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      Calverley had beheld the group as they entered the court, and instantly averting his eyes from the mother and son, he fixed them upon Margaret.One day Albert sent his father a message through Pete.

      She paused in her work but did not look at him.If you think it best, I will, she said. Whatever we do, dont let us waste time here.

      Rose shuddered. "I'm not coming."

      As for Albert and Richard, they did not even work well, and they grumbled and shirked as much as they dared. They had ambitions, but so utterly at variance with Odiam's as to be worse than none. Albert wanted to be a poet and Richard to be a gentleman.

      "Is the betrayer a captive?" asked the monk; and he fixed an anxious searching glance on the baroness.It was this undoubtedly which had occurred in the domestic history of Keelings house. He had been infatuated with Emmelines prettiness at a time when as a young man of sternly moral principles and strong physical needs, the only possible course was to take a wife, while Emmeline, to tell the truth, had no voice in the matter at all. Certainly she had liked him, but of love in any ardent, compelling sense, she had never, in the forty-seven years of her existence, shown the smallest symptom in any direction whatever, and it was not likely that she was going to develop the malady now. She had supposed (and her mother quite certainly had supposed too) that she was going to marry somebody sometime, and when this strong and splendidly handsome young man insisted that she was going to marry him, she had really done little more than conclude that he must be right, especially when her mother agreed with him. Events had proved that as far as her part of the matter was concerned, she had{36} acted extremely wisely, for, since anything which might ever so indulgently be classed under the broad heading of romance, was foreign to her nature, she had secured the highest prize that life conceivably held for her in enjoying years of complete and bovine content. When she wanted a thing very much indeed, such as driving home after church on Sunday morning instead of walking, she generally got it, and probably the acutest of her trials were when John had the measles, or her husband and mother worried each other. But being almost devoid of imagination she had never thought that John was going to die of the measles or that her husband was going to cut off his annual Christmas present to her mother. Things as uncomfortable as that never really came near her; she seemed to be as little liable to either sorrow or joy as if when a baby she had been inoculated with some spiritual serum that rendered her permanently immune. She was fond of her children, her card-bearing crocodile in the hall, her husband, her comfort, and she quite looked forward to being Lady Mayoress next year. There would always be sufficient strawberries and iced coffee at her garden parties; her husband need not be under any apprehension that she would not have proper provision made. Dreadful scenes had occurred this year, when Mrs Alington gave her last garden-party, and two of her guests had been seen almost pulling the last strawberry in half.{37}

      "Them's Albert's verses right enough?"



      It sometimes grieved Tilly that she could not do more for her brothers and sister. Pete did not want her help, being quite happy in his work on the farm. But Jemmy and Caro hated their bondage, and she wished she could set them free. Reuben had sternly forbidden his children to have anything to do with the recreant sister, but they occasionally met on the road, or on the footpath across Boarzell. Once Caro had stolen a visit to Grandturzel, and held the baby in her arms, and watched her sister put him to bed; but she was far too frightened of Reuben to come again.