’You might as well save your trouble, Stanbury; but you can come if you please, you know. If you should find yourself locked out, you won’t be angry. A hermit such as I am must assume privileges.’
‘I won’t be angry,’ said Hugh, good humouredly.
‘I can smell what you are come about,’ said Trevelyan. ’You and my wife want to take me away from here among you, and I think it best to stay here. I don’t want much for myself, and why should I not live here? My wife can remain at Siena if she pleases, or she can go to England if she pleases. She must give me the same liberty, the same liberty, the same liberty.’ After this he fell a-coughing violently, and Stanbury thought it better to leave him. He had been at Casalunga about two hours, and did not seem as yet to have done any good. He had been astonished both by Trevelyan’s weakness, and by his strength; by his folly, and by his sharpness. Hitherto he could see no way for his future sister-in-law out of her troubles.
When he was with her at Siena, he described what had taken place with all the accuracy in his power. ‘He has intermittent days,’ said Emily. ’To-morrow he will be in quite another frame of mind—melancholy, silent perhaps, and self-reproachful. We will both go tomorrow, and we shall find probably that he has forgotten altogether what has passed to-day between you and him.’
So their plans for the morrow were formed.
‘Say that you forgive me’
On the following day, again early in the morning, Mrs Trevelyan and Stanbury were driven out to Casalunga. The country people along the road knew the carriage well, and the lady who occupied it, and would say that the English wife was going to see her mad husband. Mrs Trevelyan knew that these words were common in the people’s mouths, and explained to her companion how necessary it would be to use these rumours, to aid her in putting some restraint over her husband even in this country, should they fail in their effort to take him to England. She saw the doctor in Siena constantly, and had learned from him how such steps might be taken. The measure proposed would be slow, difficult, inefficient, and very hard to set aside, if once taken, but still it might be indispensable that something should be done. ’He would be so much worse off here than he would be at home,’ she said, ’if we could only make him understand that it would be so.’ Then Stanbury asked about the wine. It seemed that of late Trevelyan had taken to drink freely, but only of the wine of the country. But the wine of the country in these parts is sufficiently stimulating, and Mrs Trevelyan acknowledged that hence had arisen a further cause of fear.