MoboReader > Young Adult > Once a Week

   Chapter 4 EXPOSURE

Once a Week By A. A. Milne Characters: 1642

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:03

The next dance was at its height. In a dream of happiness Gwendolen revolved with closed eyes round Lord Beltravers, of Beltravers Castle, Beltravers.

Suddenly above the music rose a voice, commanding, threatening.

"Stop!" cried the Lady Beltravers.

As if by magic the band ceased and all the dancers were still.

"There is an intruder here," said Lady Beltravers in a cold voice. "A milkmaid, a common farmer's daughter. Gwendolen French, leave my house this instant!"

Dazed, hardly knowing what she did, Gwendolen moved forward. In an instant Lord Beltravers was after her.

"No, mother," he said, with the utmost dignity. "Not a common milkmaid, but the future Lady Beltravers."

An indescribable thrill of emotion ran through the crowded ball-room. Lord Hobble's stud fell out; and Lady Susan Goligh

tly hurried across the room and fainted in the arms of Sir James Batt.

"What!" cried the Lady Beltravers. "My son, the last of the Beltraverses, the Beltraverses who came over with Julius Wernher, I should say C?sar, marry a milkmaid?"

"No, mother. He is marrying what any man would be proud to marry-a simple English girl."

There was a cheer, instantly suppressed, from a Socialist in the band.

For just a moment words failed the Lady Beltravers. Then she sank into a chair, and waved her guests away.

"The ball is over," she said slowly. "Leave me. My son and I must be alone."

One by one, with murmured thanks for a delightful evening, the guests trooped out. Soon mother and son were alone. Lord Beltravers, gazing out of the window, saw the 'cellist laboriously dragging his 'cello across the park.

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