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33. CHAPTER XXXIII (continued)
"Of course," she had said to me, more than once, "I shall make a mess of it. I shall choose some nice-looking, well-dressed screw, with gentlemanly manners which will take me in, and he will go and paint Academy pictures, or write for the Times, or do something just as horrid the moment the breath is out of my body."
As yet, however, she had made no will at all, and this was one of the few things that troubled her. I believe she would have left most of her money to me if I had not stopped her. My father left me abundantly well off, and my mode of life has been always simple, so that I have never known uneasiness about money; moreover I was especially anxious that there should be no occasion given for ill-natured talk; she knew well, therefore, that her leaving her money to me would be of all things the most likely to weaken the ties that existed between us, provided that I was aware of it, but I did not mind her talking about whom she should make her heir, so long as it was well understood that I was not to be the person.
Ernest had satisfied her as having enough in him to tempt her strongly to take him up, but it was not till after many days' reflection that she gravitated towards actually doing so, with all the break in her daily ways that this would entail. At least, she said it took her some days, and certainly it appeared to do so, but from the moment she had begun to broach the subject, I had guessed how things were going to end.
It was now arranged she should take a house at Roughborough, and go and live there for a couple of years. As a compromise, however, to meet some of my objections, it was also arranged that she should keep her rooms in Gower Street, and come to town for a week once in each month; of course, also, she would leave Roughborough for the greater part of the holidays. After two years, the thing was to come to an end, unless it proved a great success. She should by that time, at any rate, have made up her mind what the boy's character was, and would then act as circumstances might determine.
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