Fancy's Story by Fred Cartan

Chapter Eleven
Another Surprise

Next morning, near breakfast time, Singlefoot arrived. After stabling his horse, he was ushered into the house. Fancy greeted him, and asked if he had eaten. He hadn't, so Fancy took him by the paw and led him into the dining room.

Fancy had asked Cider for a quiet meal near the fire. There were only two place settings, both at the head of the table. The window curtains were nearly drawn allowing a limited view of the garden. Cider had installed a large carafe of coffee and a modest collection of hot dishes on the sideboard near the table and vanished, leaving Fancy to do the serving. They took their places, looked at one another, and while eating, they talked about insignificant items. Singlefoot seemed uncharacteristically quiet.

When they were finished, Fancy led Singlefoot into the library. She started to thank Singlefoot for saving her but had only gotten started when Singlefoot interrupted. He moved close to her, took her by both paws and said, "Fancy, I deserve no thanks. What else could I have done? I love you and would do anything necessary to save you." He then stopped, looked Fancy directly in the face and asked her "When should we be married? I feel it should be soon. Everyone expects it."

This sudden proposal took Fancy aback. She thumped him on his chest and said, "I haven't decided to marry anyone yet, and why do you think that I will marry you? If you love me," she asked, "why didn't you say something about it before this?"

Singlefoot was surprised. He stepped back and gestured with his paws. "Why you must have known," he said. "I've been spending all this time with you. I've loved you since we were pups. I just assumed that you knew." Fancy said, "Well I didn't know, and you should have said something."

Singlefoot looked astonished, and stepped back and looked at her. He then stepped forwards, took Fancy in his arms, and said, "Will you marry me?"

Fancy very nearly smashed a dish of curried eggs over his head, but as she became more comfortable in his arms, she thought of her life, of the things they had in common, of children and the country life they both liked. She finally looked up at him, then down, and smiled and said, "Yes, Singlefoot, I will."

Singlefoot gave her a hug and kissed her. He smiled and said, "We'll have to mind the formalities. I'll have the bans read Sunday next." Fancy agreed. She also told Singlefoot that she expected him to make some suitable changes in his life, if he expected to become a suitable husband. She also said that she would continue to take part in the export business her father had started and that he must treat her as an equal, as well as a wife. Singlefoot looked startled, as if the ideas were strange, and said they they would get along well and he would do his part. Fancy hugged him and they walked to the library door and looked at the morning sun on the surrounding fields.

Singlefoot then left, saying he had business, and would return when he could. The following Sunday, after church and the bans, Fancy and Singlefoot entertained their friends. The Dark Dog and his servant were also there, the servant carrying a canvas bag.

After dinner, Sharpmuzzle asked to see Fancy and Singlefoot for a moment. Fancy was dreading this moment, for she liked Sharpmuzzle and she had thought that the news of her forthcoming marriage would be a blow to him. Instead, he congratulated Singlefoot, and to their surprise, told them that he was, himself, soon to marry. The bride-to-be was Solace, the daughter of the curate.

Fancy was at first surprised and a bit put out but she quashed the thought and now remembered the time Sharpmuzzle spent at the home of the curate, and his attentiveness to Solace. Fancy warmly congratulated him and made up her mind to help Solace, whom she liked, to get a proper trousseau.