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2. CHAPTER II: THE HEIR PROPOSES TO VISIT HIS COUSIN (continued)
'Of course, you are right,' she said, when Clara told her of the proposed coming of Mr Belton. 'If he turn out to be a good fellow, you will have gained a great deal. And should he be a bad, fellow, you will have lost nothing. In either case you will know him, and considering how he stands towards you, that itself is desirable.'
'But if he should annoy papa?'
'In your papa's condition, my dear, the coming of any one will annoy him. At least, he will say so; though I do not in the least doubt that he will like the excitement better even than you will.'
'I can't say there will be much excitement to me.'
'No excitement in a young man's coming into the house! Without shocking your propriety, allow me to say that that is impossible. Of course, he is coming to see whether he can't make matters all right by marrying you.'
'That's nonsense, Mrs Askerton.'
'Very well. Let it be nonsense. But why shouldn't he? It's just what he ought to do. He hasn't got a wife; and, as far as I know, you haven't got a lover.'
'I certainly have not got a lover.'
'Our religious nephew at Perivale does not seem to be of any use.'
'I wish, Mrs Askerton, you would not speak of Captain Aylmer in that way. I don't know any man whom I like so much, or at any rate better, than Captain Aylmer; but I hate the idea that no girl can become acquainted with an unmarried man without having her name mentioned with his, and having to hear ill-natured remarks of that kind.'
'I hope you will learn to like this other man much better. Think how nice it will be to be mistress of the old place after all. And then to go back to the old family name! If I were you I would make up my mind not to let him leave the place till I had brought him to my feet.'
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