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    ag8出款各种理由“Pray what do you mean by that? WHAT is happening?” Pierced by a sudden suspicion Mahony swung round and faced her. “Good Lord, Mary!” . . . his voice trailed off in a kind of incredulous disgust. “Good Lord! You don’t want to tell me you’re trying to bolster up a match between this woman and . . . and Purdy?”


    He had lighted the after-breakfast pipe he could now allow himself, and pacing the room with his hands in his dressing-gown pockets went on: “This sense of insignificance regularly haunts me. I’m paying, I expect, for having lived so long in a place like Ballarat, where it was easy to imagine oneself a personage of importance. Here, all such vanity is soon crushed out of one. The truth of the matter is, London’s too big for me; I don’t feel equal to it — I believe one can lose the habit of great cities, just like any other. And sometimes, especially since you’ve been laid up, Mary — for which I hold myself mainly responsible, my dear, running you off your legs as I did at first . . .”
    “Indeed I hope so,” said Mary; and resumed her search for Zara’s plum. “It looks as if she’s not going to mention it. This is all about her pupils. They dote on her as usual, and she drives out every day in the carriage. Zara is certainly lucky in her employers. — Oh, here it is — tucked away in a postscript. OTHER AND FAIRER PROSPECTS BECKON, MY DEAR MARY, THAN THOSE OF ETERNALLY IMPROVING THE MINDS OF OTHER PEOPLE’S CHILDREN. AT PRESENT I CAN SAY NO MORE. BUT YOUR CLEVERNESS WILL NO DOUBT ENABLE YOU TO DIVINE WHAT I LEAVE UNSAID. And that’s all. Now I suppose I must wait another three months to hear who it is and how it happened. Oh dear, how OUT of everything we do seem here!”


    1.But tea over, chairs drawn to the fire, feet planted on the fender, Mother turned her pretty old pink-and-white face framed in lisse cap and bands to Mahony, and seeing him still sit meditative, laid her plump little hand over his long thin one, which rested on the arm of his chair. And as he did not resist, she made it a prisoner, and carried it to her shiny old black silk lap. Sitting in this way, hand in hand with him, she began to put gentle questions about the lives and fates of those dearest to her: John, John’s two families of children, and his wives, neither of whom, not the lovely Emma, nor yet soft, brown-eyed Jinny — to whom, through her letters, she had grown deeply attached — could she now ever hope to know on earth. Next Zara, whom she called Sarah: “For the name I chose for her at her baptism I still think good enough for her,” with a stingless laugh at her eldest daughter’s elegancies. Steady Jerry, who would never set the Thames on fire. Ned, poor dear unfortunate Ned, who had been a source of anxiety to her since his birth —“Ah, but I was troubled when I carried him, Richard!”— from whom she had not heard directly for many a long day. Inquiring thus after her brood, and commenting on what she heard with a rare good sense, she gradually lured Mahony into a talking-fit that subdued even Lisby, and kept them all out of their beds till two o’clock in the morning. Once started, Richard proved regularly in the vein; and Mary no longer needed to fear lest he be thought dull or stand-off. Indeed, she found herself listening with interest. For he told things — gave reasons for throwing up his Ballarat practice, described sensations on the homeward voyage and in London — which were new even to her. At some of them she rather opened her eyes. She didn’t want to insinuate that Richard was inventing them on the spur of the moment; but she did think — and on similar occasions had thought before now — that certain ideas occurred to him only when he got fairly wound up: he was like a fisher who didn’t always know what he was going to catch. — Besides, there was this odd contradiction in Richard: he who was usually so reserved could, she had noticed, sometimes speak out more frankly, unbosom himself more easily, to people he was meeting for the first time, than to those he lived his life with. It was as if he said to himself, once didn’t count.
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