In Which Much of the History of the Pallisers Is Told
Too Long; Didn't ReadAt the end of ten days Alice found herself quite comfortable at Matching Priory. She had now promised to remain there till the second week of December, at which time she was to go to Vavasor Hall,—there to meet her father and Kate. The Pallisers were to pass their Christmas with the Duke of Omnium in Barsetshire. "We always are to do that," said Glencora. "It is the state occasion at Gatherum Castle, but it only lasts for one week. Then we go somewhere else. Oh dear!"
"Why do you say 'oh dear'?"
"Because—; I don't think I mean to tell you."
"Then I'm sure I won't ask."
"That's so like you, Alice. But I can be as firm as you, and I'm sure I won't tell you unless you do ask." But Alice did not ask, and it was not long before Lady Glencora's firmness gave way.
But, as I have said, Alice had become quite comfortable at Matching Priory. Perhaps she was already growing upwards towards the light. At any rate she could listen with pleasure to the few words the Duke would say to her. She could even chat a little to the Duchess,—so that her Grace had observed to Lady Glencora that "her cousin was a very nice person,—a very nice person indeed. What a pity it was that she had been so ill-treated by that gentleman in Oxfordshire!" Lady Glencora had to explain that the gentleman lived in Cambridgeshire, and that he, at any rate, had not treated anybody ill. "Do you mean that she—jilted him?" said the Duchess, almost whistling, and opening her eyes very wide. "Dear me, I'm sorry for that. I shouldn't have thought it." And when she next spoke to Alice she assumed rather a severe tone of emphasis;—but this was soon abandoned when Alice listened to her with complacency.