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accompanying me into Brocksopp, Mr.
Benthall; but I shall be obliged if you
will give me five minutes' conversationI
will not detain you longerin the library."

Mr. Benthall, muttering that he should
be delighted, rose from his chair and opened
the door for his hostess to pass out; before
he followed her he turned round to glance at
the girls, and again Gertrude's fresh rosy lips
pressed themselves together and then opened
for the silent expression of the word " Row,"
but he took no notice of this cabalistic
sign beyond nodding his head in a reassuring
manner, and then followed Mrs. Creswell
to the library.

"Pray be seated, Mr. Benthall," said
Marian, dropping into a chair at the writing-
table, and commencing to sketch vaguely
on the blotting-book with a dry pen; " the
news you told me just now has come upon
me quite unexpectedly. I had no idealooking
at your intimacy in this houseintimacy
which, as far as I know, has continued
uninterruptedly to the present momentno
idea that you could have been going to
act against us at so serious a crisis as the
present."

Mr. Benthall did not like Mrs. Creswell,
but he was a man of the world, and he
could not avoid admiring the delicious
insolence of the tone of voice which lent
additional relish to the insolence of the
statement, that he had continued to avail
himself of their hospitality, while intending to
requite it with opposition. He merely
said, however, " The fault is not mine, Mrs.
Creswell, as I have before said; immediately
on the announcement of the contest,
and of Mr. Creswell's coming forward as
the Conservative candidate, I went straight
to him and told him I was not a free agent
in the matter. I labour under the
misfortuneand it is one for which I know I
shall receive no sympathy in this part of
the country, for people, however good-
hearted they may be, cannot pity where
they cannot understandI labour under
the misfortune of coming of an old family,
having had people before me who for years
and years have held to Liberal opinions in
fair weather and foul weather, now profiting
by it, now losing most confoundedly,
but never veering a hair's breadth for an
instant. In those opinions I was brought
up, and in those opinions I shall die; they
may be wrong, I don't say they are not;
I've not much time, or opportunity, or
inclination, for the matter of that, for going
very deeply into the question. I've taken
it for granted, on the strength of the
recommendation of wiser heads than mine;
more than all, on the fact of their being
the family opinions, held by the family
time out of mind. I'm excessively sorry
that in this instance those opinions clash
with those held by a gentleman who is so
thoroughly deserving of all respect as Mr.
Creswell, and from whom I have received
so many proofs of friendship and kindness.
Just now it is especially provoking for me
to be thrown into antagonism to him in
any way, becausehowever, that's neither
here nor there. I dare say I shall have to
run counter to several of my friends
hereabouts, but there is no one the opposition
to whom will concern me so much as Mr.
Creswell. However, as I've said before,
it is a question of sticking to the family
principles, and in one sense to the family
honour, andso there's nothing else to be
done."

Marian sat quietly for a minute, before
she said, " Not having had the honour of
belonging to an old family so extensively
stocked with traditions, not even having
married into one, I am perhaps scarcely able
to understand your position, Mr. Benthall.
But it occurs to me that ' progress' is a
word which I have heard not unfrequently
mentioned in connexion with the principles
for the support of which you seem prepared
to go to the stake, and it seems to me an
impossible word to be used by those who
maintain a set of political opinions simply
because they received them from their
ancestors."

"Oh, of course it is not merely that! Of
course I myself hold and believe in them!"

"Sufficiently to let that belief influence
your actions at a rather important period
of your life? See here, Mr. Benthall; it
happens to be my wish, my very strong
wish, that my husband should be returned
for Brocksopp at this election. I do not
hide from myself that his return is by no
means certain, that it is necessary that every
vote should be secured. Now, there are
certain farmers, holding land in connexion
with the charity under which the school
was foundedthere is no intended harm in
my use of the word, for my father was paid
out of it as well as you, rememberfarmers
who, holding the charity land, look to the
master of the school, with an odd kind of
loyalty, as their head, and, in such matters
as an election, would, I imagine, come to
him for advice how to act. Am I right?"

"Perfectly right."

"You know this by experience? They
have been to you?"

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