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Man and Wife

The Plan
SHE took his hand, and began with all the art of persuasion that she possessed.
"One question, Geoffrey, before I say what I want to say. Lady Lundie has invited you to
stay at Windygates. Do you accept her invitation? or do you go back to your brother's in
the evening?"
"I can't go back in the evening--they've put a visitor into my room. I'm obliged to stay
here. My brother has done it on purpose. Julius helps me when I'm hard up--and bullies
me afterward. He has sent me here, on duty for the family. Somebody must be civil to
Lady Lundie--and I'm the sacrifice."
She took him up at his last word. "Don't make the sacrifice," she said. "Apologize to
Lady Lundie, and say you are obliged to go back."
"Why?"
"Because we must both leave this place to-day."
There was a double objection to that. If he left Lady Lundie's, he would fail to establish a
future pecuniary claim on his brother's indulgence. And if he left with Anne, the eyes of
the world would see them, and the whispers of the world might come to his father's ears.
"If we go away together," he said, "good-by to my prospects, and yours too."
"I don't mean that we shall leave together," she explained. "We will leave separately--and
I will go first."
"There will be a hue and cry after you, when you are missed."
"There will be a dance when the croquet is over. I don't dance--and I shall not be missed.
There will be time, and opportunity to get to my own room. I shall leave a letter there for
Lady Lundie, and a letter"--her voice trembled for a moment--"and a letter for Blanche.
Don't interrupt me! I have thought of this, as I have thought of every thing else. The
confession I shall make will be the truth in a few hours, if it's not the truth now. My
letters will say I am privately married, and called away unexpectedly to join my husband.
There will be a scandal in the house, I know. But there will be no excuse for sending after
me, when I am under my husband's protection. So far as you are personally concerned
there are no discoveries to fear--and nothing which it is not perfectly safe and perfectly
easy to do. Wait here an hour after I have gone to save appearances; and then follow me."
"Follow you?" interposed Geoffrey. "Where?" She drew her chair nearer to him, and
whispered the next words in his ear.
"To a lonely little mountain inn--four miles from this."
"An inn!"
"Why not?"
"An inn is a public place."
 
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