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My Lady's Money

Chapter 16
PAYING his court to the ex-schoolmistress on the next day, Hardyman made
such excellent use of his opportunities that the visit to the stud-farm took place
on the day after. His own carriage was placed at the disposal of Isabel and her
aunt; and his own sister was present to confer special distinction on the reception
of Miss Pink.
In a country like England, which annually suspends the sitting of its Legislature in
honor of a horse-race, it is only natural and proper that the comfort of the horses
should be the first object of consideration at a stud-farm. Nine-tenths of the land
at Hardyman's farm was devoted, in one way or another, to the noble quadruped
with the low forehead and the long nose. Poor humanity was satisfied with
second-rate and third-rate accommodation. The ornamental grounds, very poorly
laid out, were also very limited in extent--and, as for the dwelling-house, it was
literally a cottage. A parlor and a kitchen, a smoking-room, a bed-room, and a
spare chamber for a friend, all scantily furnished, sufficed for the modest wants of
the owner of the property. If you wished to feast your eyes on luxury you went to
the stables.
The stud-farm being described, the introduction to Hardyman's sister follows in
due course.
The Honorable Lavinia Hardyman was, as all persons in society know, married
rather late in life to General Drumblade. It is saying a great deal, but it is not
saying too much, to describe Mrs. Drumblade as the most mischievous woman of
her age in all England. Scandal was the breath of her life; to place people in false
positions, to divulge secrets and destroy characters, to undermine friendships,
and aggravate enmities--these were the sources of enjoyment from which this
dangerous woman drew the inexhaustible fund of good spirits that made her a
brilliant light in the social sphere. She was one of the privileged sinners of
modern society. The worst mischief that she could work was ascribed to her
 
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