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13. CHAPTER XIII: MR WILLIAM BELTON TAKES A WALK IN THE COUNTRY (continued)
'What a state you are in,' Mary said to him when he showed himself for a moment in the sitting. room.
'I did it from milestone to milestone in eleven minutes, backwards and forwards, all along the five- mile reach.'
Then Mary knew from his answer that the exercise had been of service to him, perceiving that he had been able to take an interest in his own prowess as a walker.
'I only hope you won't have a fever,' she said.
'The people who stand still are they who get fevers,' he answered. 'Hard work never does harm to any one. If John Bowden would walk his five miles an hour on a Sunday afternoon he wouldn't have the gout so often.'
John Bowden was a neighbour in the next parish, and Mary was delighted to find that her brother could take a pride in his performance.
By degrees Miss Belton began to know with some accuracy the way in which Will had managed his affairs at Belton Castle, and was enabled to give him salutary advice.
'You see, Will,' she said, 'ladies are different from men in this, that they cannot allow themselves to be in love so suddenly.'
'I don't see how a person is to help it. It isn't like jumping into a river, which a person can do or not, just as he pleases.'
'But I fancy it is something like jumping into a river, and that a person can help it. What the person can't help is being in when the plunge has once been made.'
'No, by George! There's no getting out of that river.'
'And ladies don't take the plunge till they've had time to think what may come after it. Perhaps you were a little too sudden with our Cousin Clara?'
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