`I didn't say that.'

`But I know you like women to be rather insipid. Philip Wakem betrayed you: he said so one day when you were not here.'

`O I know Phil is fierce on that point - he makes it quite a personal matter. I think he must be love-sick for some unknown lady - some exalted Beatrice whom he met abroad.'

`By the by!' said Lucy, pausing in her work. `It has just occurred to me that I have never found out whether my cousin Maggie will object to see Philip, as her brother does. Tom will not enter a room where Philip is if he knows it: perhaps Maggie may be the same and then we shan't be able to sing our glees, shall we?'

`What, is your cousin coming to stay with you?' said Stephen, with a look of slight annoyance.

`Yes; that was my news, which you have forgotten. She's going to leave her situation, where she has been nearly two years, poor thing - ever since her father's death, and she will stay with me a month or two - many months, I hope.'

`And am I bound to be pleased at that news?'

`O no, not at all,' said Lucy, with a little air of pique. `I am pleased, but that, of course, is no reason why you should be pleased. There is no girl in the world I love so well as my cousin Maggie.'

`And you will be inseparable, I suppose, when she comes. There will be no possibility of a tête-à-tête with you any more, unless you can find an admirer for her, who will pair off with her occasionally. What is the ground of dislike to Philip? He might have been a resource.'

`It is a family quarrel with Philip's father. There were very painful circumstances, I believe - I never quite understood them or knew them all. My uncle Tulliver was unfortunate and lost all his property, and I think he considered Mr Wakem was somehow the cause of it. Mr Wakem bought Dorlcote Mill, my uncle's old place, where he always lived. You must remember my uncle Tulliver, don't you?'

`No,' said Stephen, with rather supercilious indifference. `I've always known the name, and I daresay I knew the man by sight, apart from his name. I know half the names and faces in the neighbourhood in that detached, disjointed way.'

`He was a very hot-tempered man. I remember, when I was a little girl and used to go to see my cousins, he often frightened me by talking as if he was angry. Papa told me there was a dreadful quarrel the very day before my uncle's death, between him and Mr Wakem, but it was hushed up. That was when you were in London. Papa says my uncle was quite mistaken in many ways - his mind had become embittered. But Tom and Maggie must naturally feel it very painful to be reminded of these things. They have had so much - so very much trouble. Maggie was at school with me six years ago, when she was fetched away because of her father's misfortunes, and she has hardly had any pleasure since, I think. She has been in a dreary situation in a school since uncle's death because she is determined to be independent, and not live with aunt Pullet; and I could hardly wish her to come to me then, because dear mamma was ill and everything was so sad. That is why I want her to come to me now, and have a long, long holiday.'

`Very sweet and angelic of you,' said Stephen, looking at her with an admiring smile, `and all the more so if she has the conversational qualities of her mother.'

`Poor aunty! You are cruel to ridicule her. She is very valuable to me, I know. She manages the house beautifully - much better than any stranger would. And she was a great comfort to me in mamma's illness.'

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