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suade her I should be very glad. I should then hope - I should then think well, do all you can. But positively I am unwilling to expose you to what I fear, after all, you will not like. I do not know whether the place is fit to receive you; for although I have no actual fears of its falling down, it is rather too substantial for that, yet things must be in strange disorder.
There must be much fumigating and airing before I shall trust
companion within the old walls."
“I had thought,” said Isabella, " that you had not suffered the place to be neglected.”
“ For some years every thing was taken care of," returned Mr. Willoughby. “I had used to think that when I married I should like to renew the old ways of going on — but that fancy wore away with many other
youthful fancies. There were some good people whom I used to love, but I saw little of them, and so I began to attach myself to the people, good or bad, that were more within my reach,—and still something put off marrying. The keeping so large a place in neatness and airing was expensive. I was grown fond of Beechwood, I had laid out large sums of money upon it, and I began to think it was not wise to spend money upon what gave me no pleasure, when I had so many uses for it that did.”
“ Yet,” said Isabella, “ Lady Rachel has told me that Eagle's Crag is not in a state of desolation."
Perhaps not,” replied Mr. Willoughby, “not absolute desolation. There is an old housekeeper and an old steward, who, I really believe, would spend the last farthing they have, rather than that it should go
quite to decay. Perhaps they may have kept it weather tight, clean, and whole. I know that Lady Rachel has correspondence with some of her old connexions in Westmorland, and she may have heard something of this from them ; but I will write, and see how matters stand; and I am sure if Evans and Roberts can make you a few rooms comfortable they will do so, for it will rejoice their kind hearts to see the descendant of my father. For their sakes, as you wish to look upon the mansion of my forefathers, I shall be glad that you should go. I shall be delighted to give them such a pleasure ; they well deserve this, and all, and more than all I can do for them, at my hands.”
Isabella's heart was saddened by this conversation. If her hopes could have rested upon the amiable feelings which had shone through the indifference and carelessness of thinking, which Mr. Willoughby too plainly manifested, she could not but be aware that no principle had appeared upon which she might depend ; and she could receive no pleasure from so ready an acquiescence in her wishes, when their gratification was to be purchased by a separation from her husband. She began to question the expediency of such a step; she determined to consult Lady Rachel, and she resolved, if she did go to Eagle's Crag, to prevail on her, if possible, to accompany her thither.
Eye me, blest Providence, and square my trial
ISABELLA found every encouragement possible from Lady Rachel as to the expediency of her visiting Eagle's Crag, but upon the point of her own journey to the same place, she found her unpersuadable.
“ Child," said she, “ you sometimes tell me that I delight in martyrdom ; but you are mistaken. I would not undergo what the re-entrance into