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The American Senator

15. A Fit Companion,--For Me And My Sisters
On that same Wednesday Reginald Morton had called at the attorney's house,
had asked for Miss Masters, and had found her alone. Mrs. Masters at the time
had been out, picking up intelligence about the great case, and the two younger
girls had been at school. Reginald, as he walked home from Bragton all alone on
that occasion when Larry had returned with Mary, was quite sure that he would
never willingly go into Mary's presence again. Why should he disturb his mind
about such a girl,--one who could rush into the arms of such a man as Larry
Twentyman? Or, indeed, why disturb his mind about any girl? That was not the
manner of life which he planned for himself. After that he shut himself up for a
few days and was not much seen by any of the Dillsborough folk. But on this
Wednesday he received a letter, and,--as he told himself, merely in consequence
of that letter,--he called at the attorney's house and asked for Miss Masters.
He was shown up into the beautiful drawing-room, and in a few minutes Mary
came to him. "I have brought you a letter from my aunt," he said.
"From Lady Ushant? I am so glad."
"She was writing to me and she put this under cover. I know what it contains. She
wants you to go to her at Cheltenham for a month."
"Oh, Mr. Morton!"
"Would you like to go?"
"How should I not like to go? Lady Ushant is my dearest, dearest friend. It is so
very good of her to think of me."
"She talks of the first week in December and wants you to be there for
Christmas."
"I don't at all know that I can go, Mr. Morton"
"Why not go?"
"I'm afraid mamma will not spare me." There were many reasons. She could
hardly go on such a visit without some renewal of her scanty wardrobe, which
perhaps the family funds would not permit. And, as she knew very well, Mrs.
Masters was not at all favourable to Lady Ushant. If the old lady had altogether
kept Mary it might have been very well; but she had not done so and Mrs.
Masters had more than once said that that kind of thing must be all over;--
meaning that Mary was to drop her intimacy with high-born people that were of
no real use. And then there was Mr. Twentyman and his suit. Mary had for some
time felt that her step-mother intended her to understand that her only escape
from home would be by becoming Mrs. Twentyman. "I don't think it will be
possible, Mr. Morton."
"My aunt will be very sorry."
"Oh,--how sorry shall I be! It is like having another little bit of heaven before me."
Then he said what he certainly should not have said. "I thought, Miss Masters,
that your heaven was all here."
 
 
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