From Baden to Lucerne
Too Long; Didn't ReadThe second week in July saw Mr. Palliser's party, carriage and all, established at Lucerne, in Switzerland, safe beyond the reach of the German gambling tables. Alice Vavasor was still with them; and the reader will therefore understand that that quarrel about Lady Glencora's wickedness had been settled without any rupture. It had been settled amicably, and by the time that they had reached Lucerne, Alice was inclined to acknowledge that the whole thing was not worth notice; but for many days her anger against Mr. Palliser had not been removed, and her intimacy with him had been much checked. It was now a month since the occurrence of that little scene in the salon at Baden, which was described in the last chapter,—since Mr. Palliser had marched off with his wife, leaving Alice to follow as she best could by herself. After that, as the reader may remember, he had almost told her that she was to be blamed because of his wife's indiscretion; and when she had declared her intention of leaving him, and making her way home to England by herself, he had answered her not at all, and had allowed her to go off to her own room under the full ban of his displeasure. Since that he had made no apology to her; he had not, in so many words, acknowledged that he had wronged her; but Alice had become aware that he intended to apologize by his conduct, and she had been content so far to indulge his obstinacy as to accept this conduct on his part in lieu of any outspoken petition for pardon. The acknowledgement of a mistake and the asking for grace is almost too much for any woman to expect from such a man as Mr. Palliser.
Early on the morning after the scene in question, Lady Glencora had gone into Alice's bedroom, and had found her cousin in her dressing-gown, packing up her things, or looking as though she intended to do so. "You are not such a fool," she said, "as to think anything of what occurred yesterday?" Alice assured her that, whether fool or not, she did think a great deal of it. "In point of fact," said Alice, "I can't stand it. He expects me to take care of you, and chooses to show himself offended if you don't do just what he thinks proper; whereas, as you know well enough, I have not the slightest influence over you." All these positions Lady Glencora contradicted vigorously. Of course, Mr. Palliser had been wrong in walking out of the Assembly Rooms as he had done, leaving Alice behind him. So much Lady Glencora admitted. But this had come of his intense anxiety. "And you know what a man he is," said his wife—"how stiff, and hard, and unpleasant he can be without meaning it."—"There is no reason why I should bear his unpleasantness," said Alice. "Yes, there is,—great reason. You are to do it for the sake of friendship. And as for my not doing what you tell me, you know that's not true."