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went away, and presently she and uncle
came back together, and he said he was
deeply grieved and all thatpoor old dear,
he looked awfulbut he could not have his
wife treated with disrespectdisrespect,
indeed!—and he thought that the best
thing that could be done would be for us
to go away, for a time, at leastonly for a
time, the dear old man said, trying to look
cheerfulfor if he succeeded in this election
he and Mrs. Creswell would necessarily
be for several months in London, during
which we could come back to Woolgreaves;
but for a time, and if we would only settle
where we would go, Parker, our maid, who
is a most staid and respectable person,
would go with us, and all could be
arranged. I think Maud was going to fly
out again, but a look at the dear old man's
woe-begone face stopped her, and she was
silent. So it's decided we're to go
somewhere out of this. But is it not an awful
nuisance, George? What shall we do?
Where shall we go? It will be a relief to
get rid of madam for a time, and out of the
reach of her eyes and her tongue; but
doesn't it seem very horrible altogether?"

"Horrible altogether! It does, indeed,
seem very horrible altogether," said Mr.
Benthall to himself, as he finished reading
this epistle, and laid it down on the breakfast
table before him. "What on earth is
to be done? This old man seems perfectly
besotted, while this very strong-minded
young woman, his wife, has completely
gleaned the brains out of his head and the
kindliness out of his heart. What can he
be thinking about to imagine that these
two girls are to take some lodging and
form some course for themselves? Why
the thing is monstrous and impossible!
They would have to live in seclusion; it
would be impossible for any man ever to
call upon them, andoh, it won't do at
all, won't do at all! But what's to be
done? I can't interfere in the matter, and
I know no one with whom I could consult.
Yes, by George! Joyce, our candidate, Mr.
Joyce; he's a clear-headed fellow, and one
who, I should think, if Mrs. Covey's story
be correct, would not object to put a spoke
in Mrs. Creswell's wheel. I'll go and see
him. Perhaps he can help me in this fix."

No sooner said than done. The young
gentlemen on the foundation and the head
master's boarders had that morning to
make shift with the teaching of the ushers,
while the neat cob was taken from his stable
at an unwonted hour, and cantered down to
Brocksopp. Mr. Joyce was not at his
head-quarters, he was out canvassing; so
the cob was put up, and Mr. Benthall
started on a search-expedition through the
town. After some little time he came up
with the Liberal candidate, with whom he
had already struck up a pleasant acquaintance,
and begged a few minutes of his
time. The request was granted; they
adjourned to Joyce's private sitting room
at the inn, and there Mr. Benthall laid the
whole story before him, showing in detail
Marian's machinations against the girls,
and pointing out the final piece of strategy,
by which she had induced her husband to
give them the route, and tell them they
could no longer be inmates of his house.
Joyce was very much astonished, for
although the film had gradually been withdrawn
from his eyes since the day of the
receipt of Marian's letter, he had no idea
of the depth of her degradation. That
she could endeavour to win him from the
tournament now he stood a good chance of
victory; that she would even endeavour to
bribe a man like Benthall, who was
suffciently venal, Walter thought, who had his
price, like most men, but who had not
been properly "got at," he could understand;
but that she could endeavour to
attempt to wreak her vengeance on two
unoffending girls, simply because they
were remotely connected with one of the
causes of her annoyance, was beyond his
comprehension. He saw, however, at once,
that the young ladies were delicately
situated, and, partly from an innate feeling
of gallantry, partly with a desire to oblige
Benthall, who had proved himself very
loyal in the cause, and not without a
desire to thwart what was evidently a pet
scheme with Mrs. Creswell, he took up the
question with alacrity.

"You're quite right," he said, after a
little consideration, "in saying that it would
be impossible that these two young ladies
could go away and live by themselves, or
rather with their maid. I know nothing
of them, beyond seeing them a long time
ago. I should not even recognise them
were we to meet now; but it is evident
that by birth and education they are
ladies, and they must not be thrown on
the world, to rough it in the manner
proposed by their weak uncle, at the instigation
of his charming wife! The question
is, what is to be done with them?
Neither you nor I, even if we had the
power and will, dare offer them any hospitality,
miserable bachelors as we are! The
laws of etiquette forbid that, and we should