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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 796 pages of information about Wives and Daughters.

‘Are they coming?  Is Lady Cumnor well enough to travel?’

’Yes, to be sure.  Or else I should not have considered whether or no Cynthia could have come down with them; it would have sounded very well—­more than respectable, and would have given her a position among that lawyer set in London.’

‘Then Lady Cumnor is better?’

’To be sure.  I should have thought papa would have mentioned it to you; but, to be sure, he is always so scrupulously careful not to speak about his patients.  Quite right too—­quite right and delicate.  Why, he hardly ever tells me how they are going on.  Yes!  The Earl and the Countess, and Lady Harriet, and Lord and Lady Cuxhaven, and Lady Agnes; and I’ve ordered a new winter bonnet and a black satin cloak.’

CHAPTER XLIX

MOLLY GIBSON FINDS A CHAMPION

Lady Cumnor had so far recovered from the violence of her attack, and from the consequent operation, as to be able to be removed to the Towers for change of air; and accordingly she was brought thither by her whole family with all the pomp and state becoming an invalid peeress.  There was every probability that ‘the family’ would make a longer residence at the Towers than they had done for several years, during which time they had been wanderers hither and thither in search of health.  Somehow, after all, it was very pleasant and restful to come to the old ancestral home, and every member of the family enjoyed it in his or her own way; Lord Cumnor most especially.  His talent for gossip and his love of small details had scarcely fair play in the hurry of a London life, and were much nipped in the bud during his Continental sojournings, as he neither spoke French fluently, nor understood it easily when spoken.  Besides, he was a great proprietor, and liked to know how his land was going on; how his tenants were faring in the world.  He liked to hear of their births, marriages, and deaths, and had something of a royal memory for faces.  In short, if ever a peer was an old woman, Lord Cumnor was that peer; but he was a very good-natured old woman, and rode about on his stout old cob with his pockets full of halfpence for the children, and little packets of snuff for the old people.  Like an old woman, too, he enjoyed an afternoon cup of tea in his wife’s sitting-room, and over his gossip’s beverage he would repeat all that he had learnt in the day.  Lady Cumnor was exactly in that state of convalescence when such talk as her lord’s was extremely agreeable to her, but she had contemned the habit of listening to gossip so severely all her life, that she thought it due to consistency to listen first, and enter a supercilious protest afterwards.  It had, however, come to be a family habit for all of them to gather together in Lady Cumnor’s room on their return from their daily walks or drives or rides, and over the fire, sipping their tea at her early meal, to

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