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Blind Policy   By: (1831-1909)

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Blind Policy, by George Manville Fenn.




"Oh, you wicked old woman! Ah, you dare to cry, and I'll send you to bed."

"No, no, auntie, don't, please. What will dear Isabel think? You're not going to spoil a delightful evening?"

"Of course she is not. Here, old lady; have another glass of claret medicinally."

Dr Chester jumped up, gave his sister and the visitor a merry look, took the claret to the head of the table and refilled his own glass.

But the lady shook her grey sausage curls slowly, and elaborately began to unfold a large bordered pocket handkerchief, puckered up her plump countenance, gazed piteously at the sweet face on her right, bent her head over to her charming niece on the left, and then proceeded to up a few tears.

"No, no, no, Fred; not a drop more. It only makes me worse; I can't help it, my love."

"Yes, you can, old lady. Come, try and stop it. You'll make Bel cry too."

"I wish she would, Fred, and repent before it's too late."

"What!" cried the doctor.

"Don't shout at me, my dear. I want to see her repent. It's very nice to see the carriages come trooping, and to know what a famous doctor you are; but you don't understand my complaint, Fred."

"Oh yes, I do, old lady. Grumps, eh, Laury?"

"No, no, my dear. It's heart. I've suffered too much, and the sight of Isabel Lee, here, coming and playing recklessly on the very brink of such a precipice, is too much for me."

The tears now began to fall fast, and the two girls rose from their seats simultaneously to try and comfort the sufferer.

"Playing? Precipice?" cried the young doctor. "Step back, Bel dear; you shouldn't. Auntie, what do you mean?"

"Marriage, my dear, marriage," wailed the old lady.

"Fudge?" cried the doctor. "Here, take your medicine. No; I'll pour you out a fresh glass. You've poisoned that one with salt water."

"I haven't, Fred."

"You have, madam. I saw two great drops fall in plop. Come, swallow your physic. Bel, give her one of those grapes to take after it."

"No, no, no!" cried the old lady, protesting. "Don't, Laury;" but her niece held the glass to her lips till she gulped the claret down, and it made her cough, while the visitor exchange glances with the doctor.

"I I didn't want it, Fred; and it's not fudge. Oh, my dear Isabel, be warned before it is too late. Marriage is a delusion and a snare."

"Yes, and Bel's caught fast, auntie. Just going to pop her finger into the golden wire."

"Don't, my dear; be warned in time," cried the old lady, piteously. "I was once as young and beautiful as you are, and I said yes, and was married, only to be forsaken at the end of ten years, to become a weary, unhappy woman, with only three thousand four hundred and twenty two pounds left; and it's all melting slowly away, while when it's all gone Heaven only knows what's to become of me."

"Poor old auntie!" said Laura Chester soothingly, taking the old lady's head on her shoulder; but it would shake all the same.

"I had a house of my own, and now I have come down to keeping my nephew's. Don't you marry, my poor child: take warning by me. Men are so deceitful."

"Wrong, auntie. Men were deceivers ever."

"I'm not wrong, Fred. You've been a very good boy to me, but you're a grown man now, and though I love you I couldn't trust you a bit."

"Thank you, aunt dear."

"I can't, my love, knowing what I do. Human nature is human nature."

"Aunt dear, for shame!" cried Laura.

"No, my dear, it's no shame, but the simple truth, and I always told your poor father it was a sin and a crime to expose a young man to such temptation."

"Ha, ha, ha!" laughed the doctor, boisterously. "Here, Bel dear, don't you trust me... Continue reading book >>

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