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Chapter 13
It may be thought the Doctor was too positive, and Mrs. Almond intimated as
much. But, as he said, he had his impression; it seemed to him sufficient, and he
had no wish to modify it. He had passed his life in estimating people (it was part
of the medical trade), and in nineteen cases out of twenty he was right.
"Perhaps Mr. Townsend is the twentieth case," Mrs. Almond suggested.
"Perhaps he is, though he doesn't look to me at all like a twentieth case. But I will
give him the benefit of the doubt, and, to make sure, I will go and talk with Mrs.
Montgomery. She will almost certainly tell me I have done right; but it is just
possible that she will prove to me that I have made the greatest mistake of my
life. If she does, I will beg Mr. Townsend's pardon. You needn't invite her to meet
me, as you kindly proposed; I will write her a frank letter, telling her how matters
stand, and asking leave to come and see her."
"I am afraid the frankness will be chiefly on your side. The poor little woman will
stand up for her brother, whatever he may be."
"Whatever he may be? I doubt that. People are not always so fond of their
"Ah," said Mrs. Almond, "when it's a question of thirty thousand a year coming
into a family--"
"If she stands up for him on account of the money, she will be a humbug. If she is
a humbug I shall see it. If I see it, I won't waste time with her."
"She is not a humbug--she is an exemplary woman. She will not wish to play her
brother a trick simply because he is selfish."
"If she is worth talking to, she will sooner play him a trick than that he should play
Catherine one. Has she seen Catherine, by the way--does she know her?"
"Not to my knowledge. Mr. Townsend can have had no particular interest in
bringing them together."
"If she is an exemplary woman, no. But we shall see to what extent she answers
your description."
"I shall be curious to hear her description of you!" said Mrs. Almond, with a laugh.
"And, meanwhile, how is Catherine taking it?"
"As she takes everything--as a matter of course."
"Doesn't she make a noise? Hasn't she made a scene?"
"She is not scenic."
"I thought a love-lorn maiden was always scenic."
"A fantastic widow is more so. Lavinia has made me a speech; she thinks me
very arbitrary."
"She has a talent for being in the wrong," said Mrs. Almond. "But I am very sorry
for Catherine, all the same."
"So am I. But she will get over it."
"You believe she will give him up?"
"I count upon it. She has such an admiration for her father."