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them, and that would take one off his hands without any trouble."
Dr. Crofts didn't exactly see the matter in this light, but he was not anxious to argue it very closely with the earl. "The younger one," he said, "has provided for herself."
"What! by getting a husband? But I suppose Dale must give her something. They're not married yet, you know, and, from what I hear, that fellow may prove a slippery customer. He'll not marry her unless old Dale gives her something. You'll see if he does. I'm told that he has got another string to his bow at Courcy Castle."
Soon after this, Crofts took his horse and rode home, having promised the earl that he would dine with him again before long.
"It'll be a great convenience to me if you'd come about that time," said the earl, "and as you're a bachelor perhaps you won't mind it. You'll come on Thursday at seven, will you? Take care of yourself. It's as dark as pitch. John, go and open the first gates for Dr. Crofts." And then the earl took himself
off to bed.
Crofts, as he rode home, could not keep his mind from thinking of the two girls at Allington. "He'll not marry her unless old Dale gives her something." Had it come to that with the world, that a man must be bribed into keeping his engagement with a lady? Was there no romance left among mankind, no feeling of chivalry? "He's got another string to his bow at Courcy Castle," said the earl; and his lordship seemed to be in no degree shocked as he said it. It
was in this tone that men spoke of women now-a-days, and yet he himself had felt such awe of the girl he loved, and such a fear lest he might injure her in her worldly position, that he had not dared to tell her that he loved her.
John Eames encounters Two Adventures, and displays Great Courage in both.
LILY thought that her lover's letter was all that it should be. She was not quite aware what might be the course of post between Courcy and Allington, and had not, therefore, felt very grievously disappointed when the letter did not come on the very first day. She had, however, in the course of the morning walked down to the post-office, in order that she might be sure that it was not remaining there.
"Why, miss, they be all delivered; you know that," said Mrs. Crump, the post-mistress.
"But one might be left behind, I thought."
"John Postman went up to the house this very day, with a newspaper for your mamma. I can't make letters for people if folks don't write them."
"But they are left behind sometimes, Mrs. Crump. He wouldn't come up with one letter if he'd got nothing else for anybody in the street."
"Indeed but he would then. I wouldn't let him leave a letter here no how, nor yet a paper.
It's no good you're coming down here for letters, Miss Lily. If he don't write to you, I can't make him do it." And so poor Lily went home discomforted.
But the letter came on the next morning, and all was right. According to her judgment it lacked nothing, either in fulness or in affection. When he told
her how he had planned his early departure in order that he might avoid the pain of parting with her on the last moment, she smiled and pressed the paper, and rejoiced inwardly that she had got the better of him as to that manoeuvre. And then she kissed the words which told her that he had been glad to have her with him at the last moment. When he declared that he had been happier at Allington than he was at Courcy, she believed him thoroughly, and rejoiced that it should be so. And when he accused himself of being worldly, she excused him, persuading herself that he was nearly perfect in this respect as in others. Of course a man living in London, and having to earn his bread out in the world, must be more worldly than a country girl; but the fact of his being able to love such a girl, to choose such a one for his wife,
not that alone sufficient proof that the world had not enslaved him? "My heart is on the Allington lawns," he said; and then, as she read the words, she kissed the paper again.
In her eyes, and to her ears, and to her heart, the letter was a beautiful letter. I believe there is no bliss greater than that which a thorough love-letter gives to a girl who knows that in receiving it she commits no fault, who can open it before her father and mother with nothing more than the slight blush which the consciousness of her position gives her. And of all loveletters the first must be the sweetest! What a value there is in every word! How each expression is scanned and turned to the best account! With what importance are all those little phrases invested, which too soon become mere phrases, used as a matter of course. Crosbie had finished his letter by bidding God bless her;
"and you too," said Lily, pressing the letter to her
"Does he say anything particular?" asked Mrs. Dale.
"Yes, mamma; it's all very particular."
"So you ought to be. And he says that he went to church going through Barchester, and that the clergyman was the grandfather of that Lady Dumbello. When he got to Courcy Castle Lady Dumbello was there."
"What a singular coincidence!" said Mrs. Dale.
"I won't tell you a word more about his letter," said Lily. So she folded it up, and put it in her pocket. But as soon as she found herself alone in her own room, she had it out again, and read it over some half-a-dozen times.
That was the occupation of her morning; that, and the manufacture of some very intricate piece of work which was intended for the adornment of Mr. Crosbie's person. Her hands, however, were very full of work; or, rather, she intended that they should be full. She would take with her to her new home, when she was married, all manner of household gear, the produce of her own industry and economy. She had declared that she wanted to do something for her future husband, and she would begin that something at once. And in this matter she did not belie her promises to herself, or allow her good intentions to evaporate unaccomplished. She soon surrounded herself with harder tasks than those embroidered slippers with