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34. CHAPTER XXXIV (continued)
If Alethea had been as poor as the Misses Allaby, the reader may guess what Ernest's papa and mamma would have said to this proposal; but then, if she had been as poor as they, she would never have made it. They did not like Ernest's getting more and more into his aunt's good books, still it was perhaps better that he should do so than that she should be driven back upon the John Pontifexes. The only thing, said Theobald, which made him hesitate, was that the boy might be thrown with low associates later on if he were to be encouraged in his taste for music--a taste which Theobald had always disliked. He had observed with regret that Ernest had ere now shown rather a hankering after low company, and he might make acquaintance with those who would corrupt his innocence. Christina shuddered at this, but when they had aired their scruples sufficiently they felt (and when people begin to "feel," they are invariably going to take what they believe to be the more worldly course) that to oppose Alethea's proposal would be injuring their son's prospects more than was right, so they consented, but not too graciously.
After a time, however, Christina got used to the idea, and then considerations occurred to her which made her throw herself into it with characteristic ardour. If Miss Pontifex had been a railway stock she might have been said to have been buoyant in the Battersby market for some few days; buoyant for long together she could never be, still for a time there really was an upward movement. Christina's mind wandered to the organ itself; she seemed to have made it with her own hands; there would be no other in England to compare with it for combined sweetness and power. She already heard the famous Dr Walmisley of Cambridge mistaking it for a Father Smith. It would come, no doubt, in reality to Battersby Church, which wanted an organ, for it must be all nonsense about Alethea's wishing to keep it, and Ernest would not have a house of his own for ever so many years, and they could never have it at the Rectory. Oh, no! Battersby Church was the only proper place for it.
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