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The American Senator

6. Not in Love
Reginald Morton, as he walked across the bridge towards the house, was
thoroughly disgusted with all the world. He was very angry with himself, feeling
that he had altogether made a fool of himself by his manner. He had shown
himself to be offended, not only by Mr. Twentyman, but by Miss Masters also,
and he was well aware, as he thought of it all, that neither of them had given him
any cause of offence. If she chose to make an appointment for a walk with Mr.
Lawrence Twentyman and to keep it, what was that to him? His anger was
altogether irrational, and he knew that it was so. What right had he to have an
opinion about it if Mary Masters should choose to like the society of Mr.
Twentyman? It was an affair between her and her father and mother in which he
could have no interest; and yet he had not only taken offence, but was well
aware that he had shown his feeling.
Nevertheless, as to the girl herself, he could not argue himself out of his anger. It
was grievous to him that he should have gone out of his way to ask her to walk
with him just at the moment when she was expecting this vulgar lover,--for that
she had expected him he felt no doubt. Yet he had heard her disclaim any
intention of walking with the man! But girls are sly, especially when their lovers
are concerned. It made him sore at heart to feel that this girl should be sly, and
doubly sore to think that she should have been able to love such a one as
Lawrence Twentyman.
As he roamed about among the grounds this idea troubled him much. He
assured himself that he was not in love with her himself, and that he had no idea
of falling in love with her; but it sickened him to think that a girl who had been
brought up by his aunt, who had been loved at Bragton, whom he had liked, who
looked so like a lady, should put herself on a par with such a wretch as that. In all
this he was most unjust to both of them. He was specially unjust to poor Larry,
who was by no means a wretch. His costume was not that to which Morton had
been accustomed in Germany, nor would it have passed without notice in Bond
Street. But it was rational and clean. When he came to the bridge to meet his
sweetheart he had on a dark-green shooting coat, a billicock hat, brown
breeches, and gaiters nearly up to his knees. I don't know that a young man in
the country could wear more suitable attire. And he was a well-made man, just
such a one as, in this dress, would take the eye of a country girl. There was a
little bit of dash about him, just a touch of swagger, which better breeding might
have prevented. But it was not enough to make him odious to an unprejudiced
observer. I could fancy that an old lady from London, with an eye in her head for
manly symmetry, would have liked to look at Larry, and would have thought that
a girl in Mary's position would be happy in having such a lover, providing that his
character was good and his means adequate. But Reginald Morton was not an
old woman, and to his eyes the smart young farmer with his billicock hat, not
quite straight on his head, was an odious thing to behold. He exaggerated the
 
 
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