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"He left her alone. Pure romantic nonsense on her part. Sheer
calculation on his. Went up to Somerset House to examine the will before
he did it. Yes. Nice position."
"She doesn't care for him now?"
"Not a bit. What a girl of sixteen cares for is hair and a high color
and moonlight and a tenor voice. I suppose most of our daughters would
marry organ-grinders if they had a chance--at that age. My son wanted
to marry a woman of thirty in a tobacconist's shop. Only a son's another
story. We fixed that. Well, that's the situation. My people don't know
what to do. Can't face a scandal. Can't ask the gent to go abroad and
condone a bigamy. He misstated her age and address; but you can't get
home on him for a thing like that.... There you are! Girl spoilt for
life. Makes one want to go back to the Oriental system!"
Mr. Stanley poured wine. "Damned Rascal!" he said. "Isn't there a
brother to kick him?"
"Mere satisfaction," reflected Ogilvy. "Mere sensuality. I rather think
they have kicked him, from the tone of some of the letters. Nice, of
course. But it doesn't alter the situation."
"It's these Rascals," said Mr. Stanley, and paused.
"Always has been," said Ogilvy. "Our interest lies in heading them off."
"There was a time when girls didn't get these extravagant ideas."
"Lydia Languish, for example. Anyhow, they didn't run about so much."
"Yes. That's about the beginning. It's these damned novels. All this
torrent of misleading, spurious stuff that pours from the press. These
sham ideals and advanced notions. Women who Dids, and all that kind of
Ogilvy reflected. "This girl--she's really a very charming, frank
person--had had her imagination fired, so she told me, by a school
performance of Romeo and Juliet."
Mr. Stanley decided to treat that as irrelevant. "There ought to be a
Censorship of Books. We want it badly at the present time. Even WITH
the Censorship of Plays there's hardly a decent thing to which a man can
take his wife and daughters, a creeping taint of suggestion everywhere.
What would it be without that safeguard?"
Ogilvy pursued his own topic. "I'm inclined to think, Stanley, myself
that as a matter of fact it was the expurgated Romeo and Juliet did the
mischief. If our young person hadn't had the nurse part cut out, eh? She
might have known more and done less. I was curious about that. All they
left it was the moon and stars. And the balcony and 'My Romeo!'"
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