Halfway House: A Comedy of Degrees

By Maurice Hewlett | Go to book overview
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XVII
FIRST FLIGHT

MRS. MERRITT who had been housekeeper to the late Canon Blackrod and now let lodgings in a house of her own, was amiable, and by the possession of that quality was able to keep her curiosity within bounds: but it was her daughter Polly, a Devon maid of apple cheeks and sloe-black eyes, who taught heir enthusiasm for her lodger. Polly Merritt adored the quiet and pretty young lady who, though she wore such beautiful clothes, gave herself none of the airs which were clearly within her rights; who would wash her own blouses, trim her own hats, or sit below-stairs chatting affably, while she trimmed one for Polly herself. In such familiar intercourse all the necessary safeguards of landladies were proved to be secure. Miss Middleham, it seemed, was an orphan, by profession a teacher of languages, who had found it necessary to leave her London employment to escape a gentleman's attentions. Most reasonable, most proper. The gentleman was one indeed, highly connected, in fact, cousin of an Honourable; but impecunious and not very steady. Girls'who are orphans must look after themselves: there had been

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