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“And down the sunny beach she paces slowly,With many doubtful pauses by the way;Grief hath an influence so hushed and holy.”Hood. “Is not Margaret the heiress?” whispered Edith to her husband, as they were in their room alone at night after the sad journey to Oxford. She had pulled his tall head down, and stood upon tiptoe, and implored him not to be shocked, before she ventured to ask this question. Captain Lennox was, however, quite in the dark; if he had ever heard, he had forgotten; it could not be much that a Fellow of a small College had to leave; but he had never wanted her to pay for her board; and two hundred and fifty pounds a year was something ridiculous, considering that she did not take wine. Edith came down upon her feet a little bit sadder; with a romance blown to pieces. A week afterwards, she came prancing towards her husband, and made him a low curtsey: “I am right, and you are wrong, most noble Captain. Margaret has had a lawyer’s letter, and she is residuary legatee—the legacies being about two thousand pounds, and the remainder about forty thousand, at the present value of property in Milton.” “Indeed! and how does she take her good fortune?” “Oh, it seems she knew she was to have it all along; only she had no idea it was so much. She looks very white and pale, and says she’s afraid of it; but that’s nonsense, you know, and will soon go off. I left mamma pouring congratulations down her throat, and stole away to tell you.” It seemed to be supposed, by general consent, that the most natural thing was to consider Mr. Lennox henceforward as Margaret’s legal adviser. She was so entirely ignorant of all forms of business that in nearly everything she had to refer to him. He chose out her attorney; he came to her with papers to be signed. He was never so happy as when teaching her of what all these mysteries of the law were the signs and types. “Henry,” said Edith, one day, archly; “do you know what I hope and expect all these long conversations with Margaret will end in?” “No, I don’t,” said he, reddening. “And I desire you not to tell me.” “Oh, very well; then I need not tell Sholto not to ask Mr. Montagu so often to the house.” “Just as you choose,” said he with forced coolness. “What you are thinking of may or may not happen; but this time, before I commit myself, I will see my ground clear. Ask whom you choose. It may not be very civil, Edith, but if you meddle in it you will mar it. She has been very farouche with me for a long time; and is only just beginning to thaw a little from her Zenobia ways. She has the making of a Cleopatra in her, if only she were a little more pagan.”
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Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell

Renowned English novelist, biographer and short story writer

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