Ellen secretly despised Joanna’s suitors, just as she secretly despised all Joanna’s best and most splendid things. They were a dull lot, driving her sister home on market-day, or sitting for hours in the parlour with Arthur Alce’s mother’s silver tea-set. It was always “Good evening, Miss Godden,” “Good evening, Mr. Turner”—“Fine weather for roots”—“A bit dry for the grazing.” It was not thus that Ellen Godden understood love. Besides, these men looked oafs, in spite of the fine build of some of them—they were not so bad in their working clothes, with their leggings and velveteen breeches, but in their Sunday best, which they always wore on these occasions, they looked clumsy and ridiculous, their broad black coats in the cut of yester-year and smelling of camphor, their high-winged collars scraping and reddening their necks ... in their presence Ellen was rather sidling and sweet, but away from them in the riotous privacy of her new bedroom, she laughed to herself and jeered.
She had admirers of her own, but she soon grew tired of them—would have grown tired sooner if Joanna had not clucked and shoo’d them away, thus giving them the glamour of the forbidden thing. Joanna looked upon them all as detrimentals, presumptuously lifting up their eyes to Ansdore’s wealth and Ellen’s beauty.
“When you fall in love, you can take a stout yeoman with a bit of money, if you can’t find a real gentleman same as I did. Howsumever, you’re too young to go meddling with such things just yet. You be a good girl, Ellen Godden, and keep your back straight, and don’t let the boys kiss you.”