162 MOLLY BAWN.
here, to find me before him. It will be a surprise; for I
would swear that horrible old man never told him of my
being in the house, or he would not have come. Am I
talking Greek to you, Molly? A"ou know my story
'I have heard something of it—not much—from Mr,
Luttrell,' says Molly, truthfully,
'It is a curious one, is it not? and one not easily
matched. It all came of that horrible will. Could there be
anything more stupid than for an old man to depart this
life and leave behind him a document binding two young
people in such a way as makes it " do or die " with them ?
I had never seen my cousin in all my life, and he had never
seen me; yet we were compelled at a moment's notice to
marry each other or forfeit a dazzling fortune,'
' Why could you not divide it ?'
' Because the lawyers said we couldn't. Lawyers are
always aggressive. My great-uncle had particularly declared
it should not be divided. It was to be all or none, and
'whichever of us refused to marry the other got nothing.
And there was so much !' says her ladyship, with an ex¬
' It was a hard case,' Molly says, with deep sympathy,
' It was. Yet, as I managed it, it wasn't half so bad.
Now, I daresay many women under the circumstances
would have gone into violent hysterics, would have driven
their relations to the verge of despair, and the shivering
bridegroom to the blink of delirious joy, and then given in;
married the man—lived with him—and been miserable ever
after. But not I.'
Here she pauses, charmed at her own superior wisdom ;
and, leaning back in her chair, with a contented smUe, puts
the tips of her fingers together daintily,
' Well, and you ?' says Molly, feeling intensely interested.
' I ? I just reviewed the case calmly, I saw it was a
great deal of money—too much to hesitate about—too much
also to make it likely a man would dream of resigning it for
the sake of a woman more or less. So I wrote to my cousin
explaining that, as we had never known each other, there
could be very little love lost between us, and that I saw no
necessity why we ever should know each other; and that I
was quite willing to marry him, and take a third of the