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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 454 pages of information about The Vicissitudes of Bessie Fairfax.

“And grandpapa was perfectly indifferent to her:  it must have been dreary work.  Oh, what a pity that Lady Latimer did not care for him!”

“She did care for him very much.”

“But if she cared for Umpleby more?”

Miss Charlotte sighed retrospectively and said, “Olympia was ambitious:  she is the same still—­I see no change.  She longed to live in the world’s eye and to have her fill of homage—­for Nature had gifted her with the graces and talents that adorn high station—­but she was never a happy woman, never satisfied or at peace with herself.  She ardently desired children, and none were given her.  I have often thought that she threw away substance for shadow—­the true and lasting joys of life for its vain glories.  But she had what she chose, and if it disappointed her she never confessed to her mistake or avowed a single regret.  Her pride was enough to sustain her through all.”

“It is of no use regretting mistakes that must last a lifetime.  But one is sorry.”

The squire and Lady Latimer were drawing slowly towards the porch, talking calmly as they walked.

“Yes, one is sorry.  Those two were well suited to each other once,” said Miss Charlotte.

The Hartwell carriage came round the sweep, the Hartwell coachman—­who was groom and gardener too—­not in the best of humors at having been kept so long waiting.  Lady Latimer, with a sweet countenance, kissed Bessie at her leave-taking, and told her that permission was obtained for her to visit Fairfield next spring.  Then she got into the carriage, and bowing and smiling in her exquisite way, and Miss Charlotte a little impatient and tired, they drove off.  Bessie, exhilarated with her rather remote prospect of the Forest, turned to speak to her grandfather.  But, lo! his brief amenity had vanished, and he was Mr. Phipps again.

CHAPTER XXXI.

A SUCCESS AND A REPULSE.

The weather at the beginning of October was not favorable.  There were gloomy days of wind and rain that Bessie Fairfax had to fill as she could, and in her own company, of which she found it possible to have more than enough.  Mr. Fairfax had acquired solitary tastes and habits, and though to see Elizabeth’s face at meal-times and to ride with her was a pleasure, he was seldom at her command at other hours.  Mrs. Stokes was sociable and Mrs. Forbes was kind, but friends out of doors do not compensate altogether for the want of company within.  Sir Edward Lucas rode or drove over rather frequently seeking advice, but he had to take it from the squire after the first or second occasion, though his contemporary would have given it with pleasure.  Bessie resigned herself to circumstances, and, like a well-brought-up young lady, improved her leisure—­practised her songs, sketched the ruins and the mill, and learnt by heart some of the best pieces in her aunt Dorothy’s collection of poetry.

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