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Man and Wife

The Suitor
LADY LUNDIE pointed significantly to the door, and addressed herself to Sir Patrick's
private ear.
"Observe!" she said. "Miss Silvester has just got rid of somebody."
Sir Patrick deliberately looked in the wrong direction, and (in the politest possible
manner) observed--nothing.
Lady Lundie advanced into the summer-house. Suspicious hatred of the governess was
written legibly in every line of her face. Suspicious distrust of the governess's illness
spoke plainly in every tone of her voice.
"May I inquire, Miss Silvester, if your sufferings are relieved?"
"I am no better, Lady Lundie."
"I beg your pardon?"
"I said I was no better."
"You appear to be able to stand up. When I am ill, I am not so fortunate. I am obliged to
lie down."'
"I will follow your example, Lady Lundie. If you will be so good as to excuse me, I will
leave you, and lie down in my own room."
She could say no more. The interview with Geoffrey had worn her out; there was no
spirit left in her to resist the petty malice of the woman, after bearing, as she had borne it,
the brutish indifference of the man. In another moment the hysterical suffering which she
was keeping down would have forced its way outward in tears. Without waiting to know
whether she was excused or not, without stopping to hear a word more, she left the
summer-house.
Lady Lundie's magnificent black eyes opened to their utmost width, and blazed with their
most dazzling brightness. She appealed to Sir Patrick, poised easily on his ivory cane,
and looking out at the lawn-party, the picture of venerable innocence.
"After what I have already told you, Sir Patrick, of Miss Silvester's conduct, may I ask
whether you consider that proceeding at all extraordinary?"
The old gentleman touched the spring in the knob of his cane, and answered, in the
courtly manner of the old school:
"I consider no proceeding extraordinary Lady Lundie, which emanates from your
enchanting sex."
He bowed, and took his pinch. With a little jaunty flourish of the hand, he dusted the
stray grains of snuff off his finger and thumb, and looked back again at the lawn-party,
and became more absorbed in the diversions of his young friends than ever.
 
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