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    Littleton got up and leaned against the mantelpiece, looking down upon her. His straight, spare figure, in his unmistakable American clothing, bespoke energy and endurance. The shape of his head, on the forehead of which the fair hair was thinning a little, told of great mental activity and powers of organization. Some woman might be proud of such a man. In some ways he was not unlike Colin Paton, save that he had the American restlessness and nerviness, and that he lacked the fine polish and self-possession which a man may possibly acquire, but is usually associated with families that can count back many centuries, and that have always tried to uphold the best traditions of English manhood. Paton’s ancestors had mainly been divided into two classes, fighters and scholars. Admiral Worral Paton had fought many a fight with Francis Drake on the high seas, and another Paton in the reign of Elizabeth had been accounted a great and learned savant at court. Before that time, in the reign of Henry the Seventh, there had been a namesake of Colin’s who had fought bravely for the crown, and helped to subdue Lord Lovel’s rising in Yorkshire. Claudia knew of these and of several more worthy and later ancestors, for she had once visited his Elizabethan country home, where his mother still lived, and[241] he had, with laughing comments, conducted her through the gallery of family portraits, which showed, he said, that there had never been any fatal beauty in the family. But she had been struck even then, as a girl—she had only been seventeen at the time—with the indefinable air of breeding and intellectual distinction which they all bore. There was an unmistakable stamp on the faces of all the Patons, which said as plainly as words, “Death before dishonour.” Colin had told her the story of one youth, a gay Royalist with laughing eyes, who had fallen from honour by parting, under pressure from the woman he loved, with one of the King’s secrets. “But, like Judas,” said Colin, “he went out and hanged, or rather shot, himself almost directly afterwards. You, who feel so intensely the joy of life—look at his laughing eyes!—will believe that he expiated his sin.”
    It should have been a propitious opening, this discussion of love, but somehow it was not.


    1.“But, Gilbert,” expostulated Claudia, contrary to her[269] latter custom of listening, if not in agreement, in non-disagreement, “you have too much to do already. Don’t you think——”
    2.“If I were Claudia I should leave him at home,” said Rhoda coolly. “I always leave mine at home. I tell people not to invite him. A husband is always the skeleton at the feast.”
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