Doctor Thorne, by Anthony Trollope

Chapter VIII

Matrimonial Prospects

It will of course be remembered that Mary’s interview with the other girls at Greshamsbury took place some two or three days subsequently to Frank’s generous offer of his hand and heart. Mary had quite made up her mind that the whole thing was to be regarded as a folly, and that it was not to be spoken of to any one; but yet her heart was sore enough. She was full of pride, and yet she knew she must bow her neck to the pride of others. Being, as she was herself, nameless, she could not but feel a stern, unflinching antagonism, the antagonism of a democrat, to the pretensions of others who were blessed with that of which she had been deprived. She had this feeling; and yet, of all the things that she coveted, she most coveted that, for glorying in which, she was determined to heap scorn on others. She said to herself, proudly, that God’s handiwork was the inner man, the inner woman, the naked creature animated by a living soul; that all other adjuncts were but man’s clothing for the creature; all others, whether stitched by tailors or contrived by kings. Was it not within her capacity to do as nobly, to love as truly, to worship her God in heaven with as perfect a faith, and her god on earth with as leal a troth, as though blood had descended to her purely through scores of purely born progenitors? So to herself she spoke; and yet, as she said it, she knew that were she a man, such a man as the heir of Greshamsbury should be, nothing would tempt her to sully her children’s blood by mating herself with any one that was base born. She felt that were she Augusta Gresham, no Mr Moffat, let his wealth be what it might, should win her hand unless he too could tell of family honours and a line of ancestors.

And so, with a mind at war with itself, she came forth armed to do battle against the world’s prejudices, those prejudices she herself loved so well.

And was she thus to give up her old affections, her feminine loves, because she found that she was a cousin to nobody? Was she no longer to pour out her heart to Beatrice Gresham with all the girlish volubility of an equal? Was she to be severed from Patience Oriel, and banished — or rather was she to banish herself — from the free place she had maintained in the various youthful female conclaves within that parish of Greshamsbury?

Hitherto, what Mary Thorne would say, what Miss Thorne suggested in such and such a matter, was quite as frequently asked as any opinion from Augusta Gresham — quite as frequently, unless when it chanced that any of the De Courcy girls were at the house. Was this to be given up? These feelings had grown up among them since they were children, and had not hitherto been questioned among them. Now they were questioned by Mary Thorne. Was she in fact to find that her position had been a false one, and must be changed?

Such had been her feelings when she protested that she would not be Augusta Gresham’s bridesmaid, and offered to put her neck beneath Beatrice’s foot; when she drove the Lady Margaretta out of the room, and gave her own opinion as to the proper grammatical construction of the word humble; such also had been her feelings when she kept her hand so rigidly to herself while Frank held the dining-room door open for her to pass through.

‘Patience Oriel,’ said she to herself, ‘can talk to him of her father and mother: let Patience take his hand; let her talk to him;’ and then, not long afterwards, she saw that Patience did talk to him; and seeing it, she walked along silent, among some of the old people, and with much effort did prevent a tear from falling down her cheek.

But why was the tear in her eye? Had she not proudly told Frank that his love-making was nothing but a boy’s silly rhapsody? Had she not said so while she had yet reason to hope that her blood was as good as his own? Had she not seen at a glance that his love tirade was worthy of ridicule, and of no other notice? And yet there was a tear now in her eye because this boy, whom she had scolded from her, whose hand, offered in pure friendship, she had just refused, because he, so rebuffed by her, had carried his fun and gallantry to one who would be less cross to him!

She could hear as she was walking, that while Lady Margaretta was with them, their voices were loud and merry; and her sharp ear could also hear, when Lady Margaretta left them, that Frank’s voice became low and tender. So she walked on, saying nothing, looking straight before her, and by degrees separating herself from all the others.

The Greshamsbury grounds were on one side somewhat too closely hemmed in by the village. On this side was a path running the length of one of the streets of the village; and far down the path, near the extremity of the gardens, and near also to a wicket-gate which led out into the village, and which could be opened from the inside, was a seat, under a big yew-tree, from which, through a breach in the houses, might be seen the parish church, standing in the park on the other side. Hither Mary walked alone, and here she seated herself, determined to get rid of her tears and their traces before she again showed herself to the world.

