Thelma (Chapter 2, page 1 of 18)


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Chapter 2

"Viens donc--je te chanterai des chansons que les esprits des cimetieres m'ont apprises!"
MATURIN.

"Baffled!" he exclaimed, with a slight vexed laugh, as the boat vanished from his sight. "By a woman, too! Who would have thought it?"

Who would have thought it, indeed! Sir Philip Bruce-Errington, Baronet, the wealthy and desirable parti for whom many match-making mothers had stood knee-deep in the chilly though sparkling waters of society, ardently plying rod and line with patient persistence, vainly hoping to secure him as a husband for one of their highly proper and passionless daughters,--he, the admired, long-sought-after "eligible," was suddenly rebuffed, flouted--by whom? A stray princess, or a peasant. He vaguely wondered, as he lit a cigar and strolled up and down on the shore, meditating, with a puzzled, almost annoyed expression on his handsome features. He was not accustomed to slights of any kind, however trifling; his position being commanding and enviable enough to attract flattery and friendship from most people. He was the only son of a baronet as renowned for eccentricity as for wealth. He had been the spoilt darling of his mother; and now, both his parents being dead, he was alone in the world, heir to his father's revenues, and entire master of his own actions. And as part of the penalty he had to pay for being rich and good-looking to boot, he was so much run after by women that he found it hard to understand the haughty indifference with which he had just been treated by one of the most fair, if not the fairest of her sex. He was piqued, and his amour propre was wounded.

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