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a very satisfactory rate of exchange for youth and beauty. With me your daughter will have a safe protector, and every advantage money can buy."
“All very true; but the child would never consent to leave us all.”
Mr. Seton smiled indulgently. “I dare say all parents think alike,” he said; “but I must remind you that nature prompts women to leave the most tender father for a husband. I must request you to be good enough to deal fairly, and to allow the young lady to speak for herself.”
Mr. Shrugg was in despair as to how he was to dismiss this hopeful swain. The idea of treating Linda as a responsible being—she who, of all his daughters, was the most sensitive and timid, and who but the other day, as it seemed, was in pinafores—was utterly untenable; and yet Mr. Seton's request that she should give him his answer, was reasonable enough, though to grant it was to entail un
necessary pain on the girl. It never struck him that in his obstinate rejection he was throwing away that which most fathers would deem a magnificent alliance. Once more he tried to speak decidedly, but only succeeded in being foolish.
“My dear sir,” he reiterated, “ a girl of her age is not a suitable wife for a man like you.”
“That is my look out,” Mr. Seton said, loftily, “and your daughter's ; may I call and see her to-morrow ?”
"Yes; we had better leave it till to-morrow,” Mr. Shrugg said, catching at the reprieve and rising with alacrity; and holding out his hand, he added, “you must excuse me, but I cannot conscientiously say you will be successful.”
Mr. Seton let him reach the door, then called him back.
“One word more,” he exclaimed, “I conclude you have no personal objection to me ?” Mr. Shrugg was compelled to assure him quite the contrary.
“And I suppose my position is also unquestionable?” he continued.
The answer was, of course, politely affirmative.
“ Then,” Mr. Seton exclaimed, opening the door, “I shall have the pleasure of waiting on Miss Linda to-morrow at two o'clock.”
AN ALARMING SACRIFICE. Susy's stay down stairs seemed interminable to the curious expectants in the drawing-room; but she came back at last.
“You'll never guess!” she said, looking intensely excited and amused, “so I may as well tell you; it's neither you nor me, Margaret, but, actually, Linda!"
“Me!” cried Linda, “ I don't believe it.”
“And you are to go down to papa directly,” Susan added.
“Papa doesn't want me to have him ?” Linda asked, with a tremor in her voice, and instant tears, as she stood up irresolute.“Bell, you go—”
“Don't be absurd,” Margaret exclaimed; “ papa isn't likely to want you to marry such a man.”
“Take Bell with you, if you like,” Susy said.
And Bell, laughing at her twin sister's horror, took her hand; and the two went down stairs, leaving Norah speechless for once with amazement.
Susy had been called down to give her opinion, and she had agreed with Mr. Seton so far as to the propriety of allowing Linda an unbiassed choice. But she, as well as her parents, knew well what that choice would be. Nevertheless, Mr. Shrugg faithfully put all the advantages of the match before his alarmed young daughter, and insisted on her taking time before she decided on refusing. Susy thought also that Linda should herself decline: that small concession must be granted. If Linda was old enough to have an offer, Susy argued, she was old enough to answer for herself.
So it was decided that Mr. Seton should be allowed to pay his promised visit, and that Linda herself should decline with thanks.