‘I shall never be happy here again,’ said she to herself; ‘never. I am no longer one of them, and I cannot live among them unless I am so.’ And then an idea came across her mind that she hated Patience Oriel; and then, instantly another idea followed — quick as such thoughts are quick — that she did not hate Patience Oriel at all; that she liked her, nay, loved her; that Patience Oriel was a sweet girl; and that she hoped the time would come when she might see her the lady of Greshamsbury. And then the tear, which had been no whit controlled, which indeed had now made itself master of her, came to a head, and, bursting through the floodgates of the eye, came rolling down, and in its fall, wetted her hand as it lay on her lap. ‘What a fool! what an idiot! what an empty-headed cowardly fool I am!’ said she, springing up from the bench on her feet.

As she did so, she heard voices close to her, at the little gate. They were those of her uncle and Frank Gresham.

‘God bless you, Frank!’ said the doctor, as he passed out of the grounds. ‘You will excuse a lecture, won’t you, from so old a friend? — though you are a man now, and discreet of course, by Act of Parliament.’

‘Indeed I will, doctor,’ said Frank. ‘I will excuse a longer lecture than that from you.’

‘At any rate it won’t be tonight,’ said the doctor, as he disappeared. ‘And if you see Mary, tell her that I am obliged to go; and that I will send Janet down to fetch her.’

Now Janet was the doctor’s ancient maid-servant.

Mary could not move on, without being perceived; she therefore stood still till she heard the click of the door, and then began walking rapidly back to the house by the path which had brought her thither. The moment, however, that she did so, she found that she was followed; and in a very few moments Frank was alongside of her.

‘Oh, Mary!’ said he, calling to her, but not loudly, before he quite overtook her, ‘how odd that I should come across you just when I have a message for you! and why are you all alone?’

Mary’s first impulse was to reiterate her command to him to call her no more by her Christian name; but her second impulse told her that such an injunction at the present moment would not be prudent on her part. The traces of her tears were still there; and she well knew that a very little, the slightest show of tenderness on his part, the slightest effort on her own to appear indifferent, would bring down more than one other such intruder. It would, moreover, be better for her to drop all outward sign that she remembered what had taken place. So long, then, as he and she were at Greshamsbury together, he should call her Mary if he pleased. He would soon be gone; and while he remained, she would keep out of his way.

‘Your uncle has been obliged to go away to see an old woman at Silverbridge.’

‘At Silverbridge! why, he won’t be back all night. Why could not the old woman send for Dr Century?’

‘I suppose she thought two old women could not get on well together.’

Mary could not help smiling. She did not like her uncle going off so late on such a journey; but it was always felt a triumph when he was invited into the strongholds of the enemies.

‘And Janet is to come over for you. However, I told him it was quite unnecessary to disturb another old woman, for that I should see you home.’

‘Oh, no, Mr Gresham; indeed you’ll not do that.’

‘Indeed, and indeed, I shall.’

‘What! on this great day, when every lady is looking for you, and talking of you. I suppose you want to set the countess against me for ever. Think, too, how angry Lady Arabella will be if you are absent on such and errand as this.’

‘To hear you talk, Mary, one would think that you were going to Silverbridge yourself.’

‘Perhaps I am.’

‘If I did not go with you, some of the other fellows would. John, or George —’

‘Good gracious, Frank! Fancy either of the Mr De Courceys walking home with me!’

She had forgotten herself, and the strict propriety on which she had resolved, in the impossibility of forgoing her little joke against the De Courcy grandeur; she had forgotten herself, and had called him Frank in her old, former, eager, free tone of voice; and then, remembering she had done so, she drew herself up, but her lips, and determined to be doubly on her guard in the future.

‘Well, it shall be either one of them, or I,’ said Frank: ‘perhaps you would prefer my cousin George to me?’

‘I should prefer Janet to either, seeing that with her I should not suffer the extreme nuisance of knowing that I was a bore.’

‘A bore! Mary, to me?’

‘Yes, Mr Gresham, a bore to you. Having to walk home through the mud with village young ladies is boring. All gentlemen feel it so.’

‘There is no mud; if there were you would not be allowed to walk at all.’

‘Oh! village young ladies never care for such things, though fashionable gentlemen do.’

‘I would carry you home, Mary, if it would do you a service,’ said Frank, with considerable pathos in his voice.

‘Oh, dear me! pray do not, Mr Gresham. I should not like it at all,’ said she: ‘a wheelbarrow would be preferable to that.’

‘Of course. Anything would be preferable to my arm, I know.’

