Isabel watched him a moment at the other side of the room; he was clearly trying hard to make himself agreeable to Mrs Touchett. Ralph had met the frank advances of one of the dogs before the fire that the temperature of an English August, in the ancient expanses, had not made an impertinence. ‘Do you suppose your brother’s sincere?’ Isabel enquired with a smile.

‘Oh, he must be, you know!’ Mildred exclaimed quickly, while the elder sister gazed at our heroine in silence.

‘Do you think he would stand the test?’

‘The test?’

‘I mean for instance having to give up all this.’

‘Having to give up Lockleigh?’ said Miss Molyneux, finding her voice.

‘Yes, and the other places; what are they called?’

The two sisters exchanged an almost frightened glance. ‘Do you mean—do you mean on account of the expense?’ the younger one asked.

‘I dare say he might let one or two of his houses,’ said the other.

‘Let them for nothing?’ Isabel demanded.

‘I can’t fancy his giving up his property,’ said Miss Molyneux.

‘Ah, I’m afraid he is an impostor!’ Isabel returned. ‘Don’t you think it’s a false position?’

Her companions, evidently, had lost themselves. ‘My brother’s position?’ Miss Molyneux enquired.

‘It’s thought a very good position,’ said the younger sister. ‘It’s the first position in this part of the county.’

‘I dare say you think me very irreverent,’ Isabel took occasion to remark. ‘I suppose you revere your brother and are rather afraid of him.’

‘Of course one looks up to one’s brother,’ said Miss Molyneux simply.

‘If you do that he must be very good—because you, evidently, are beautifully good.’

‘He’s most kind. It will never be known, the good he does.’

‘His ability is known,’ Mildred added; ‘every one thinks it’s immense.’

‘Oh, I can see that,’ said Isabel. ‘But if I were he I should wish to fight to the death: I mean for the heritage of the past. I should hold it tight.’

‘I think one ought to be liberal,’ Mildred argued gently. ‘We’ve always been so, even from the earliest times.’

‘Ah well,’ said Isabel, ‘you’ve made a great success of it; I don’t wonder you like it. I see you’re very fond of crewels.’3

When Lord Warburton showed her the house, after luncheon, it seemed to her a matter of course that it should be a noble picture. Within, it had been a good deal modernized—some of its best points had lost their purity; but as they saw it from the gardens, a stout grey pile, of the softest, deepest, most weather- fretted hue, rising from a broad, still moat, it affected the young visitor as a castle in a legend. The day

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.