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The Hand of Ethelberta

35. The Hotel (Continued), And The Quay In
Front
Ethelberta, having arrived there some time earlier, had gone
straight to her aunt, whom she found sitting behind a large ledger
in the office, making up the accounts with her husband, a well-
framed reflective man with a grey beard. M. Moulin bustled,
waited for her remarks and replies, and made much of her in a
general way, when Ethelberta said, what she had wanted to say
instantly, 'Has a gentleman called Mr. Neigh been here?'
'O yes--I think it is Neigh--there's a card upstairs,' replied her aunt.
'I told him you were alone at the cathedral, and I believe he walked
that way. Besides that one, another has come for you--a Mr.
Ladywell, and he is waiting.'
'Not for me?'
'Yes, indeed. I thought he seemed so anxious, under a sort of
assumed calmness, that I recommended him to remain till you
came in.'
'Goodness, aunt; why did you?' Ethelberta said, and thought how
much her mother's sister resembled her mother in doings of that
sort.
'I thought he had some good reason for seeing you. Are these men
intruders, then?'
'O no--a woman who attempts a public career must expect to be
treated as public property: what would be an intrusion on a
domiciled gentlewoman is a tribute to me. You cannot have
celebrity and sex-privilege both.' Thus Ethelberta laughed off the
awkward conjuncture, inwardly deploring the unconscionable
 
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