‘Certainly; anything in the way of a conveyance. If I were to act baby; and you were to act nurse, it really would not be comfortable for either of us.’

Frank Gresham felt disconcerted, though he hardly knew why. He was striving to say something tender to his lady-love; but every word that he spoke she turned into joke. Mary did not answer him coldly or unkindly; but, nevertheless, he was displeased. One does not like to have one’s little offerings of sentimental service turned into burlesque when one is in love in earnest. Mary’s jokes had appeared so easy too; they seemed to come from a heart so little troubled. This, also, was cause of vexation to Frank. If he could but have known it all, he would, perhaps, have been better pleased.

He determined not to be absolutely laughed out of his tenderness. When, three days ago, he had been repulsed, he had gone away owning to himself that he had been beaten; owning so much, but owning it with great sorrow and much shame. Since that he had come of age; since that he had made speeches, and speeches had been made to him; since that he had gained courage by flirting with Patience Oriel. No faint heart ever won a fair lady, as he was well aware; he resolved, therefore, that his heart should not be faint, and that he would see whether the fair lady might not be won by becoming audacity.

‘Mary,’ said he, stopping in the path — for they were now near the spot where it broke out upon the lawn, and they could already hear the voices of the guests —‘Mary, you are unkind to me.’

‘I am not aware of it, Mr Gresham; but if I am, do not you retaliate. I am weaker than you, and in your power; do not you, therefore, be unkind to me.’

‘You refused my hand just now,’ continued he. ‘Of all the people here at Greshamsbury, you are the only one that has not wished me joy; the only one —’

‘I do wish you joy; I will wish you joy: there is my hand,’ and she frankly put out her ungloved hand. ‘You are quite man enough to understand me: there is my hand; I trust you use it only as it is meant to be used.’

He took it in his hand and pressed it cordially, as he might have done that of any other friend in such a case; and then — did not drop it as he should have done. He was not a St Anthony, and it was most imprudent in Miss Thorne to subject him to such a temptation.

‘Mary,’ said he; ‘dear Mary! dearest Mary! if you did but know how I love you!’

As he said this, holding Miss Thorne’s hand he stood on the pathway with his back towards the lawn and house, and, therefore, did not at first see his sister Augusta, who had just at that moment come upon them. Mary blushed up to her straw hat, and, with a quick jerk, recovered her hand. Augusta saw the motion, and Mary saw that Augusta had seen it.

From my tedious way of telling it, the reader will be led to imagine that the hand-squeezing had been protracted to a duration quite incompatible with any objection to such an arrangement on the part of the lady; but the fault is mine: in no part hers. Were I possessed of a quick spasmodic style of narrative, I should have been able to include it all — Frank’s misbehaviour, Mary’s immediate anger, Augusta’s arrival, and keen, Argus-eyed inspection, and then Mary’s subsequent misery — in five words and half a dozen dashes and inverted commas. The thing would have been so told; for, to do Mary justice, she did not leave her hand in Frank’s a moment longer than she could help herself.

Frank, feeling the hand withdrawn, and hearing, when it was too late, the step on the gravel, turned sharply round. ‘Oh, it’s you, is it, Augusta? Well, what do you want?’

Augusta was not naturally very ill-natured, seeing that in her veins the high De Courcy blood was somewhat tempered by an admixture of the Gresham attributes; nor was she predisposed to make her brother her enemy by publishing to the world any of his little tender peccadilloes; but she could not but bethink herself of what her aunt had been saying as to the danger of any such encounters as that she just now had beheld; she could not but start at seeing her brother thus, on the very brink of the precipice of which the countess had specially forewarned her mother. She, Augusta, was, as she well knew, doing her duty by her family by marrying a tailor’s son for whom she did not care a chip, seeing that the tailor’s son was possessed of untold wealth. Now when one member of a household is making a struggle for a family, it is painful to see the benefit of that struggle negatived by the folly of another member. The future Mrs Moffat did feel aggrieved by the fatuity of the young heir, and, consequently, took upon herself to look as much like her Aunt De Courcy as she could do.

‘Well, what is it?’ said Frank, looking rather disgusted. ‘What makes you stick your chin up and look in that way?’ Frank had hitherto been rather a despot among his sisters, and forgot that the eldest of them was now passing altogether from under his sway to that of the tailor’s son.

