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Lord Dawlish had gone for a moonlight walk that night because, like Claire, he wished to be alone to think. He had fallen with a pleasant ease and smoothness into the rather curious life lived at Elizabeth Boyd's bee-farm. A liking for picnics had lingered in him from boyhood, and existence at Flack's was one prolonged picnic. He found that he had a natural aptitude for the more muscular domestic duties, and his energy in this direction enchanted Nutty, who before his advent had had a monopoly of these tasks.
Nor was this the only aspect of the situation that pleased Nutty. When he had invited Bill to the farm he had had a vague hope that good might come of it, but he had never dreamed that things would turn out as well as they promised to do, or that such a warm and immediate friendship would spring up between his sister and the man who had diverted the family fortune into his own pocket. Bill and Elizabeth were getting on splendidly. They were together all the time--walking, golfing, attending to the numerous needs of the bees, or sitting on the porch. Nutty's imagination began to run away with him. He seemed to smell the scent of orange-blossoms, to hear the joyous pealing of church bells--in fact, with the difference that it was not his own wedding that he was anticipating, he had begun to take very much the same view of the future that was about to come to Dudley Pickering.
Elizabeth would have been startled and embarrassed if she could have read his thoughts, for they might have suggested to her that she was becoming a great deal fonder of Bill than the shortness of their acquaintance warranted. But though she did not fail to observe the strangeness of her brother's manner, she traced it to another source than the real one. Nutty had a habit of starting back and removing himself when, entering the porch, he perceived that Bill and his sister were already seated there. His own impression on such occasions was that he was behaving with consummate tact. Elizabeth supposed that he had had some sort of a spasm.
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