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Searcy, were still fairly isolated. A few new people moved

source:sluggish netedit:persontime:2023-12-05 23:08:45

"And that she is flirting with a man I particularly dislike." "I suppose she does make herself rather peculiar with that Colonel Stubbs."

Searcy, were still fairly isolated. A few new people moved

"And, after all, only think how little I saw of her! She is pretty." "So some people think. I never saw it myself," said Gertrude. "We always thought her a mass of affectation. We had to turn her out of the house once, you know. She was living here, and then it was that her sister had to come in her place. It is not their fault that they have got nothing -- poor girls! They are mamma's nieces, and so papa always has one of them." After that forgiveness was accorded to the Captain on account of his fickle conduct, and Gertrude consented to accept of his services in the guise of a lover. That this was so Mrs Traffick was well aware. Nor was Lady Tringle very much in the dark. Frank Houston was to be considered as good as gone, and if so it would be well that her daughter should have another string. She was tired of the troubles of the girls around her, and thought that as Captain Batsby was supposed to have an income he would do as a son-in-law. But she had not hitherto been consulted by the young people, who felt among themselves that there still might be a difficulty. The difficulty lay with Sir Thomas. Sir Thomas had brought Captain Batsby there to Merle Park as Ayala's lover, and as he had been very little at home was unaware of the changes which had taken place. And then Gertrude was still supposed to be engaged to Mr Houston, although this lover had been so violently rejected by himself. The ladies felt that, as he was made of sterner stuff than they, so would it be more difficult to reconcile him to the alterations which were now proposed in the family arrangements. Who was to bell the cat? "Let him go to papa in the usual way, and ask his leave," said Mrs Traffick.

Searcy, were still fairly isolated. A few new people moved

"I did suggest that," said Gertrude, "but he seems not to like to do it quite yet."

Searcy, were still fairly isolated. A few new people moved

"I do not know that he is more a coward than anybody else. I remember when Septimus was quite afraid to go near papa. But then Benjamin has got money of his own, which does make a difference." "It's quite untrue saying that Septimus was ever afraid of papa. Of course he knows his position as a Member of Parliament too well for that. I suppose the truth is, it's about Ayala."

"It is a little odd about Ayala," said Gertrude, resuming her confidential tone. "It is so hard to make papa understand about these kind of things. I declare I believe he thinks that I never ought to speak to another man because of that scoundrel Frank Houston."

All this was in truth so strange to Sir Thomas that he could not understand any of the existing perplexities. Why did Captain Batsby remain as a guest at Merle Park? He had no special dislike to the man, and when Lady Tringle had told him that she had asked the Captain to prolong his visit he had made no objection. But why should the man remain there, knowing as he did now that there was no chance of Ayala's coming to Merle Park? At last, on a certain Saturday evening, he did make inquiry on the subject. "What on earth is that man staying here for?" he said to his wife.

"Perhaps he likes the place as well as Septimus Traffick, and means to live here always!" Such allusions as these were constant with Sir Thomas, and were always received by Lady Tringle with dismay and grief. "When does he mean to go away?" asked Sir Thomas, gruffly.

Lady Tringle had felt that the time had come in which some word should be said as to the Captain's intentions; but she feared to say it. She dreaded to make the clear explanation to her husband. "Perhaps", said she, "he is becoming fond of some of the young ladies."

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