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30. CHAPTER XXX. (continued)
Melbury was much grieved. "What, and would you like to have grown up as we be here in Hintock--knowing no more, and with no more chance of seeing good life than we have here?"
"Yes. I have never got any happiness outside Hintock that I know of, and I have suffered many a heartache at being sent away. Oh, the misery of those January days when I had got back to school, and left you all here in the wood so happy. I used to wonder why I had to bear it. And I was always a little despised by the other girls at school, because they knew where I came from, and that my parents were not in so good a station as theirs."
Her poor father was much hurt at what he thought her ingratitude and intractability. He had admitted to himself bitterly enough that he should have let young hearts have their way, or rather should have helped on her affection for Winterborne, and given her to him according to his original plan; but he was not prepared for her deprecation of those attainments whose completion had been a labor of years, and a severe tax upon his purse.
"Very well," he said, with much heaviness of spirit. "If you don't like to go to her I don't wish to force you."
And so the question remained for him still: how should he remedy this perilous state of things? For days he sat in a moody attitude over the fire, a pitcher of cider standing on the hearth beside him, and his drinking-horn inverted upon the top of it. He spent a week and more thus composing a letter to the chief offender, which he would every now and then attempt to complete, and suddenly crumple up in his hand.
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