Chapter 8: Medieval
Cecil, who naturally preferred congratulations to apologies, drew
down his mouth at the corners. Was this the reception his action
would get from the world? Of course, he despised the world as a
whole; every thoughtful man should; it is almost a test of
refinement. But he was sensitive to the successive particles of
it which he encountered.
Occasionally he could be quite crude.
"I am sorry I have given you a shock," he said dryly. "I fear
that Lucy's choice does not meet with your approval."
"Not that. But you ought to have stopped me. I know Miss
Honeychurch only a little as time goes. Perhaps I oughtn't to
have discussed her so freely with any one; certainly not with
"You are conscious of having said something indiscreet?"
Mr. Beebe pulled himself together. Really, Mr. Vyse had the art
of placing one in the most tiresome positions. He was driven to
use the prerogatives of his profession.
"No, I have said nothing indiscreet. I foresaw at Florence that
her quiet, uneventful childhood must end, and it has ended. I
realized dimly enough that she might take some momentous step.
She has taken it. She has learnt--you will let me talk freely, as
I have begun freely--she has learnt what it is to love: the
greatest lesson, some people will tell you, that our earthly life
provides." It was now time for him to wave his hat at the
approaching trio. He did not omit to do so. "She has learnt
through you," and if his voice was still clerical, it was now
also sincere; "let it be your care that her knowledge is
profitable to her."
"Grazie tante!" said Cecil, who did not like parsons.
"Have you heard?" shouted Mrs. Honeychurch as she toiled up the
sloping garden. "Oh, Mr. Beebe, have you heard the news?"
Freddy, now full of geniality, whistled the wedding march. Youth
seldom criticizes the accomplished fact.