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heart: no young lady would ever associate
with her again: her conduct could never
be forgotten, as long as she remained
unmarried. And yetwould it be believed?
In her degraded position, a young man of
good connexion and fortune offered her
his handand, it seemed, she actually
refused him! This was the crowning act
of all! She was only fit for Bedlam.
If it were printed in a book, no one would
believe it. He went on thus for nearly an
hour; and Maud sat listening to him with
wonderful patience, resolved to try and let
the storm expend itself, before reaching
the only point which could have any
pratical result. The curate's luckless candour
had exposed him to the baronet's attack;
and he did not spare him.

"And I suppose now you'll marry this
scoundrel! But the whole county shall
hear what he is, you may depend on it. I'll
go to the bishop this very day. We shall
see whether a blackguard of this kind can
decoy away——"

"I can't hear you speak of Mr. Miles
in this way, Sir Andrew. He knew as
little about my leaving Mortlands, or where
I went, as you did. If it appeases you to
know that I shall never marry him, you
may rest assured I never shall. But I
mean to remain here for the present, as he
has asked me to do so, and his aunt is very

"It is very remarkable," said Sir
Andrew, with a sneer, for her assurance had
appeased him somewhat, " that you who
are so sensitive about being dependent
upon me, should not hesitate to be
dependent upon an utter stranger."

"I am of use. It was because I was of
no use at Mortlands, but only a burden,
that I could stand it no longer."

Did Sir Andrew's conscience prick him
with a remembrance of certain hard things
he had said, in those days? It is scarcely
likely; that instrument of self-torture being
somewhat blunt in the baronet's case. But
he repeated the words:

" 'Of no use'! Stuff! Of what use is
a girl in your station ever expected to be?
But there's no arguing with you, I know
of old. How long do you remain here?
You can't stay here with this old woman
for ever."

"I have no very definite plans. Of course
I shan't remain here for ever."

"Well, we go to town next month.
There's your room, you know, in Eaton-
square, if you choose to come. Of course
I can't make you. You're your own mis-
mistress. But after all the anxiety you have
caused your mother, if you have a spark
of good feeling——"

"No," interrupted Maud, in her quick
way, "I can't go to Eaton-square, unless
mamma is ill, and really wants me. I will
go then, for it is a duty; but not otherwise.
But I will write to her, and I
promise not to leave this, without letting her
know my plans. You see you have
extracted two promises from me, Sir Andrew:
let that suffice for the present."

He stayed some time longer, and he
talked a good deal more, chiefly about
Lowndes: but he gained no further
advantage. The limits of concession which
Maud had marked out, she adhered to.

Sir Andrew returned to Mortlands that
evening in a very bad humour; and with
but one consolation. He had Maud's
assurance that she would never marry the
curate; and, after this statement, he knew
her too well to have any further uneasiness
on that head. But as to the Cartaret
marriage, when he had urged it on her, she
had refused to listen to him; stating in
almost the same words that she had used
in reference to Miles, that she should never
be Lowndes's wife. It was too provoking,
just as a loophole was provided to escape
creditably from this "fix!" Moreover, there
was the strait in which he had placed
himself touching Miles. After the language
Sir Andrew had used, how was he to hold
out the hand of condescending apology to
the man who lived at his park-gates, and
whom he had so grossly vilified?

It is needless to say that he had not
carried out his threatened visit to the


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