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Amelia Edith Huddleston Barr
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 239 pages of information about The Maid of Maiden Lane.

“I have been thoughtless, Cornelia, selfish, I dare say; but I do not wish to be so.  Tell me, my dear, what has happened.  Did you quarrel with George Hyde?  And pray what was it about?”

“We never had one word of any kind, but words of affection.  He wrote and asked me if he could come and see my father about our marriage, on a certain night.  I answered his letter with all the love that was in my heart for him, and told him to come and see my father that very night.  He never came.  He never sent me the least explanation.  He never wrote to me, or spoke to me again.”

“Oh, but this is a different story!  His grandmother told me that you refused him.”

“That is not the truth.  Lady Annie Hyde came most unexpectedly that very day, and I suppose the easiest way to stop all inquiries about Miss Moran, was to say ‘she refused me.’”

“And after Lady Annie’s arrival, what happened?”

“I was absolutely deserted.  That is the truth.  I may as well admit it.  Perhaps you think it impossible for a young man so good-natured to behave in a manner so cruel and dishonourable; but I assure you it is the truth.”

“My dear, I have lived to see it almost impossible to think worse of people than they are; and if you can bear to hear more on this subject, I will tell it to you myself.”

“I can always bear the truth.  If I have lost my heart, I have not lost my head; nor will I surrender to useless grief the happiness which I can yet make for others, and for myself.”

“If what you have told me be so—­and I believe it is—­then I say Lord George Hyde is an intolerable scoundrel.”

“I would rather not hear him spoken of in that way.”

“I ask your pardon, but I must give myself a little Christian liberty of railing.  The man is false clean through.  He was evidently engaged to Lady Annie when he first sought your love, and therefore as soon as she came here, he deserted you.  I will tell you plainly that I saw him last summer very frequently, and he was always with her—­always listening with ears and heart to what she said—­always watching her with all his soul in his eyes—­ever on the lookout to see that not a breath of wind ruffled her soft wraps, or blew too strongly on her little white face.”

“That was his way, madame.  I have seen him devoting himself to you in the same manner; yes, and to Madame Griffin, and Miss White, and a score of other ladies—­old and young.  You know how good-natured he was.  When did you hear him say a wrong word of any one? even of Rem Van Ariens who was often intolerably rude.”

“Very well!  I would rather have a man ‘intolerably rude’ like my nephew Rem, than one like Lord Hyde who speaks well of everybody.  Upon my word, I think that is the worst kind of slander!”

“I think not.”

“It is; for it takes away the reputation of good men, by making all men alike.  But this, that, or the other, I saw Lord Hyde in devoted attendance on Lady Annie.  Give him up totally.  He is in his kingdom when he has a pretty woman to make a fool of.  As for marriage, these young men who have the world, or the better part of it, they marry where Cupidity, not Cupid leads them.  Give him up entirely.”

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