Then every one had a choice of a hymn to be practised for，
It was quite clear that Mr Arabin was heartily in love with Mrs Bold, and the signora, with very unwonted good nature, began to turn it over in her mind whether she could not do him a good turn. Of course Bertie was to have the first chance. It was an understood family arrangement that her brother was, if possible, to marry the widow Bold. Madeline knew too well the necessities and what was due to her sister to interfere with so excellent a plan, as long as it might be feasible. But she had strong suspicion that it was not feasible. She did not think it likely that Mrs Bold would accept a man in her brother's position, and she had frequently said so to Charlotte. She was inclined to believe that Mr Slope had more chance of success; and with her it would be a labour of love to rob Mr Slope of his wife.
And so the signora resolved, should Bertie fail, to do a good-natured act for once in her life, and give up Mr Arabin to the woman whom he loved.
THE LOOKALOFTS AND THE GREENACRES
On the whole, Miss Thorne's provision for the amusement and feeding of the outer classes in the exoteric paddock was not unsuccessful.
Two little drawbacks to the general happiness did take place, but they were of a temporary nature, and apparent rather than real. The first was the downfall of young Harry Greenacre, and the other was the uprise of Mrs Lookaloft and her family.
As to the quintain, it became more popular among the boys on foot, than it would ever have been among the men on horseback, even had young Greenacre been more successful. It was twirled round and round till it was nearly twisted out of the ground; and the bag of flour was used with great gusto in powdering the backs and heads of all who could be coaxed within the vicinity.
Of course it was reported all throughout the assemblage that Harry was dead, and there was a pathetic scene between him and his mother when it was found that he had escaped scatheless from the fall. A good deal of beer was drunk on the occasion, and the quintain was 'dratted' and 'bothered', and very generally anathematised by all the mothers who had young sons likely to be placed in similar jeopardy. But the affair of Mrs Lookaloft was of a more serious nature.
'I do tell 'ee plainly,--face to face--she be there in madam's drawing-room; herself and Gussy, and them two walloping gals, dressed up to their very eyeses.' This was said by a very positive, very indignant, and very fat farmer's wife, who was sitting on the end of a bench leaning on the handle of a huge cotton umbrella.
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