North and South (Chapter 3, page 1 of 12)


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Chapter 3

'Learn to win a lady's faith
Nobly, as the thing is high;
Bravely, as for life and death--
With a loyal gravity.

Lead her from the festive boards,
Point her to the starry skies,
Guard her, by your truthful words,
Pure from courtship's flatteries.'

MRS. BROWNING.

'Mr. Henry Lennox.' Margaret had been thinking of him only a
moment before, and remembering his inquiry into her probable
occupations at home. It was 'parler du soleil et l'on en voit les
rayons;' and the brightness of the sun came over Margaret's face
as she put down her board, and went forward to shake hands with
him. 'Tell mamma, Sarah,' said she. 'Mamma and I want to ask you
so many questions about Edith; I am so much obliged to you for
coming.' 'Did not I say that I should?' asked he, in a lower tone than
that in which she had spoken.

'But I heard of you so far away in the Highlands that I never
thought Hampshire could come in.

'Oh!' said he, more lightly, 'our young couple were playing such
foolish pranks, running all sorts of risks, climbing this
mountain, sailing on that lake, that I really thought they needed
a Mentor to take care of them. And indeed they did; they were
quite beyond my uncle's management, and kept the old gentleman in
a panic for sixteen hours out of the twenty-four. Indeed, when I
once saw how unfit they were to be trusted alone, I thought it my
duty not to leave them till I had seen them safely embarked at
Plymouth.' 'Have you been at Plymouth? Oh! Edith never named that. To be
sure, she has written in such a hurry lately. Did they really
sail on Tuesday?' 'Really sailed, and relieved me from many responsibilities. Edith
gave me all sorts of messages for you. I believe I have a little
diminutive note somewhere; yes, here it is.' 'Oh! thank you,' exclaimed Margaret; and then, half wishing to
read it alone and unwatched, she made the excuse of going to tell
her mother again (Sarah surely had made some mistake) that Mr.
Lennox was there.

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