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8. CHAPTER VIII: CAPTAIN AYLMER MEETS HIS CONSTITUENTS (continued)
'She has Martha, who is more to her now than any one else unless it is you.'
'You could not remain with her over Christmas, I suppose?'
'Who, I? What would my father do? Papa is as old, or nearly as old, as my aunt.'
'But he is strong.'
'He is very lonely. He would be more lonely than she is, for he has no such servant as Martha to be with him. Women can do better than men, I think, when they come to my aunt's age.'
>From this they got into a conversation as to the character of the lady with whom they were both so nearly connected, and, in spite of all that Clara could do to prevent it, continual references were made by Captain Aylmer to her money and will, and the need of an addition to that will on Clara's behalf. At last she was driven to speak out. 'Captain Aylmer,' she said, 'the subject is so distasteful to me, that I must ask you not to speak about it.'
'In my position I am driven to think about it.'
'I cannot, of course, help your thoughts; but I can assure you that they are unnecessary.'
'It seems to me so hard that there should be such a gulf between you and me.' This he said after he had been silent for a while; and as he spoke he looked away from her at the fire.
'I don't know that there is any particular gulf,' she replied.
'Yes, there is. And it is you that make it. Whenever I attempt to speak to you as a friend you draw yourself off from me, and shut yourself up. I know that it is not jealousy.'
'Jealousy, Captain Aylmer!'
'Jealousy with my aunt, I mean.'
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