‘Frank,’ said Augusta, in a tone of voice which did honour to the great lessons she had lately received. ‘Aunt De Courcy wants to see you immediately in the small drawing-room;’ and, as she said so, she resolved to say a few words of advice to Miss Thorne as soon as her brother should have left them.

‘In the small drawing-room, does she? Well, Mary, we may as well go together, for I suppose it is tea-time now.’

‘You had better go at once, Frank,’ said Augusta; ‘the countess will be angry if you keep her waiting. She has been expecting you these twenty minutes. Mary Thorne and I can return together.’

There was something in the tone in which the word, ‘Mary Thorne’, were uttered, which made Mary at once draw herself up. ‘I hope,’ said she, ‘that Mary Thorne will never be a hindrance to either of you.’

Frank’s ear had also perceived that there was something in the tone of his sister’s voice not boding comfort to Mary; he perceived that the De Courcy blood in Augusta’s veins was already rebelling against the doctor’s niece on his part, though it had condescended to submit itself to the tailor’s son on her own part.

‘Well, I am going,’ said he; ‘but look here Augusta, if you say one word of Mary —’

Oh, Frank! Frank! you boy, you very boy! you goose, you silly goose! Is that the way you make love, desiring one girl not to tell another, as though you were three children, tearing your frocks and trousers in getting through the same hedge together? Oh, Frank! Frank! you, the full-blown heir of Greshamsbury? You, a man already endowed with a man’s discretion? You, the forward rider, that did but now threaten young Harry Baker and the Honourable John to eclipse them by prowess in the field? You, of age? Why, thou canst not as yet have left thy mother’s apron-string.

‘If you say one word of Mary —’

So far had he got in his injunction to his sister, but further than that, in such a case, was he never destined to proceed. Mary’s indignation flashed upon him, striking him dumb long before the sound of her voice reached his ears; and yet she spoke as quick as the words would come to her call, and somewhat loudly too.

‘Say one word of Mary, Mr Gresham! And why should she not say as many words of Mary as she may please? I must tell you all now, Augusta! and I must also beg you not to be silent for my sake. As far as I am concerned, tell it to whom you please. This was the second time your brother —’

‘Mary, Mary,’ said Frank, deprecating her loquacity.

‘I beg your pardon, Mr Gresham; you have made it necessary that I should tell your sister all. He has now twice thought it well to amuse himself by saying to me words which it was ill-natured in him to speak, and —’

‘Ill-natured, Mary!’

‘Ill-natured in him to speak,’ continued Mary, ‘and to which it would be absurd for me to listen. He probably does the same to others,’ she added, being unable in heart to forget that sharpest of her wounds, that flirtation of his with Patience Oriel; ‘but to me it is almost cruel. Another girl might laugh at him, or listen to him, as he would choose; but I can do neither. I shall now keep away from Greshamsbury, at any rate till he has left it; and, Augusta, I can only beg you to understand, that, as far as I am concerned, there is nothing which may not be told to all the world.’

And, so saying, she walked on a little in advance of them, as proud as a queen. Had Lady de Courcy herself met her at this moment, she would almost have felt herself forced to shrink out of the pathway. ‘Not say a word of me!’ she repeated to herself, but still out loud. ‘No word need be left unsaid on my account; none, none.’

Augusta followed her, dumfounded at her indignation; and Frank also followed, but not in silence. When his first surprise at Mary’s great anger was over, he felt himself called upon to say some word that might exonerate his lady-love; and some word also of protestation as to his own purpose.

‘There is nothing to be told, at least of Mary,’ he said, speaking to his sister; ‘but of me, you may tell this, if you choose to disoblige your brother — that I love Mary Thorne with all my heart; and that I will never love anyone else.’

By this time they had reached the lawn, and Mary was able to turn away from the path which led up to the house. As she left them she said in a voice, now low enough, ‘I cannot prevent him from talking nonsense, Augusta; but you will bear me witness, that I do not willingly hear it.’ And, so saying, she started off almost in a run towards the distant part of the gardens, in which she saw Beatrice.

Frank, as he walked up to the house with his sister, endeavoured to induce her to give him a promise that she would tell no tales as to what she had heard and seen.

‘Of course, Frank, it must be all nonsense,’ she had said; ‘and you shouldn’t amuse yourself in such a way.’

‘Well, but, Guss, come, we have always been friends; don’t let us quarrel just when you are going to be married.’ But Augusta would make no promise.

