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 It was a brilliant match for Miss Bernardstone, who had no fortune at all, and all her friends were of the opinion that she had done very well After Easter she was in London with her people, and I saw a good deal of them, in fact, I rather cultivated them. They might perhaps even have thought me a little patronizing, if they had been given to thinking that sort of thing. But they were not; that is not in their line. English people are very apt to attribute motives,—some of them attribute much worse ones than we poor simpletons in America recognize, than we have even heard of! But that is only some of them; others don’t, but take everything literally1 and genially2. That was the case with the Bernardstones; you could be sure that on their way home, after dining with you, they would n’t ask each other how in the world any one could call you pretty, or say that many people did believe, all the same, that you had poisoned your grandfather.  
Lady Emily was exceedingly gratified at her daughter’s engagement; of course she was very quiet about it, she did n’t clap her hands or drag in Mr. Tester’s name; but it was easy to see that she felt a kind of maternal3 peace, an abiding4 satisfaction. The young man behaved as well as possible, was constantly seen with Joscelind, and smiled down at her in the kindest, most protecting way. They looked beautiful together; you would have said it was a duty for people whose color matched so well to marry. Of course he was immensely taken up, and did n’t come very often to see me; but he came sometimes, and when he sat there he had a look which I did n’t understand at first. Presently I saw what it expressed; in my drawing-room he was off duty, he had no longer to sit up and play a part; he would lean back and rest and draw a long breath, and forget that the day of his execution was fixed5. There was to be no indecent haste about the marriage; it was not to take place till after the session, at the end of August It puzzled me and rather distressed6 me. that his heart should n’t be a little more in the matter; it seemed strange to be engaged to so charming a girl and yet go through with it as if it were simply a social duty. If one had n’t been in love with her at first, one ought to have been at the end of a week or two. If Ambrose Tester was not (and to me he did n’t pretend to be), he carried it off, as I have said, better than I should have expected. He was a gentleman, and he behaved like a gentleman, with the added punctilio, I think, of being sorry for his betrothed7. But it was difficult to see what, in the long run, he could expect to make of such a position. If a man marries an ugly, unattractive woman for reasons of state, the thing is comparatively simple; it is understood between them, and he need have no remorse8 at not offering her a sentiment of which there has been no question. But when he picks out a charming creature to gratify his father and les convenances, it is not so easy to be happy in not being able to care for her. It seemed to me that it would have been much better for Ambrose Tester to bestow9 himself upon a girl who might have given him an excuse for tepidity10. His wife should have been healthy but stupid, prolific11 but morose12. Did he expect to continue not to be in love with Joscelind, or to conceal
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