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7. CHAPTER VII: MISS AMEDROZ GOES TO PERIVALE (continued)
And she had been ruffled a second time by certain observations which Mrs Askerton made to her respecting her cousin or rather by little words which were dropped on various occasions. It was very clear that Mrs Askerton did not like Mr Belton, and that she wished to prejudice Clara against him. 'It's a pity he shouldn't be a lover of yours,' the lady said, 'because it would be such a fine instance of Beauty and the Beast.' It will of course be understood that Mrs Askerton had never been told of the offer that had been made.
'You don't mean to say that he's not a handsome man,' said Clara.
'I never observe whether a man is handsome or not; but I can see very well whether he knows what to do with his arms and legs, or whether he has the proper use of his voice before ladies.' Clara remembered a word or two spoken by her cousin to herself, in speaking which he had seemed to have a very proper use of his voice. 'I know when a man is at ease like a gentleman, and when he is awkward like a'
'Like a what?' said Clara. 'Finish what you've got to say.'
'Like a ploughboy, I was going to say,' said Mrs Askerton.
'I declare I think you have a spite against him, because he said you were like some Miss Vigo,' replied Clara, sharply. Mrs Askerton was on that occasion silenced, and she said nothing more about Mr Belton till after Clara had returned from Perivale.
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