Page:Arminell, a social romance (1896).djvu/525

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"Megalithic monuments."

"Megalithic monuments, my dear?"

"Yes, mamma. He loves me dearly, but even I, who can do almost anything with him, would shrink from holding Mr. Fergusson's view that Stonehenge was a work of the Anglo-Saxons. If it did not separate us, it would make a temporary estrangement. But, understand me, we are the greatest of friends, we never quarrel. I believe with all my soul that the rude stone monuments are prehistoric and pre-Keltic."

"And what are his political views?"

"I do not think he has any. But he is deeply interested in the bill for the acquisition and nationalisation of the antiquities of the country. He says, and I agree with him, that if Britain is to maintain her place as a leading nation in the civilized world, she should conserve most strictly every prehistoric monument on the soil."

Then Arminell made Lady Lamerton rest on the sofa; and she drew a stool to her feet, and sat there holding her hands.

"I dare say you cannot understand why I married him," she said, after a short period of silence and mutual endearments. "But I was much alone, and oh! so solitary. I wanted a companion and did not relish the idea of an elderly eligible female, who, with bland perpetual smile, acquiescence in all my vagaries, non-resistance to my opinion, would have been intolerable to me. I could not do without a companion, and I could not endure the society of one. It is the vocation of these companions to be complaisant, to have no view, no opinion, no personality. Unless she were all that, she would be no companion; if she were all that, she would be insupportable to me. Then—with her I could not have talked about dear Orleigh."

She stroked and then kissed her step-mother's hand.

"Also poor Jingles—I mean Mr. Saltren—required a