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The New Magdalen

10. A Council Of Three
FOR a moment Horace stood thunderstruck, looking in blank astonishment at Lady Janet.
His first words, as soon as he had recovered himself, were addressed to Julian. "Is this a
joke?" he asked, sternly. "If it is, I for one don't see the humor of it."
Julian pointed to the closely written pages of the consul's letter. "A man writes in
earnest," he said, "when he writes at such length as this. The woman seriously gave the
name of Grace Roseberry, and when she left Mannheim she traveled to England for the
express purpose of presenting herself to Lady Janet Roy." He turned to his aunt. "You
saw me start," he went on, "when you first mentioned Miss Roseberry's name in my
hearing. Now you know why." He addressed himself once more to Horace. "You heard
me say that you, as Miss Roseberry's future husband, had an interest in being present at
my interview with Lady Janet. Now you know why."
"The woman is plainly mad," said Lady Janet. "But it is certainly a startling form of
madness when one first hears of it. Of course we must keep the matter, for the present at
least, a secret from Grace."
"There can be no doubt," Horace agreed, "that Grace must be kept in the dark, in her
present state of health. The servants had better be warned beforehand, in case of this
adventuress or madwoman, whichever she may be, attempting to make her way into the
house."
"It shall be done immediately," said Lady Janet. "What surprises me Julian (ring the bell,
if you please), is that you should describe yourself in your letter as feeling an interest in
this person."
Julian answered--without ringing the bell.
"I am more interested than ever," he said, "now I find that Miss Roseberry herself is your
guest at Mablethorpe House."
'You were always perverse, Julian, as a child, in your likings and dislikings," Lady Janet
rejoined. "Why don't you ring the bell?"
"For one good reason, my dear aunt. I don't wish to hear you tell your servants to close
the door on this friendless creature."
Lady Janet cast a look at her nephew which plainly expressed that she thought he had
taken a liberty with her.
"You don't expect me to see the woman?" she asked, in a tone of cold surprise.
 
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