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32. CHAPTER XXXII (continued)
"But Miss Avery said--"
Dolly's eyes grew round. "It was a perfectly awful letter. Charles said it was the letter of a madman. In the end she had the pendant back again from the shop and threw it into the duck-pond."
"Did she give any reasons?"
"We think she meant to be invited to Oniton, and so climb into society."
"She's rather old for that," said Margaret pensively.
"May she not have given the present to Evie in remembrance of her mother?"
"That's a notion. Give every one their due, eh? Well, I suppose I ought to be toddling. Come along, Mr. Muff--you want a new coat, but I don't know who'll give it you, I'm sure;" and addressing her apparel with mournful humour, Dolly moved from the room.
Margaret followed her to ask whether Henry knew about Miss Avery's rudeness.
"I wonder, then, why he let me ask her to look after the house."
"But she's only a farm woman," said Dolly, and her explanation proved correct. Henry only censured the lower classes when it suited him. He bore with Miss Avery as with Crane--because he could get good value out of them. "I have patience with a man who knows his job," he would say, really having patience with the job, and not the man. Paradoxical as it may sound, he had something of the artist about him; he would pass over an insult to his daughter sooner than lose a good charwoman for his wife.
Margaret judged it better to settle the little trouble herself. Parties were evidently ruffled. With Henry's permission, she wrote a pleasant note to Miss Avery, asking her to leave the cases untouched. Then, at the first convenient opportunity, she went down herself, intending to repack her belongings and store them properly in the local warehouse; the plan had been amateurish and a failure. Tibby promised to accompany her, but at the last moment begged to be excused. So, for the second time in her life, she entered the house alone.
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