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36. CHAPTER XXXVI: ULLATHORNE SPORTS--ACT I (continued)
'Well, drat them dangerous plays all the world over,' said an old crone.
'He has broke his neck sure enough, if ever man did,' said a fourth.
Poor Miss Thorne. She heard all this and yet did not quite swoon. She made her way through the crowd as best she could, sick herself almost to death. Oh, his mother--his poor mother! how could she ever forgive herself. The agony of that moment was terrific. She could hardly get to the place where the poor lad was lying, as three or four men in front were about the horse which had risen with some difficulty; but at last she found herself close to the young farmer.
'Has he marked himself? for heaven's sake tell me that; has he marked his knees?' said Harry, slowly rising and rubbing his left shoulder with his right hand, and thinking only of his horse's legs. Miss Thorne soon found that he had not broken his neck, nor any of his bones, nor been injured in any essential way. But from that time forth she never instigated any one to ride at the quintain.
Eleanor left Dr Stanhope as soon as she could do so civilly, and went in quest of her father whom she found on the lawn in company with Mr Arabin. She was not sorry to find them together. She was anxious to disabuse at any rate her father's mind as to this report which had got abroad respecting her, and would have been well pleased to have been able to do the same with regard to Mr Arabin. She put her own through her father's arm, coming up behind his back, and then tendered her hand also to the vicar of St Ewold's.
'And how did you come?' said Mr Harding, when the first greeting was over.
'The Stanhopes brought me,' said she; 'their carriage was obliged to come twice, and has now gone back for the signora.' As she spoke she caught Mr Arabin's eye, and saw that he was looking pointedly at her with a severe expression. She understood at once the accusation contained in his glance. It said as plainly as an eye could speak, 'Yes, you came with the Stanhopes, but you did so in order that you might be in company with Mr Slope.'
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