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Chapter 57: A Foggy Night and Morning--conclusion
"The most private, secret, plainest wedding that it is possible to have."
Those had been Bathsheba's words to Oak one evening, some time after the event of the preceding f, and he meditated a full hour by the clock upon how to carry out her wishes to the letter.
"A license--O yes, it must be a license," he said to himself at last. "Very well, then; first, a license."
On a dark night, a few days later, Oak came with mysterious steps from the surrogate's door, in Casterbridge. On the way home he heard a heavy tread in front of him, and, overtaking the man, found him to be Coggan. They walked together into the village until they came to a little lane behind the church, leading down to the cottage of Laban Tall, who had lately been installed as clerk of the parish, and was yet in mortal terror at church on Sundays when he heard his lone voice among certain hard words of the Psalms, whither no man ventured to follow him.
"Well, good-night, Coggan," said Oak, "I'm going down this way."
"Oh!" said Coggan, surprised; "what's going on to-night then, make so bold Mr. Oak?"
It seemed rather ungenerous not to tell Coggan, under the circumstances, for Coggan had been true as steel all through the time of Gabriel's unhappiness about Bathsheba, and Gabriel said, "You can keep a secret, Coggan?"
"You've proved me, and you know."
"Yes, I have, and I do know. Well, then, mistress and I mean to get married to-morrow morning."
"Heaven's high tower! And yet I've thought of such a thing from time to time; true, I have. But keeping it so close! Well, there, 'tis no consarn of of mine, and I wish 'ee joy o' her."
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