Frank, when he reached the house, found the countess waiting for him, sitting in the little drawing-room by herself — somewhat impatiently. As he entered he became aware that there was some peculiar gravity attached to the coming interview. Three persons, his mother, one of his younger sisters, and the Lady Amelia, each stopped him to let him know that the countess was waiting; and he perceived that a sort of guard was kept upon the door to save her ladyship from any undesirable intrusion.

The countess frowned at the moment of his entrance, but soon smoothed her brow, and invited him to take a chair ready prepared for him opposite to the elbow of the sofa on which she was leaning. She had a small table before her, on which was her teacup, so that she was able to preach at him nearly as well as though she had been ensconced in a pulpit.

‘My dear Frank,’ said she, in a voice thoroughly suitable to the importance of the communication, ‘you have today come of age.’

Frank remarked that he understood that such was the case, and added that ‘that was the reason for all the fuss.’

‘Yes; you have today come of age. Perhaps I should have been glad to see such an occasion noticed at Greshamsbury with some more suitable signs of rejoicing.’

‘Oh, aunt! I think we did it all very well.’

‘Greshamsbury, Frank, is, or at any rate ought to be, the seat of the first commoner in Barsetshire.

‘Well; so it is. I am quite sure there isn’t a better fellow than father anywhere in the county.’

The countess sighed. Her opinion of the poor squire was very different from Frank’s. ‘It is no use now,’ said she, ‘looking back to that which cannot be cured. The first commoner in Barsetshire should hold a position — I will not of course say equal to that of a peer.’

‘Oh dear no; of course not,’ said Frank; and a bystander might have thought that there was a touch of satire in his tone.

‘No, not equal to that of a peer; but still of very paramount importance. Of course my first ambition is bound up in Porlock.’

‘Of course,’ said Frank, thinking how very weak was the staff on which his aunt’s ambition rested; for Lord Porlock’s youthful career had not been such as to give unmitigated satisfaction to his parents.

‘Is bound up in Porlock:’ and then the countess plumed herself; but the mother sighed. ‘And next to Porlock, my anxiety is about you.’

‘Upon my honour, aunt, I am very much obliged. I shall be all right, you know.’

‘Greshamsbury, my dear boy, is not now what it used to be.’

‘Isn’t it?’ asked Frank.

‘No, Frank; by no means. I do not wish to say a word against your father. It may, perhaps have been his misfortune, rather than his fault —’

‘She is always down on the governor; always,’ said Frank to himself; resolving to stick bravely to the side of the house to which he had elected to belong.

‘But there is the fact, Frank, too plain to us all; Greshamsbury is not what it was. It is your duty to restore it to its former importance.’

‘My duty!’ said Frank, rather puzzled.

‘Yes, Frank, your duty. It all depends on you now. Of course you know that your father owes a great deal of money.’

Frank muttered something. Tidings had in some shape reached his ear that his father was not comfortably circumstances as regards money.

‘And then, he has sold Boxall Hill. It cannot be expected that Boxall Hill shall be purchased, as some horrid man, a railway-maker, I believe —’

‘Yes; that’s Scatcherd.’

‘Well, he has built a house there, I’m told; so I presume that it cannot be bought back: but it will be your duty, Frank, to pay all the debts that there are on the property, and to purchase what, at any rate, will be equal to Boxall Hill.’

Frank opened his eyes wide and stared at his aunt, as though doubting much whether or no she were in her right mind. He pay off the family debts! He buy up property of four thousand pounds a year! He remained, however, quite quiet, waiting the elucidation of the mystery.

‘Frank, of course you understand me.’

Frank was obliged to declare, that just at the present moment he did not find his aunt so clear as usual.

‘You have but one line of conduct left you, Frank: your position, as heir to Greshamsbury, is a good one; but your father has unfortunately so hampered you with regard to money, that unless you set the matter right yourself, you can never enjoy that position. Of course you must marry money.’

‘Marry money!’ said he, considering for the first time that in all probability Mary Thorne’s fortune would not be extensive. ‘Marry money!’

‘Yes, Frank. I know no man whose position so imperatively demands it; and luckily for you, no man can have more facility for doing so. In the first place you are very handsome.’

Frank blushed like a girl of sixteen.

‘And then, as the matter is made plain to you at so early an age, you are not of course hampered by any indiscreet tie; by any absurd engagement.’

