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Chapter 27 (continued)
'If I don't appear to express my concurrence in those last sentiments of yours,' returned Mr Chester, 'quite so strongly as you might desire, it is because his being there, my dear madam, and not proving conversational, led me hither, and procured me the happiness of this interview with one, in whom the whole management, conduct, and prosperity of her family are centred, I perceive.'
With that he took Mrs Varden's hand again, and having pressed it to his lips with the highflown gallantry of the day--a little burlesqued to render it the more striking in the good lady's unaccustomed eyes--proceeded in the same strain of mingled sophistry, cajolery, and flattery, to entreat that her utmost influence might be exerted to restrain her husband and daughter from any further promotion of Edward's suit to Miss Haredale, and from aiding or abetting either party in any way. Mrs Varden was but a woman, and had her share of vanity, obstinacy, and love of power. She entered into a secret treaty of alliance, offensive and defensive, with her insinuating visitor; and really did believe, as many others would have done who saw and heard him, that in so doing she furthered the ends of truth, justice, and morality, in a very uncommon degree.
Overjoyed by the success of his negotiation, and mightily amused within himself, Mr Chester conducted her downstairs in the same state as before; and having repeated the previous ceremony of salutation, which also as before comprehended Dolly, took his leave; first completing the conquest of Miss Miggs's heart, by inquiring if 'this young lady' would light him to the door.
'Oh, mim,' said Miggs, returning with the candle. 'Oh gracious me, mim, there's a gentleman! Was there ever such an angel to talk as he is--and such a sweet-looking man! So upright and noble, that he seems to despise the very ground he walks on; and yet so mild and condescending, that he seems to say "but I will take notice on it too." And to think of his taking you for Miss Dolly, and Miss Dolly for your sister--Oh, my goodness me, if I was master wouldn't I be jealous of him!'
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