Chapter 12: Twelfth Chapter
Mr. Beebe felt bound to assist his young friend, and led the way
out of the house and into the pine-woods. How glorious it was! For
a little time the voice of old Mr. Emerson pursued them
dispensing good wishes and philosophy. It ceased, and they only
heard the fair wind blowing the bracken and the trees. Mr. Beebe,
who could be silent, but who could not bear silence, was
compelled to chatter, since the expedition looked like a failure,
and neither of his companions would utter a word. He spoke of
Florence. George attended gravely, assenting or dissenting with
slight but determined gestures that were as inexplicable as the
motions of the tree-tops above their heads.
And what a coincidence that you should meet Mr. Vyse! Did you
realize that you would find all the Pension Bertolini down here?"
"I did not. Miss Lavish told me."
"When I was a young man, I always meant to write a 'History of
"Though, as a matter of fact, coincidences are much rarer than we
suppose. For example, it isn't purely coincidentally that you are
here now, when one comes to reflect."
To his relief, George began to talk.
"It is. I have reflected. It is Fate. Everything is Fate. We are
flung together by Fate, drawn apart by Fate--flung together,
drawn apart. The twelve winds blow us--we settle nothing--"
"You have not reflected at all," rapped the clergyman. "Let me
give you a useful tip, Emerson: attribute nothing to Fate. Don't
say, 'I didn't do this,' for you did it, ten to one. Now I'll
cross-question you. Where did you first meet Miss Honeychurch and
"And where did you meet Mr. Vyse, who is going to marry Miss