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18. CHAPTER XVIII: MRS ASKERTON'S STORY (continued)
It was clear enough at any rate that this was expected from her nay, imperatively demanded by him who was to be her lord by him to whom her future obedience would be due. Whatever might be her immediate decision, he would have a right to call upon her to be guided by his judgment as soon as she would become his wife. And indeed, she felt that he had such right now unless she should decide that no such right should be his, now or ever. It was still within her power to say that she could not submit herself to such a rule as his but having received his commands she must do that or obey them. Then she declared to herself, not following the matter out logically, but urged to her decision by sudden impulse, that at any rate she would not obey Lady Aylmer. She would have nothing to do, in any such matter, with Lady Aylmer. Lady Aylmer should be no god to her. That question about the house at Perivale had been very painful to her. She felt that she could have endured the dreary solitude at Perivale without complaint, if, after her marriage, her husband's circumstances had made such a mode of living expedient. But to have been asked to pledge her consent to such a life before her marriage, to feel that he was bargaining for the privilege of being rid of her, to know that the Aylmer people were arranging that he, if he would marry her, should be as little troubled with his wife as possible all this had been very grievous to her. She had tried to console herself by the conviction that Lady Aylmer not Frederic had been the sinner; but even in that consolation there had been the terrible flaw that the words had come to her written by Frederic's hand. Could Will Belton have written such a letter to his future wife?
In her present emergency she must be guided by her own judgment or her own instincts not by any edicts from Aylmer Park! If in what she might do she should encounter the condemnation of Captain Aylmer, she would answer him she would be driven to answer him by counter-condemnation of him and his mother. Let it be so. Anything would be better than a mean, truckling subservience to the imperious mistress of Aylmer Park.
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