Chapter 12: Twelfth Chapter
Clothes flew in all directions.
"Take care my hat! No, that's enough, Freddy. Dress now. No, I
But the two young men were delirious. Away they twinkled into the
trees, Freddy with a clerical waistcoat under his arm, George
with a wide-awake hat on his dripping hair.
"That'll do!" shouted Mr. Beebe, remembering that after all he
was in his own parish. Then his voice changed as if every
pine-tree was a Rural Dean. "Hi! Steady on! I see people coming
Yells, and widening circles over the dappled earth.
"Hi! hi! LADIES!"
Neither George nor Freddy was truly refined. Still, they did not
hear Mr. Beebe's last warning or they would have avoided Mrs.
Honeychurch, Cecil, and Lucy, who were walking down to call on
old Mrs. Butterworth. Freddy dropped the waistcoat at their feet,
and dashed into some bracken. George whooped in their faces,
turned and scudded away down the path to the pond, still
clad in Mr. Beebe's hat.
"Gracious alive!" cried Mrs. Honeychurch. "Whoever were those
unfortunate people? Oh, dears, look away! And poor Mr. Beebe,
too! Whatever has happened?"
"Come this way immediately," commanded Cecil, who always felt
that he must lead women, though knew not whither, and protect
them, though he knew not against what. He led them now towards
the bracken where Freddy sat concealed.
"Oh, poor Mr. Beebe! Was that his waistcoat we left in the path?
Cecil, Mr. Beebe's waistcoat--"
No business of ours, said Cecil, glancing at Lucy, who was all
parasol and evidently "minded."
"I fancy Mr. Beebe jumped back into the pond."
"This way, please, Mrs. Honeychurch, this way."
They followed him up the bank attempting the tense yet nonchalant
expression that is suitable for ladies on such occasions.