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5. CHAPTER V: NOT SAFE AGAINST LOVE-MAKING (continued)
On the next morning Mr Amedroz did, with much awkwardness, call his guest by his Christian name. Clara caught her cousin's eye and smiled, and he also smiled. At that moment he was more in love than ever. Could anything be more charming than this? Immediately after breakfast he was going over to Redicote, to see a builder in a small way who lived there, and whom he proposed to employ in putting up the shed for the cattle; but he almost begrudged the time, so anxious was he to begin his suit. But his plan had been laid out and he would follow it. 'I think I shall be back by three o'clock,' he said to Clara, 'and then we'll have our walk.'
'I'll be ready; and you can call for me at Mr Askerton's. I must go down there, and it will save you something in your walk to pick me up at the cottage.' And so the arrangements for the day were made.
Clara had promised that she would soon call at the cottage, and was, indeed, rather anxious to see Mrs Askerton on her own account. What she had heard from her cousin as to a certain Miss Vigo of old days had interested her, and also what she had heard of a certain Mr Berdmore. It had been evident to her that her cousin had thought little about it. The likeness of the lady he then saw to the lady he had before known. had at first struck him; but when he found that the two ladies were not represented by one and the same person, he was satisfied, and there was an end of the matter for him. But it was not so with Clara. Her feminine mind dwelt on the matter with more earnestness than he had cared to entertain, and her clearer intellect saw possibilities which did not occur to him. But it was not till she found herself walking across the park to the cottage that she remembered that any inquiries as to her past life might be disagreeable to Mrs Askerton. She had thought of asking her friend plainly whether the names of Vigo and Berdmore had ever been familiar to her; but she reminded herself that there had been rumours afloat, and that there might be a mystery. Mrs Askerton would sometimes talk of her early life; but she would do this with dreamy, indistinct language, speaking of the sorrows of her girlhood, but not specifying their exact nature, seldom mentioning any names, and never referring with clear personality to those who had been nearest to her when she had been a child. Clara had seen her friend's maiden name, Mary Oliphant, written in a book, and seeing it had alluded to it. On that occasion Mrs Askerton had spoken of herself as having been an Oliphant, and thus Clara had come to know the fact. But now, as she made her way to the cottage, she remembered that she had learned nothing more than this as to Mrs Askerton's early life. Such being the case, she hardly knew how to ask any question about the two names that had been mentioned. And yet, why should she not ask such a question? Why should she doubt Mrs Askerton? And if she did doubt, why should not her doubts be solved?
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