Page:The Intrusion of Jimmy.djvu/180

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from her face. She looked up at him wistfully.

"Father, dear, listen," she said. "We always used to understand each other so well!" He patted her shoulder affectionately. "You can't mean what you say? You know I don't love Lord Dreever. You know he's only a boy. Don't you want me to marry a man? I love this old place, but surely you can't think that it can really matter in a thing like this? You don't really mean that about the hero of the novel? I'm not stupid, like that. I only want—oh, I can't put it into words, but don't you see?"

Her eyes were fixed appealingly on him. It only needed a word from him—perhaps not even a word—to close the gulf that had opened between them.

He missed the chance. He had had time to think, and his arguments were ready again. With stolid good-humor, he marched along the line he had mapped out. He was kindly and shrewd and practical; and the gulf gaped wider with every word.

"You mustn't be rash, my dear. You mustn't act without thinking in these things. Lord Dreever is only a boy, as you say, but he will grow. You say you don't love him. Nonsense! You like him. You would go on liking him more and more. And why? Because you could make what you pleased of him. You've got character, my dear. With a girl like you to look after him, he would go a long way, a very long way. It's all there. It only wants bringing out. And think of it, Molly! Countess