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Purchase of this book includes free trial access to where you can read more than a million books for free. This is an OCR edition with typos. Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III The modest, low house on the Kentish hillside, with its pink, rough-cast face, its tall, narrow, eighteenth- century windows, its verandah, the alternate object of summer blessings and winter curses, has been Lavinia Carew's home ever since her mother had crowned a foolish marriage by a perhaps less foolish death within the year. Being one of those completely unfortunate persons whom Fate seems to delight in belabouring, her husband had predeceased her by a fortnight. Upon the doubly forsaken baby's nearest blood relation, Sir George Campion, had devolved the choice of two alternatives—that of saddling himself for life with a creature against whose entry into it he had always angrily protested, and that of sending it to the workhouse, and being called an unnatural brute for his pains. He chose the first ; though, as everybody said, with a very ill grace. But the people who kindly tried to tell her this in later days could never get Sir George Campion's niece to believe it. Yet her life has scarcely been a bed of roses, though love has not been lacking ; and her three men have had that immense opinion of her which makes up to most of her sex for any amount of bodilyor mental char-ing. Of women in her home, save servants, there have, within her recollection, been none. Marriage is not an institution that seems to thrive in the Campion family, and so early in Lavinia's history that only the faintest blur of memory of something kind and connected with cakes remains to the girl, her uncle's wife had slipped inoffensively away to the churchyard, conveniently close to the pink-faced house. Often since she has grown up into sense and thoughtfulness, Lavinia has speculated about that dim lady, of whom no one now ever speaks—all others because they have forgotten her, and ...
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