Chapters 24-26 Summary
Charles returns from his uncle’s home with bad news—at least, Ernestina considers it bad news. Charles’s uncle has decided to marry. If he should produce sons, Charles will not inherit his uncle’s fortune. Charles is not as distraught at this news at Ernestina is, and he looks upon her negative reaction as rather unladylike. Her bitterness annoys him. To change the subject, Charles asks if anything has happened while he was gone.
Both Ernestina and Mrs. Tranter relay a story about Sarah. Sarah has been dismissed by Mrs. Poulteney, though neither Ernestina nor her aunt know the cause. Charles is a little concerned that Sarah’s predicament might have something to do with him, and he wonders if someone could have seen them together in the woods. This thought disturbs Charles more than his possible disinheritance does. He asks more questions of Mrs. Tranter, hoping to find out the reason for Sarah’s dismissal and her possible whereabouts.
No one seems to know where Sarah has gone. She has disappeared. Some people fear that she might be desperate enough to have committed suicide. A search has begun but has yielded no results so far. Charles suspects that he might be the only one who knows where she might be. He must excuse himself from Mrs. Tranter’s house to give himself time to think about what he should do next.
When Charles reaches the room where he is staying in an inn, a letter is waiting on the table. It is from Sarah; she asks Charles to meet with her one more time in the woods. If he does not come, she will understand and will never ask again.
The letter throws Charles into a wild mix of emotions. He is angry that she has acted so boldly as to send him a letter, which might be traced. This would implicate him in her affairs and would thus ruin his reputation. When Sam appears, Charles tells Sam to find out who brought the note. Sam discovers that a young boy was the messenger. When that same boy reappears to deliver a second note, both Sam and the manager of the inn where Charles lives determine the true source. They know...
(The entire section is 562 words.)