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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

She had admired Loveday before


"I

shouldn't think so. I believe it happened ever such a long time ago; before she was born, even."

"Couldn't her father get it back?"

"I suppose not. Besides, he's dead too. Loveday is an orphan. She's neither father nor mother."

"Where does she live, then, when she's at home?"

"With an uncle and aunt--her mother's relations. But she never talks very much about them, so we fancy they're not particularly nice to her. She has no brothers or sisters. I think she feels lonely, if you ask my opinion, but she's too proud to say so."

"And Pendlemere ought to be hers! How romantic!" repeated Diana. "I wanted to stay in a real old-fashioned mediaeval British house, and here I'm plumped into a story as well. It's most exciting! What's going to happen next? Is Loveday going to get it back? Will she marry the man who owns it? Or will somebody leave her a fortune? Or will she find a lost will? How do stories generally end?" continued Diana, casting her mind over a range of light literature which she had skimmed and half forgotten.

Wendy disposed of each of the suggestions in turn.

"There isn't anybody to leave her a fortune; and what's the good of finding a will when the place is sold? The present owner is a fat old fellow of fifty, with a wife already,

and, even if _she_ died, I shouldn't think Loveday would want to marry him. He has three daughters older than she is, and he's quite bald."

Diana looked baffled. Her romantic plan of restoring the fortunes of the Seton family through matrimony certainly did not seem hopeful.

"I'm fearfully sorry for Loveday," confided Tattie. "I know something about her, because some friends of ours live near her aunt. They say she gets very much snubbed; her cousins make her feel it's not her own home. She wants to go to college, but it's doubtful if she'll be able. Nesta Erskine says Loveday is just _counting_ on a career. She wants to be independent of her aunt."

"It must be horrible to be snubbed," commented Diana thoughtfully.

She had admired Loveday before, but now she looked at her room-mate with new eyes. To Diana there was something fascinating about the idea of a "penniless princess".

"Do your ancestors go right slap-bang back to the Conquest?" she asked interestedly, while she was undressing that evening.

"Well, not quite so far as that," smiled Loveday, diligently brushing a flaxen mane ripply with plaiting. "But I believe there were Setons in the fourteenth century, long before they had the Abbey from Edward the Sixth's commissioners. There are all sorts of stories and legends about them, of course."

"What kind of stories? Do tell me! I'd just admire to hear. I'm crazy on Border ballads and legends. Tell me, while I fix my hair."

"Well, there was little Sir Rowland. When he was only six years old his father was killed in one of the battles of the Wars of the Roses. They were Lancastrians, and the Yorkists seized his estate, and Rowland was only saved from the fury of the conquering party by the devotion of his nurse. She managed to hide him in a secret place in the tower till there was an opportunity to escape, and then she got him away to her father's house in the midst of a wild tract of forest. He lived there, disguised as a forester, for years and years, and helped to cut wood and to hunt, and only two or three people knew the secret of his birth. He used to go errands sometimes to the great Hall of the neighbourhood, and there he saw Lady Anne, the beautiful daughter of Lord Wharton, and fell desperately in love with her. One day when she was out riding he was able to save her from the attack of an infuriated stag, and I suppose she was very grateful, and perhaps showed her feelings too plainly, for her father shut her up in a turret-room, and ordered her to marry somebody whom she didn't like at all. I don't know what would have happened, but just then Henry VII came to the throne, and one of his first acts was to restore Sir Rowland Seton to his possessions and dignity. Lord Wharton must have thought him an eligible suitor then, for he was allowed to marry the Lady Anne, and take her away to his castle. Their tomb is in Dittington Church. He was killed at the Battle of Flodden, and one of his sons with him.


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