My dear Fan, no! The bugle has sounded, the barrack gates are closed, and I have no leave. We are all of us as good as in the county gaol till to-morrow morning."
"Then I shan't see you till then!" The words were in a faltering tone of disappointment.
"How did you get here from Weatherbury?"
"I walked — some part of the way — the rest by the carriers."
"I am surprised."
"Yes — so am I. And Frank, when will it be?"
"That you promised."
"I don't quite recollect."
"O you do! Don't speak like that. It weighs me to the earth. It makes me say what ought to be said first by you."
"Never mind — say it."
"O, must I? — it is, when shall we be married, Frank?"
"Oh, I see. Well — you have to get proper clothes."
"I have money. Will it be by banns or license?"
"Banns, I should think."
"And we live in two parishes."
"Do we? What then?"
"My lodgings are in St. Mary's, and this is not. So they will have to be published in both."
"Is that the law?"
"Yes. O Frank — you think me forward, I am afraid! Don't, dear Frank — will you — for I love you so. And you said lots of times you would marry me, and — and — I — I — I — "
"Don't cry, now! It is foolish. If I said so, of course I will."
"And shall I put up the banns in my parish, and will you in yours?"
"Not to-morrow. We'll settle in a few days."
"You have the permission of the officers?"
"No, not yet."
"O — how is it? You said you almost had before you left Casterbridge."
"The fact is, I forgot to ask. Your coming like this is so sudden and unexpected."
"Yes — yes — it is. It was wrong of me to worry you. I'll go away now. Will you come and see me to-morrow, at Mrs. Twills's, in North Street? I don't like to come to the Barracks. There are bad women about, and they think me one."
"Quite, so. I'll come to you, my dear. Good-night."
"Good-night, Frank — good-night!"
And the noise was again heard of a window closing. The little spot moved away. When she passed the corner a subdued exclamation was heard inside the wall.
"Ho — ho — Sergeant — ho — ho!" An expostulation followed, but it was indistinct; and it became lost amid a low peal of laughter, which was hardly distinguishable from the gurgle of the tiny whirlpools outside.