s nothing to see; the housemaids would be sure to talk, and describe you to my sisters.  So now goodbye; hope you’ll enjoy yourself.  I shall have just time to get to Hambrook and back; I want to see my solicitor.  You’ll have seen everything in a couple of hours, so in a couple of hours I shall be waiting for you here.’

Part II

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Project Gutenberg
Victorian Short Stories: Stories of Successful Marriages from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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