I am shocked— excessively shocked! Your father would have been very glad to have left his ring toMartin, let me tell you, only he thought it not right to leave it away from the heir!""Was it indeed a personal bequest?" inquired Gervase, interested. "That certainly must be held to enhance its value. It becomes, in fact, acurio, for it must be quite the only piece of unentailed property which my father did bequeathe to me. I shall put it in a glass cabinet."Martin, reddening, said: "I see what you are at! I'm not to be blamed if my father preferred me to you!""No, you are to be felicitated," said Gervase.
This embittered thought brought to her mind the several occasions upon which she might, had she been the kind of female his lordship no doubt admired, have kindled his ardour by a display of sensibility, or even of heroism ... To have thrown herself between the foils, when she had surprised the Earl fencing with Martin, would certainly have been spectacular, but that it would have evoked anything but exasperation in the male breast she was quite unable to believe. She thought she need not blame herself for having refrained upon this occasion; but when she recalled her behaviour in the avenue, when the Earl had been thrown from his horse, she knew that nothing could excuse her. Here had been an opportunity for spasms, swoonings, and a display of sensibility, utterly neglected! How could his lordship have been expected to guess that her heart had been beating so hard and so fast that had felt quite sick, when all she had done was to talk to him in a voice drained of all expression? Not even when his lifeless body had been carried into the Castle had she conducted herself like a heroine of romance! Had she fainted at the sight of his blood-soaked raiment? Had she screamed? No! All she had done had been to direct Ulverston to do one thing, Turvey another, Chard to ride for the doctor, while she herself had done what lay within her power to staunch the bleeding.
How came you to tumble down the stairs as soon as my back was turned?' ... The Earl slipped his arm behind her, and raised the hand he was still holding to his lips ... Miss Morville, finding his shoulder so invitingly close, was glad to rest her head against it ... Her overstrained nerves then found relief in a burst of tears. But as the Earl chose to kiss her at this moment, she was obliged to stop crying, the merest civility compelling her to return his embrace. As soon as she was able to speak, she said, however, in a voice meant only for his ears: 'Oh, no! Pray do not! It was all my folly, behaving in this missish way! You felt yourself obliged to comfort me! I assure you, I don't regard it - shall never think of it again! ... You would become disgusted with my odious commonsense. Try as I will, I *cannot* be romantic!' said Miss Morville despairingly.His eyes danced. 'Oh, I forbid you to try! Your practical observations, my absurd robin, are the delight of my life!'Miss Morville looked at him. Then, with a deep sigh, she laid her hand in his. But what she said was: 'You mean a sparrow!''I will not allow you to dictate to me, now or ever, Miss Morville! I mean a robin!' said the Earl firmly, lifting her hand to his lips.This interlude, which was watched with interest by the three servants, with complacence by Mrs Morville, critically by the Viscount, who was trying to unravel the puzzle just set before him, and with hostility by the Dowager and Mr Morville, seemed to break the spell which had hitherto held the rest of the company silent.