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2. CHAPTER II: THE HEIR PROPOSES TO VISIT HIS COUSIN (continued)
'Am I to see the letter, papa?' she asked, wishing to turn his mind from the subject of the hay-cart.
'Well, yes. I brought it for you to see; though perhaps I should be doing better if I burned it, and said nothing more about it. It is a most impudent production; and heartless very heartless.'
Clara was accustomed to such complaints as these from her father. Everything that everybody did around him he would call heartless. The man pitied himself so much in his own misery, that he expected to live in an atmosphere of pity from others; and though the pity doubtless was there, he misdoubted it. He thought that Farmer Stovey was cruel in that he had left the hay-cart near the house, to wound his eyes by reminding him that he was no longer master of the ground before his own hall door. He thought that the women and children were cruel to chatter so near his ears. He almost accused his daughter of cruelty, because she had told him that she liked the contiguity of the hay-making. Under such circumstances as those which enveloped him and her, was it not heartless in her to like anything? It seemed to him that the whole world of Belton should be drowned in woe because of his misery.
'Where is it from, papa?' she asked.
'There, you may read it. Perhaps it is better that you should know that it has been written.' Then she read the letter, which was as follows
Though she had never before seen the handwriting, she knew at once from whence came the letter, for she had often heard of Plaistow Hall. It was the name of the farm at which her distant cousin, Will Belton, lived, and her father had more than once been at the trouble of explaining to her, that though the place was called a hall, the house was no more than a farmhouse. He had never seen Plaistow Hall, and had never been in Norfolk; but so much he could take upon himself to say, 'They call all the farms halls down there.' It was not wonderful that he should dislike his heir; and perhaps not unnatural that he should show his dislike after this fashion. Clara, when she read the address, looked up into her father's face. 'You know who it is now,' he said. And then she read the letter.
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