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He had correctly stated Audley Egerton's warning against any indiscreet confidence, though he had forborne to mention a more recent and direct renewal of the same caution. His first visit to Hazeldean had been paid without consulting Egerton. He had been passing some days at his father's house, and had gone over thence to the squire's.

But I must add that he supposed Egerton to be still wealthier than himself, and sure to provide handsomely for Randal, whom Sir rather liked than not; and for Randal's own sake, Sir thought it would lower him in the estimation of Egerton himself, despite that gentleman's advocacy, if he did not follow the example of his avowed and notorious patron.

Then Egerton told all, his own love for Nora, his struggles against what he felt as treason to his friend, his sudden discovery of Nora's love for him; on that discovery, the overthrow of all his resolutions; their secret marriage, their separation; Nora's flight, to which Audley still assigned but her groundless vague suspicion that their nuptials had not been legal, and her impatience of his own delay in acknowledging the rite.

Egerton, she still inflicted no positive wrong on her relations, for she had none sufficiently near to her to warrant their claim to the succession. Her nearest kinsman, and therefore her natural heir, was Harley L'Estrange; and if he was contented, no one had a right to complain. The tie of blood between herself and the Leslies of Rood Hall was, as we shall see presently, extremely distant.

He spent so much of his time at the old shanty on the hill that the old man's cares were for the time forgotten. Unfortunately, Donald's advent brought anything but peace in other quarters. John Egerton asked himself with keen self-reproach if it were possible that he was jealous of the young man. He could not help resenting Donald's cool manner of appropriating Jessie's time and attention.

"Come here," said Donald quietly, and Neil obeyed; he knew that whatever judgment was to be meted out to him, Don would see that he got justice. "Mr. Egerton and Mr. Watson have something to say to you." The culprit's bright eyes took on a look of alarm; he wriggled his small bare toes in the dead leaves. Donald pushed him towards the minister half mockingly.

"It is so beautifully simple and easy, God's way of saving us poor sinners: it is its very simplicity that so stumbles wise men and women, while little children, in their sweet trustfulness, just taking God at His word, understand it without any difficulty." She spoke in a musing tone, not looking at Egerton at all, but with her eyes fixed meditatingly upon the floor.

True, what were called the close boroughs still existed; true, many a chief of his party would have been too proud of the honour of claiming Andley Egerton for his nominee. But the ex-minister's haughty soul shrunk from this contrast to his past position.

Moreover, Egerton, emancipated from the trammels that had bound his will while his party was in office, desired, in the turn of events, to be nominee of no man, desired to stand at least freely and singly on the ground of his own services, be guided by his own penetration; no law for action but his strong sense and his stout English heart.

Egerton, and however yet cherishing the most vindictive resentment against that individual, he did not, as many would have done, throw up his political convictions out of personal spite. He reserved his private grudge for some special occasion, and continued still to support the Administration, and to hate one of the ministers.

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