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Adela Cathcart, Volume 2 by George MacDonald

I saw that Adela looked pleasedly expectant


style="text-align: justify;"> CHAPTER VII.

MY UNCLE PETER.

"Why don't you write a story, Percy?" said his mother to him next morning at breakfast.

"Plenty of quill-driving at Somerset-House, mother. I prefer something else in the holidays."

"But I don't like to see you showing to disadvantage, Percy," said his uncle kindly. "Why don't you try?"

"The doctor-fellow hasn't read one yet. And I don't think he will."

"Have patience. I think he will."

"I don't care. I don't want to hear it. It's all a confounded bore. They're nothing but goody humbug, or sentimental whining. His would be sure to smell of black draught. I'm not partial to drugs."

The mother frowned, and the uncle tried to smile kindly and excusingly. Percy rose and left the room.

"You see he's jealous of the doctor," remarked his mother, with an upward toss of the head.

The colonel did not reply, and I ventured no remark.

"There is a vein of essential vulgarity in both the brothers," said the lady.

"I don't think so," returned the colonel; and there the conversation ended.

Adela

was practising at her piano the greater part of the day. The weather would not admit of a walk.

When we were all seated once more for our reading and Mrs. Armstrong had her paper in her hand, after a little delay of apparent irresolution, she said all at once:

"Ralph, I can't read. Will you read it for me?"

"Do try to read it yourself, my dear," said her husband.

"I am sure I shall break down," she answered.

"If you were able to write it, surely you are able to read it," said the colonel. "I know what my difficulty would be."

"It is a very different thing to read one's own writing. I could read anything else well enough.--Will you read it for me, Henry?"

"With pleasure, if it must be any other than yourself. I know your handwriting nearly as well as my own. It's none of your usual lady-hands-all point and no character. But what do you say, Ralph?"

"Read it by all means, if she will have it so. The company has had enough of my reading. It will be a change of voice at least."

I saw that Adela looked pleasedly expectant.

"Pray don't look for much," said Mrs. Armstrong in a pleading tone. "I assure you it is nothing, or at best a mere trifle. But I could not help myself, without feeling obstinate. And my husband lays so much on the cherished obstinacy of Lady Macbeth, holding that to be the key to her character, that he has terrified me from every indulgence of mine."


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