Frank blushed again; and then saying to himself, ‘How much the old girl knows about it!’ felt a little proud of his passion for Mary Thorne, and of the declaration he had made to her.

‘And your connexion with Courcy Castle,’ continued the countess, now carrying up the list of Frank’s advantages to its greatest climax, ‘will make the matter so easy for you, that really, you will hardly have any difficulty.’

Frank could not but say how much obliged he felt to Courcy Castle and its inmates.

‘Of course I would not wish to interfere with you in any underhand way, Frank; but I will tell you what has occurred to me. You have heard, probably, of Miss Dunstable?’

‘The daughter of the ointment of Lebanon man?’

‘And of course you know that her fortune is immense,’ continued the countess, not deigning to notice her nephew’s allusion to the ointment. ‘Quite immense when compared with the wants and any position of any commoner. Now she is coming to Courcy Castle, and I wish you to come and meet her.’

‘But, aunt, just at this moment I have to read for my degree like anything. I go up, you know, to Oxford.’

‘Degree!’ said the countess. ‘Why, Frank, I am talking to you of your prospects in life, of your future position, of that on which everything hangs, and you tell me of your degree!’

Frank, however, obstinately persisted that he must take his degree, and that he should commence reading hard at six a.m. tomorrow morning.

‘You can read just as well at Courcy Castle. Miss Dunstable will not interfere with that,’ said his aunt, who knew the expediency of yielding occasionally; ‘but I must beg you will come over and meet her. You will find her a most charming young woman, remarkably well educated I am told, and —’

‘How old is she?’ asked Frank.

‘I really cannot say exactly,’ said the countess; ‘but it is not, I imagine, a matter of much moment.’

‘Is she thirty?’ asked Frank, who looked upon an unmarried woman of that age as quite an old maid.

‘I dare say she may be about that age,’ said the countess, who regarded the subject from a very different point of view.

‘Thirty!’ said Frank out loud, but speaking, nevertheless as though to himself.

‘It is a matter of no moment,’ said his aunt, almost angrily. ‘When a subject itself is of such vital importance, objections of no real weight should not be brought into view. If you wish to hold up your head in the country; if you wish to represent your county in Parliament, as has been done by your father, your grandfather, and your great-grandfathers; if you wish to keep a house over your head, and to leave Greshamsbury to your son after you, you must marry money. What does it signify whether Miss Dunstable be twenty-eight or thirty? She has got money; and if you marry her, you may then consider that your position in life is made.’

Frank was astonished at his aunt’s eloquence; but, in spite of that eloquence, he made up his mind that he would not marry Miss Dunstable. How could he, indeed, seeing that his troth was already plighted to Mary Thorne in the presence of his sister? This circumstance, however, he did not choose to plead to his aunt, so he recapitulated any other objections that presented themselves to his mind.

In the first place, he was so anxious about his degree that he could not think of marrying at present; then he suggested that it might be better to postpone the question till the season’s hunting should be over; he declared that he could not visit Courcy Castle till he got a new suit of clothes home from the tailor; and ultimately remembered that he had a particular engagement to go fly-fishing with Mr Oriel on that day week.

None, however, of these valid reasons were sufficiently potent to turn the countess from her point.

‘Nonsense, Frank,’ said she, ‘I wonder that you can talk of fly-fishing when the property of Greshamsbury is at stake. You will go with Augusta and myself to Courcy Castle tomorrow.’

‘To-morrow, aunt!’ he said, in the tone which a condemned criminal might make his ejaculation on hearing that a very near day had been named for his execution. ‘To-morrow!’

‘Yes, we return tomorrow, and shall be happy to have your company. My friends, including Miss Dunstable, come on Thursday. I am quite sure you will like Miss Dunstable. I have settled all that with your mother, so we need say nothing further about it. And now, good-night, Frank.’

Frank, finding that there was nothing more to be said, took his departure, and went out to look for Mary. But Mary had gone home with Janet half an hour since, so he betook himself to his sister Beatrice.

‘Beatrice,’ said he, ‘I am to go to Courcy Castle tomorrow.’

‘So I heard mamma say.’

‘Well; I only came of age today, and I will not begin by running counter to them. But I tell you what, I won’t stay above a week at Courcy Castle for all the De Courcys in Barsetshire. Tell me, Beatrice, did you ever hear of a Miss Dunstable?’

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Last updated Tuesday, March 4, 2014 at 18:43