By Anne Dean
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Extra info for A Woman of Consequence
Oh my dear friend,’ she murmured when she visited the vicarage two days after the accident. ‘I blame myself! I blame myself entirely! I who knew what terrible forces haunted the ruins! I should never have taken my poor friend there. ’ She put a hand to her brow and arranged herself upon the hard sofa of Margaret’s parlour with all the grace that her stout little form would allow. ‘I am sure you have nothing to reproach yourself for,’ said Dido briskly. ’ exclaimed Lucy so slowly that there seemed to be an eternity of pity in the words.
She cried aloud. Her anger suddenly forgotten, she turned from contemplation of the retreating little gentleman and looked instead at the path along which he had come – a path which the traffic of ‘improvements’ had left almost an inch deep in mud … And she thought again about those pale, clean pantaloons … No one could have fallen upon that path without staining his clothes. It was an impossibility … So how had he come by such a bruise? And why had he lied about it? She almost ran after him, but stopped herself and stood irresolute on the muddy path in the gathering dusk and encroaching shadows of the ruins.
He is but just recovered from his last great attack of asthma and should not, in my opinion, have risked his health in a public assembly. He was exceedingly white and shaken. You may imagine him, Eliza, sitting on the old sofa by the window in the breakfast parlour, with Lucy upon one side and me upon the other, stammering out his account. ’ repeated Lucy again and again. ‘Miss Elinor Fenn? ’ For she seemed to feel that, if the coroner could not oblige her with a romantic nun, then he might at least furnish a name with which she is familiar.
A Woman of Consequence by Anne Dean