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Malbone: An Oldport Romance Thomas Wentworth Higginson

IV. Aunt Jane Defines Her Position

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"Yes, fear. That is just what troubles me. I know precisely how he loves her. Il se laisse aimer. Philip likes to be petted, as much as any cat, and, while he will purr, Hope is happy. Very few men accept idolatry with any degree of grace, but he unfortunately does."

"Unfortunately?" remonstrated Hal, as far as ever from being satisfied. "This is really too bad. You never will do him any justice."

"Ah?" said Aunt Jane, chilling again, "I thought I did. I observe he is very much afraid of me, and there seems to be no other reason."

"The real trouble is," said Harry, after a pause, "that you doubt his constancy."

"What do you call constancy?" said she. "Kissing a woman's picture ten years after a man has broken her heart? Philip Malbone has that kind of constancy, and so had his father before him."

This was too much for Harry, who was making for the door in indignation, when little Ruth came in with Aunt Jane's luncheon, and that lady was soon absorbed in the hopeless task of keeping her handmaiden's pretty blue and white gingham sleeve out of the butter-plate.

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Malbone: An Oldport Romance
Thomas Wentworth Higginson

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